New Jersey School-Age Care Coalition - the Network for New Jersey's Afterschool Communities
Quality Standards

Self-Assessment Rubric: Programming & Activities

Performance Levels
Rate your afterschool program in each of the indicators using the following system:

  • Performance Level 1: Needs Improvement/Standard Not Met
  • Performance Level 2: Some Progress Made/Approaching Standard
  • Performance Level 3: Satisfactory/Meets Standard
  • Performance Level 4: Excellent/Exceeds Standard

A quality afterschool program should strive to meet Performance Level 3 on all quality indicators.

Programming & Activities
Programming and activities support youth development and learning, and they are fun, engaging, and tailored to the youth in the program.

1. Activities are intentional and are aligned with the program's mission

a. Staff choose activities based on careful consideration of the purpose.

  • Performance Level 4: Staff work collaboratively to identify long-term programming goals and then choose and develop activities based on those goals.
  • Performance Level 3: Staff attempt to link activities with both short-term and long-term goals, but this process is not generally collaborative or formalized.
  • Performance Level 2: Activity development is not collaborative and linkages to program goals are inconsistent.
  • Performance Level 1: Activity development is ad-hoc and does not reflect careful consideration of the purpose.

b. Staff consider the program's mission when choosing activities.

  • Performance Level 4: Staff regularly refer back to the program’s mission while working collaboratively to identify long-term programming goals.
  • Performance Level 3: Staff periodically refer back to the program’s mission while developing activity plans.
  • Performance Level 2: Staff rarely consider the program’s mission when choosing activities.
  • Performance Level 1: Staff do not consider the mission when choosing activities.

2. Activities are tailored to the individual youth in the program

a. Activities are geared towards developing each individual youth's interests, talents, and skills.

  • Performance Level 4: Program staff work collaboratively to identify the individual interests, talents, and skills of youth in the program and then choose and develop activities that reflect this consideration. Program youth consistently find activities within the program that help them maximize their individual potential.
  • Performance Level 3: Staff make attempts to choose activities based on consideration of individual youth’s interests, talents, and skills, but this process is not generally collaborative or formalized. Activity offerings are diverse enough and responsive enough to youth’s individuality that most youth can find activities within the program that they find engaging.
  • Performance Level 2: Activities reflect some consideration of the individual interests, talents, and skills of youth in the program. Activity offerings are generally limited and unresponsive to youth’s individuality.
  • Performance Level 1: Activities do not develop individual youth interest, talents and skills.

b. Activities are suited to the individual learning styles of youth in the program.

  • Performance Level 4: Program staff work collaboratively to identify the individual learning styles of youth in the program and then choose and develop activities that reflect this consideration. Youth are rarely compelled to participate in activities that don’t match their learning styles.
  • Performance Level 3: Staff make attempts to choose activities based on consideration of individual youth’s learning styles, but this process is not generally collaborative or formalized. Activities are often but not consistently well-matched to youth’s individual learning styles.
  • Performance Level 2: Activities reflect little consideration of the individual learning styles of youth in the program. Youth are frequently compelled to participate in activities that don’t match their learning styles.
  • Performance Level 1: Activities do not suit the individual learning styles of youth in the program.

c. Activities represent the languages and cultures of youth in the program.

  • Performance Level 4: Program staff work collaboratively to incorporate and respect youth’s home languages and cultures when developing activities. Youth have frequent opportunities to participate in activities that meaningfully and respectfully incorporate their home languages and cultures. This includes music, games, arts and crafts, and stories, and it includes contributions from program families.
  • Performance Level 3: Staff make attempts to choose activities based on consideration of youth’s home languages and cultures, but this process is not generally collaborative, formalized or consistent. Youth have some opportunities to participate in activities that reflect their home languages and cultures, and these activities are respectful of those languages and cultures. Program families occasionally contribute to these activities.
  • Performance Level 2: Activities rarely incorporate the home languages and cultures of program youth in a meaningful and respectful way. Program families rarely contribute to these activities.
  • Performance Level 1: Activities are not representative of the language and cultures of youth in the program. Program families are never asked to share music, games, arts and crafts, and stories in their language and culture.

d. Activities are age appropriate and developmentally appropriate.

  • Performance Level 4: Staff who plan activities apply knowledge of theory and research into what types of activities are appropriate for different ages and different developmental stages. Most youth in the program regularly find activities that are well-suited to their age and developmental stage.
  • Performance Level 3: Staff consider program youth’s ages and developmental stages when planning activities, but this process reflects limited use of theory and research into this topic. Activities are generally age-appropriate, but most youth participate on a regular basis in some activities that are not developmentally appropriate and not adapted adequately to their developmental needs.
  • Performance Level 2: There is a frequent mis-match between the ages or developmental stages of program youth and the activities that are offered to them.
  • Performance Level 1: Staff who plan activities are unaware of knowledge and theory for different age and developmental stages. Consistently, there is a mismatch between the ages or development stages of program youth and the activities offered to them.

