OST Resources

One of our guiding principles is to bridge research into practice. We do this by translating data into actionable resources for out-of-school time (OST) professionals. The following articles explore best practices, workforce development, program quality, equity and inclusion, and many other topics that are important to youth work fields.


For even more resources, browse our publications or articles from Afterschool Matters, our peer-reviewed journal that highlights the work of OST researchers and practitioners.

Watch: Afterschool Matters Dialogue on Belonging and Human-Centered Work

On February 11, 2021, the National Institute on Out-of-School Time (NIOST) hosted a webinar as part of the Afterschool Matters Dialogue series.

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Belonging and Human-Centered Work Webinar

Watch: Afterschool Matters Dialogue on Approaches to OST Staff Training

On Tuesday, November 17, 2020, the National Institute on Out-of-School Time (NIOST) hosted a virtual webinar as part of the Afterschool Matters Dialogue series. The program featured two guest speakers who discussed their approaches to OST staff training.

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Approaches to OST Staff Training

Watch: Afterschool Matters Dialogue on Social Justice in Youth Programming

On Monday, October 26, 2020, the National Institute on Out-of-School Time (NIOST) hosted a virtual webinar as a part of the Afterschool Matters Dialogue series. The program was moderated by Georgia Hall, Ph.D., director of NIOST and was on the topic of promoting social justice.

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Mariana Quintanilla

OST Online: Delivering Quality Virtual Learning Experiences

When out-of-school time (OST) programs shifted to virtual programming this spring and summer, it seemed like a dramatic change. But with several months of experience behind us, we have learned an elegantly simple lesson: best practices for OST programs haven’t changed.

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Special Afterschool Matters Issue Celebrates 40 Years of NIOST

The National Institute on Out-of-School Time (NIOST) at Wellesley College is celebrating its 40th anniversary with a special summer edition of its Afterschool Matters journal, featuring an interview with NIOST founder Micki Seligson, a nationally recognized leader in afterschool and in childcare policy and practice.

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Resources from Our OST Community to Help Parents During the COVID-19 Outbreak

During the uncertain days of social distancing ahead, families may find it challenging to offer learning and social opportunities for their children. Here are some ideas from our own out-of-school-time (OST) toolbox along with some additional resources that may help alleviate some of the stress.

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Sustaining Passion for the Out-of-School Time Field

Out-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.

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Now Available: Free Coaching Guide for OST Professionals

NIOST announces the release of a free guide for those who coach out-of-school time programs. The guide helps coaches build their expertise to help any organization develop and implement a continuous quality improvement plan.

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Coaching for Quality in Out-of-School Time: A How To Guide

Investigating and Increasing Equity in Out-of-School Time

NIOST designed the recently released version of its APAS suite of tools to more fully reflect equity, inclusion, and diversity in the experiences of youth, families, and the out-of-school-time (OST) workforce. We also have a number of papers to share from our journal, Afterschool Matters, on these important topics.

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NASM Fellow Writes of Childhood, Racism, and Becoming an Educator

Growing up, says National Afterschool Matters Fellow Keith F. Miller Jr., he felt “the trauma of a young boy buckling under the weight of poverty and a crippling fear of failure.” In a piece written as part of his fellowship, he shares how his experience with an educational system steeped in systemic racism shaped him and led him to his current path.

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Keith Miller

How Out-of-School Time Can Help Students See Themselves in STEM

In NIOST's home state of Massachusetts, it's the second annual STEM Week, with the theme of "See Yourself in STEM." Here are some ways out-of-school time (OST) programs around the country are helping students do just that, as evidenced by these articles in our Afterschool Matters journal.

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Could Out-of-School-Time Programs Help Save the Planet?

Today marks the first of two Global Climate Strikes organized by young activists this week to draw attention to the climate crisis and call for a move to renewable energy. Out-of-school-time (OST) programs have long promoted student learning that encourages awareness, critical thinking, and innovative solutions around energy and the environment. Take a look at two examples from our Afterschool Matters journal.

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Great Fiction and Non-fiction Reads with Out-of-School-Time Themes

NIOST staff love to read, so we’re sharing a few books from our summer reading that have a connection to out-of-school-time (OST) themes such as professional development or OST experiences.

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Afterschool Reading

How Schools and Out-of-School-Time Programs Can Work Together for Youth

As students around the U.S. prepare to head back to school in the coming weeks, we wanted to share some papers from our Afterschool Matters journal that look at the ways that schools and out-of-school-time programs can be effective partners in serving youth.

