The RegPoint Team Monday July 20th 2015
After school Programs have increased, now serving around 8.4 million children. These programs help with academic and social achievement. They help keep children safe and out of trouble, as well as improvement in different academic areas.
This only occurs if the after school program is effective. There are five key components in order to have an effective program.
Having clearly defined goals that are attainable and are desired by the children is important. Having goals allows you to hold you program to a standard and feel accomplished. It is important to include the children in certain decisions regarding program activities. You want a program that the children love and can benefit from.
Ways to accomplish this component are:
- Have clearly defined goals in a written plan
- Have program activities that are aligned with those goals
- Stress the importance of academics
- Have more certified teachers
- Have a specific emphasis for your goals. For example a goal having to with science, homework support, technology or art
- Communicate with the day-school programs so you know what to focus on in the after school program
More effective after school programs have managers and directors with many years of experience in this field. Ways to accomplish effective leadership are:
- Have a clear vision and mission statement
- Have trust in you staff in their ability and knowledge
- Promote a positive team culture
- Have clear communication with your staff
- Make sure the resources needed are available for both the students and the staff
- Provide the staff with developmental opportunities so they continue to grow
- Use decentralized decision making, meaning allow the staff and other employees to have a say in the decisions that are made.
- Maintain good relationships with the day-school professionals
- Make sure your staff feels needed and valuable to the success of your program
It is important to have a qualified staff in order for your program to be effective. You also need a staff that believes in your mission and wants to be apart of seeing that mission come true. Having good relationships with your staff builds a respect among everyone that will be good for the attitudes in the work place. a
The staff is who the students look up to and see as a role model.
Ways to accomplish an effective staff are:
- Hire a staff that has a high education level
- Hire a staff that has experience in after school programs
- Having a well qualified staff can lower your turnover rates provided you keep your program at a high quality
- Have some sort of technology related professional in your staff
- Offer professional development to your staff
Most effective after school programs offer three or more programs a day. Programs range from homework help, tutoring, arts and crafts, academic, health and nutrition, cooking, dance, sports, etc. The majority of these effective programs provided time for both academics and recreational.
Ways to obtain an effective program are:
- Have unique and creative ways to engage the students in each program
- Make sure the programs will increase a positive change in the children’s behavior and attitude as well as an improvement in general program functioning.
- Include filed trips
- Include character development and community involvement
- High parent involvement, so the parent is informed where the child needs to improve
- Make sure the programs are effective and beneficial to the students
Evaluation is important in order to measure how successful your program is and make improvements where necessary. Not only is the evaluation important for the staff, students and parents, but it is also important to have for funding agencies. Funding agencies are investing in after school programs and they are going to want to know how the program is doing before they decide to invest money into it.
Ways to effectively evaluate your program are:
- Communicate with the day-school teachers in order to see if the students who are in your after-school program are improving
- Compare reading level at the beginning of the school year and at the end of the school year
- Compare other skills such as math and English at the beginning of the school year and at the end of the school year
- Communicate with the day-school teachers to see if attendance and class participation has improved
- Evaluate the students confidence and efficiency and compare it to the year before
Having these five components makes for a qualified after school program. It is important in order for students to benefit 100% . Some things that even the best after school programs struggle with that are important to note are:
- Parent involvement – It is important to make sure the parents are involved in order to best benefit the child. They should be informed of improvements and also any issues. It is also good so the parent can work with the child at home.
- Collaborating with the Day-School – This is important in order for the students to get the help they need that is currently being taught in their day-school. It is important to also understand a child and their needs and by communicating with the day-school, allows that.
- Professional development – It is important for the staff to be able to develop so they feel a benefit. Also, so they can better teach the students.
- Evaluations – Evaluations are important so you can see how the program is doing and where it needs to improve.
After school programs are important for the development of today’s generation.