Issue Briefs

Drawing connections between pressing issues and afterschool

Name almost any topic and the Afterschool Alliance can tell you how it intersects with afterschool in these briefs that are chock-full of information. 

Afterschool programs are a key partner in strengthening communities across the country–from keeping kids active and healthy in the hours after school to meeting the needs of underserved populations to promoting parent engagement. These briefs demonstrate the connections between afterschool and a wide range of hot topics, presenting contextual data on the topic, providing examples of promising afterschool programs and making the case for greater investment in afterschool.

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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.

Working Families


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.


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 (February 2013)

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.

Digital Learning STEM


Afterschool: A Key to Successful Parent Engagement (2012)

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.