Whether your program is new or has been in service for many years, continuous quality improvement is essential to running a high-quality after school program.
Whether your program is new or has been in service for many years, continuous quality improvement is essential to running a high-quality after school program. And, with the school year nearing the halfway mark, it’s an ideal time to evaluate your program’s quality.
The after school field has made significant progress in the past 15 years – demonstrating positive effects on students’ academic, social and behavioral development. As a result, the need to monitor and improve program quality has also increased.
Program quality is important for a myriad of reasons: to draw funding; to garner community and government support; and to produce positive results consistently. By committing to continuous quality improvement, program leaders can ensure their programs are effectively designed and delivered.
When integrating program quality, here are some things to keep in mind:
- There are a range of tools and resources available to support quality improvement, such as the Youth Program Quality Intervention (Youth PQA) and the NYSAN Quality Self-Assessment (QSA) Tool.
- There are three main features that determine program effectiveness – processes, content and structure. Many assessment tools are designed to help program leaders and staff assess and improve these features.
- Program staff play an important role in quality improvement. In fact the National After School Association (NAA) wrote an article on 10 ways to coach your staff toward youth program quality.
- Quality improvement should be an ongoing process. As the field continues to progress, standards and tools will continue to evolve. Assess your program’s processes, content and structure regularly in order to make the necessary improvements toward program quality.