Building APAS and Literacy Capacity in Philadelphia Out-of-School Time Programs

Building APAS and Literacy Capacity in Philadelphia Out-of-School Time Programs


Project Directors: Georgia Hall, Ph.D., and Kathy Schleyer, M.S., National Institute on Out-of-School Time

Funded by: William Penn Foundation

The National Institute on Out-of-School Time (NIOST) is partnering with afterschool programs in Philadelphia, PA to improve the quality of programming, specifically to enable literacy-rich environments for kindergarten through 3rd-grade participants. These improvements are made by growing staff capacity around activity design, planning, and delivery using program quality assessment practices, coaching, and continuous program improvement approaches. 

After an initial partnership with five afterschool programs during the first three years of the grant, the project is expanding to a new cohort of 10 programs that will receive literacy and quality supports. Each program identifies the literacy outcomes they aim to attain, and the NIOST team works with the programs to guide their efforts through training, individual site coaching, and providing resources. While strengthening literacy, NIOST also promotes social and emotional wellbeing.

Among other forms of support, NIOST conducts virtual community of practice meetings with participating programs to help them learn, plan, and support each other. It designs virtual literacy training to give providers tools and strategies for immediate implementation. It has also surveyed program staff about literacy skill development and hosted and curated an online platform for ongoing access to resources and recorded training sessions. 

In a survey, program leaders said that access to virtual coaching supports, obtaining useful resources, and connecting with other providers were the most beneficial aspects of their participation in the project.

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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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