Projects

All Projects

Operationalizing Out-of-School Time Quality in Philadelphia

Operationalizing Out-of-School Time Quality in Philadelphia

Ongoing since 2017

Principal Investigator: Kathy Schleyer

Project Director: Kathy Schleyer

Funder: Philadelphia Citywide Out-of-School Time Initiative (COI)

Following years of support to the city of Philadelphia, NIOST is consulting with their Citywide Out-of-School Time Initiative (COI) on quality practices and early literacy. The project goal is to develop a professional development framework that will support specific program practices and enhance current system-building efforts. The project involves multiple stakeholder convenings and collection of information from out-of-school time practitioners, leaders in the field, and COI partners. NIOST will provide COI with a literature review, early literacy pilot recommendations, and a professional development pathway that will inform Philadelphia’s ongoing work.

Out-of-School Time Quality to Youth Outcomes

Out-of-School Time Quality to Youth Outcomes

Ongoing since 2017

Principal Investigator: Georgia Hall, Ph.D.

Project Director: Katie Wheeler, Ed.D.

Funder: The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation

This study examines whether extended participation in high-quality OST programs is positively associated with the development of literacy skills and social emotional learning skills. Funded by the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, this research is taking place in Minnesota and Massachusetts. It is a partnership among four organizations: the American Institutes for Research (AIR); the National Institute on Out-of-School Time (NIOST); the Minnesota Department of Education; and the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Our goal is to follow youth who participate in these programs over the span of two consecutive years while enrolled in Grades 1 and 2 in Massachusetts and in Grades 4 and 5 in Minnesota. Findings will inform a better understanding of how extended participation in high-quality 21st CCLC programs is associated with growth and development of social-emotional learning skills and other essential skills and competencies measured over time, and development of key literacy skills.

Attleboro Public Schools Afterschool Programs/Balfour Foundation Technical Assistance Project

Attleboro Public Schools Afterschool Programs/Balfour Foundation Technical Assistance Project

Principal Investigator: Georgia Hall, Ph.D.

Research Associate: Diane Gruber, M.A., LMHC

The National Institute on Out-of-School Time is providing technical assistance to the Title I afterschool programs in the Attleboro Public School District with support from the Balfour Foundation. NIOST researchers are collaborating with district staff to document best practice and measurement of youth outcomes for the school year and summer programs. 

Boston Summer Learning Project

Boston Summer Learning Project

Ongoing since 2010

Principal Investigators:  Georgia Hall, Ph.D.
Funders: Boston and Beyond and Boston Opportunity Agenda

This project will evaluate the Boston Summer Learning Program

This ongoing evaluation initiative examines the impacts of participation in the Boston Summer Learning Program on school-community partnership development, youth summer learning loss, and blended learning practices. The evaluation uses a mixed methods approach and analyzes data from youth summer program staff, observations, and district level indicators.

Building a Skilled and Stable Workforce for After School Programs

Building a Skilled and Stable Workforce for After School Programs

Project Director: Ellen Gannett, Ed.M.
Project Associate: Brooke Harvey, B.A.

Funder: The David and Lucile Packard Foundation

AED Center for Youth Development and Policy Research:
Richard Murphy, director
Bonnie Politz, associate director
Mary Lou Bruno, program associate

Read the three recommendations and join the growing list of organizations that have signed on to the strategic plan (PDF - 34kb)

Strategic Planning and Dissemination

NIOST and the AED Center for Youth Development and Policy Research have completed a strategic plan for workforce development for the out-of-school time field. We are currently conducting focus groups with the front line staff and directors of out-of-school time programs. With their input, we plan to finalize the recommendations in the strategic plan and begin dissemination and outreach efforts early this year.

Process for Developing the Strategic Plan

This strategic plan is the culmination of two years of targeted research, discussion, and investigation by NIOST and the Center in partnership with a national Advisory Committee. NIOST, which has traditionally focused on programs for school-age children, and the Center, which has historically worked on programs for older youth, have joined forces on this project in an effort to bridge the fields of school age care and youth work. There are great similarities in both the role they play in the lives of children, youth and families, and also in the construction of the fields themselves. By working together we are a louder and stronger voice for change.

