Professional Development

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Examining Stability and Change in Afterschool Systems

Coordinated afterschool systems provide high-quality programs to youth who stand to benefit most. A new report from The Wallace Foundation finds that more than three-quarters cities with afterschool coordination studied since 2013 were still coordinating in 2020. This suggests the value large cities have placed on afterschool coordination, even before the pandemic.

Stability and Change in Afterschool Systems, 2013-2020: A Follow-Up Study of Afterschool Coordination in Large Cities is a follow-up to a 2012-2013 study, which found that 77 of 100 large U.S. cities were coordinating the work of out-of-school-time providers, government agencies, private funders, and others to provide high-quality afterschool programs to the children who stand to benefit most.

The report provides a look at the state of afterschool coordination just prior to the unexpected and devastating closure of schools and afterschool programs in the spring of 2020 owing to the global pandemic. It focuses on three key components: A designated coordinating entity; a common data system; and a framework or set of standards for program quality.

Of the many important findings found in the report, there are three points of interest worth noting:

  • More than three quarters of cities with afterschool systems in 2013 sustained those systems into 2020 (prior to the pandemic). Many added key components to their systems, demonstrating the value large cities have placed on afterschool coordination.
  • Funding and committed city leadership are critical to building and sustaining an afterschool system. Researchers found statistically significant links between increased funding and the use of quality standards or a quality framework and between high or moderate levels of support from city leaders and the adoption of a common data system.
  • Those responsible for building and sustaining afterschool systems say they need more resources, outside expertise, and other support. Topics they identify as high-priority include effective communication with partners and the public, using data for program planning and staff training, and helping program providers collect, report and work with data.

To view the report in its entirety, visit Wallace Foundation.

Courtesy of NAA.