Touching Lives With Quality Out-Of-School Time

Touching Lives With Quality Out-Of-School Time

When kids fall behind in school, they become frustrated and check out before they drop out. In fact, high school dropouts are four times more likely to be unemployed as those who have completed four or more years of college.

The correlation between high-quality out-of-school time (OST) programs and youth success is undeniable; kids who participate in quality OST programs are 12% less likely to drop out of school as their peers! That's why we're excited to lead BLOCS, a council working to create a premier OST system that advances our children's learning outside of the classroom in order to improve education outcomes, as they launch a new initiative called BLOCStar.

BLOCStar is a framework of best practice guidelines intended to generate OST provider participation and help motivate excellence in program performance. BLOCStar asks OST providers to use three assessment tools - CASADE, SAYO-Y and YPQI - that will allow them as well as BLOCS to access data on program quality, social emotional learning and academic achievement for their participating students.

By using these tools and adhering to BLOCStar program guidelines, these OST providers will be identified and promoted with greater visibility as an official BLOCS program partner whose impact on young people is being measured for improved results. With their commitment to these best practices, BLOCStar partners will be easily identified in Metro United Way's 2-1-1 information and help referral service, which is also BLOCS' online searchable database for OST programs.

"This is an opportunity for us to know who is in our OST programs and how much time students are spending at the site. It will also help us provide data back to the OST providers to assess how their program is working to further their youths' social-emotional development and their academic progress," said TJ Delahanty, Manager of Out-of-School Time Initiatives at Metro United Way. "Now we'll truly know if we are making a difference in their lives!"

Metro United Way is excited with this initiative to provide another tool to measure OST program quality; last year our efforts helped nearly 30,000 youth access high quality OST programs. By investing in programs that provide quality education and out-of-school time programs for students of all ages, we're investing in brighter prospects not just for ourselves or our children, but for the next generation as well!

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