New Jersey Department of Education

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Keeping Our Kids Safe, Healthy & In School

Afterschool Matters Spring 2014 Edition

Title: Afterschool Matters Spring 2014 Edition

  • Source: Afterschool Matters
  • PDF: Afterschool Matters
  • Summaries of Featured Articles
  • How to Build a Robot: Collaborating to Strengthen STEM Programming in a Citywide System: This article provides an example of a STEM focused afterschool program in New York: the New York Academy of Sciences Afterschool STEM Mentoring Program.  This program matches young scientists at the New York Academy of Scientists with out-of-school time programs in New York.  This program has been very successful. Based on this afterschool program's experience, the author provides four pieces of advice for other afterschool programs attempting to become STEM focused:
    • 1. Recruit partnerships with academic institutions;
    • 2. Provide extensive training and a strong curriculum;
    • 3. Select effective sites and mentors; and
    • 4. Provide ongoing support. 
  • Effective Practices for Evaluating STEM Out-of-School Time Programs: This article emphasizes the importance of frequently conducting both formative and summative evaluations of afterschool programs, as well as the importance of setting clear, strong goals for the program. Evaluations must then be used by program developers to drive decisions and make improvements.
  • Cosmic Chemistry: A Proactive Approach to Summer Science for High School Students: This article provides an example of an afterschool program that aims to enhance students' interest in and understanding of chemistry, preparing them for the rigorous coursework of high school. The article includes five basic recommendations for out-of-school time programs:
    • 1. Align the out-of-school time program academically with the school day;
    • 2. Maximize student participation and attendance;
    • 3. Adapt instruction to individual needs;
    • 4. Provide engaging learning experiences; and
    • 5. Assess program performance and use the results to improve the quality of the program.