Full List of Afterschool Issue Briefs

Building Literacy in Afterschool (March 2015)

The Afterschool Alliance, in partnership with Dollar General Literacy Foundation, is proud to present this issue brief examining the vital role afterschool programs play to build students' literacy skills. This issue brief will explore the additional support needed to help students with their reading, writing and critical thinking skills; delve into the variety of ways in which afterschool programs are successfully developing students' literacy skills; and provide examples of afterschool programs that are fostering students' love and appreciation of reading and writing.

Looking at the Data: Afterschool Programs Using Data to Better Serve Students (August 2014)

The afterschool field has made great gains in providing supports and an environment that helps their students succeed in school and beyond. Research has found that the quality of an afterschool program plays an integral role in its ability to positively impact students academic, social and emotional development. Fortunately, more and more programs are recognizing the critical role of data and more resources and tools are becoming available to help programs put the data to use in order to best meet the needs of their students. This issue brief explores the benefits of data collection and evaluation, the steps to evaluate a program, and highlights afterschool programs that have collected and analyzed program data to improve their programming, as well as better meet the needs of their students, families and staff.

Keeping Kids Safe and Supported in the Hours After School (May 2014)

More than 15 million students are alone and unsupervised between 3 and 6 p.m, the peak hours for juvenile crime and a time of concern for working parents. Afterschool programs are giving working parents peace of mind and providing an environment where students can go to feel safe, find staff and mentors who they trust, learn to tackle challenging circumstances and avoid risky behaviors, and work on communicating effectively with their peers and interacting positively with others. This MetLife Foundation issue brief explores the variety of ways afterschool programs are helping keep middle schoolers safe, keep them engaged in learning, and help them take advantage of their full potential as they navigate school, peers and their surroundings.

Afterschool Supporting Students with Disabilities and Other Special Needs (February 2014)

Based on the Department of Educations National Center for Education Statistics most recent report, 13 percent of public school studentsapproximately 6.4 million studentswere identified as having a disability or other special need and served by a federally supported special education program. Research shows that, compared to students without disabilities, students with disabilities and other special needs face additional challenges as they move through school and into adulthood. However, inclusive learning environmentswhere students of all abilities can take part in meaningful learning experiences togethersupport positive growth and development, helping students of all abilities improve academically, socially and emotionally. Afterschool programs create a safe space where students of all abilities can learn and grow side-by-side, respecting and appreciating one anothers similarities and differences. This issue brief highlights the valuable source of support afterschool programs offer to students of all abilities and presents examples of programs that provide an inclusive environment that fosters a sense of belonging and promotes the overall success of every student.

Afterschool and the Common Core State Standards (January 2014)

With the goal to equip their students with the knowledge and skills they will need in college and in the workplace, currently 45 states have adopted the Common Core State Standards. As the Common Core begins entering more classrooms across the country, students and parents need additional help to understand the standards and familiarize themselves with the standards, and teachers and schools require additional support to ensure they are able to raise student achievement to meet the standards of the Common Core. Afterschool programs can be -- and in many places, already are -- an integral source of support for teachers, schools, children and parents. This issue brief discusses assessments of U.S. students math and reading skills compared to their peers globally, the call for a focus on 21st century skills, the goals of the Common Core to help raise students' ability to complete on a global stage, and the variety of ways afterschool programs are working with students, teachers and schools to support learning under the Common Core.

Computing and Engineering in Afterschool (December 2013)

The number of jobs requiring proficiency in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields is projected to grow by 17 percent between 2008 and 2018, which is almost double the growth of non-STEM occupations. Computing and engineering represent a majority of these STEM jobs, and it is important that students are prepared to take advantage of these opportunities. Afterschool programs represent an avenue to provide robust learning experiences in computing and engineering, especially as schools are under many constraints and pressures that might prevent them from offering these topics. This issue brief provides background on some of the challenges within K-12 education and highlights several afterschool programs that are doing an exemplary job of engaging kids in computing and engineering.

