A Framework for Effective Programs

A new resource, “A Framework for Successful After-school Programs,” is a guide for improving and measuring the quality and effectiveness of after-school programs.

The web-based document (www.publicengagement.com/framework) grew out of a national summit on after-school programs convened two years ago by the U.S. Department of Education and Arnold Schwarzenegger, and sponsored by the C.S. Mott Foundation. The event drew researchers, program and policy experts, educators and government officials.

As a follow-up, a team of researchers and program experts developed the framework, which states that intentionally linking program goals, program elements, participant outcomes and evaluation is key to improving the effectiveness of after-school programs.

The framework describes a theory of change approach to guide the thinking and implementation of program goals and elements. It outlines a broad range of desired participant outcomes and discusses conditions most suitable for achieving positive results that meet the needs of after-school participants.

A key feature of the framework is a set of after-school participant outcome matrices. These matrices offer examples of program elements, outcomes and performance measures in the areas of academic, social/emotion, health and safety and community engagement goals.

Using this document, school leaders can engage after-school stakeholders in an informed and thoughtful process about developing, implementing and evaluating after-school programs at their schools