Strengthening and Safeguarding Continuous Quality Improvement Systems: Lessons from Afterschool System Builders

Over the course of the past three years, the Wallace Foundation’s Next Generation Afterschool System Building Initiative Quality Group – led by the National Institute on Out-of-School Time (NIOST) – met monthly to discuss issues concerning the support and sustainability of continuous quality improvement systems (CQIS). The working group went beyond spelling out needed components of a successful CQIS; rather, they spent the three years looking at the inner workings of a system – sharing concrete, tested strategies and practices, and revealing complexities, debates, and questions related to quality.

NIOST has drafted a report that documents the work of the Quality Group and shares the collective lessons learned. If you are interested in reviewing the working draft and providing feedback, please download the report below and complete the feedback survey. Thank you!

Click the image below, or click here to download the report.

 

CQISPaper

 

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We are dedicated to:

  • Conducting, tracking and organizing research.
  • Interpreting and synthesizing research for multiple audiences, including policymakers, press and practitioners.
  • Participating in evaluation research at the program, community and national levels, both by conducting research and contributing to collaborative evaluations.
  • Disseminating and packaging information in a variety of products such as publications, videos and electronic media.

Selected Active Projects

Afterschool Matters Initiative

As part of this initiative, NIOST will be working to nationally expand the Afterschool Practitioner Fellowship Program, disseminate the Afterschool Matters Journal, and continue both the Edmund A. Stanley, Jr. Research Grantee program and Research Roundtables forum. This initiative has the goal of fostering high quality, cutting-edge research, bridging the gap between research and practice, and ultimately showcasing research that impacts the afterschool field.

Boston Afterschool and Beyond Partnership Project

NIOST is working in collaboration with Boston Afterschool and Beyond and three Boston Public Schools to explore components of school CBO partnership afterschool programming and potential contributions to positive youth outcomes. Research methodologies include program observation, semi-structured interviews, and the Survey on Afterschool Youth Outcomes (staff and youth versions).

 BOKS Longitudinal Evaluation

NIOST is conducting a longitudinal study in Natick and Boston public schools of BOKS, a before-school physical activity program sponsored by Reebok.

Wyoming Afterschool Alliance Mott Achievement Project

IOST is working with the Wyoming Afterschool Alliance to build the internal capacity to improve quality in a wide variety of afterschool programs using NIOST’s APAS system. In the fall of 2011, NIOST trained seventeen programs across the state of Wyoming on APAS. Based on NIOST reports from data collected from the sites each program is working on individual action plans to improve the overall quality of their programs. In addition, fifteen experienced afterschool professionals were trained as Quality Advisors to assist the programs in their continuous program improvement efforts.

Attleboro Public Schools Afterschool Programs/Balfour Foundation Technical Assistance Project

The National Institute on Out-of-School Time is providing technical assistance to the Title 1 afterschool programs in the Attleboro Public School District with support from the Balfour Foundation. NIOST researchers are collaborating with district staff to document best practice and measurement of youth outcomes for the school year and summer programs. 

Technical Assistance, Next Generation Afterschool System Building Initiative

The National Institute on Out of School Time was chosen as one of three organizations to support the work of the Wallace Foundation in the Next Generation Afterschool System Building Initiative.

Consulting on Best Strategies for Program Practice and Self-Assessment

NIOST is working with the United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey to create standards for effective practices and self-assessment in their effort to positively impact high school graduation rates in low performing schools.  

PSAYDN Quality Committee Statewide Older Youth QRIS Initiative 

NIOST is working with the United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey and with the Pennsylvania Statewide Afterschool/Youth Development Network (PSAYDN) Quality Committee in spearheading the development of a statewide older youth Quality Rating, Improvement & Outcomes Measurement System (QRIS) to complement the existing Pennsylvania Keystone STARS system for early childhood education and school-age child care programs.   


We are dedicated to:

  • Conducting, tracking and organizing research.
  • Interpreting and synthesizing research for multiple audiences, including policymakers, press and practitioners.
  • Participating in evaluation research at the program, community and national levels, both by conducting research and contributing to collaborative evaluations.
  • Disseminating and packaging information in a variety of products such as publications, videos and electronic media.

 

Selected Completed Projects

 

CityWorks: Building Strong Citywide Afterschool Initiatives

This project sought to improve the availability and preservation of out-of-school time programming and to disseminate information on recruiting, training, development, and finance.

