EFFECTIVE USE OF DATA
How can united ways and their Coalitions effectively use out-of-school time data?
Data in Out-of-School Time Can be Used To:
- Map Existing Out-of-School Time Opportunities - out-of-school time stakeholders need data on existing school and community based programs - where they are, who they serve, what types of activities they offer, frequency and duration, etc. - in order to identify gaps in opportunities. This data can also be compared to school and student performance data, and socio-economic indicators to better pinpoint if new programs are needed and what types of programs would best align to individual student and community needs.
- Target Programs - to ensure that children and youth who need them most have access. Data on student performance, behavior, attendance, overall development and well-being is critical to determining what types of out-of-school time supports to provide and to which specific students.
- Strengthen Program Content and Practices - out-of-school time programs can be improved by using data to determine the extent to which actual content, activities, and staff practices reflect original program design.
- Align Staff Professional Development - Implementation of research-based program models and/or activities requires a strong, qualified staff. The best research-based model will not have any impact if staff does not have the skills and competencies to deliver. Data on program implementation weaknesses and strengths can be used to identify and provide additional training for staff and build program capacity.
- Communicate Results and Ensure Accountability - Public and private funders, parents, policymakers, and school leaders want to know that out-of-school time initiatives are meeting intended goals and having a positive impact on children and youth who participate in them. It is critical that out-of-school time leaders use data to conduct evaluations and regularly communicate progress and results. Using stories and data to share how programs are supporting shared goals for young people helps to build a groundswell of community support and sustained funding for out-of-school time initiatives.