Effective Policies and Practices for Out-of-School-Time Programming

Posted by on December 12, 2003

[posted from Promising Practices in After School]

“Lessons Learned About Effective Policies and Practices for Out-of-School-Time Programming” captures findings and observations from school-based, community-based, and voluntary activities for youth in the out-of-school-time (OST). The report, compiled from learning events sponsored by the American Youth Policy Forum, discusses the challenges to out-of-school-time program implementation, including issues of going to scale, state and local roles and responsibilities, funding and sustainability, the role of intermediaries and advocates, and the relationship between OST programming and academic achievement. The reader will find tips on how communities provide OST activities that are both effective and responsive to local needs. Also illustrated are numerous uses and public policy solutions to which OST programming has been applied, including leverage for school reform initiatives; opportunities for teacher professional development; expanded resources for schools and communities; sites for school-based services; reinforcement of mutual school and community interests; and outlets for individual/group expressions, extended youth development, community culture and community education.

Also discussed is the need for dedicated funding streams or existing funding streams that can be more strategically combined for OST use, allowing OST to be viewed as a part of a larger, integrated system of youth supports. “Until public education realigns funding and staffing requirements with the real costs of an expanded day and week program, and city and community agencies commit to the types of collaborations and intermediary supports needed to make these endeavors successful, funding and implementing OST will continue to be a difficult challenge,” says Glenda L. Partee, report author and co-director of the American Youth Policy Forum. She concludes that until these issues are addressed, OST opportunities will likely remain hit-or-miss dependent on the state or locality where children and youth reside.

The publication provides other policy recommendations such as: expanding OST opportunities for older youth and in rural areas; ensuring consistent quality while providing for variability across programs; imbedding OST strategies into school reform efforts; and establishing clear and consistent expectatioins, policies and goals.

The full 57-page report is available for download from http://www.aypf.org/pdf/LessonsLearnedOSTPrograms.pdf.

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