NIOST and the Center began the Building a Skilled and Stable Workforce project in January 2001 by identifying key individuals such as economists, policy-makers, advocates and funders from across the country to join an Advisory Committee to help inform and guide the development of the plan. The goal in choosing members for the committee was to have representation from a broad diversity of fields and sectors that would give the plan a thorough treatment of differing perspectives. The value of hearing from multiple perspectives from the beginning has resulted in a strategic plan that is inclusive of input from people who have been working on these issues and have made good strides and some new and unlikely potential allies. This plan has become illustrative of broad-based thinking from individuals who understand the complexity of tackling this issue.

NIOST conducted an extensive literature review in order to gauge what data collection, workforce improvement models, public policy and advocacy efforts were already underway. In July 2001, NIOST and the Center co-hosted a National Youth Policy Forum, where the need for a "coherent national approach" to address the wage and professional development needs of youth workers was unanimously endorsed. Participants concluded that in order to effectively address the challenges within the out-of-school field, national, state and local strategies must be implemented.

Participants agreed on the key elements of a national strategy to move the field forward:

  • Understanding the 'true costs' of financing the youth workforce, identifying what existing resources currently fund versus the actual costs
  • Creating training programs, professional standards, and an accreditation process that will lead to professionalizing the out-of-school field and increased compensation
  • Facilitating a dialogue and exchange of information within the out-of-school field that will provide youth workers and other stakeholders with the opportunity to examine initiatives in other communities throughout the nation
  • Advocating for the needs of the out-of-school field at the local, state, and national level in order to create a national policy supporting youth workers

In April and October, 2002, NIOST and the Center convened additional Advisory Committee meetings to assist in the development of the strategic plan. The four points listed above helped to frame the initial meeting discussions and have been incorporated into this plan. In between meetings, NIOST and Center staff worked in task force groups to identify action steps in five areas: 1. Using data and research to make the case 2. Professionalizing the field 3. Learning from other fields 4. The true cost of financing 5. Building a movement These task force groups helped NIOST and the Center to crystallize the available information and to begin shaping a strategic plan that is reflective of the collective experience and wisdom of the group.

This project is funded by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation.

Campaign Coalition for Host Advocacy

Campaign Coalition for Host Advocacy

Ongoing since 2013

Project Director: Ellen Gannett, M.Ed.

Funded by: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation with YMCA of the USA

Project Description:

The National Institute on Out-of-School Time (NIOST) will provide expertise on out-of-school-time (OST) field-building, research support, and technical assistance delivery of the Healthy Out-of-School Time (HOST) Campaign. This initiative will promote best practices to OST providers in support of the Campaign Coalition to help enable them to develop strategies to implement the best practices in physical activity.

CityWorks: Building Strong Citywide Afterschool Initiatives

CityWorks: Building Strong Citywide Afterschool Initiatives

Completed in 2004

Project Directors: Georgia Hall, Ph.D., Brooke Harvey, B.A.
Funders: Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, National Institute on Out-of-School Time

CityWorks was an initiative of the National Institute on Out-of-School Time (NIOST) working in collaboration with existing communities that provide high quality out-of-school time programming to youth and children. CityWorks aimed to build on the successful foundation of the "Cross-Cities Network for Leaders of Citywide After-School Initiatives" (CCN), which brings together leaders of after-school initiatives from 21 major cities across the United States.

Through CityWorks, NIOST investigated the development of infrastructures that supported sustainable quality program outcomes, and through dissemination of Promising Practices improved the availability and preservation of out-of-school time programming. Cityworks also collaborated with the National League of Cities Institute for Youth, Education and Families to provide technical assistance to more cities and to provide Network members with technical assistance on working with city officials to further their initiatives.

Activities

In bringing the experiences of stakeholders, service providers, schools, and community organizations together, NIOST learned and shared strategies for strengthening the infrastructure for out-of-school time activity including improving methods for recruiting and training providers, program development, establishing accountability/evaluation systems, and developing and sustaining financial support. By sharing best practices of the CCN, CityWorks sought to strengthen and enhance citywide after-school initiatives and the communities they serve.

The five major activities that CityWorks undertook were:

  • Identify Promising Practices related to systems-building and infrastructure development,
  • Collaborate with Institute for Youth, Education and Families (IYEF) of the National League of Cities,
  • Host a meeting the second year of the grant period for network members,
  • Facilitate a continuous communication stream through an active e-mail discussion group,
  • Provide published and web-based information to support the dissemination of Promising Practices including four topical briefs that spotlight new ideas and trends.

