How Can United Ways Strengthen Out-of-School Program Quality?

  • informed by using this toolkit to link to additional resources on quality.
  • Educate the United Way board, donors, volunteers, and partners about the importance of program quality.
  • Partner with other out-of-school time stakeholders to develop improvement strategies and share accountability for actions and results in order to improve quality at scale.
  • Align with school curricula and instruction. Programs that are intentionally aligned with the school curricula and instruction are a critical aspect of quality and will do more to support students at-risk of academic failure than those that are not; United Ways can work closely with school leaders to make this happen.
  • Support quality by funding initiatives that are based on existing research on quality and clearly align program goals to proposed activities and intended participant outcomes.
  • Collect and use data on student attendance, participation, and school performance from funded programs.
  • Build capacity to ensure that volunteers (mentors, tutors) are trained to effectively support program activities; work as part of existing coalitions to provide training and professional development opportunities for front line staff.
  • Invest in quality to support evaluations that look at the connection between agreed upon indicators of quality and participant outcomes; invest in quality improvement processes that strengthen program practices.
  • Advocate for increased public investments in quality as part of new and existing funding streams that support afterschool.
  • Engage with parents and youth to get their input on what they want and need from out-of-school time programs. This is especially important for older youth that have greater autonomy and choice in how they spend their time outside of school.