With a growing number of children participating in after school programs, how can you better prepare your program to meet the demand?

In 2014, the After School Alliance reported that 18 percent of U.S. children participated in after school programs. That means that 10.2 million children have access to exciting and engaging learning activities beyond the school day. Unfortunately, there are still more than 11 million children who spend time alone and unsupervised during the after school hours. More children would participate in a program if one were available.

Your program, along with your community, can help meet the demand for high-quality after school programs. A report by The Wallace Foundation—Growing Together, Learning Together—provides insight into building and sustaining a city-wide after school system. The report focuses on the four components of a successful after school system:

  • Leadership: Successful systems require long-term support from city agencies, private funders, schools, program providers and families.
  • Coordination: Systems can be coordinated by a single public agency, multiple agencies working together, a nonprofit intermediary or a network of partners, depending on local needs.
  • Data: To gather and share data, implement technology to track and organize information. Then, hire a skilled staff to interpret it and act on it.
  • Quality: Create organizational standards of quality, assessment and continuous program improvement.

Collectively, communities across the country can increase access to high-quality programs by building after school systems. Check out this infographic that illustrates the four components and offers key facts about after school and system building today.