Products

There were four projected products from this collaborative: (1) a report describing the process of identifying, collecting, and evaluating and documenting Promising Practices related to systems-building and infrastructure development; (2) four issues of "After School Issues" researched, written, designed, and published by NIOST; (3) a "Meeting Notebook" which contains meeting logistics, supporting readings and documentation, and other technical assistance materials; and (4) technical assistance such as presentations, coaching, and facilitating a community vision or goal development process. The audience for these products will be members of CCN, policy makers, intermediary organizations, and practitioners.

Expected Outcomes

There are multiple benefits from this project. CityWorks will allow communities to have a full range of practices to learn from — relating to program, community and systems-building, and infrastructure development. Increases in the capacity of key leaders, including increased knowledge, access to information, and shared development of new approaches to implementing large after-school initiatives will result in increased effectiveness of the citywide initiatives. The influence of the leaders, the new strategies, and exploration of Promising Practices will lead to changes in the field, including new models, paradigms, and integrated visions.

Through the collaboration with IYEF, the expertise and experience gained will be extended to a broader network of municipal leaders who will gain a deeper understanding of the challenges facing large scale citywide after-school initiatives. Ultimately, CityWorks will create a more knowledgeable and effective national community of leaders, enabling communities to create and sustain responsive and effective out-of-school time systems that positively impact children and families.

The project was funded by the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation .

 

Continuous Program Quality Improvement, Summer Learning, and Training

Continuous Program Quality Improvement, Summer Learning, and Training

Ongoing since 2005

Principal Investigator and Project Director: Georgia Hall, Ph.D.

Funderd by: Boston After School & Beyond

NIOST has served as a research and evaluation partner to Boston After School & Beyond since 2009. Collaboration with Boston After School & Beyond and Boston Public Schools and local community-based organizations has included the investigation of components of school CBO partnership afterschool programming and potential contributions to positive youth outcomes along with exploring how integrated approaches to summer learning, based on meeting the needs and interests of students, can advance student learning. NIOST with its partners has pursued multiple levels of investigation and utilized a menu of field-tested tools to gather extensive data to inform the continued development and sustainability of the Boston Summer Learning Project and school-year OST programs. Research methods have included program observation (using the APT), youth survey data collection, interviews, focus groups, and collection of school level data. Summer learning investigation included five programs in 2009 growing to 130 programs in 2017. NIOST, with its partners, is currently engaged in a training initiative focused on developing a cadre of trained program quality observers (partner program staff) using the APT to continue to build high quality program practices and experiences for children and older youth.

Cross-Cities Network

Cross-Cities Network

Completed in 2007

Senior Research Advisor: Georgia Hall, Ph.D.

This project connected high-level leaders from different cities and states to educate them on the dynamic landscape of after-school programs. in hopes of directing the influence, funding, and high expectations of these leaders towards a "critical mass" of associated initiatives across the country.

 The Cross-Cities Network (CCN) brings together leaders from 25 citywide after-school initiatives in major cities across the United States. The three primary goals of this project are the following:

 To increase the capacity and knowledge of high-level leaders.

  1. To improve the effectiveness of citywide after school initiatives.
  2. To contribute to the development of a coherent vision for the field at the national level.

 

The landscape of after school programs is growing and changing at a rapid pace. Many leaders have influence, funding, and high expectations of results, but little in the way of signposts to guide them in reaching their goals. This is an opportune time to capture the synergistic potential of a group of creative, passionate leader-implementers, meeting their needs for knowledge, access to information, and engagement in high-level dialogue on major issues facing the field. The theory of change inherent in this project is that increasing the capacity of influential leaders will result in improved strategies employed in their own initiatives. We postulate that the presence of a "critical mass" of successful, associated initiatives will in turn influence policy development and programs at multiple levels across the country.

 

The content, scope, and priorities of the CCN will be driven by the Network members, within the context of a communication system designed to provide continuous feedback for developing and refining strategies and activities. The creation of an effective network requires background staffing and support, careful crafting of materials, processes, and agendas to meet the needs of citywide leaders, and cutting-edge thinking to frame issues and develop typologies that help define the landscape. The National Institute on Out-of-School Time will fill these roles.

 

Proposed Activities:

There are five major activities that form that foundation for the Network:

 

  1. one-to-two meetings per year of the core group of selected leaders from urban initiatives, which will include site visits, open dialogue, and focused discussion, with possible presentations by selected experts
  2. a continuous communication stream maintained through an email discussion group
  3. regular topical briefings on core issues of interest to network participants
  4. a centrally located database configured to provide up-to-date information on selected characteristics of initiatives, and products based on this data, including formatted profiles of each member initiative
  5. development of policy research reports and supporting materials that help to frame the issues and deepen understanding of the work of Network participants

 

Products:

The major external products from this project will be the topical briefings, initiative profiles, and policy research reports. The primary audience for these products will be members of the Cross-Cities Network. Secondary audiences will include: non-member citywide initiatives, intermediary organizations, practitioners, researchers, evaluators, and policy makers.

