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An element of quality is the extent to which Out-of-School Time (OST) programs serve diverse populations and those who need it most. The particular approach your United Way takes to foster this element of quality in OST programs will vary according to your community context. Your United Way can play a key role in closing persistent achievement and opportunity gaps for special populations (e.g. Black male students, students with disabilities, English Language Learners, students in a rural setting.)

Learn more about these special populations and see how some Out-of-School Time (OST) programs have provided specific supports and services to enhance opportunity for all. Read about Black Male Students below, or jump to Students with Disabilities, English Language Learners, or Students in a Rural Setting.


Black Male Students

This population can especially benefit from Out-of-School Time (OST) program efforts directed at empowerment and inclusion. The articles and organizations included below provide a background into the disparities around black male achievement as well as examples of initiatives directed at closing the achievement gap.

Economic Costs of Youth Disadvantage, and High-Return Opportunities for Change (2015)
This report from the White House Council of Economic Advisers examines the barriers that disadvantaged youth– especially young men of color– face and explores the quantifiable costs this poses to the economy of the United States. It specifically focuses on the large disparities in employment, education, and exposure to the criminal justice system that exist between young men of color and other Americans. Also, it outlines the importance of businesses, faith, and civic leaders, local law enforcement, and other sectors of society to prioritize investing in young people.

The Path Forward: Improving Opportunities for African American Students (2015)
This special report in the Leaders & Laggars series by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce examines the need for more steps to be taken to give African-American students a high-quality educational experience and prepare them for postsecondary success. It looks into how much progress states are making in advancing educational equity to determine elements of promising programs that communities can adapt. The report highlights samplings of these programs to show how to create opportunities for students of color and actually get results. 

Cultural Competency Toolbox (2015)
From the Campaign for Black Male Achievement, this chapter focuses on building culturally competent organizations. It shares information on aspects of cultural competency, the importance of cultural competency, and traits and steps organizations must have and take to be culturally competent. It also provides a checklist and tools on building cultural competency, in addition to a PowerPoint covering this information.

Building a Beloved Community: Strengthening the Field of Black Male Achievement (2014)
This report both acts as an informative look into the field of black male achievement as well as a call to action for change. It is based on interviews with 50 leaders in business, government, social, and academic sectors, and it gives an overview of the work being done in this field. It also gives recommendation for strengthening the field. 

Closing the Academic Achievement Gap for African-American Boys (2013)
This report by The Center for Civil Rights Remedies highlights 16 research studies from the “Closing the School Discipline Gap Conference." It summarizes the study findings, focusing on ways in which reducing suspensions can improve academic outcomes and the alternatives that exist to the discipline status quo. 

The Importance of Afterschool and Summer Learning Programs in African-American and Latino Communities (2013)
This issue brief from the Afterschool Alliance explores the economic state of Latino and African-American communities, the widespread impact of poverty on youth academic success, and the role OST programs play in supporting the youth and families in these communities. It gives ideas for best practices and highlights challenges programs often face.

Breaking Barriers 2: Plotting the Path Away from Juvenile Detention and Toward Academic Success for School-age African American Males
From the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, this report contains valuable insight for those working with African American male students around ways to foster educational and social environments that encourage African American males to achieve greater academic success. In the report, Professor Ivory Toldson gives an analysis of data collected from a survey on 4,470 school-age black males' experiences in school and life. 

My Brother's Keeper Initiative
Launched by President Obama in 2014, the My Brother’s Keeper initiative addresses the opportunity gaps boys and young men of color face and works to ensure that all young people have the opportunity to reach their full potential. The Administration is partnering with businesses, cities and towns, and foundations who are making progress in connecting youth to support networks, mentoring opportunities, and the skills they need to be equipped for college and/or career.

100 Black Men of America, Inc.
This organization's mission is "to improve the quality of life within our communities and enhance educational and economic opportunities for all African Americans." Its initiatives focus on preparing black males for college and providing financial assistance. Consider partnering with them to deliver support services for black male students in your local OST programs! Click here to find your local chapter and contact information.

Campaign for Black Male Achievement
The CBMA is a national membership network that works to inspire growth, promote sustainability, and ensure impact of those working to improve the lives of Black males. Visit their website to connect with the network, view recorded and upcoming Webinars, access key resources around Black Male Achievement, and stay up-to-date on current movements in the field.

Metro United Way BMA Initiative
Metro United Way in Louisville has invested in promoting Black Male Achievement. Through its initiative, it seeks to improve opportunities for African-American males in the community to decrease the disparity this population faces in academia, the employment sector, and the criminal justice system. Contact TJ Delahanty from Metro United Way (tj.delahanty@metrounitedway.org, 502-292-6226) to learn more about the work they're doing and to see how you can get your United Way involved in your own BMA initiative.



Students with Disabilities

Students with physical and learning disabilities can benefit greatly from the provision of intentional supports in Out-of-School Time programs. The unique opportunities OST programs can provide allow this population to be supported and empowered, even when out of a traditional school setting, as can be seen in the articles below.

Afterschool Supporting Students with Disabilities and Other Special Needs (2014)
This article from the Afterschool Alliance examines the ways that OST programs can better support students with special needs. It discusses the impact that students with special needs face when applying to college and for jobs, and it explains ways OST programs can be more inclusive and better support students of all abilities.

Providing Access to Training and Resources to Afterschool and Summer Learning Professionals to Promote Full and Meaningful Inclusion for All Children (2013)
Featured in the Expanding Minds compendium, this report from Kids Included Together (KIT) shares their findings on the best ways to train OST professionals to create the most inclusive environments possible. It uses findings from KIT's large-scale needs assessment. It shares observations on the level of effectiveness that their trainings and resources have had on program success in inclusion. It also shares specific recommendations for fostering this inclusive environment.

