Program Design

Structuring Out-of-School Time to Improve Academic Achievement

This site provides five recommendations to help administrators, afterschool providers, and other educators design afterschool programs that will increase student learning. Each recommendation is accompanied by supporting research, how to address roadblocks, and how best to implement each element.

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City Strategies to Engage Older Youth in Afterschool Programs

Researchers have found that the benefits of OST participation are especially impactful for middle and high school aged youth, increasing graduation rates, providing workplace skills, preventing early pregnancy and reducing juvenile crime. Yet for many older youth, opportunities to engage in high-quality OST activities are quite limited. This site offers a downloadable guide on City Strategies to Engage Older Youth. The guide identifies four strategies that can be used to increase afterschool participation in older youth.

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American Youth Policy Forum

Youth need a wide range of knowledge, skills, competencies, and behaviors (academic, employability, social, and emotional) to be successful. To obtain a more comprehensive view of Afterschool and OST learning, this site has identified eight issue areas: college and career readiness, equity, OST system building, school and community partnerships, skill development, social and emotional learning, STEM, and youth leadership. Resources include blogs, publications, videos, discussion groups, and webinars.

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ExpandEDSchools

This library contains the latest policy and research reports on expanding learning time, building out-of-school time systems and improving student outcomes, as well as tools for schools and community organizations that are expanding learning time, opportunities and support for students. In this library you will find resources such as research studies, fact sheets and evaluation reports, as well as sample school schedules, curriculum resources and evaluation tools.

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Developmental Relationships: Helping Young People Be and Become Their Best Selves

This page, created by the Search Institute, focuses on developmental relationships. There are five elements identified by the Search Institute and each is outlined in the available framework. There is further information available, including information on projects, tools, services, and research.

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Growing Together, Learning Together

With many cities expressing interest in afterschool system-building and more useful information becoming available, this Wallace Perspective offers a digest of the latest thinking on how to build and sustain an afterschool system, along with what challenges and opportunities lie ahead for the field. The report focuses on the four components of system-building that current evidence and experience suggest are essential: strong leadership from major players, coordination that fits local context, effective use of data, and a comprehensive approach to quality. In addition to the downloadable report, there is an infographic outlining these four qualities and the statistics based on them.

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American Youth Policy Forum

This site offers a comprehensive compilation of articles and information for afterschool and OST learning. Some subjects covered include college and career readiness, equity, system building, school and community partnerships, STEM, and social emotional learning, among others. Additionally, there are many resources, including webinars, publications, blogs, and videos, that cover many topics beyond those already listed.

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Support for Educators and Parents

Edutopia is a clearing house of resources for educators. The site offers articles and videos covering a plethora of topics, such as social emotional learning, afterschool learning, literacy, math, and more.

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Search Institute: Insights from Research, The Power of Sparks

This publication focuses on helping youth thrive through exploring their sparks, or interests, passions, and skills. The article offers deep detailing of how to identify sparks, how they benefit youth, how to incorporate them into programs, the benefits, and data and statistics.

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Boost Collaborative

The BOOST Café Resource Center is a collection of free resources sorted by age level and category. Age categories range from pre-K to higher education. Categories include ) advocacy and policy, community, COVID-19, curriculum and enrichment, digital learning, diversity and inclusion, physical and mental health, prevention and intervention, research, and sex education.

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Dabbling in the Data 

This guide provides a gentle introduction to practical approaches to explore and analyze data commonly used in youth-serving organizations. The activities in this guide are suitable for a variety of group sizes and stakeholders so that you can draw on the experiences, knowledge, and insights from everyone involved in your program, including youth!

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Expandedschools: Close the Learning Gap, Open the World

ExpandED Schools is a non-profit organization focused on the closing the learning gap often experienced by children living in low-income homes and communities. The site offers an extensive library of the latest policy and research reports, tools for schools, research studies, fact sheets, evaluation reports, curriculum resources, evaluation tools, videos, and guidebooks. There is a variety of categories including, but mot limited to, afterschool programs, expanded learning time, staffing and scheduling, and student outcomes.

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Creativity Catapult

The Bay Area Discovery Museum has created a compilation of various activities, organized in categories of age, skills taught/needed, difficulty, duration, participants, topics, and costs. Skills included are action and movement, collaboration, communication and self-expression, decision making, flexibility, imagination and originality, and motivation. In addition to this library, the site has publications, research papers, downloadable and printable toolkits, and tips for incorporating STEM into programs.

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Every Hour Counts

This site offers seven downloadable publications for afterschool programs. These reports cover topics such as putting data to work, learning from the work of other organizations, scale and sustainability, and communications.

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Thematic Learning

This page explores and explains thematic learning, or using a theme or topic of study for teaching. In the model, "the theme" becomes the critical thinking binder that helps bring different and seemingly unrelated information together into a unified whole. The site offers an example of thematic learning and the steps taken throughout the learning process.

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Training to Go Y4Y: Toolkit Portal

This toolkit gives suggestions on how to make the most of Math, Literacy, Art, Science, Technology, and homework time. On the site, you will find key elements for planning, how to target and integrate skills, identify standards, assess needs, define goals, and more. Other ideas and suggestions include best practices, family engagement, one-on-one work, etc.

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Beyond the Bell Toolkit

Beyond the Bell® is a suite of professional development services, products, and practical tools designed to help afterschool program leaders and staff members create and sustain high-quality, effective afterschool and expanded learning programs. The Toolkit contains resources, tips, and tools about program management, design, partnerships, delivery, evaluation, and improvement. The Toolkit is not a free resource, however , there are free videos that cover various topics, such as summer success, continuous improvement, and program culture.

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Social Branding: Building a Brand That Youth Identify With Can Make or Break Afterschool Programs

Edutopia is a clearing house of resources for educators. The site offers articles and videos covering a plethora of topics, such as social emotional learning, afterschool learning, literacy, math and., more. On this page, you will find information about branding, why it is important, key ideas, information on branding techniques, lessons, and articles.

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The Forum for Youth Investment

The Forum for Youth Investment helps leaders with strategies from national leadership to on-the-ground action. The site addresses improving and aligning policies, planning and partnering, and strengthening practices and programs.

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Games that Build the 4CS

This downloadable 24-page pamphlet outlines games that are focused on critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and/or creativity. Each activity page outlines the objective, targeted skill(s), materials needed, and instructions to aid in planning.

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Getting Youth Involved in Outside The Box Thinking

This article highlights how and why to get youth involved in creative, outside the box thinking in programs.

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Interactions & Youth Engagement

This TurnKeyPD eBook bundles multiple learning resources specific to two Core Knowledge and Competencies: Youth Interaction and Engagement. Use it with your staff to guide techniques and strategies that support youth in the development of self-regulation, self-concept, coping, positive interactions, and acting in partnership to foster leadership and voice.

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