 

Expected outcomes:

There are anticipated outcomes for the project on three levels — leadership, local initiative, and field — which are linked through a theory of change. The first level, and the direct target level for the project, is the individual leader. The model hypothesizes that increases in the capacity of key leaders, including increased knowledge, access to information, and shared development of new approaches to implementing large after school initiatives will result in increased effectiveness of the citywide initiatives to which the leaders belong. The influence of the leaders, the new strategies developed by the group, and the impact of the initiatives themselves on the national landscape will lead to changes in the field, including new models, paradigms, and integrated visions.

 

The Cross-Cities Network will develop in a context of intense activity in the field. We expect that the Network will serve as a conduit for learning from and connecting with other projects, initiatives, and funding streams. Linkages may occur at all three levels: between individual leaders as they build relationships in the context of the Network and become familiar with each other's existing professional contacts; between initiatives as they develop projects in partnership, adapt models, or reach out to new constituencies; and at the national level as Network members (and potentially the Network as a whole) become involved in leading-edge discussions, meetings, and projects.

 

 

Digital STEM Badge and Assessment Project

Digital STEM Badge and Assessment Project

Ongoing since 2015

Project Director Georgia Hall, Ph.D.

Funded by: Noyce Foundation (with Providence After School Alliance)

The National Institute on Out-of-School Time will develop and pilot a science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) digital badge that connects existing student assessments with CitySpan’s web-based program management tool.

Evaluation of “BridgeUp: STEM”

Evaluation of “BridgeUp: STEM”

Ongoing since 2015

Project Director Georgia Hall, Ph.D.

Funded by: American Museum of Natural History

The National Institute on Out-of-School Time is serving as the research and evaluation study partner to BridgeUp: STEM an initiative of the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) in Manhattan, New York. The focus of the study will be on the delivery of Computational Science (CS) and science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) learning experiences in the context of the education, science, and research resources of the AMNH to a cohort of New York City high school girls.The study includes both summative evaluation components along with consultation towards program design and development during the start-up phase.The research team expects the information collected, shared, and translated from this study and consultation to be informative to BridgeUp: STEM and enhance the quality of the initiative’s experiences for participating youth, families, and Museum staff.

Improving the Quality of Youth Programs Nationwide: Expanding Access to the Assessment of Program Practices Tool

Improving the Quality of Youth Programs Nationwide: Expanding Access to the Assessment of Program Practices Tool

Ongoing since 2014

Project Director: Ellen S. Gannett, M. Ed.
Funder: Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation

This funding will enable the National Institute on Out-of-School Time (NIOST) to: develop an online APT tutorial for programs initiating self-assessment and continuous program improvement; augment the interactive self-paced study tool the team is developing with support from the William T. Grant Foundation and the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education; and develop and disseminate materials nationwide to programs and stakeholders to build awareness of these new and renewed resources.

Leading for Quality Initiative

Leading for Quality Initiative

2007-2008

Project Directors: Ellen Gannett, Wendy Surr

The City of Cambridge hired NIOST for their general leadership and guidance and evaluation for the out-of-school time “Leading for Quality Initiative,” as well as facilitation of the executive level Communities of Practice. The goal of this project is quality improvement in Cambridge afterschool programs.

Massachusetts 21st Century Community Learning Centers

Massachusetts 21st Century Community Learning Centers

Ongoing since 2001

Principal Investigator and Project Director: Georgia Hall, Ph.D.

Funder: Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (MADESE)

NIOST began a partnership with the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (MADESE) in 2001 to develop assessment tools and a menu of technical assistance activities to support the MA 21st CCLC programs. The result of a two-year effort was the creation of the Survey of Academic and Youth Outcomes for Staff and Teachers (SAYO-S&T). These are brief pre/post outcome instruments that allow programs to systematically collect valid and reliable data about youth from afterschool program staff and classroom teachers in nine outcome areas. (Pre/Post means the surveys are taken near the beginning of the program and near the end of the program.) The SAYO was the first of three tools of “A Program Assessment System” (APAS), which now includes a youth survey (SAYO-Y) and a quality assessment tool (APT).