Partnerships with STEM-Rich Institutions (November 2013)

Afterschool programs have long partnered with other youth-serving and community organizations to better meet the needs of their students. As interest and momentum grows around STEM programming in afterschool , partnerships become increasingly important in offering high-quality, hands-on STEM experiences for youth. This issue brief demonstrates several models of how afterschool programs are partnering with STEM-rich institutions like science centers and museums, universities and colleges, business and industry, and government agencies. The brief highlights the strengths of each type of STEM-rich partner and describes the potential contributions to afterschool programs.

Preventing Dropouts: The Important Role of Afterschool (2013)

Although much progress has been made over the last decade -- with high school dropout rates decreasing to single digits nationally -- a significant gap still remains when looking at the graduation rates of students living in low-income communities, African-American and Latino students, students with limited English proficiency and students with disabilities. Dropping out of school has significant consequences for a young persons futureaffecting their ability to find a job, influencing how much they earn, increasing the likelihood of legal troubles and impacting their future health. Afterschool programs are a proven intervention strategy to address the dropout risk factors and provide the necessary supports to students who are struggling. This issue brief highlights evidence of afterschool programs' effectiveness in addressing the dropout issue and makes the case for greater investment in afterschool programs.

The Importance of Afterschool and Summer Learning Programs in African-American and Latino Communities (2013)

The national economy is slowly recovering from the Great Recession, yet a deeper examination of its effect on African-American and Latino households reveals that these communities are facing higher rates of unemployment, poverty, homelessness and food insecurity. This issue brief looks closely at the current economic state of African-American and Latino communities, the far-reaching impact of poverty on academic achievement and highlights the important role afterschool and summer programs play in supporting youth and families in these communities. Afterschool and summer learning programs provide youth who are most in need of support with a safe and supervised space, healthy snacks and meals, and an academically enriching environment. However, this issue brief outlines the challenges these programs confront to keep pace with demand for their services, as well as ensure their doors stay open to continue to provide essential resources that are highly valued in African-American and Latino communities.

The Life-Enhancing Benefits of Reading in Out-of-School Programs (2013)

Scholastic Family and Community Engagement (FACE) and the Afterschool Alliance have partnered to spotlight the role of reading in a childs life and the unique ways afterschool programs can incorporate reading into their curricula, promoting students academic success, boosting self-confidence and improving their overall well-being. This issue brief points to research that demonstrate the number of positive outcomes associated with avid reading, such as academic gains, increased drive to do well in school and improved self-esteem. The brief also highlights the important role afterschool programs play in helping students access reading materials, as well as become engaged and critical readers.

Digital Media & Learning in Afterschool

Digital media and technology are revolutionizing how, where and when children learncompelling many educators to completely re-imagine what a learning experience looks like. At the core of effective digital media and learning is the principle that instructional strategies should be personalized and flexible and that technology is a tool that supports effective teaching and learning practices. Afterschool programs are an ideal setting for digital learning -- excelling at providing interest-driven learning opportunities where students can learn at their own pace, participate in hands -- on learning experiences, and engage in activities that are personal and relevant to them.

Afterschool: A Key to Successful Parent Engagement

The list of studies that demonstrate the ties between parent engagement and student success is long and compelling. In response to this research, policy makers developed education policies to bolster parent engagement at school. However, schools have encountered challenges that prevent them from fully engaging parents to be more active stewards in their childs education. This MetLife Foundation issue brief outlines why afterschool programs are an ideal partner to help schools break down the barriers often present between parents and schools, and how they create unique opportunities that also encourage parent engagement.

Arts Enrichment in Afterschool

The arts have the ability to positively influence and shape a child's development academically, socially and emotionally. However, providing a robust and comprehensive arts education during the school day grows challenging as a greater emphasis is placed on English Language Arts and math test scores, and schools face budget cuts at the federal, state and local levels. Afterschool programs are perfectly situated to bolster the efforts of schools, augmenting students' access and exposure to the variety of ways the arts can influence their lives and providing the opportunity to deepen their connection to the art world.

