AASA’s Study of Afterschool Sites

AASA made site visits to afterschool programs in 10 school districts nationwide under the auspices of the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation.

The purpose of the AASA Afterschool Study was to discover how strong leaders overcame common bureaucratic barriers at the district and central-office level to deliver effective afterschool programs.

While most administrators agree that afterschool programs are a good idea, many choose not to adopt them. AASA sought answers to these questions in districts nationwide:

* What is the difference between the leadership of districts with successful afterschool programs and leaders of districts with less successful programs?

* Are the belief systems of these superintendents markedly different from those of superintendents who have not been successful at running afterschool programs?

* What strategies are used by those who have overcome bureaucratic hurdles?

Obstacles Found
The following barriers were among those identified in some districts:

* A significant lack of coordination between the afterschool director (if one exists), site coordinators and principals. In programs without an afterschool director, site coordinators and principals can experience tense relationships.

* A perception that afterschool programs are too much work for an already burdened principal, particularly in high-needs schools.

* The view there’s little connection between the instructional program of the school and the afterschool program’s goals.

* The lack of clear reporting lines between site coordinators, district management and building principals.

* Perceived lack of district support and adversarial feelings about the central office.