With the development of the SAYO tool, NIOST began a long-standing partnership with MADESE to build its assessment capacity as an agency, and also to build the capacity of their statewide 21st CCLC grantees to understand program evaluation and assessment tools, to learn how to administer surveys and conduct program quality assessments appropriately, to learn techniques for analyzing, interpreting and using quality and outcome data, and to work with staff to engage in continuous quality improvement. Over the years, NIOST has developed and delivered many statewide training workshops, web-based training, and extensive training materials and guides. NIOST continues to be the technical assistance provider to MADESE to support 21st CCLC programs in over 40 school districts and related programs in continuous quality improvement and documentation of youth outcomes.

Massachusetts Afterschool Research Study (MARS)

Massachusetts Afterschool Research Study (MARS)

Completed in 2005

Project Director: Joyce Shortt

The Massachusetts Afterschool Research Study (MARS) is a statewide study examining the links between afterschool program quality and student outcomes, and the efficacy of various models of afterschool for youth. United Way of Massachusetts Bay is collaborating with the Massachusetts Department of Education and the Massachusetts Office of Child Care Services to manage the study, which will be conducted by the National Institute on Out-of-School Time (NIOST) at the Wellesley Centers for Women, Wellesley College, in partnership with the Intercultural Center for Research in Education (INCRE).

MARS aims to create consensus around the elements of program quality, features, and participation that contribute to positive outcomes for youth, so that funders, providers, advocates, and policy-makers are better prepared to expand the quality and availability of afterschool programs. Public and private funders will have the information they need to focus resources on effective program elements; providers will be able to make ongoing quality improvements; and policy-makers will have a reliable foundation on which to base their commitment to afterschool.

 

Met Life Discovering Community Initiative: An Evaluation Project

Met Life Discovering Community Initiative: An Evaluation Project

Completed in 2006

Project Directors: NIOST, Georgia Hall, Ph.D.


NIOST served as the evaluator for the Discovering Community Initiative, a project of The After School Corporation (TASC). The Met Life Foundation awarded TASC a grant to administer a national project that fosters more positive attitudes and stronger affiliations among teachers, students, and parents within school communities.

The goal of the initiative was to give middle school students, their teachers, and families the resources to strengthen and celebrate their communities and help teachers better understand and appreciate the students and parents that comprise the community in which they teach.

The initiative was carried out through school based afterschool programs in six areas: Baltimore, MD, Boston, MA, Rhode Island, Queens, NY, Utica, NY, and Pinellas County, FL. NIOST managed and oversaw the research and evaluation component, including the creation and dissemination of issue briefs, activity tipsheets, etc., that were shared with a broad spectrum of afterschool program leaders.

 

National Center on Afterschool and Summer Enrichment

National Center on Afterschool and Summer Enrichment (NCASE)

Ongoing since 2014

Principal Investigator: Ellen Gannett Project Director: Kathy Schleyer

Funded by: National Center on Afterschool and Summer Enrichment

NIOST is one of four organizations that together comprise the National Center on Afterschool and Summer Enrichment (NCASE) (https://childcareta.acf.hhs.gov/centers/national-center-afterschool-and-summer-enrichment). This collaborating entity exists to provide technical assistance (TA) to states, territories and tribes that utilize the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) to support access to out of school time programs by low income families. This funding is managed by the U.S. Office of Child Care under the U.S. Administration of Children and Families. NCASE is one of nine national TA centers serving birth through school-age children. NIOST contributes to webinars, peer learning communities, curation of an online resource library and other virtual TA. In addition to NIOST, the NCASE partners include Educational Development Center (lead), The National Summer Learning Association and WRMA.

New York City Afterschool Matters Research Practitioner Fellowship

New York City Afterschool Matters Research Practitioner Fellowship

Ongoing since 2014

Project Director: Ellen S. Gannett M. Ed.
Funder: Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation

This award provides funding for an Afterschool Matters Initiative Practitioner Fellowship group in New York City from fall 2014 to fall 2015. This group will expose 12-15 Fellows working with older youth to the world of inquiry research, and help them examine their own practices. Each Fellow will produce a paper or other product at the end of the process. The Fellows will be energized by their research and learning, becoming part of a strong network of professional out-of-school time workers in the New York Community.

New York City Urban Debate League: Investigating Youth's Experiences...

