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Program managers should decide on these issues ahead of time in order to properly assess costs and plan funding endeavors (Mc Elvain, 2005). For more information about starting a program, contact your state Lead Agency for Child Care (PDF, 8 pages).
The After Zone model has two features that distinguish it from other citywide after-school initiatives.
First, in contrast to traditional after-school models in which programs are offered in a single school or center, the After Zone model is based on a neighborhood “campus” structure where services are offered at multiple sites in a geographically clustered area.
The initiative was created to support citywide system-building efforts that could advance three interrelated goals for the OST field: improving program quality, making programs accessible to youth who need them most, and improving youth participation so more children can realize benefits.
The Foundation granted funds to five cities to support their afterschool system-building initiatives: Boston, MA; Chicago, IL; New York, NY; Providence, RI; and Washington, DC.
Click here to download the full report: After Zones: Creating a Citywide System Increasingly, research has shown that participation in out-of-school-time (OST) programs can lead to improvements in youth’s educational outcomes (e.g., academic achievement, school behavior, attitudes toward school, attendance and educational expectations); enhance social and emotional development (e.g., self-esteem, positive social behavior); and reduce the likelihood that they will engage in risk-taking behavior.
There is compelling evidence that participation in structured organized activities dramatically falls when youth enter middle school.For example, an evaluation of after-school programs that were part of the Extended-Service Schools Initiative found the average attendance rate for youth in grades 6 through 8 was 1.6 days per week compared with 1.9 days per week for youth in grades 4 and 5 and 2.2 days per week for youth in grades 1 through 3.Yet, during the middle school years, youth face many new challenges and need the support that high-quality OST programs can provide.Program managers should familiarize themselves with different types of activities and identify local training opportunities to gain the know-how and resources to serve school-age kids. “Starting an Afterschool Program: A Resource Guide”.Other important considerations are planning resource and personnel needs, including staffing, transportation, location, and hours of service. Meet State Regulations: States have minimum licensing requirements that apply to programs serving children, including afterschool programs.These requirements typically vary for types of providers, and often include separate requirements for school-age care settings.Self-esteem tends to drop as youth enter middle school, and they begin to feel less confident in their ability to master academic subjects, at the very time when pressures to achieve are increasing.School-day curricula become more rigorous and demanding, and many youth begin to experience academic failure.Low-income youth may be particularly vulnerable because their families and communities lack the resources needed to provide quality structured activities during the after-school hours.Within cities, the rapid growth in OST programs over the past two decades has often resulted in a fragmented landscape of independent efforts with precarious funding and uneven quality.