Strengthen Your Impact— Consider these Suggestions to Improve Program Quality:
- Get informed — Use this toolkit to find resources on quality.
- Partner with other Out-of-School Time stakeholders — Develop improvement strategies and share accountability for actions and results in order to improve quality at scale.
- Align with school curricula and instruction — Work closely with school leaders. Programs that are intentionally aligned with the school curricula and instruction are a critical aspect of quality and will do more to support students at-risk of academic failure than those that are not.
- Collect data — Use it to demonstrate student attendance, participation, and school performance for funded programs.
- Educate the United Way board, donors, volunteers, and partners — Inform them about the importance of program quality.
- Invest in quality — Fund initiatives that are based on existing research on quality and that clearly align program goals to proposed activities and intended participant outcomes. Also, support evaluations that look at the connection between agreed upon indicators of quality and actual participant outcomes to learn how to most effectively strengthen program practices.
- Advocate for increased public investments in quality — Encourage investment in both new and existing funding streams that support OST programs.
- Build capacity — Ensure that volunteers (mentors, tutors) are trained to effectively support program activities. Work as part of existing coalitions to provide training and professional development opportunities for front line staff.
- Engage with parents and youth — Get their input on what they want and need from Out-of-School Time programs. This is especially important for older youth that have greater autonomy and choice in how they spend their time outside of school.
To learn more about strengthening program quality, head to the Learning Modules.