New York City Urban Debate League: Investigating Youth's Experiences in a "Democracy in Action" Afterschool Program

Completed in 2006

Project Director: Georgia Hall, Ph.D.

This research project investigated the approach and activities of the New York City Urban Debate League (NYCUDL) and commented on how youth, through participation in these leagues, develop democracy skills and experiences that can affect personal change. Urban debate leagues organized interscholastic debate as an academic competition and promote debate as a valuable learning tool. This research study:

  1. described the components of the debate program
  2. profiled the youth and adult participants
  3. provided an analysis of the “debate” approach and activities as an example of "democracy in action"
  4. presented an exploration of the experiences of and impacts on participating youth
  5. investigated the infrastructure that supports the delivery of urban debate activities

There is a good amount of literature describing the elements of debate and how skills developed in debate may transfer to other endeavors — such as creating a stronger foundation for academic achievement, etc. The purpose of this study was to look deeper into how youth actually experience the democratic ideals and skills that form the foundation of a debate program, and in what ways those experiences influence the youth's understanding of, participation in, and consideration of democracy. 

Next Generation Youth Work Coalition

Next Generation Youth Work Coalition

The National Institute on Out-of-School Time partnered with The Forum for Youth Investment as champions for action with the Career Pathway's sites in San Diego and Long Beach, California. This included leading research aspects of the project as well as working to anticipate the site's needs for information, support and tools in a variety of areas.

The Next Generation Youth Work Coalition brought together individuals and organizations dedicated to developing a strong, diverse after-school and youth development workforce that is stable, prepared, supported and committed to the well-being and empowerment of children and youth. We believe that this entails progress in at least five key areas: standards and competencies; professional development and training resources; learning delivery systems; career ladders and compensation guidelines; and research and evaluation systems.

Click here to access a PDF file with more information about the Coalition.

Click here to access a PDF with a review of Youth Work Core Competencies.

Obesity and Chronic Disease Risk Reduction in Out-of-School Time

Obesity and Chronic Disease Risk Reduction in Out-of-School Time

Ongoing since 2014

Project Director: Georgia Hall, Ph.D.
Funder: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation with RT1, International

This project is a targeted effort to increase peer-reviewed literature in the field of Out­ of-School Time (OSD physical activity and healthy eating. In partnership with PEAR (Program in Education, Afterschool, & Resiliency) and the National AfterSchool Association, Georgia Hall, Ph.D., of the National Institute on Out-of-School Time (NIOSD at Wellesley Centers for Women and Jean Wiecha, Ph.D. of RTI are editing a special issue of New Directions /or Youth Development (NDYD), which will feature manuscripts regarding the impact of obesity and chronic disease risk reduction interventions that take place in OST program settings. Its purpose is to synthesize evidence to date and to inform future research and policy activities.

 

Online Learning Pilot Program Evaluation in Wyoming

Online Learning Pilot Program Evaluation in Wyoming

Ongoing since 2013

Project Directors: Georgia Hall, Ph.D.
Funded by: Wyoming Community Foundation on behalf of the Wyoming Afterschool Alliance

NIOST will evaluate a new online learning program

The National Institute on Out-of-School Time (NIOST) will use electronic surveys and individual interviews along with reviewing electronic learning modules to evaluate a new online learning program.

Out of Harm's Way

Out of Harm's Way

Completed in 2009

Project Director: Georgia Hall, Ph.D.

The Primary goal of the Out of Harm's Way (OHW) Initiative is to address the escalating violence in a subset of middle schools in the Boston Public Schools by offering comprehensive services and care, and increasing the participation of students in after school programming. Wellesley Centers for Women and the National Institute on Out-of-School Time would perform as the project evaluator.

Physical Activity Study in the Natick Public Schools: Focus on BOKS

Physical Activity Study in the Natick Public Schools: Focus on BOKS

Ongoing since 2009

Project Directors: Georgia Hall, Ph.D.
Funder: Reebok International LTD

This project will focus on the BOKS program, which aims to improve kids' academic performance and overall health using physical activity to jump start children's brains in the morning.

Georgia Hall, Ph.D. will direct a multi-year Physical Activity Study in the Natick Public Schools (Natick, MA) with a special investigation of the BOKS (formerly known as Fit Kidz Get Up & Go) before school physical activity program. The BOKS program aims to improve kids’ academic performance and overall health using physical activity to jump start children’s brains in the morning and better equip them for learning, increasing opportunities for kids to be physically active and fit, and creating healthier habits for children to achieve life-long fitness. Focusing on grades K-2, a team of NIOST researchers will examine and document child-level academic, social, nutrition knowledge, and physical outcomes associated with participation in BOKS over time.

