In partnership with MetLife Foundation, I’m very excited to kick off the first in our latest series of issue briefs examining the role afterschool programs play in addressing critical challenges affecting middle school youth. Released today at the 21st Century Community Learning Centers Summer Institute in New Orleans, LA, “Afterschool: An Ally in Promoting Middle School Improvement” highlights the many ways afterschool programs support school improvement efforts within struggling middle schools across the country.
In the U.S., there are approximately 5,000 chronically underperforming schools in urban, rural and suburban communities alike. To address this serious issue, the Department of Education has dedicated School Improvement Grants (SIG) to help turn around America’s lowest performing schools and boost academic achievement among their students.
Afterschool programs are perfectly situated to work in partnership with school improvement efforts, provide a full learning experience for children that need more time to learn, bring in support from the community and offer a diverse array of enrichment opportunities. This issue brief highlights research that demonstrates the effectiveness of incorporating afterschool programs into models for middle school development and broader school improvement efforts. In doing so, we also present a few examples of afterschool programs that have successfully partnered with schools to offer engaging activities that promote the new vision of the school and higher academic achievement.