Afterschool: An Ally in Promoting Middle School Improvement (2012)

Across the country, there are approximately 5,000 chronically underperforming schools, making up roughly 5 percent of all schools in the U.S. To address this critical issue, the Department of Education has dedicated School Improvement Grants (SIG) to help turn around Americas lowest performing schools and boost academic achievement among their students. This new MetLife Foundation issue brief examines the key role afterschool programs play in supporting school improvement efforts and helping both kids and schools succeed.

Student-Centered Learning in Afterschool: Putting Students' Needs and Interests First (2011)

Now more than ever, creativity and imagination are an important part of helping children learn to think critically, solve problems and express themselves - all necessary to compete in today's global community. Wherever children are - in school or out - [student-centered learning opportunities] work to surround them with opportunities to develop skills and nurture talents that lead to success.

Literacy in Afterschool: A Building Block for Learning and Development (2011)

While literacy's definition continues to expand to encompass more fields, reading and writing still stand as two of the most important pillars in every child's education. Low-income students across the U.S. are falling behind in basic literacy skills due to unequal opportunities to learn both at home and in the classroom. This MetLife Foundation issue brief explores how afterschool programs are uniquely positioned to fill those opportunity gaps and support the acquisition of reading and writing skills among underserved youth to help them build a brighter future.

Service-Learning in Afterschool: Helping Students Grow and Communities Prosper (2011)

More than 1 in 4 eighth grade students in the U.S. volunteer each year, and the benefits of these altruistic acts stretch far beyond their immediate impacts on students' communities. Studies have shown that adolescents who volunteer are less likely to use drugs and more likely to succeed academically, while also developing a strong work ethic for the future. With these benefits in mind, it seems imperative that youth become involved in volunteering at an early age in order to develop an understanding of its importance for the future. Creating a corps of compassionate leaders for the future will ensure that the disadvantaged and downtrodden will continue to have a voice and a helping hand when they are in need.

Afterschool: A Strategy for Addressing and Preventing Middle School Bullying (2011)

Bullying is a dangerous behavior that can have potentially damaging effects on both bullies and victims for many years. In order to stop it, a concerted effort is needed from the entire community. This MetLife Foundation issue brief shows how, in partnership with schools, parents and the wider community, afterschool programs can help produce more emboldened students that know how to stand up to bullies, thereby promoting a bully-free environment in which all students can learn and grow.

Aligning Afterschool with the Regular School Day: The Perfect Complement (2011)

Afterschool programs that are aligned with the school day curriculum can support student learning and attack the achievement gap by offering additional supports to struggling students that complement and reinforce learning that takes place in the classroom in new and exciting ways. This MetLife Foundation issue brief offers strategies and best practices in aligning afterschool with the regular school day to support student learning and help those children most in need.

English Language Learners: Becoming Fluent in Afterschool (2011)

English Language Learners (ELLs), a diverse group of individuals from across the world who are learning English for the first time, make up the fastest growing segment of the student population in United States public schools. This issue brief displays how the extra time and hands-on learning experiences provided by quality afterschool programs can allow for a specialized, less-formal learning environment in which ELLs can develop language and social skills that otherwise could not be addressed through the less flexible schedule of the regular school day.

Afterschool and Working Families in Wake of the Great Recession (2011)

As the economy shows signs of recovery, it is apparent that the Great Recession has had dramatic effects on the availability and affordability of afterschool programs, the accessibility of employment and childcare options for parents and, most of all, the education and future of our nations youth. This brief examines the ways in which afterschool programs have coped with the difficulties brought on by the economic downturn and its impactful effects on children, families and communities.

Quality Afterschool: Helping Programs Achieve It and Policies Support It (2011)

For years, policy makers, program directors and parents have attested to the widespread benefits of afterschool programs. Fortunately, a wide variety of research ranging from quantitative studies and polls to qualitative reports and field observations has corroborated the need for afterschool enrichment. Promoting quality in the field of afterschool, which includes before school and summer learning programs, is one way to ensure researchers continue to find positive outcomes that can convince policy makers to increase investments in this valuable resource to children and parents.