3. Youth learning through program activities is experiential and related to real-world challenges

Most activities are hands-on, interactive, project-based, inquiry-based, and/or encourage youth exploration of their world.

  • Performance Level 4: All activity development aspires to programming that is entirely hands-on, interactive, project-based, inquiry-based, and/or encouraging of youth exploration. Youth rarely participate in program activities that do not meet one or more of these criteria.
  • Performance Level 3: Activity offerings often meet most of these criteria. There are systems and structures that allow youth to pursue their questions and develop projects, but youth may be constrained from pursuing their questions or projects to their maximum potential.
  • Performance Level 2: Activity offerings often meet at least a few of these criteria. However, projects are generally very short-term, youth often face limitations when seeking to explore their world within the confines of the program, and/or the process for inquiry-based learning is excessively rigid.
  • Performance Level 1: Youth are compelled to participate in activities that do not meet these criteria. Activities do not encourage youth to explore, ask questions, or develop projects.

4. Activities support the development of youths' personal, social, and emotional skills

a. The program includes a strong focus on developing youths' personal, social, and emotional skills. These include self-awareness skills, self-management skills, social awareness skills, relationship skills, decision-making skills, and other learning skills.

  • Performance Level 4: Staff who plan activities apply knowledge of theory and research into the topic of personal, social, and emotional skills and their relationship to positive youth development. Youth find frequent opportunities to participate in activities that reflect a knowledgeable and deliberate effort to develop their personal, social, and emotional skills.
  • Performance Level 3: The activity planning process includes consideration of the development of youth’s personal, social, and emotional skills, but this process reflects limited use of theory and research into this topic. Youth find opportunities to participate in activities that develop their personal, social, and emotional skills.
  • Performance Level 2: The activity planning process includes minimal consideration of the development of personal, social, and emotional skills and is not grounded in theory and research into this topic. Activities intended to develop these skills may be unsuccessful at engaging the youth, and there are other missed opportunities to gear activities towards the development of these skills.
  • Performance Level 1: Staff who plan activities do not often consider the development of youth’s personal, social, and emotional skills through program activities. Youth rarely participate in activities that deliberately develop these skills.

5. The program is explicit about the specific personal, social, and emotional skills it seeks to develop and what program activities support these goals.

The program is explicit about the specific personal, social, and emotional skills it seeks to develop and what program activities support these goals.

  • Performance Level 4: Staff work collaboratively to identify the specific personal, social, and emotional skills the program seeks to develop and create activity plans that explicitly identify the specific personal, social, and emotional skills that each relevant activity is intended to develop. Program youth and their families are aware of the skills being developed in the program.
  • Performance Level 3: Staff intend to develop personal, social, and emotional skills through programming and make some effort to specify which skills and which activities develop these skills. Program youth and their families may not be aware of the skills being developed in the program.
  • Performance Level 2: Staff intend to develop personal, social, and emotional skills through programming and make some effort to specify which skills and which activities develop these skills. However, this process is not generally collaborative, consistent, or written. Program youth and their families are not aware of the skills being developed in the program.
  • Performance Level 1: There is no attempt to develop specific personal, social, or emotional skills through programming.

a. Activities for teaching personal, social, and emotional skills revolve around giving youth opportunities to practice these skills.

  • Performance Level 4: Most program youth have frequent opportunities to actively practice specific personal, social, and emotional skills through program activities.
  • Performance Level 3: Program youth have some opportunities to practice specific personal, social, and emotional skills through program activities. However, lessons are sometimes didactic, with inadequate focus on the need to actively practice skills.
  • Performance Level 2: Program youth have few opportunities to practice personal, social, and emotional skills through organized program activities.
  • Performance Level 1: Program youth have no opportunities to practice personal, social, and emotional skills through organized program activities.

b. For complex personal, social, and emotional skills, the program breaks these down into developmental steps and provides activities that help youth master the steps one-by-one over time.

  • Performance Level 4: Staff develop activity plans with consideration of the step-by-step nature of the process of developing personal, social, and emotional skills. Program youth participate in activities that help them develop specific personal, social, and emotional skills over time in a developmental and incremental manner.
  • Performance Level 3: Youth sometimes have opportunities to participate in activities that help them develop specific personal, social, and emotional skills over time in a developmental and incremental manner. However, youth sometimes participate in activities geared towards developing a specific skills and then do not participate in further activities focused on the next step in developing that skill.
  • Performance Level 2: Program youth have few opportunities to develop personal, social, and emotional skills in a developmental and incremental manner. There is little consideration of the step-by-step nature of the process of developing these skills.
  • Performance Level 1: Program youth rarely have opportunities to develop personal, social, and emotional skills in a developmental and incremental manner.

