The American Rescue Plan Act has made funds available to states and districts to speed up recovery from the effects of COVID-19, including addressing learning loss. The Wallace Foundation has distilled evidence from its work that may be helpful in informing choices about how to spend those funds, as well as how to implement key strategies.

Afterschool programs can play a meaningful and important role in recovery from the pandemic. Strong afterschool programs provide young people opportunities for growth, learning, and fun - but not all youth have access to high-quality programming. This document details how coordinated afterschool systems can improve access by addressing common barriers, such as transportation, convenience, affordability, and number of available slots.

Key components of effective afterschool systems include:

  • A coordinating entity that can play multiple roles, such as overseeing  afterschool provision, facilitating the development of quality standards, providing professional development, establishing community-wide data systems, and measuring success
  • A common data system that allows the afterschool system to collect, analyze and apply data to accomplish its goals
  • Quality standards or a framework that informs planning and measures program improvement, as well as guides decisions around funding, professional development, and more
  • A committed city leader(s) who may be advantageous for driving afterschool coordination

The document includes an annotated bibliography with more research and tools for further reading on how to implement these strategies.