Afterschool: Supporting Career and College Pathways for Middle School Age Youth (2011)

Afterschool programs offer a key opportunity to expose students to higher education options and career paths and teach them skills that can unlock doors to future career prospects. During the afterschool hours there is time for apprenticeships, guest speakers and project based activities that are not always available during a school day filled with the core curriculum. This MetLife Issue Brief focuses on the need to better prepare youth for high school, college, and careers, while keeping them on track and engaged in middle school.

Afterschool: Key to Health and Wellness for Pre-teens and Teens (2010)

As middle school students gain independence, they often phase out of organized sports or old interests. Many of these students don't have other opportunities for regular physical activity, especially if they are left unsupervised afterschool. Further, many of these youth are gaining access to cigarettes, alcohol and other substances for the first time. This MetLife Issue Brief shows how afterschool programs provide a place for youth to be physically active, while teaching them to make positive choices for themselves.

Afterschool: Middle School and Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) (September 2010)

The 21st century's information economy is creating more jobs that require not only a college education but also at least some expertise in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math, collectively known as STEM. In order to stay competitive in the global marketplace and provide our children with the best chance to succeed in life, we must get more students on the STEM path. Combining STEM learning with afterschool programming offers middle school students a fun, challenging, hands-on introduction to the skills they will need in high school, college and the work place. This MetLife Issue Brief highlights afterschool programs that incorporate STEM activities, giving students time to develop an interest in science and inspiring them to learn.

Summer: A Season When Learning is Essential (2010)

For some children, summer vacation means camp, family trips, visits to museums, parks and libraries and a variety of enriching activities. But other children find that, when schools close for the summer, healthy meals, medical care and fun and engaging learning activities are out of reach, and many children are unable to partake in additional learning in the summer that can strengthen academic achievement and provide opportunities to explore new interests. In fact, each summer in America, an estimated 43 million children in the U.S. miss out on expanded learning opportunities.

Afterschool: Providing Multiple Benefits to Middle School Students (2010)

Students in middle school (grades 6 through 8) face unique challenges as they transition from elementary school to high school. Some youth feel ready for more independence and autonomy, while others still desire the structure and nurturing environment found in elementary school. Regardless of where a child may be developmentally, these years are critical in keeping kids engaged in school and on the right path. Most middle school students are too young to work, and many feel that afterschool programs are designed for younger kids, and they are unwilling to participate. But they need a safe place to go, have fun, and learn. This MetLife Issue Brief provides an overview of middle school age youth and feature afterschool programs that are helping them navigate these waters, preparing them for success in high school, college, and beyond.

Afterschool and Global Competence (2010)

The Afterschool Alliance, in partnership with the Longview Foundation, is proud to present this issue brief examining the natural synergy between global learning and afterschool programs. This issue brief will discuss the importance of global competence and describe some of the ways afterschool programs successfully facilitate global learning.

Afterschool: A Place for Older Youth to Mentor and Be Mentored (2009)

Mentoring is a critical element in every child's social, emotional and cognitive development. It builds a sense of industry and competency, boosts academic performance and broadens horizons. Along with parents, mentors help young people realize their potential by providing them with support, advice, encouragement and friendship. Afterschool programs, with their history of supporting families and communities, are an ideal platform for successful mentoring programs.

Afterschool: Providing a Successful Route to Credit Attainment and Recovery (2009)

Afterschool provides older youth with critical academic supports including credit attainment and recovery opportunities. Many educators are turning to afterschool programs to reach students who fail one or more courses, become disengaged, or want alternatives to the traditional path to graduation.

Afterschool: A High School Dropout Prevention Tool (2009)

Over one million students who enter ninth grade each year fail to graduate with their peers four years later because they drop out of school. Seven thousand students drop out of school every day, and each year roughly 1.2 million students fail to graduate from high school. More than half of these students are from minority groups. Afterschool programs are a proven way to address the issues and risk factors that lead to dropout and provide a path to graduation and beyond.

Recruiting and Retaining Older Youth in Afterschool (2009)

Not only are middle and high school-aged youth difficult to engage in afterschool activities, but they are more likely to have unique demands on their time in the hours afterschool. This issue brief highlights the challenges providers face in serving older youth and the innovative strategies that programs have used to recruit and retain older youth in afterschool.

