Our Work


NIOST focuses much of its work on under-served populations, with a strong commitment to diversity, access and quality.

NIOST's current policy work is focused on promoting quality standards on healthy eating and physical activity in OST programs as well as the nationally recognized core knowledge and competencies for afterschool and youth development professionals.

Our reseachers are working on numerous projects ranging from small evaluations of individual sites to statewide program improvement initiatives to a longitudinal study of a before school fitness program.

NIOST is a leader in developing and delivering trainings to afterschool professionals for more than three decades. Our customizable trainings are constantly evolving and we are excited to create trainings on new relevant topics. One project of the training department is helping state systems develop internal capacity to deliver our Links to Learning training.

Our assessment system, the Afterschool Program Assessment System (APAS), has been recognized by the Forum for Youth Investment and the U.S. Department of Education and is used in Wyoming, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Illinois and other programs nationwide and in Canada.

NIOST produces a wide array of research and technical papers, assessment and training tools, and publications. Our journal Afterschool Matters is the only peer-reviewed journal in the out-of-school time field.

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Raising the Bar but Keeping the Heart

This eight-minute video provides an overview of how the out-of-school-time (OST) field has evolved over the past few decades, with a specific examination of how scholars and trainers at NIOST have been integrally tied to this advancement. Professionals in the before- and afterschool world share their perspectives on workforce development, program quality, and the benefits of OST programming. As Ellen Gannett, director of NIOST, notes, it's essential that administrators, educators, and policy makers continue to raise the bar while "keeping the heart" central in OST.

Expanded Learning:  Opportunities (ELO) for Partnerships with a New Twist and a New Name

A Commentary by Ellen Gannett, M.Ed.

"ELO need not be only about more time, but how we use that time and how well we use that time. From our point of view at the National Institute on Out-of-School Time, expanded learning takes partnerships to a new level and has the potential of blurring the boundaries between in-school and out-of-school time, taking advantage of many settings in the community, not just the school campus. "

Full article >>