Kathy Schleyer

Kathy Schleyer's Projects

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.

National Center on Afterschool and Summer Enrichment

National Center on Afterschool and Summer Enrichment (NCASE)


Project Director: Kathy Schleyer, M.S.

Funded By: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Child Care

The National Institute on Out-of-School Time (NIOST) is one of four organizations — including Education Development Center, the National Summer Learning Association, and WRMA — that comprise the National Center on Afterschool and Summer Enrichment (NCASE). The goal of NCASE is to ensure that school-age children in low-income families have access to high-quality afterschool and summer learning experiences that contribute to their overall development and academic achievement.

Through NCASE, NIOST curates a Resource Library — which connects users with tools, profiles, and information on a range of key topics in out-of-school time (OST) — and contributes to webinars and peer learning communities. These resources provide training and technical assistance to states, territories, tribes, and community partners that use the federal Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) to support access to OST programs for low-income families. 

Operationalizing Out-of-School Time Quality in Philadelphia

Operationalizing Out-of-School Time Quality in Philadelphia

Ongoing since 2017

Principal Investigator: Kathy Schleyer, M.S.

Project Director: Kathy Schleyer, M.S.

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.

Sustaining Passion for the Out-of-School Time Field

music classOut-of-school-time (OST) professionals place great importance on a passion for their work, building relationships with children, and fostering their positive, healthy development, according to a new study by NIOST researchers. Yet financial instability and a lack of competitive pay may be hindering workers’ satisfaction and longevity in the field.

Wyoming Quality Initiative

Wyoming Quality Initiative

Ongoing since 2001

Principal Investigator: Ellen Gannett, M.Ed.

Project Director: Kathy Schleyer, M.S.

Funded by: Wyoming Afterschool Alliance

NIOST’s continuing work with the Wyoming Afterschool Alliance (WYAA) since 2011 assisted in the creation of a statewide system for utilizing data to support continuous quality improvement among 21st CCLC funded afterschool programs. NIOST, in concert with WYAA and the state’s 21st CCLC lead, has helped the state build a network of providers trained in leadership skills who utilize the APAS system of tools to analyze data for action-planning. Currently, NIOST is helping WY expand coaching skills at the program leadership level while programs target 3-year goals to increase youth engagement and build positive youth outcomes including social emotional skills.


    "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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