AfterWords January 2007
The learning that begins after the bell!
The National Partnership of Quality Afterschool Learning?
Product highlight

This free online staff development resource includes video clips, resources, and lesson plans on promising practices in the arts.

Welcome to the first issue of AfterWords, the newsletter of the National Partnership for Quality Afterschool Learning.

If you’re reading this newsletter, you already know that afterschool education is playing an increasingly important role in children’s lives. Three years ago, the National Partnership was created to identify afterschool programs that showed a positive effect on student achievement. As our research continues, we are working with afterschool professionals to continue to improve student performance.

We know that high-quality programs share many characteristics. They have clear goals, align the program to meet these goals, and conduct evaluations to determine if they are successful. These programs foster strong relationships with day-school teachers. They allow students to work both independently and in groups, creating an environment that maintains student engagement and offers opportunities for social development. Finally, these programs employ qualified staff who participate in effective professional development (see reference below).

With this newsletter, we hope to share what the National Partnership has learned about high-quality afterschool programs through our research. We also want to use this publication as a forum for the discussion of the issues afterschool professionals face and the successes they experience. In each issue of AfterWords, you’ll find some regular features. Learn more.

We hope you enjoy AfterWords and welcome your feedback.

Huang, D. (2006, May). Preliminary findings from promising practices site identification for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers. SEDL Letter, 18(1), 9–14.


What is the National Partnership of Quality Afterschool Learning?

Urban Gateways: Center for Arts Education
Chicago, Illinois

A successful partnership with a community organization can play an important role in an afterschool program. Just ask associate program director Marissa Reyes of Urban Gateways (UG), a nonprofit that plans and directs arts programs in the Chicago area. UG works with six Chicago-area community schools to organize afterschool arts activities such as mural painting, mosaics, theater, percussion, hip-hop dance, ballet folklorico, Web page design, and photography.

Recently, UG collaborated with Chavez Multicultural Academic Center to hold a street festival at the end of the afterschool program’s first year. Chavez is in a neighborhood with high poverty and crime rates. Reyes reported that the event was an unqualified success, serving to highlight the Chavez-UG partnership and promoting their program offerings so that the following year, participation in most classes was nearly at capacity.”

In Your Words

We want to hear from you! The beginning of our newsletter also marks the beginning of our afterschool survey.

This Month's Question

What creative ways have you found to use technology with
the students in your
afterschool program?

Send your answers to Please put “January Survey” in the subject line of the e-mail, and let us know if we can use your name in the survey.

Training Tip

Research shows that high-quality afterschool programs have strong ties with the day school. A program director can facilitate these ties by having afterschool staff who are not day-school teachers spend the last 30 minutes of the school day helping teachers in their classrooms hand out homework assignments and prepare students for dismissal. They can then accompany the students to the afterschool program. In addition to fostering a stronger rapport, afterschool staff and day-school teachers will have the opportunity to briefly discuss student progress.

Events Calendar
Feb 22–23

PEAK Afterschool Event: Math and Science
Kansas City, MO

March 8–9

PEAK Afterschool Event: Literacy and Arts
Wheeling, IL

March 20–23

National Afterschool Association Annual Conference (link no longer active 8/2007)
Phoenix, AZ


Registration for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers 2007 Summer Institute is now open. Proposals for conference presentations are also being accepted. The Summer Institute will take place in Miami, Florida, July 17–19. For more information, go to

Copyright © 2007 by SEDL . This newsletter was produced in whole or in part with funds from the U.S. Department of Education under contract number ED-01-CO-0057/0001.

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Laura Shankland
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Fax: 512-476-2286