After School Programs: The Benefits Can be Empirically Calculated
In the beginning after school programs, were simply supervision of students after the final school bell. Today it’s so much more. Nowadays after school programs not only focuses on academics but also on the holistic development of the student.
After school programs accelerate test scores, improve homework completion, higher academic performance, enhance physical health, reduce unwanted behaviour and provide a safe environment for the children of working parents.
Some benefits are:
- Create a sense of belonging.
- Develop critical thinking and problem solving skills
- Improve social skills.
- Provide academic support.
- Make learning more fun.
- Provide safety and supervision.
- Build confidence.
Effective after school programs bring a variety of advantages to youth, their families and the community as a whole. They bring positive results for students. However, without extensive resources, it is difficult for program leaders to ensure success in their programs.
The Importance of Measuring Success
There are benefits to measuring program success. It helps to identify what is working and what areas need attention. Thus, continuous improvement leads to positive outcomes. It also helps to draw support from the community, and potential sponsors.
There are 3 Tools and Strategies for Measuring Success
- Goal setting: The best way to start measuring success is by setting and tracking goals. Setting goals provides a clear understanding of what needs to be accomplished
- why it should be accomplished
- how to accomplish it
- if a new program needs to be launched
- how many new students to enroll
- decrease staff turnover
The goals have to be realistic and a timeframe has to be set. These will help you improve or maintain the program quality.
- Data collection and evaluation: Program Data / Parents interest level information is necessary to ensure program quality. It helps to measure goals, assess outcomes and makes adjustments to serve in a better way in each territory. Methods range from surveys, questionnaires, and interviews.
- Skill-based assessments: Students attending after school programs develop many skills. Program leaders must create unique and innovative opportunities to measure students achievements.
To sum up, STEM based After School Programs make learning more fun, build confidence in students and help them develop critical thinking and problem solving skills.