A project of the Afterschool Alliance.

Nebraska 21st Century Community Learning Centers Annual Report 2019-2020

Year Published: 2022

Nebraska’s 21st CCLC programming resulted in positive outcomes for students despite challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Most students participating in the 21st CCLC programs saw moderate to significant improvement in math (75 percent), science (74 percent), reading (74 percent), and writing (69 percent) from the fall to the spring. Additionally, a majority of students saw improvement in their behavior (61 percent) and ability to get along with other students (56 percent), based on teacher surveys. Many students reported that their programs help them learn new things (81 percent), and parents overwhelmingly agreed that afterschool programs were a benefit to their children. 

Program Description:

Nebraska’s 21st CCLC programs receive federal funding through the 21st CCLC initiative and provide afterschool and summer academic enrichment opportunities for children at high-poverty and low-performing schools throughout the state. For the 2019-2020 program year, grantees served 22,474 students at 148 sites in 39 communities across the state. 

Scope of the Evaluation: Statewide

Program Type: Afterschool

Community Type: Rural, Urban, Suburban

Grade level: Elementary School, Middle School, High School

Program Demographics:

During the 2019-2020 school year, among regular attendees, 73 percent were eligible for free or reduced-price lunch, 58 percent were racially/ethnically diverse, 18 percent received special education services, and 14 percent were English language learners.

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

Evaluator: Johnson, J., Skoglund, B., & Smith, A. University of Nebraska Medical Center

Evaluation Methods:

Data collection began at the beginning of March 2020, and many programs pivoted to new methods of delivery to support students and families in different ways in the midst of the pandemic. The evaluation team gave sites the option to continue or cease collecting data during the pandemic, resulting in partial teacher, parent, and student survey data. Additionally, evaluators reduced the qualification for regular attendance to 21 days as opposed to the previous standard of 30 days due to the pandemic and students were only able to attend programming for part of the school year. Data from students, parents, and teachers was only collected and analyzed for regular attendees. Evaluators also administered a survey to afterschool staff and community partners identified by each 21st CCLC site. An external evaluation team also completed site observations developed by the Nebraska Afterschool Quality & Continuous Improvement System, though all observations were not completed due to COVID-19.

Evaluation Type: Non-experimental

Summary of Outcomes:

A 2022 evaluation of Nebraska’s 21st CCLC programs during the 2019-2020 school year found that students who attended programming showed improvement academically and behaviorally, according to teacher surveys. Programs pivoted quickly in March 2020, and parents shared how their children’s programs were essential in providing supervision and enrichment and participants reported feeling like they belonged and had friends in their programs. Staff reported strong relationships with their students and had high levels of satisfaction with their work. 

Teacher reports on academic and behavioral outcomes for participating students found that most students in 21st CCLC programs saw moderate to significant improvement in math (75 percent), science (74 percent), reading (74 percent), and writing (69 percent) from the fall to the spring. Additionally, a majority of students saw some improvement in their behavior (61 percent) and ability to get along with other students (56 percent) based on teacher surveys.  

Regarding engagement and belonging, students in programs rated their experience highly, with 91 percent of students agreeing with the statement that, “adults in this program treat kids with respect,” 89 percent agreeing that they have friends in the program, and 81 percent agreeing that the program helps them to learn new things. Additionally, on a scale from 1 to 4, where 1 was “strongly disagree” and 4 was “strongly agree,” students reported that they felt like they belonged in their program (3.53). 

Similarly, parents had an overwhelmingly positive response when surveyed about their children’s 21st CCLC program. On a scale of 1 to 4 (1=Strongly Disagree, 4=Strongly Agree), parents rated areas such as the program benefitting their child (3.9), staff caring about their child (3.85), the program being a safe place both physically and emotionally (3.83), their child experiencing new things in the program (3.77), and the program helping their child build and maintain friendships (3.76) highly. When asked if the program is of high quality, parents’ average score was 3.79.  

Programs ranked themselves highly in health and wellness, safety, relationships, and interactions with students. Behavior management and family engagement emerged as two areas of growth. A sample of programs received in-person observations where evaluators observed that almost half of all sites had a positive program climate (47 percent) and nearly two-thirds of sites (63 percent) had quality instructional and engagement practices. 

More than 4 in 5 afterschool staff (81 percent) shared that they work in their program because they enjoy their work, as well as felt prepared to lead a club (95 percent), help with homework (90 percent), address student behavior (89 percent), and communicate with parents (85 percent). Evaluators found that turnover was an area of growth for staff, with 79 percent reporting they have worked in their program for three years or fewer. Community partners, which included, but was not limited to community-based organizations, local businesses, nonprofit organizations, university and colleges, museums, and libraries also reported that they value the partnerships and collaboration with 21st CCLC programs. More than half of partners (53 percent) shared that they provided at least 20 contact hours with their program. 

Date Added: February 12, 2024