This major report finds real promise—and challenges—in Wallace-supported efforts in five cities that aim to increase access to, and improve the quality of, afterschool programming by coordinating the work of such institutions as schools, parks and nonprofits. Volume I surveys factors that help and hinder these efforts. Volume II examines the use of data systems in Wallace-supported and other efforts. And Volume III profiles the five ventures. The chief insight is RAND’s finding of a “proof of principle” that the various organizations and institutions within a city with a hand in afterschool programming can work together to coordinate services. Another important finding is that this coordination can succeed in boosting access to programs (four cities of the five in the study increased the number of students served) and spur efforts to improve their quality.

The report also finds that the introduction of a management information system (MIS) was not subject to major pushback from program providers. The majority agreed that their city’s MIS provided valuable information and reported use of that information in a number of ways. It is important to note, however, that providers that were required to use more than one MIS were significantly less likely to find their city’s MIS useful. Moreover, providers and agencies were more likely to use an MIS that was customized to meet their specific needs.

Points of Interest

  • Cities large and small can launch afterschool systems, and these systems have the potential to work; i.e., give children and teens a better shot at filling their spare time with enrichment and learning rather than idleness and risk.
    Citywide #afterschool systems show real potential for giving kids more & better enrichment & learning opportunities.
  • A management information system can be a major support for citywide afterschool systems, providing the data needed for informed decision-making and advocacy.
    Management info systems (MIS) give citywide #afterschool systems the data for sound decision-making & advocacy.
  • Strong commitment from a city’s mayor is key to launching afterschool system-building, and frequently the support goes beyond the bully pulpit prerogatives of office.
    Mayoral backing, starting with the bully pulpit, is key to the successful launch of a citywide #afterschool system.

Supplementary Materials