Afterschool and Workforce Development: Helping Kids Compete (2009)

Equipping today's youth with the skills necessary to compete in the 21st Century workforce is a top priority of our nation's schools, communities, policy makers and businesses. This issue brief examines how afterschool provides kids with the opportunity to develop skills to help them succeed in an increasingly competitive labor market.

Afterschool and the Environment: A Natural Fit (2009)

Children have a wonderful curiosity about nature and the environment, which, if encouraged through afterschool activities can have a profound impact on their health and well-being. Children also take readily to concepts of conservation which will make them excellent stewards of the future of our environment. This issue brief explores the relationship between children's health, academic enrichment and community awareness through developing a relationship with the wonders of their natural environment.

Afterschool Benefits Kids with Special Needs (2008)

This issue brief highlights the effectiveness of afterschool programming in offering children with special needs an opportunity to develop alongside their non-disabled peers. The benefits of afterschool for kids with special needs include; improved performance on standardized tests, mastery of individualized education goals, higher grades, improved behavior and increased motivation to learn.

Afterschool: Supporting Family Involvement in Schools (2008)

This brief explores the various ways afterschool programs create linkages between school and home for students and parents. It is one in a series of Issue Briefs sponsored by the MetLife Foundation that addresses the benefits afterschool programs provide to children, families and communities.

Afterschool Fosters Success in School (2008)

This brief explores the various ways afterschool programs support student achievement. It is one in a series of Issue Briefs sponsored by the MetLife Foundation that addresses the benefits afterschool programs provide to children, families and communities.

Afterschool programs: At the STEM of learning (January 2008)

In order to better compete with their international peers in the 21st century, American students will need to be better prepared to work in the growing fields of science, technology, engineering, and math. This brief explains the ways in which afterschool can engage kids in these fields, collectively known as STEM.

Afterschool: The Bridge Connecting Schools and Communities (2007)

This brief addresses the vital role afterschool programs play in connecting school and community resources. It is one in a series of Issue Briefs sponsored by the MetLife Foundation that addresses the benefits afterschool programs provide to children, families and communities.

Expanding Learning Opportunities: It Takes More than Time (2007)

Recent educational reform strategies have included ideas on extending the school day. However, increased classroom time alone may not be enough to improve academic outcomes without proper attention to how that time gets used. This brief examines the ways in which a quality afterschool program model could be used to inform the implementation of a quality extended day initiative.

Afterschool: A Powerful Path to Teacher Recruitment and Retention (2007)

This brief, examines the current teacher shortage facing our schools, the impact this shortage is having on our rapidly changing educational system, and ways afterschool programs can help meet the need for recruiting and retaining new teachers. It is one in a series of Issue Briefs sponsored by the MetLife Foundation that addresses the benefits afterschool programs provide to children, families and communities.

Afterschool Partnerships with Higher Education (2007)

This brief describes the role higher education institutions can play when they partner with afterschool programs. College students can offer their services as mentors, tutors, or youth workers, and faculty can provide evaluation assistance or curriculum development assistance - all of which can be beneficial to college students and higher education institutions in return.

Afterschool Programs: Helping Kids Compete in Tomorrow's Workforce (2007)

This brief discusses the unique opportunities afterschool programs can offer students to prepare them for the workforce, including developing interpersonal, thinking, and leadership skills. It also cites several examples of successful programs focusing on such skills.

Afterschool Programs: Keeping Kids - and Communities - Safe (2007)

As both youth victimization and youth violence are increasing, this brief examines the ways in which afterschool can help decrease youth crime, and increase youth safety, making communities as a whole safer.

Afterschool Programs: Helping Kids Succeed in Rural America (2007)

In communities where infrastructure and resources are limited, afterschool programs may offer the only opportunity for academic, recreational, and creative enrichment. This brief explores how afterschool programs in several rural communities are successfully serving their children, families and communities with vital resources.