 

Framingham Public Schools

NIOST is conducting an evaluation of 21st Century Community Learning Programs in Framingham, Massachusetts. NIOST visits each site using the APT tool as a guide and shares their findings with the 21st century team. NIOST also assists with the analysis of SAYO data and the annual report to the DOE.

 

From Out-of-School to Outer Space: Exploring the Solar System with NASA

NIOST is responsible for conducting an evaluation of a new afterschool program curriculum titled “From Out-of-School to Outer Space: Exploring the Solar System with NASA,” which was developed by NASA. The focus of the project is to increase science literacy and encourage interest in science-related educational opportunities.

 

Leading for Quality Initiative

The City of Cambridge hired NIOST for their general leadership and guidance and evaluation for the out-of-school time “Leading for Quality Initiative,” as well as facilitation of the executive level Communities of Practice. The goal of this project is quality improvement in Cambridge afterschool programs.

 

Massachusetts Afterschool Research Study (MARS)

This project sought to identify the most successful elements of afterschool programs in Massachusetts; including staff, policy making, funding, and program/activity participation.

 

Met Life Discovering Community Initiative: An Evaluation Project

This was an evaluation of a national project that fosters more positive attitudes and stronger affiliations among middle school teachers, students, and parents within school communities.

 

New York City Urban Debate League: Investigating Youth's Experiences in a "Democracy in Action" Afterschool Program

This study examined the ways in which youth participate in the League: how do they experience the democratic ideals of a debate program? How do they come to consider and participate in democracy?

 

Outcomes Evaluation of FasTracKids

The FasTracKids Research Study is a 19-month international study aimed at examining the link between participation in FasTracKids enrichment programs and child outcomes (children 4 and 5 years old). FasTracKids Enrichment Centers offer a variety of classes and activities designed to promote early learning, develop creative thinking and problem solving, build verbal communication, promote leadership and personal growth, and encourage a lifelong love of learning.

 

Physical Activity Over Time: Health Outcomes of Elementary School Children

The objective of the study is to provide comprehensive insight into the mechanisms that promote habits of physical activity in adolescents. The subjects in the NICHD Study of Early Child Care & Youth Development represent one of the largest cohorts on whom multiple measures of physical activity and the associated contexts have been longitudinally collected.

 

Program Practices: An Investigation of Physical Activity and Healthy Eating Standards and Practices in Out-of School Time Programs (HOST)

Energy balance and appropriate physical activity are critical to preventing obesity and associated cardiometabolic morbidity. In the United States, 6.5 million children attend out-of-school time programs annually, participating in roughly 3 hours per day of activities typically including homework, snack, and gross motor play. If out-of-school time programs can provide appropriate snack and physical activity choices, they can be an important component of the campaign against childhood obesity.

 

 

  • PEOPLE ARE SAYING

    "NIOST has been an anchor for numerous school age care projects we do, including ASQ (After-School Quality) and Links to Learning. They are a nationally respected organization that Pennsylvania has partnered with for over 20 years."



    – Betsy O. Saatman, TA Specialist/SAC Initiatives, Pennsylvania Key
  • PEOPLE ARE SAYING

    "NIOST was a core partner in supporting the development of quality improvement systems across the nine cities that participated in The Wallace Foundation Next Generation Afterschool System-Building Initiative. The NIOST team worked well with other technical assistance partners in the initiative, always willing to pitch in and collaborate with others to make our professional learning community meetings a team effort. I truly hope the Foundation has an opportunity to partner with them in the future."


    – Priscilla M. Little, Initiative Manager, The Wallace Foundation

  • PEOPLE ARE SAYING

    "NIOST has been a leader in the out-of-school time field for as long as I can remember, and I have relied on their research, tools, and advice to improve my practice throughout my career. Their staff members are good partners and good listeners, and their influence across the country is palpable."


    – Jane Quinn, Vice President and Director of National Center for Community Schools, Children's Aid Society
  • PEOPLE ARE SAYING

    "Georgia Hall, Ellen Gannett, and the NIOST team have been instrumental in driving the healthy afterschool movement. Their dedication to quality practice, informed policy, and collective impact is instrumental in our effort to create healthier communities."



    – Daniel W. Hatcher, Director, Community Partnerships, Alliance for a Healthier Generation

Wellesley Centers for Women
Wellesley College
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Wellesley, MA 02481-8203 USA

niost@wellesley.edu
781.283.2547
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