For Kids Only Builds Data Bridges with Schools

January 9, 2013

This month BOSTnet wanted to take some time to look at how For Kids Only Afterschool is using and sharing data to strengthen and define its relationships with community schools. We spoke with Briana Kneeland, Director of Development, who feels that having a Site Director - who spends a minimum of two administrative hours on site outside of program time each day - is vital to strong relationships. FKO has found that having an identified point person at each school site is critical to ensure ongoing sharing, reflection and communication of data with their counterpart(s). Regular communication around outcome-driven data with school principals, teachers and guidance counselors builds trust and mutual respect, while also showing the intentionality embedded in out of school time program activities and how they are connected to student growth and success. A good example of this communication can be seen with the sharing of data from the SAYO and APT assessment tools - part of the Afterschool Program Assessment System (APAS) designed by NIOST - which are complementary tools that allow programs to take stock of observable practices and look at changes in students related to program participation. Additionally, due to their involvement in the Summer Learning Collaborative this past summer, and a significant independent effort as well, FKO has held productive conversations with school personnel about their effort to stem summer learning loss, resulting in the sharing of Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS) outcome data.

A strong example of data sharing, shared with us by Deborah Kneeland Keegan, Executive Director of For Kids Only Afterschool, can be seen in FKO's collaboration with the Everett Public Schools. Through their involvement with the Massachusetts 21st Century Community Learning Centers grant, afterschool program educators and school day teachers share data with one another to better inform, plan and deliver student improvement. Schools participate in the SAYO assessment process (classroom teachers complete the SAYO-T tool) and share their attendance, demographic information, and MCAS results for afterschool participants, allowing the program staff to compile that with afterschool attendance, SAYO and APT results.

The challenges posed by data sharing on this scale are multiple, but one of the greatest is concerns over confidentiality. As part of orientation to For Kids Only Afterschool, families are asked to sign an information release form, allowing information about their child's performance to be shared and discussed. This underscores the importance FKO places on the program-school relationship for the families, and helps to build the three-way relationship between schools, parents and programs that is necessary for this enterprise.

Relationship building is an ongoing process needing constant attention, as families join programs and program and school personnel change. For Kids Only Afterschool has found that data sharing not only leads to more robust program assessment, but higher quality as it helps them maintain and grow vital school partnerships.

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    "NIOST has been an anchor for numerous school age care projects we do, including ASQ (After-School Quality) and Links to Learning. They are a nationally respected organization that Pennsylvania has partnered with for over 20 years."

    – Betsy O. Saatman, TA Specialist/SAC Initiatives, Pennsylvania Key

    "NIOST was a core partner in supporting the development of quality improvement systems across the nine cities that participated in The Wallace Foundation Next Generation Afterschool System-Building Initiative. The NIOST team worked well with other technical assistance partners in the initiative, always willing to pitch in and collaborate with others to make our professional learning community meetings a team effort. I truly hope the Foundation has an opportunity to partner with them in the future."

    – Priscilla M. Little, Initiative Manager, The Wallace Foundation


    "NIOST has been a leader in the out-of-school time field for as long as I can remember, and I have relied on their research, tools, and advice to improve my practice throughout my career. Their staff members are good partners and good listeners, and their influence across the country is palpable."

    – Jane Quinn, Vice President and Director of National Center for Community Schools, Children's Aid Society

    "Georgia Hall, Ellen Gannett, and the NIOST team have been instrumental in driving the healthy afterschool movement. Their dedication to quality practice, informed policy, and collective impact is instrumental in our effort to create healthier communities."

    – Daniel W. Hatcher, Director, Community Partnerships, Alliance for a Healthier Generation

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The National Institute on Out-of-School Time

A program of the Wellesley Centers for Women at Wellesley College

Wellesley Centers for Women
Wellesley College
106 Central Street
Wellesley, MA 02481-8203 USA
Directions to NIOST

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