National Partnership for Quality Afterschool Learning


The National Partnership for Quality Afterschool Learning was supported by the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Elementary and Secondary Education. SEDL served as the primary contractor. The Partnership consisted of the following organizations.

  • SEDL
  • National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing (CRESST)
  • Learning Point Associates (LPA)
  • Mid-Continent Research for Education and Learning (McREL)
  • Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory (NWREL)
  • SERVE Center at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (SERVE)
  • WGBH Educational Foundation (WGBH)

National Partnership brochure (PDF - 318K)

Assistance and Training

  • The Partnership coordinated an annual national summer institute sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education and the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, giving practitioners from around the country an opportunity to hear national afterschool leaders present on high-quality programming and promising academic practices.
  • The Partnership coordinated eight regional conferences annually across the United States. Afterschool practitioners from neighboring states were encouraged to come together, network, and learn more about building their programs' capacity to support student achievement.
  • Staff assisted state education agencies and local practitioners in planning, developing, implementing, and evaluating high-quality programs.
  • The Partnership offered a variety of fee-for-service professional development options that could be customized for local practitioners.

Tools and Resources

Using data acquired from our site visits, along with other available research, the National Partnership developed tools and resources to help afterschool practitioners improve their ability to create and implement activities that support student learning.

  • The Afterschool Training Toolkit is a free online staff development resource built around promising afterschool practices in literacy, mathematics, science, the arts, technology, and homework help. It includes content goals, sample lesson plans, research links, and video segments that show how successful afterschool programs use innovative activities to engage student learning.
  • Seven Instructor's Guides to the Afterschool Training Toolkit and four Professional Development Guides give program directors and site coordinators the resources they need to lead professional development activities that will teach afterschool staff how to build fun, innovative, and academically enriching activities that engage students, extend their knowledge in new ways, and support academic achievement.
  • Four curriculum databases were created in partnership with expert afterschool reviewers to identify and describe high-quality afterschool curriculum resources in the areas of literacy, mathematics, science, and technology.
  • A lesson plan database was created with fun and enriching lesson plans for afterschool projects working in arts, literacy, mathematics, science, and technology.
  • The AfterWords e-mail newsletter, which was published monthly from 2007-2009, won the Distinguished Achievement Award from the Association of Educational Publishers (AEP) in June, 2008.
  • A Resource Guide for Planning and Operating Afterschool Programs (3rd Edition) describes readily available and inexpensive resources that support afterschool programs. Topics include management, communication, programming, community building and collaboration, and developing connections between K–12 educational and afterschool programs.
  • Afterschool Research Briefs produced by SEDL researchers and key staff from the Partnership document the lessons learned in order to advance the effective use of rigorous experimental research approaches in applied afterschool settings.

Improving Afterschool Teaching and Learning

With the implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act, federally supported 21st Century Community Learning Centers were working to improve student achievement. In support of this, the National Partnership engaged in a 5-year study to better define high-quality afterschool teaching and learning. Analyzing available data, our staff identified afterschool sites demonstrating a positive effect on student achievement. We then rigorously documented program characteristics and practices, looking specifically at six content areas: literacy, mathematics, science, the arts, technology, and homework help. For that, staff conducted site visits at over 54 schools nationwide. Studying these practices, as well as general program characteristics that support their implementation, helped build a better understanding of how programs can successfully integrate academic content into their overall activities.

Literacy Sites

  • Bladen County Schools - Elizabethtown, North Carolina
  • Children's Aid Society - New York, New York
  • Citizen Schools - Boston, Massachusetts
  • Columbine Elementary - Denver, Colorado
  • Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation - Evansville, Indiana
  • Foundations, Inc. - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Grinnell Community Learning Center - Grinnell, Iowa
  • LA's Best, The Literacy Loop - Los Angeles, California
  • The Northside Learning Tree - San Antonio, Texas
  • Ontario Middle School SUCCESS - Ontario, Oregon
  • San Bernardino Unified Schools - San Bernardino, California

Mathematics Sites

  • The After-School Corporation - New York, New York
  • Anaheim Achieves - Anaheim, California
  • Dillon School District - Latta, South Carolina
  • Estherville STAR - Estherville, Iowa
  • Harris County Department of Education CASE - Houston, Texas
  • Passaic Public Schools - Passaic, New Jersey
  • Van Buren Schools- Van Buren, Arkansas

Science Sites

  • After School Youth Development Program - Newark, New Jersey
  • Brighton and Curley Afterschool - Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts
  • C.A.S.E. Harris County Department of Education - Houston, Texas
  • Fort Worth Independent School District - Fort Worth, Texas
  • G.R.A.S.P. DeKalb County - Atlanta, Georgia
  • My House, Inc. - New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Operation SMART - Oakland, California
  • Project SAFE - Wewoka, Oklahoma
  • USD 309 Nickerson-South Hutchinson - Hutchinson, Kansas

Arts Sites

  • Arts Corps - Seattle, Washington
  • Chicago Public Schools - Chicago, Illinois
  • Children's Aid Society IS 90 - New York City, New York
  • KEWA - Santo Domingo, New Mexico
  • Kids Quest - Englewood, Colorado
  • LA's BEST - Los Angeles, California
  • Prime Time - Independence, Oregon
  • Project Shine - Tucson, Arizona
  • SPARKS - Coatesville, Pennsylvania


  • Boys and Girls Club of Menlo Park Clubhouse - Palo Alto and Redwood City, California
  • Afterschool Learning Center - San Francisco, California
  • SAFE and SAFE and Cool Programs - Danbury, Connecticut
  • Long Beach YMCA - Long Beach, California
  • Worland Community Center - Worland, Wyoming
  • School of Hearts - Syracuse, New York
  • DeKalb County School System - DeKalb, Georgia
  • Comanche Public Schools, Comanche, Oklahoma
  • USD 309 Reno Valley – Hutchinson, Kansas
  • Austin Independent School District, Austin, Texas


  • Anchorage School District - Anchorage, Alaska
  • Tukwilla Community Schools - Tukwilla, Washington
  • Howard County Community Center - Chicago, Illinois
  • The Tapestry Program - Rutland, Vermont
  • Berlin Schools - Berlin, New Hampshire
  • DARE2XL - Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania
  • Leon County School District - Tallahassee, Florida