A project of the Afterschool Alliance.

Nebraska 21st Century Community Learning Centers: 2015-2016 Annual Report

Year Published: 2017

A statewide evaluation of Nebraska’s 21st Century Community Learning Center (21st CCLC) programs during the 2015-16 school year examined outcomes related to participants’ academic performance, engagement, and behavior. The evaluation found that based on teacher surveys, a majority of students regularly attending the program improved their academic performance, homework completion, participation, behavior, and relationship with their peers. Student and parent surveys also indicated positive experiences in the program.   

Program Name: Nebraska 21st Century Community Learning Centers

Program Description:

Nebraska’s 21st Century Community Learning Center program—which receives federal support through the 21st CCLC initiative—serves high-needs communities across the state, providing local afterschool and summer programming through 116 centers serving 19,745 students during the 2015-16 school year.  

Scope of the Evaluation: Statewide

Program Type: Summer, Afterschool

Location: Nebraska

Grade level: Elementary School, Middle School, High School

Program Demographics:

All schools served by Nebraska’s 21st CCLC programs are Title I eligible, meaning more than 40 percent of students qualify for Free and Reduced Price Lunch. Of students surveyed participating in Nebraska’s 21st CCLC program, 68 percent qualified for the Federal Free or Reduced Price Lunch program, 18 percent were identified to have special needs or disabilities, and 15 percent were English language learners. Regarding race and ethnicity, the report classified 61 percent of 21st CCLC students in Nebraska as “ethnic minorities.”    

Program Website: https://www.education.ne.gov/21stcclc/

Evaluator: Johnson, J. Munroe-Meyer Institute, University of Nebraska Medical Center.

Evaluation Methods:

Data collected included school-day teacher, program staff, student, and parent surveys. Teacher surveys were given during the spring of 2016 to document progress of students attending 21st CCLC programs for at least 30 days, student surveys provided feedback on students’ experiences in the program, and surveys of parents with children in the program provided insight into parent satisfaction and levels of parent engagement. Two types of student surveys were used during the 2015-16 school year, the Youth Engagement Survey and the Elementary and Secondary Student surveys.  

Evaluation Type: Non-experimental

Summary of Outcomes:

During the 2015-16 academic year, students participating in Nebraska 21st CCLC programs for 30 days or more (regularly attending students) showed positive gains in academics and school day behavior, as well as reported that programs helped them to build their social and emotional skills and competencies. Teachers were asked to rate the academic performance of students regularly attending 21st CCLC programs and they rated a strong majority of them meeting or exceeding the state’s standards in science (79 percent), math (72 percent), reading (69 percent), and writing (67 percent). Additionally, teachers reported that they saw growth among students regularly attending the programs in their participation in class, overall academic performance, and homework completion. Modest gains were also reported in students’ ability to get along with their peers, classroom attentiveness, and behavior in class.

Based on two types of student surveys used during the 2015-16 school year, students had positive experiences in the 21st CCLC program. The first type of survey—the Youth Engagement Survey—used a 4-point scale to rate items (1 = “strongly disagree” and 4 = “strongly agree”). Overall, students on average agreed that participating in the 21st CCLC program helped them academically and developed their social and emotional skills and competencies. For instance, students on average agreed that participation in the program helped them to do better in school (3.22) and connect their schoolwork to future goals (3.20), as well as build new skills (3.30) and have better self-control (3.18).

In the Elementary and Secondary Student surveys, which used a 3-point scale (0 = “No,” 1 = “Sometimes,” and 2 = “Yes”), students largely agreed that they felt safe in the program (elementary school students: 1.72, secondary school students: 1.82), that they liked the activities offered by the program (elementary school students: 1.67, secondary school students: 1.61), and adults at the program cared about them (elementary school students: 1.79, secondary school students: 1.68).

Parents’ overall satisfaction rating of the program was high, 3.81 out of 4. Examples of program aspects rated highly by parents include “21st CCLC is a great benefit to my child/youth” (3.89), “21st CCLC is a safe place, physically and emotionally” (3.86), and “21st CCLC helps child’s friendships” (3.83).