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EdWeek’s State of Afterschool Programs Report – NAA’s Top 4 Takeaways

Monday, 26 September 2022 09:41

The EdWeek Research Center recently produced The State of After-School Programs: Programming Results of a National Survey On Programming During a Pandemic. The report shares the results of the survey, which queried principals and afterschool employees about the types of activities that programs provide, perceptions of pandemic-related changes, and staffing challenges.

The report includes collated data from 981 survey participants. It starts by sharing how important it is to take stock of what afterschool educators and staff members (also known as Out-of-School Time (OST) Professionals)--those with firsthand experience—have to say and continues with key takeaways gleaned from the research. Here are the top four takeaways:

  1. Access to after-school programs is not universal. Nearly half of after-school program employees reported that their programs currently have waiting lists of students who want to participate.
  2. Racial, ethnic, and income-related disparities exist. Survey respondents indicated that most students participating in their programs are white and from more affluent families, which raises questions about equitable access to enrichment activities.
  3. Increased focus on social-emotional learning. Most respondents said that the focus on SEL had increased since the pandemic began compared to just one-quarter reporting that academics are now receiving greater attention.
  4. Challenges with staffing could affect afterschool program access. Most principals and after-school employees responding to the survey said that challenges in recruiting and retaining staff members caused extensive problems for their after-school programs.

The National AfterSchool Association has frequently acknowledged the relationship between staff and access to quality afterschool programs. The EdWeek survey results indicating waiting lists for students to get into after-school programs suggest that adequate staffing could open up more significant opportunities for young people looking to participate. However, as the report details,  inflation and other economic challenges stemming from the pandemic remain stumbling blocks for recruitment and retention. In addition, there is mention that programs also have staffing concerns due, perhaps, to relatively low pay—OST professionals typically earn between $10 and $20 per hour. 

OST professionals make quality afterschool programs happen. To ensure access to quality afterschool programs-–or afterschool programs at all—NAA, through its Thriving OST Workforce Initiative, is asserting that policymakers, funders, systems builders, and other leaders must focus on job quality for OST professionals job quality commensurate with their contributions and impact.

Read the full report: The State of After-School Programs Results of a National Survey On Programming During a Pandemic.

Learn more about NAA’s Thriving OST Workforce Initiative at