Program Practices: An Investigation of Physical Activity and Healthy Eating Standards and Practices

Program Practices: An Investigation of
Physical Activity and Healthy Eating Standards
and Practices in Out-of-School Time Programs

Completed in 2011

Principal Investigator: Georgia Hall, Ph.D.
Co-Principal Investigator: Jean Wiecha, Ph.D.
Team Members: Georgia Hall, Ph.D., Jean Wiecha, Ph.D. (University of Massachusetts), Ellen Gannett, M.Ed., Barbara Roth (YMCA of the USA), Julie Dennehy, M.M., Diane Gruber, M.A.

Background

kids on slide.jpgEnergy balance and appropriate physical activity are critical to preventing obesity and associated cardiometabolic morbidity. In the United States, 6.5 million children attend out-of-school time programs annually, participating in roughly 3 hours per day of activities typically including homework, snack, and gross motor play. If out-of-school time programs can provide appropriate snack and physical activity choices, they can be an important component of the campaign against childhood obesity. There is a window of opportunity to infuse more rigorous content and provide guidance and language in the National Afterschool Association standards for physical activity and healthy eating.

Specific Aims

  1. To build capacity for childhood obesity prevention in OST by infusing rigorous science-based standards and guidelines into NAA standards for physical activity and healthy eating
  2.  Identify current physical activity and healthy eating standards used in a targeted national sample of OST programs
  3.  Identify current program practices in these areas
  4.  Identify statistically significant associations between best practices and program characteristics, components, and social contextual variables
  5.  Disseminate information on effective implementation of high quality standards, through a comprehensive report, study briefs, and presentations at national conferences.
  6. Lay the groundwork for a subsequent Phase 2 project to re-assess the program cohort and develop a tool kit to help all OST programs implement the rigorous science-based standards for physical activity and healthy eating.

Methods

kids on slide.jpgThis is a mixed-methods research study using a sequence of quantitative and qualitative data collection methods and multiple regression modeling to examine program characteristics associated with providing healthy eating and physical activity opportunities in a national sample of out-of-school time programs. Effective practice will be operationalized through the application of a field-tested research-based survey reflecting current standards and guidelines established through expert sources such as the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Academy of Science - Institute of Medicine. Data will be collected in ten regions representing a mix of geographic locations, urban/suburban/rural communities, school district sizes, and variety of out-of-school time programs. The sampling frame will be comprised of programs with diverse demographic school district profiles and large percentage of students eligible for free/reduced lunch. The survey sample will include 80-100 programs within each region (500+ total) and Exemplary Program Observations at 30 of these programs. 

Healthy Out-of-School Time: Related Resources (HOST)

Healthy Out-of-School Time:
Related Resources (HOST)

Providence After School Alliance

Providence After School Alliance

Ongoing Since 2012

Principal Investigator: Kristen Fay, Ph.D.
Funder: Providence After School Alliance (PASA)

This study evaluates the Regular AfterZone and AfterZone Summer Scholars programs.

These mixed methods evaluations of the Regular AfterZone and AfterZone Summer Scholars programs are designed to measure process and academic and psychosocial impact outcomes among middle school youth enrolled in these programs. Data from students, teachers, observations, and district level indicators are collected and analyzed.

PSAYDN Quality Committee Statewide Older Youth QRIS Initiative

Pennsylvania Statewide Afterschool Youth Development Network Quality Committee Statewide Older Youth QRIS Initiative

Principal Investigator: Ellen Gannett, M.Ed.
Research Associate: Sasha Stavsky, M.A.

In March 2012, the PSAYDN Quality Committee began to convene a broad range of stakeholders from across Pennsylvania to begin envisioning a statewide Older Youth QRIS targeting those programs not currently eligible for participation in the existing QRIS system, Keystone STARS.  With the assistance of NIOST, PSAYDN has created four sub-groups that have begun to conceptualizing the components of the proposed Older Youth QRIS model.  NIOST will coordinate logistics for the Executive Committee which is steering this effort, as well as for two of the four proposed sub-groups (Older Youth QRIS Model and Quality Standards, Outcomes and Tools.)  In addition, NIOST is providing support by researching similar initiatives in other states, creating resources and documents, providing connections to national resources, and facilitating the planning of statewide QRIS convenings.

