The After School Corporation, guided by research from the field, has arrived at 10 essential categories that define a quality after-school program:

Environment/Climate

A quality program provides a safe, healthy and nurturing environment for all participants.

Administration/Organization

A quality program has a well-developed infrastructure and sound fiscal management to support and enhance worthwhile programming and activities for all participants.

Relationships

A quality program develops, nurtures and maintains positive relationships and interactions among staff, participants, parents and communities to support the program's goals.

Staffing/Professional Development

A quality program recruits, hires and trains diverse staff members who value each participant, understand their developmental needs, and work closely with families, school partners and co-workers to achieve the program goals.

Programming/Activities

A quality program provides a well-rounded variety of activities and opportunities that support the physical, social and cognitive growth and development of all participants.

Academic Alignment/Achievement

A quality program has its staff work closely with school staff to ensure that after-school academic components and activities are aligned with and enrich school standards and curriculum.

Youth Participation/Engagement

A quality program provides opportunities for participants to participate in planning, to exercise choice and to engage in a rich variety of offerings and opportunities.

Parent/Family/Community Partnerships

A quality program establishes a strong partnership with families and communities in order to achieve program goals.

Program Sustainability/Growth

A quality program has a coherent vision/mission and a plan for increasing capacity that supplies continuing growth.

Measuring Outcomes/Evaluation

A quality program has a system for measuring outcomes and using that information for on-going program planning, improvement and evaluation.

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