Times Have Changed After School

Published in SEDL Letter Volume XVIII, Number 1, May 2006, Time for Achievement - Afterschool and Out-of-School Time

Afterschool programs offer families a great alternative to allowing children to entertain themselves after they get out of school, when they often just watch television at home or get into trouble due to a lack of supervision. Recent studies suggest that regular attendance in a good afterschool program can help improve student success and counter obesity. Afterschool programs also often provide tutoring, help strengthen achievement, and offer students enrichment opportunities they might not receive during the regular school day.

In this issue of SEDL Letter, you can read stories of afterschool and out-of-school programs across the country that offer children more than just a place to hang out after school is dismissed. We will learn why reading is key in successful afterschool programs. We visit with Robert Stonehill, director of the U.S. Department of Education’s 21st Century Learning Community program, to learn about the department’s vision for afterschool learning. We look at the work of the National Partnership for Quality Afterschool Learning and summarize preliminary findings of its study identifying promising practices for afterschool programs. This study suggests that certain practices are related to improved achievement, and it lays the groundwork for more definitive research. Later this year, the Partnership will support a set of randomized controlled trials that will begin to give us evidence about the conditions under which afterschool practices might actually bring about increases in student achievement.

Also in this issue, we discuss a new report that was produced for SEDL and the After-School Corporation. Its findings echo others that conclude students who regularly attend afterschool programs benefit academically. The report also identifies common characteristics of high-performing afterschool programs. Last but not least, we visit several programs that will make you wish you could have attended an afterschool program when you were a child!

Photo of two boys looking at a plant through a magnifying glass.

Next Article: National Partnership Promotes Promising Practices - Staff Training for Quality Afterschool Programs