 

Research and Evaluation Study with BridgeUP: STEM

Research and Evaluation Study with BridgeUP: STEM

Ongoing since 2015

Principal Investigator and Project Director: Georgia Hall, Ph.D.

Funded by: American Museum of Natural History

The National Institute on Out-of-School Time is serving as the research and evaluation study partner to BridgeUP: STEM an initiative of the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) in Manhattan, New York. BridgeUP: STEM is a portfolio of educational and public programs focused on teaching computer science through the lens of science. Funded by a generous 5-year, $7.5M gift from the Helen Gurley Brown Trust, these programs are focused on changing the ratio of women and minorities in STEM.

In January 2015, BridgeUP: STEM launched the Brown Scholars Program, an intensive experience for cohorts of 9th and 10th grade girls, that uses science and scientific data sets to instill fluency in computer science and technology through the context of life sciences. Cohorts of New York City high school girls, known as Brown Scholars, are selected based on competitive application to the program. The BridgeUP: STEM program coursework was designed to introduce participants to the basics of computational science, and, in particular, how data is used, analyzed, and visualized in the natural sciences. The BridgeUP: STEM program content for both cohorts included coursework in Python programming language, group projects, mentorship, field trips, and presentations by Museum curators and researchers. In addition there is a Middle School one-week intensive program.

Since the BridgeUP: STEM program commenced NIOST has been investigating impact at the participant level for both high school and middle school. We are examining change in attitude and interest about STEM/CS/Technology, engagement in STEM/CS/Technology pathways, expansion of content knowledge, interest in STEM/CS/Technology career connections, and aspirations. The research team expects the information collected, shared, and translated from this study and consultation to be informative to BridgeUP: STEM and enhance the quality of the initiative’s experiences for participating youth, families, and Museum staff.

NIOST is the research and evaluation study partner to BridgeUP: STEM, an initiative of the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) in New York. BridgeUP: STEM is a portfolio of educational and public programs focused on teaching computer science through the lens of science. Funded by a gift from the Helen Gurley Brown Trust, these programs are focused on increasing the ratio of women and minorities in STEM fields.

BridgeUP: STEM launched the Brown Scholars Program, an intensive experience for cohorts of 9th and 10th grade girls that uses science and scientific data sets to instill fluency in computer science and technology through the context of life sciences. Cohorts of New York City high school girls are selected through a competitive application to the program. The BridgeUP: STEM program coursework was designed to introduce participants to the basics of computational science, and, in particular, how data is used, analyzed, and visualized in the natural sciences. The program content included coursework in Python programming language, group projects, mentorship, field trips, and presentations by Museum curators and researchers. In addition there is a middle school one-week intensive program.

NIOST has been investigating impact at the participant level for both high school and middle school since the program commenced. We are examining change in attitude and interest about STEM/CS/Technology, engagement in STEM/CS/Technology pathways, expansion of content knowledge, interest in STEM/CS/Technology career connections, and related aspirations. The information collected, shared, and translated from this study and consultation will be informative to AMNH and the BridgeUP: STEM program, and will enhance the quality of the experiences for participating youth, their families, and Museum staff.

Technical Assistance Partner to U.S. Department of Education, Office of 21st Century Community Learning Centers Program

Technical Assistance Partner to U.S. Department of Education, Office of 21st Century Community Learning Centers Program

Ongoing since 2015

Principal Investigator and Project Director: Georgia Hall, Ph.D.

Funder: U.S. Department of Education, 21st CCLC Program along with Global Evaluation & Applied Research Solutions, Inc. (GEARS)

NIOST is a partner to the U.S. Department of Education, 21st CCLC Program along with Global Evaluation & Applied Research Solutions, Inc. (GEARS). GEARS and NIOST are providing the U.S. DOE with fiscal, analytic, and logistic services for grant compliance monitoring and data gathering for program improvement and provide technical expertise to SEAs to assist in carrying out their responsibilities of 21st CCLC program implementation. This work includes fiscal, analytic, and logistics support in conducting compliance monitoring through quarterly calls, and virtual and onsite reviews; providing technical expertise to grantees on topics proven to assist SEAs in successful implementation of a statewide 21st CCLC program; and logistic support for convening stakeholders.

  • PEOPLE ARE SAYING

    "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
  • PEOPLE ARE SAYING

    "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

  • PEOPLE ARE SAYING

    "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
  • PEOPLE ARE SAYING

    "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

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

niost@wellesley.edu
781.283.2547
Directions to NIOST

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