Following a visit by some of its members to an after school program in Providence, RI, the Wallace Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to increasing access to quality educational programs, shared this quote from a student: “I’d walk a mile for a quality program. But I wouldn’t walk across the street for a bad one.”

Over the past 15 years, the need for quality after school programs has increased. And, as the field continues to progress, the need to monitor and improve program quality also increases. Quality programs have garnered a wide range of support and funding from public and private sources. To sustain such support, programs must deliver positive results consistently.

Quality programs possess characteristics that support and promote healthy learning and development. A 2011 issue brief from the After School Alliance outlines 8 common characteristics of quality after school programs:

  • Prepared staff
  • Intentional programming
  • Alignment with the school day
  • Promotion of varied youth engagement
  • Strong community partners
  • Safety, health and wellness
  • Sustained student participation and access
  • Ongoing assessment and improvement</BL>

Through a commitment to quality improvement, programs can ensure positive results in student achievement, behavior and family and social life. Read the full issue brief to learn more about the characteristics of quality after school programs.