Strengthening and Safeguarding Quality

September 13, 2017

Strengthening and Safeguarding Continuous Quality Improvement Systems: Lessons from Afterschool System Builders

Year Published: 2016

Authors: Elizabeth Starr, M.Ed., Sasha Stavsky, M.A., and Ellen S. Gannett, M.Ed.

Children and youth can benefit — academically, socially, and emotionally — from afterschool programs. Unfortunately, often those most in need have less access to high-quality programs, in large part because of a history of decentralization and disorganization in the afterschool field. City leaders have come to understand that the problem of access to afterschool programs is not solved by simply paying for more programs (Afterschool Alliance, 2014). In recent years, many cities have begun to build afterschool systems to address the problem.

In 2003, the Wallace Foundation began an initiative with five cities — Boston, Chicago, New York City, Providence, and Washington — to help them develop afterschool systems. In 2012, the foundation launched a Next Generation Afterschool System - Building Initiative(ASB)

This report documents the work of the ASB Quality Role-Alike Group and shares the collective lessons learned. Specific examples and best practices from the nine ASB partners are spotlighted throughout.

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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

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