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In planning the initiative, PASA set out to establish a single set of standards that would define high-quality programming and then incorporate these standards in all After Zone offerings.PASA’s mission is to utilize, coordinate and strengthen existing youth programs and community resources across the city to provide middle school youth with easily accessible, high-quality after-school programs.The After Zone model has two features that distinguish it from other citywide after-school initiatives.
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).
These considerations include: Estimate, Measure, and Assess Supply and Demand: New programs are more likely to be successful if they meet an identified need in their community.
Program managers should speak to local school officials, parents, or child care resources and referral agencies to determine where there is a need for a particular type of afterschool program.
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. 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 contact their state's licensing agency to find out about the requirements.Plan High-Quality Activities: There is a growing body of information on curricula and activities for afterschool programs and providers.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.Find Funding and Develop Partnerships: Most programs will likely need some start-up funding to get off the ground.Managers need to learn about federal, state, or local funds as well as look for private and in-kind donations to support afterschool programs.Develop a Vision: Being able to articulate outcomes is key to attracting families and supporters.For example, some afterschool programs aim to raise academic scores, while others try to prevent youth violence or to promote healthy youth development.