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The Impact of Summer Learning in STEM and the Arts

This week marks National Summer Learning Week, so we're highlighting some papers from our Afterschool Matters journal that showcase the importance of summer learning.

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Ideas for Summer Learning Programs, from Gardens to the Zombie Apocalypse

Summer is approaching fast, so we're happy to share two pieces from our National Afterschool Matters fellows on creating engaging summer programs.

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Inclusion and Out-of-School Time Programs Webinar Watch

This webinar from the National Institute on Out-of-School Time (NIOST) highlights research that was published in the Afterschool Matters Journal to address institutional discrimination and the ways in which out-of-school time (OST) programs can be more inclusive in their practices. The video is intended to assist OST professionals in creating environments that are conducive for all participants both at the individual and program-levels. 

Black Hole Image Shows Why We Should Support Girls in STEM: Here's How OST Helps

Dr. Katie Bouman has been receiving recognition recently for her key contributions to the team that gave us the world's first image of a black hole. We at NIOST are proud of the work being done in out-of-school-time (OST) programs to support girls in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields, as evidenced by these articles in our Afterschool Matters journal.

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Girls making electronics

The Arts In Out-Of-School Time Webinar

This webinar from the National Institute on Out-of-School Time (NIOST) highlights research that was published in the Afterschool Matters Journal about incorporating the arts in afterschool education. Research suggests that programming centered around the arts can positively affect academic achievement and the social and emotional development of children and youth. 

The video is intended to inform OST professionals about how best to include visual arts, theater, dance, and community-based arts into afterschool programming. 

Repairing the Leaking Pipeline of OST Professional Development

Carla O’Donnell-Rizzo, director of school-based programs at Completely KIDS, and one of the 2017-19 National Afterschool Matters Fellows, writes on the Completely KIDS blog about her research on why it is so hard to hire and retain out-of-school-time (OST) professionals.

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System Building, Relationships, and Quality in Out-of-School Time

The newest issue of Afterschool Matters, the national, peer-reviewed journal dedicated to promoting professionalism, scholarship, and consciousness in the field of afterschool education, reflects on the field’s ability to help provide students with experiences outside of the classroom that give them opportunities to stretch their skills, grow friendships, and challenge their limits.

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Social and Emotional Learning in Out-of-School Time

We're excited about a new book on social and emotional learning (SEL) in out-of-school time -- and how NIOST tools have been shown to effectively assess youths' SEL skills.

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Fun and Easy Fruit and Veggie Ideas for Healthy Kids

September is Fruits & Veggies – More Matters Month. As a co-founder of the Healthy Out-of-School Time Coalition (HOST), NIOST helped develop the developed the National AfterSchool Association Healthy Eating and Physical Activity Standards that recommend a fruit or vegetable at every snack or meal. We’re therefore pleased to share these fun fruit and veggie ideas from NIOST Research Associate Elizabeth Starr, who’s tested them all with her own kids!

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boy eating apple

Building Civic Skills and Democracy in Out-of-School Time

State primary elections are wrapping up and election season isn't far behind. Regardless of political beliefs, out-of-school-time programs are helping the next generation of voters become informed and engaged citizens, as research from Afterschool Matters has shown.

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How Out-of-School Supports Back-to-School

As children around the U.S. head back to school, we're highlighting a few articles from Afterschool Matters that show the strong connection between out-of-school-time programs and in-school (and in-life) success.

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kids reading outside

Quality Summer Learning in Action: It All Adds Up

By Judy Chin, NIOST Project Assistant

It is 8:30am on a Wednesday morning, an hour into this pre-calculus summer preparatory class. There is a buzz and excitement going on inside this particular classroom that can be heard from the other side of the door. Not the behavior I was expecting from rising 11th and 12th graders this early on a summer morning in late July as I visit  this program as part of their continuous quality improvement process.

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Eliminating Cultural Biases in Pursuit of High-Quality Education

How can we ensure that students have high-quality learning experiences during afterschool programs? We check the data, of course. To make this possible, the National Institute on Out-of-School Time co-developed the APT (Assessment of Program Practices Tool) -- a self-assessment observation tool that afterschool programs can use to identify where their program stacks up when it comes to organization, learning, skill building, and other key aspects that are tied to positive youth outcomes. But developing the tool was just the first step.

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Quality Summer Learning In Action: Encouraging Dancers to Create and Learn

By Elizabeth Starr, NIOST Research Associate

About 20 tweens pile into the unassuming studio space of their ballet school in mid-July. There are no frills here. The waiting area is small and a bit disheveled; the cinderblock building has seen its share of life. But look closer: there’s magic inside.