6. The program offers a variety of activities

a. Youth can choose which activity to participate in from among a variety of activities offered.

  • Performance Level 4: Program youth have the opportunity on most days to choose an activity or to participate in activities that involve substantial choice.
  • Performance Level 3: Program youth often have the opportunity to choose an activity or to participate in activities that involve substantial choice, but not on a daily basis.
  • Performance Level 2: Program youth infrequently have the opportunity to choose an activity. Activities generally do not involve substantial choice.
  • Performance Level 1: Program youth have no activity choices.

b. There is a balance among types of activities offered. Examples of types of activities include, but are not limited to, the following: literacy, the arts, STEM (Science Technology, Engineering, and Math), cooking, community service/service learning, sports and games, health-promotion, quiet activity, socializing, and multi-cultural/global learning.

  • Performance Level 4: The program offers at least some activities in at least seven different categories on a monthly basis.
  • Performance Level 3: The program offers at least some activities in at least seven different categories on an annual basis. Or the program offers at least some activities on a monthly basis in at least four different categories.
  • Performance Level 2: Most activities offered through the program fall into three different categories or fewer.
  • Performance Level 1: The program does not offer a mix of activities.

c. There are both youth-directed and staff-directed activities.

  • Performance Level 4: Youth have frequent opportunities to develop and implement their own activities. At the same time, staff provide clear leadership in the development and implementation of other activities. There is a balance between these youth-directed and staff-directed activities.
  • Performance Level 3: Youth have some opportunities to develop and implement their own activities, but the vast majority of activities are directed by staff. Staff sometimes provide clear leadership in the development and implementation of activities, but the vast majority of activities are youth-directed.
  • Performance Level 2: (1) Youth have some opportunities to develop and implement their own activities, but the vast majority of activities are directed by staff. OR (2) Staff sometimes provide clear leadership in the development and implementation of activities, but the vast majority of activities are youth-directed.
  • Performance Level 1: (1) Other than in unusual circumstances, all program activities are staff-directed. OR (2) Other than in unusual circumstances, all program activities are youth-directed.

d. Youth have opportunities to play/work individually as well as collaboratively in a small or large group.

  • Performance Level 4: Youth always have opportunities to participate in activities with all three structures on a weekly basis.
  • Performance Level 3: Youth have some opportunities to participate in activities with all three structures -- individual, small-group (2-6 youth), and large-group (7+ youth).
  • Performance Level 2: The vast majority of activities offered use just one of these three structures -- individual, small-group (2-6 youth), or large-group (7+ youth). The other two structures are infrequently offered.
  • Performance Level 1: The vast majority of activities offered use just one of these three structures -- individual, small-group (2-6 youth), or large-group (7+ youth). The other two structures are rarely offered.

7. Programming includes, but is not limited by, homework and tutoring activities

a. There is balance between time youth spend doing homework and time spent doing other activities.

  • Performance Level 4: There is some program time spent on homework activities and some program time spent on other activities. Throughout the program year, program staff clearly communicate with program families about the amount of time dedicated to homework and tutoring and are responsive to learning needs an individual youth may have.
  • Performance Level 3: On most days, there is some program time spent on homework activities and some program time spent on other activities. Program staff clearly communicate with program families about the amount of time dedicated to homework and tutoring at the beginning of the year.
  • Performance Level 2: There is time allocated for homework activities and for other activities in the program schedule on most days. However, it is common for homework activities to take up the majority of the program day. Or, alternatively, it is common for youth to spend their homework time doing other activities even if they haven’t completed their daily assignments. Program staff do not communicate with program families about the amount of time dedicated to homework and tutoring.
  • Performance Level 1: Program time is rarely spend on non-homework activities. Or, alternatively, program time is rarely spent on homework activities.

b. The program is accommodating to youths' different learning styles while completing homework. For example, students are allowed to do homework in a variety of spaces and positions.

