Supporting Student Success Through Afterschool Programs

September 17, 2022

Children spend approximately 25 percent of their waking hours in school, and policy leaders are often striving to provide more learning opportunities through afterschool programs.

Broadly defined, afterschool programs (sometimes called OST or Out-of-School Time Programs) are school or community-based programs that offer academic and enrichment activities in the hours that follow the school day. These programs serve children of all ages and include academic support, workforce development opportunities, mentoring relationships, and more. As shown below, these programs are funded and supported legislatively in a variety of ways.

What the Research Says

Research shows that high-quality afterschool programs improve students’ educational outcomes, school attendance, and social and emotional learning. Afterschool Alliance claims that quality afterschool programs understand that children and youth in different age groups vary in academic, psychological, and physical activity needs. Consistent participation in afterschool programs has shown lower dropout rates and has helped close achievement gaps for low-income students. For older youth, regular participation in an afterschool program may also reduce risky behaviors and help them gain college and career-needed skills.

Afterschool programming has been shown to improve social and academic outcomes for students, however, research points to certain key elements for success. To fully realize all the positives of afterschool programming, students must receive a regular dosage, adequately trained staff, and high-quality programming. Since 2004, Afterschool Alliance has provided the most comprehensive national and state-specific account of how children and youth spend their afterschool hours. In their 2020 America After 3PM report, one of the biggest takeaways is the continued demand for afterschool programs. According to their research, for every child enrolled, three are waiting to get into a program. That equates to roughly 25 million children who are unable to access afterschool programs. The barriers cited are program cost, availability, and transportation or accessibility.

Funding for Afterschool

The Nita M. Lowey 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) program, the only dedicated federal funding stream, is available specifically for local afterschool, before-school, and summer learning programs. Through state education-awarded grants, this program currently serves nearly 2 million youths. Research shows that several barriers to access afterschool programming exist, and funding continues to be one of those. Cost and access continue to be barriers to participation in afterschool programs, with about 3 in 5 parents citing this the reason they did not enroll their child in a program. As federal funding has not kept up with inflation, the 21st CCLC funding level is now $10 million lower in inflation-adjusted terms since 2014. Thus, leaving the burden of funding such programs falls on states, communities, and families. Support for engaging and enriching afterschool programs reached its highest level in America After 3PM history in 2020 in, with 87 percent bipartisan parent support of public funding for programs that provide afterschool opportunities to students in communities that have few opportunities for children and youth. However, allocating additional funding for afterschool can be difficult with tight state budgets.

Currently, twelve states allocate funds dedicated to afterschool programs. An additional eleven states fund initiatives that include afterschool programs as an allowable use. Other states tap into other funds to support afterschool. For example, grant programs in Tennessee and Nebraska receive a portion of their state lottery profits. Missouri is currently considering similar legislation for their unclaimed lottery prizes. Others receive funds from state departments of education or social services.

Minds of Tomorrow. The Creative Tech Club. Our activities are a blend of coding, design, robotics and entrepreneurship designed to nurture the kids’ Creative Mindset in Miami.

September 17, 2022

Other news of interest

Movie Hackers

Empower your kids to become filmmakers.  Support the development of their visual communication and storytelling skills.

Movie Hackers mixes coding with 3D printing techniques and robotics with media while pushing your kids to be the directors and actors of their stories. This is a team project where kids will premiere their movies to their families at the MOT Demo Day Film Festival.

Examples of activities in this adventure ...

Movie Hackers

Kids will learn the basics of a pro film tool, Final Cut Pro to achieve amazing digital effects and film techniques.

Filming Drones

Coding on Scratch, kids will direct DJI Tello drones and learn how to compose and film aerial sequences.

Technologies learned:

Surviving Mars

Becoming a multiplanetary species

Kids will explore the Red Planet to set up the first Martian human population. To prepare the planet for harmonious cohabitation kids will build sustainable gardens, figure out efficient uses of energy, build autonomous robots  machinery and leverage technology and creativity to improve people's lives both on Mars and on Earth.

Examples of activities in this adventure ...

Powering the Red Planet

Levels of energy usage are higher than expected. Kids will explore ways to optimize the amount of energy to survive in the red planet.

Self-Sustaining Veggies

Build an array of sensors, warnings and mechanisms to create a garden that does not require human intervention and can grow on its own.

Technologies learned:

Come visit the Creative Tech Club

Schedule a tour