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How to Create and Manage After School Programs

After school programs have increased, now serving around 8.4 million children. These programs help with academic and social achievement as well as keeping them out of trouble.

How do we do this? The school program has to be fun, creative, and something kids looks forward to for a long time. Here are five key components in order to running an effective program.

1. Goals

Having goals allows you to hold the program to a certain standard and make the kids feel accomplished. It is important to include the children in certain decisions regarding program activities. You want a program that the children love and benefit.

Ways to accomplish this component:

  • Have clearly defined goals in a written plan
  • Have program activities that are aligned with those goals
  • Stress the importance of academics
  • Have more certified teachers
  • Have a specific emphasis for your goals. For example a goal having to with science, homework support, technology or art
  • Communicate with the day school programs so you know what to focus on after school

2. Leadership 

More effective after school programs have managers and directors with many years of experience in the field. 

Notable leaders:

  • Have a clear vision and mission statement
  • Have trust in the staff in their ability and knowledge
  • Promote a positive team culture
  • Have clear communication with your staff
  • Make sure the resources needed are available for both the students and the staff
  • Provide the staff with developmental opportunities so they continue to grow
  • Use decentralized decision making; meaning allow the staff and other employees to have a say in the decisions that are made
  • Maintain good relationships with the day-school professionals
  • Make sure the staff feels needed and valuable 

3. Staff

It's crucial to hire the right people that believe in your mission and are properly qualified. Having good relationships with your staff builds a respect among everyone that is important to set the mood for the work place. The staff is who the students look up to and see as role models.

Hire employees who:

  • Have a high education level
  • Have experience in after school programs
  • Have technological experience
  • Are willing to learn

4. Programs

Most effective after school programs offer three or more programs a day. Programs range from homework help, tutoring, arts and crafts, academic, health and nutrition, cooking, dance, sports, etc. The majority of these programs provide time for both academics and recreational learning.

Ways to maintain a compelling program are:

  • Have unique and creative ways to engage the students in each program
  • Make sure the programs will increase a positive change in the children’s behavior and attitude as well as an improvement in general program functioning
  • Include field trips
  • Include character development and community involvement
  • High parent involvement so the parent is informed where their child needs more coaching
  • Make sure the programs are effective and beneficial to the students

5. Evaluation 

Evaluations for students, teachers, and parents are important to gauge how the child is performing and addresses areas that need to be improved.

Ways to evaluate your program:

  • Communicate with the day-school teachers in order to see if the students who are in your after-school program are improving
  • Compare reading level at the beginning of the school year and at the end of the school year
  • Compare other skills such as math and english at the beginning of the school year and at the end of the school year
  • Communicate with the day-school teachers to see if attendance and class participation have improved
  • Evaluate the student's confidence and efficiency and compare it to the year before

These five areas are important for students to feel involved and feel like they're excelling. After school programs are important for the development of the next generation and should be safe, fun and an arena of learning.

Click below to learn more about schools Payscape Registration partners with and how we could help you with you after school initiatives.

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