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 Research and Resources on Before-and-After-School Programs

​​The list below describes some key resources on after-school programs. The U.S. Department of Education or Illinois State Board of Education does not endorse the findings or programs that are featured at the web sites. This list is not meant to be exclusive.

All grant proposals for the Nita M. Lowey 21st Century Community Learning Centers Program must be developed according to guidelines established in the RFP. These resources will help to support your planning.


  • Benton Foundation Kids Campaign
    Information for adults about opportunities to improve their community for children.
    • Choosing a Good Program answers “How can you know a good program when you see it?” Items published by the National PTA on what parents should be looking for in high-quality after-school care.
    • Financing Help for Out-of-School Programs helps to determine the range of costs that out-of-school time and community school initiatives incur, and develops cost estimates.
  • California After School Network
    Access the California After School Program Quality Self-Assessment Tool, the High School Quality Self-Assessment Rubric, and the (21st CCLC) High School ASSETs program Start-up guide
  • Council of Chief State School Officers
    The CCSSO's Extended Learning Project provides information on policies, practices, and strategies.
  • C. S. Mott Foundation
    As a partner of the USDE's 21st CCLC initiative the foundation awards grants in four program areas in the US and selected regions internationally.
    • Learning Together: The Developing Field of School-Community Issues, a report chronicling the ideas, approaches, and strategies employed by 20 school-community initiatives across the US.
    • Making After-School Count , a publication on issues of after-school care.
    • Philosophy, Programs, and Procedures: Pathways Out of Poverty Program provides guidelines and application procedures for funding improved education.
  • ERIC Clearinghouse on Information & Technology
    Web-based lesson plans, curriculum units. Browse subject and keyword lists, or search The Gateway. Retrieved records will link directly to the Internet resources they describe.
  • Federal Resources for Educational Excellence (FREE)
    Search tools. An online bulletin board for teachers and federal agencies to communicate about potential collaboration on new teaching and learning resources from 30 federal agencies.
  • Harvard Family Research Project
    Useful information on evaluation including: ways to evaluate after-school programs; ways to improve evaluation for practitioners, policymakers, funders and researchers.
    • Federal Funding in Out-of-School Time with Accountability Requirements and Evaluations is a map of the after-school field and detailed federal funding streams for after-school programs.
    • Out-of-School Time Evaluation Database offers an investigation of the overall picture of evaluation work in the field of out-of-school time.
    • Out-of-School Time Issues of the Evaluation Exchange: Quarterly newsletter highlighting issues in the out-of-school time arena and featuring articles by evaluators, researchers, and practitioners in the field.
    • Issues and Opportunities in Out-of-School Time Evaluation briefs highlight current research and evaluation work in the out-of-school time field.
    • Summer Success: Challenges and Strategies in Creating Quality Academically Focused Summer Programs (Number 9, October 2006) synthesizes findings from 34 evaluations of academically focused summer programs to examine ways of creating high-quality programming for youth.
  • Learning Point Associates
    Provides information for after-school programs and other educational issues. Beyond the Bell (third edition) is a valuable resource for program directors and site coordinators. Includes resources and examples of after-school programs.

    Specific Resources:

  • Make It Stick
    Based on the 5 elements of the New Day for Learning vision, this program highlights changes in education that are making a difference.
  • Maryland Out of School Time Network
    The mission of the Maryland Out of School Time Network is to build a coalition of youth, families, community members, program providers, educators, funders, and policy makers to expand funding, implement more effective policies, and support increased program quality for youth opportunities in the out of school hours.  Review Maine’s “Reaching Potential Through Quality StandardsPDF Document” - particularly Chapter 3 pp.16-18.
  • Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning (MCREL)
    A useful compendium of examples of innovative after-school programs.
  • The National After School Association (NAA)
    NAA is the membership association for professionals who work with children and youth in diverse school and community-based settings to provide a wide variety of extended learning opportunities and care during out-of-school hours.
  • The National Governors Association
    Information on schools and after-school programs.
  • National Partnership for Quality Afterschool Learning at SEDL
    Provides training and technical assistance to local and state practitioners to develop high-quality balanced programming that engages students.

    Specific Resources:

    • Quality afterschool Programs Make a Real Difference, a brochure that describes the top five components of successful after-school programs.
    • Shared Features of High Performing After-School Programs: A follow-up to the TASC Evaluation, a full report on after school.
    • After School Toolkit
  • Partnership for Family Involvement in Education
    How to join, a list of members, examples of Partner activities, a comprehensive listing of USDE publications on family and community involvement, including after-school programs.
  • Statewide Afterschool Network
    Explore key resources and research about the power of afterschool and summer learning for promoting student success and providing opportunities to build skills and explore future careers.
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture
    Provides information on the after-school snack program, including eligibility and reimbursement.
  • U.S. Department of Education (USDE)
    Information about national education issues, publications, education statistics, and information about its different offices and programs. For more about after-school programs, visit 21st Century Community Learning Centers.

    Specific Resources:

    • Nita M. Lowey 21st Century Community Learning Centers: Providing Quality After-school Learning Opportunities for America’s Families
      A publication on aspects of the 21st CCLC and a description of the initial challenges and successes of the program.
    • Nita M. Lowey 21st Century Community Learning Centers Grant Monitoring Support
    • Bringing Education to After-school Programs helps after-school providers understand how to integrate academic content (e.g., reading and mathematics) into their programs to enhance learning.
    • Information for Parents and Families:
      Ideas, funding, and conferences relevant to family and community involvement in education, including after-school programs.
    • Keeping Schools Open as Community Learning Centers: Extended Learning in a Safe, Drug-Free Environment Before and After school is designed to help schools and community-based organizations begin their process of keeping neighborhood schools open for children and families.
    • Safe and Smart: Making After-School Hours Work for Kids highlights research evidence on the potential of after-school programs to increase the safety of children, reduce their risk-taking, and improve learning.
    • When Schools Stay Open Late: The National Evaluation of the 21st-Century Community Learning Centers Program presents the first-year findings of a large and rigorous examination of school-based after-school programs.
  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
    Interesting resources are found in the section on Health and Human Child Care Programs, including the Child Care Development Fund.


In addition to websites, the following listservs may be of interest.

  • EDinfo
    Subscribe to this news service listserv with the latest information about the U.S. Department of Education.
  • After-school listserv
    The after-school listserv, supported by the C.S. Mott Foundation, is hosted by the Academy for Educational Development. The listserv is designed to provide a forum for the exchange of information, ideas, resources, and experiences. To subscribe, send a message to ppas@aed.org.


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 Webinar Archive

 Collaboration for Healthy and Thriving Students

Current Nita M. Lowey 21st Century Community Learning Centers​ (CCLC) grantees awarded in fiscal years 2013 and 2015 are eligible to apply for the Collaboration for Healthy and Thriving Students Grant Program.

An informational webinar was held on June 28, 2018, at 1 pm.

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