The Critical Need for Training on Inclusion (2013)
This resource from Kids Included Together (KIT) explains the importance of inclusive organizations, shares research on inclusion, and highlights skills needed by and training opportunities for those who work with students with disabilities.

Understanding the Laws: Supporting Inclusion (2013)
This guide from Kids Included Together (KIT) goes through the implications of Section 504 of the Americans with Disabilities Act on programs serving kids with disabilities.

What is Inclusion? (2013)
This booklet from Kids Included Together (KIT)  highlights what inclusion looks like, the benefits of inclusion, resources on inclusion, and ways to assess your program's level of inclusiveness. Click here to access an Inclusion checklist for programs.

Together Beyond the School Day: Including Youth with Disabilities In Out of School Time Programs (2012)
This guide was created by the Maryland Disability Law Center (MDLC) as a resource for parents, youth, and program providers to help ensure equal access for students with disabilities to OST programs. It covers key pieces of legislation and answers prevalent questions for parents, youth, and program providers. The MDLC also has created a tip sheet for parents and caregivers that tells them what they need to know about the rights they have to enroll children with disabilities in OST programs.

The Need for Skilled Inclusion in Out-of-School Time Programs: Kids Included Together Responds (2011)
This White Paper from Kids Included Together (KIT) explores the need for more intentional inclusion of students with disabilities in OST programs, the challenges to achieving this, and the need for inclusion training. It also explains KIT's National Training Center that provides educational modules to better equip educators and program staff with the knowledge they need to best work with students with disabilities.

Afterschool and Students with Special Needs (2008)
This issue brief from the Afterschool Alliance looks into the impact OST programs can have on promoting the development of children with special needs. It highlights the benefits that implementing methods of integrating these students have.

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act 
This law provides rights and protections to children with disabilities and gives parents a voice in the education of their child. Head to the website to familiarize yourself with this important law for students with disabilities.

Tool Kit on Teaching and Assessing Students with Disabilities
This toolkit from the U.S. Department of Education includes resources and research briefs on ways to improve assessment, accountability, and instruction for students with disabilities. It is intended to equip state personnel, schools, and families with the knowledge necessary to provide students with disabilities with quality education.


English Language Learners

Out-of-school programs are positioned in a manner that allows them to strengthen the growth of English Language Learners(ELLs). Read about the ways your United Way can support ELLs in an OST setting.

More than Just Talk: Everyday English Language Teaching (2012)
This Webinar from the Center for Afterschool and Expanded Learning explores strategies for engaging English Language Learners (ELLs). It gives advice and activities to inspire ELLs' reading, writing, listening, and speaking in afterschool. 

Supporting English Language Learners in School and in Afterschool and Summers (2011)
This article by Lisa Pray, an Associate Professor at Vanderbilt University, examines the role that OST programs can play in closing the achievement gap for English language learners (ELLs), especially those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds. It emphasizes the need for a multifaceted approach, but focuses on using afterschool and summer programs to support the cultural, linguistic, and academic needs of students learning English as an additional language.

English Learners and Out-of-School Time Programs: The Potential of OST Programs to Foster English Learner Success (2011)
This research brief from the California AfterSchool Network explores research-supported methods of engaging ELL students in an OST context to enhance their learning. It discusses the need for a focus on ELLs, examines research-based ways OST programs can fill that need, and shares recommendations for success.

English Language Learners: Becoming Fluent in Afterschool (2011)
This issue brief from the Afterschool Alliance describes how OST program opportunities can benefit English Language Learners (ELLs). ELLs, who are a diverse group of people from all across the world learning English for the first time, compose the fastest growing segment of the student population in U.S. public schools. This brief explores how this population can gain language and social skills in the non-traditional learning environment OST programs make possible that they would otherwise not be able to gain in a regular school day environment.

Learning English and Beyond: A Holistic Approach for Supporting English Language Learners in After School (2009)
This report, published by California Tomorrow, looks into the cultural and socio-emotional needs of English Language Learners (ELLs), highlighting the importance of creating a new definition of success for ELLs in afterschool programs. It explores seven strategies to effectively support ELLs. 


Students in Rural Settings

Providing access for students in rural environments to out-of-school programs poses a diversity of challenges. If your United Way works with students in rural settings, educate yourself on these barriers to service and ways to overcome the challenges.

The Growing Importance of Afterschool in Rural Communities (2016)
This special report from America After 3PM examines how children and families who live in rural communities spend the hours after school in comparison with those outside rural communities. It focuses on specific strategies afterschool programs are using to increase opportunities in these frequently overlooked communities.

Afterschool Context in Small and Rural Communities
This section of the National League of Cities' Institute for Youth, Education & Families explores the impact of afterschool, afterschool challenges in small communities, and the need for programs in these areas.

America After 3PM: From Big Cities to Small Towns (2010)
This report delves into the America After 3PM study data specific to rural communities. It explores the level of access to, barriers to, and satisfaction of afterschool programs by youth in rural communities.

Strategies for Improving Out-of-School Programs in Rural Communities (2008)
This research brief from Child Trends gives an overview of the unique challenges rural communities face. It then shares five strategies for acquiring resources for rural OST programs and provides examples of high-quality rural OST programs.

Afterschool Programs: Helping Kids Succeed in Rural America (2007)
This issue brief from the Afterschool Alliance examines the relationship between rural communities, poverty, and academic achievement. It then delves into how afterschool programs can effectively address rural community needs, using specific program successes as examples.


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Have a resource you want to share? See something you've created fitting well in the Toolkit?

Email your Out-of-School Time reports, publications, best practices, case studies, blog articles, videos, media mentions, etc. to submissions@unitedway.org. We will contact you if we are featuring your resource in the OST Toolkit.