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Children dancing

NIOST Researchers and Partners Show Most Afterschool Programs Offer Fruits and Vegetables

Most afterschool programs in the U.S. offer fruits and vegetables to children, and doing so is associated with membership in the National AfterSchool Association (NAA) and awareness of its Healthy Eating and Physical Activity (HEPA) Standards, according to a paper co-authored by NIOST researchers.

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The Lessons We Should Learn from Settlement Houses

Georgia Hall contributed an article to the Women Change Worlds blog on June 21, 2018. She wrote:

"As a country we seem to be moving far away from the nurturing and sustaining activity of the settlement houses of our past. The first settlement house, established in New York City’s Lower East Side – Neighborhood Guild – was founded by Stanton Coit, and just a few years later came Hull House in Chicago, materializing through the passionate vision of Jane Addams.

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Create Fun Summer Learning Experiences for Youth

Summer isn’t just about basketball hoops, sprinkler parks, and popsicles. It’s an ideal time to help adolescents and children catch up on building their reading, writing, and math skills.

“Summer experiences and out-of-school time should be embraced as opportunities to not only help put children on more equal footing when they return to the classroom, but to empower youth so that they return with improved self-esteem and have more positive experiences within the school community,” reports Georgia Hall, Ph.D., director and senior research scientist of the National Institute on Out-of-School Time (NIOST).

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Promoting Equitable STEM Learning in Out-of-School Time

NIOST applauds the National AfterSchool Association (NAA) for its new Afterschool Tech Toolkit, which aims to help integrate technology in afterschool programs and to ensure equitable access to digital learning opportunities, especially in underserved communities. Research in NIOST's Afterschool Matters journal has long shown the importance of out-of-school-time (OST) programs in promoting technology and STEM learning, and offers further ideas for effective, equitable programming.

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Navigating Afterschool in Turbulent Times

Wellesley College, home of the National Institute on Out-of-School Time, has a significant connection to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, site of the Parkland, Florida, school shooting.

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NIOST Celebrates Afterschool Professionals Appreciation Week with a New Video

During Afterschool Professionals Appreciation Week, the National Institute on Out-of-School Time (NIOST) celebrates the professionals who enhance our youths' healthy development in out-of-school time programs. Learn why in this new video.

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Girls smiling

Out-of-School Time Quality Tools Now Have More Ways to Measure SEL

NIOST's research-based and field-tested tools to assess out-of-school-time program quality and youth outcomes now have new ways to measure social emotional learning (SEL)!

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Black Panther and Making a Difference in STEM Learning

In the hit movie Black Panther, the fictional Wakandans of Africa establish a center in Oakland, California, to be run by two women, one of whom is a scientific genius responsible in large part for the Wakandans' technological advancements. One might assume that STEM learning, particularly for girls, will form a big part of the program at the center. In real-life Oakland, however, the afterschool STEM program Techbridge is already having a positive impact on girls' lives through equity-oriented "making" activities, as this article from a recent Afterschool Mattersjournal shows.

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New, Free Professional Development Resource for Out-of-School Time Physical Activity

A new, free professional development resource, After School Gets Moving, offers a media-based professional development intervention for afterschool practitioners.

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Physical Activity

Innovative Research Findings Help Meet Diverse Needs of Afterschool Programming

December 11, 2015

WELLESLEY, MA – The newest edition of Afterschool Matters, the national, peer-reviewed journal dedicated to promoting professionalism, scholarship, and consciousness in the field of afterschool education, is focused on inventive programs that aim to engage youth and improve afterschool offerings to ultimately build better futures for young people and support their positive development.

Core Competencies

Wallace Foundation Releases Core Competencies

"The Wallace Foundation has made available the Strong Directors/Skilled Staff: Guide to Using the Core Competencies that NIOST put together for the New York Department of Youth and Community Development. This handbook outlines key skills - "core competencies" - needed by after-school program directors and those they supervise. It also offers guidance and tools on how to develop the skills, including questionnaires that managers and youth workers can use to determine their strengths and weaknesses." Read more here.

 

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Expanded Learning: Opportunities for Partnerships with a New Twist and a New Name

A Commentary by Ellen Gannett, M.Ed.
Director, National Institute on Out-of-School Time at the Wellesley Centers for Women

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  • 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

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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

niost@wellesley.edu
781.283.2547
Directions to NIOST

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