In an effort to identify and incorporate quality practices into existing and future afterschool programs, the U.S. Department of Education commissioned the National Partnership for Quality Afterschool Learning
(National Partnership) to study high functioning 21st Century Community Learning Center programs. The purpose of this study was to document practices to be used to develop resources and professional development that address issues relating to the establishment and sustainability of afterschool programs, to provide models and indicators of promising practices, and to highlight other descriptive information that local sites can access in planning new afterschool programs or improve existing ones. Fifty-three afterschool programs, representing eight regional divisions of the nation, including rural and urban programs and community-based and school district related programs, were identified using rigorous methods. Promising practices in content delivery, program organization, and program structure were studied. The findings were synthesized into the National Partnership’s Afterschool Training Toolkit
, which was made available to programs nationwide via the World Wide Web. Based on the study findings, the National Partnership conducted professional development consistently and extensively throughout the nation.