Active Hours Afterschool: Childhood Obesity Prevention and Afterschool Programs (2006)

This brief explains how afterschool programs can play a major role in combating childhood obesity by offering healthy snacks and encouraging physical activity - and doing so in a safe and educational environment.

High School Reform and High School Afterschool: A Common Purpose (2005)

With a job market that requires nearly all workers to have a high school diploma, America faces a huge challenge with the dropout crisis. This brief examines the potential role high school afterschool could play in decreasing dropout rates, tackling the achievement gap, and keeping kids on track towards successful futures.

Afterschool Programs: A Wise Public Investment (2005)

This brief considers the social cost of not providing afterschool programs and the high returns on such investments. It is well worth it for businesses and government alike to fund afterschool activities. This brief presents several of the benefits of investing in afterschool programs.

Arts and Afterschool: A Powerful Combination (2005)

Not only do arts activities help draw students to afterschool programs, but, as this brief explains, afterschool programs with an arts component can be used as an outlet for self expression, a means to uniting community partners, and a tool for academic and skills development.

Older Youth Need Afterschool Programs (2004)

Although much of the funding and programming for afterschool targets younger children, there are myriad advantages for older youth participation in afterschool. This brief examines the growing need for afterschool programming for teens.

Afterschool: A Natural Platform for Career Development (2004)

This brief explores how afterschool programs can help youth prepare for the workforce by offering exposure to various career fields and academic areas, which may be missed in the regular school day curriculum.

Afterschool and Students with Special Needs (2004)

Students with special needs may not always receive the resources they need to reach their full potential during the school day, but afterschool programs can offer additional activities more tailored to the individual needs of children. Our first issue brief examines the valuable role afterschool programs can play in the life of a child with special needs.

Afterschool Programs Strengthen Communities (2004)

This brief explores how, by offering a safe and stable environment for youth and opportunities for school and community partnerships, afterschool programs can be a valuable resource that helps strengthen our communities.

Afterschool Programs Level the Playing Field for All Youth (2004)

This brief describes how afterschool programs have an opportunity to help disadvantaged youth catch up with their peers when the regular school day may not provide enough time or resources to address the various economic, language, or cultural barriers some students face.

Afterschool, Community Service and Volunteerism (2004)

This issue brief explores how afterschool programs can give youth the opportunity to volunteer, and in doing so, participants can learn applicable life skills, form a bond with community organizations, and discover the value of community service.

Afterschool and Service-Learning (2004)

Through youth-designed and youth-implemented service projects, youth not only are able to apply their academic skills to the real world, but also donate their services to their neighborhoods. This brief explains how afterschool programs offering service-learning projects can benefit both youth and their communities.

Afterschool: The Natural Platform for Youth Development (2004)

This brief discusses the relatively new "youth development" movement, and explores the ways in which this movement can utilize afterschool programs as a solution to the increasing number of challenges our unsupervised youth are facing today.

Afterschool and Healthy Youth (2004)

This brief describes how, through offering healthy snacks and time for physical activity, including nutrition or health in the curriculum, and building self-esteem, afterschool programs can encourage and enforce healthy lifestyles.

Afterschool and the Building of Character (2003)

Respectfulness, positive behavior, self-confidence, and an interest in school are just a few traits kids can develop through participation in afterschool programs. Check out this issue brief to learn more about ways afterschool can help build character.

Afterschool Programs Help Working Families (2003)

This brief examines the ways in which working parents, their children, and employers can all benefit from quality afterschool programs.

Afterschool and School Improvement (2002)

This issue brief highlights how afterschool can be a strategic part of a successful school improvement plan, as recognized by principals and education organizations throughout the country.

Afterschool and Pregnancy Prevention (2002)

This brief explains how a safe environment, positive role models, decision making skills, and health education offered by afterschool programs can aid in teenage pregnancy prevention.

Literacy and Reading in Afterschool Programs (2001)

This brief illustrates several benefits of afterschool programs, such as improved literacy skills, enjoyment of recreational reading, and building positive relationships with adults, which reading activities in afterschool can offer to participants.