Standards-Based Afterschool Activities
We often talk about having high standards for students. If you are working to boost student achievement, make sure you include state academic standards. A recent study of high- quality afterschool programs found that all of the programs studied incorporated state or national standards into their curriculum.*
Does your afterschool or expanded learning program align activities with academic
standards? If not, or if your staff has varied classroom teaching experience, there are ways to ensure that all instructors lead activities that are aligned with standards.
Get help developing standards-based activities. If instructors in your afterschool
program have limited backgrounds in formal learning techniques, have staff with classroom experience develop standards-based activities for your program.
Show instructors what standards-based activities look like. If you have certified
teachers at your afterschool program, have them model quality instructional practices
connecting activities to standards for other staff to observe. You might also consider hiring a teacher to demonstrate lessons for your staff.
Help staff learn standards. Although the study of high-quality afterschool programs found that sites aligned activities with standards, a number of program staff reported they had little direct knowledge of state standards. This was more common in programs where instructors had little or no formal educational training. When asked questions that included a standard, however, virtually all staff members described in detail how they tied activities to that standard.
You can help instructors become more familiar with standards and find ways to align lessons with them. Talk to a curriculum specialist at the district office or a school you serve to learn more about appropriate standards, or visit a standards clearing-house like edstandards.org. (link no longer working as of 1/2012)
* Jordan, C., Parker, J., Donnelly, D., Rudo, Z. (Eds.). (in press). A practitioner’s guide: Building and managing quality afterschool programs. Austin, TX: SEDL.
A recent study of high-quality afterschool programs found that all of the programs studied incorporated state or national standards into their curriculum.
The SEDL National Center for Quality Afterschool helps state education agencies and local practitioners develop high-quality programs for academic enrichment as well as youth development activities.