  • Performance Level 4: Program staff are proactive in their use of observation and discussion to understand youth’s different learning styles while doing homework, then seek to build an environment that is conducive to those styles. There is a variety of workspaces available to students completing homework. Students are rarely compelled to complete homework in a workspace, position, or environment that does not accommodate their learning styles.
  • Performance Level 3: Program staff are flexible in response to individual students’ need for a homework environment different from the main one offered. However, they are not proactive in this regard, and students or families need to bring these needs to their attention. There is one main homework environment available to most students.
  • Performance Level 2: There is one homework environment available to all students, and the program does not adapt to accommodate youths’ different learning styles while completing homework. Students are sometimes compelled to do homework in a workspace, position, or environment that is not well-suited to their learning styles.
  • Performance Level 1: There is one homework environment available to all students, and the program does not adapt to accommodate youths’ different learning styles while completing homework.

c. The program has a policy on how it approaches homework and shares this policy with parents.

  • Performance Level 4: There is a written policy explaining how much time the program devotes to homework completion, the learning methodologies used during homework time, and the reasons why. The program proactively communicates this official policy with youth and their families.
  • Performance Level 3: The program has a formal written policy on its approach to homework, but it does not communicate it effectively to parents or follow it consistently.
  • Performance Level 2: The program approaches homework in an inconsistent manner and does not does not communicate the policy effectively to parents or follow it consistently.
  • Performance Level 1: There is no written policy, overarching philosophy, or consistency guiding the program’s approach to homework. There is little or no communication with parents about the program’s approach to homework.

8. The program's use of technology and electronics is intentional and supports quality programming

a. Activities encourage active versus passive involvement with technology and electronics.

  • Performance Level 4: Program activities that employ technology and electronics generally encourage youth to use critical thinking to solve problems and create something new. Youth are encouraged to produce examples of technology rather than just acting as consumers of technology. Examples are creating a website, producing a news program, or finding new uses for existing items.
  • Performance Level 3: There are some program activities that encourage youth to produce examples of technology rather than just acting as consumers of technology. However, it is equally common for youth to use technology and electronics in the program in a passive way. Examples of “passive involvement” include using the internet to research a report or using a web-based learning program. Passive use of technology during program activities still generally involves critical thinking skills.
  • Performance Level 2: There is no guiding philosophy for the program’s use of technology and electronics in youth activities. Youth use of technology and electronics in the program is generally passive and often involves limited critical thinking.
  • Performance Level 1: There is no guiding philosophy for the program’s use of technology and electronics in youth activities. Youth use of technology and electronics in the program is always passive.

b. Activities and staff encourage youth to make safe, healthy, and carefully-considered choices in their use of technology and electronics.

  • Performance Level 4: There are program activities and structured conversations between staff and youth that actively engage youth in considering what makes technology/electronics use safe, healthy, or positive. Staff encourage youth to make their own decisions, while providing information about risks and opportunities and exposing youth to positive role modeling.
  • Performance Level 3: There are program activities and/or structured conversations between staff and youth that provide information about safe, healthy, and positive use of technology/electronics and about potential risks. However, the program does not actively engage youth in critical thinking on this topic and/or provides limited exposure to positive role modeling.
  • Performance Level 2: The program provides information about safe, healthy, and positive use of technology/electronics and about potential risks. However, the program does not engage youth in critical thinking on this topic and staff inconsistently model positive behavior.
  • Performance Level 1: The program does not provide youth with information about safe, healthy, and positive use of technology/electronics or the potential risks.

9. The daily routine is structured and stable, while flexible enough to meet the changing or individual needs of youth.

a. Most days follow the same basic structure, and a daily schedule is posted.

  • Performance Level 4: There is an established schedule that outlines the basic types of activities that take place each day and the time of day that each occurs. This schedule is posted in places that where staff and parents regularly spend time and is easy for them to see. Most days do not divert drastically from this daily schedule.
  • Performance Level 3: There is an established daily schedule, but it is not posted clearly for parents and staff.
  • Performance Level 2: The program diverts substantially from a regular schedule on a weekly basis.
  • Performance Level 1: There is no official daily schedule and/or the program diverts substantially from a regular schedule several times a week.

b. There are procedures in place for communicating about upcoming activities to families. Examples are monthly calendars or newsletters.

  • Performance Level 4: The program uses monthly calendars or newsletters or some other procedure for communicating about upcoming activities to families. The procedure is consistent, and the program ensures that all families are aware and able to access and understand the information. The program regularly solicits feedback on its communications to ensure they are relevant and helpful to program families.
  • Performance Level 3: The program uses monthly calendars or newsletters or some other procedure for communicating about upcoming activities to families.
  • Performance Level 2: The program inconsistently communicates with parents. Communication is ad-hoc, and families are often unaware of specially-scheduled activities until immediately before or even after the event.
  • Performance Level 1: The program uses no regular procedure for communicating about upcoming activities to families. This communication is ad-hoc, and families are often unaware of specially-scheduled activities until immediately before or even after the event.

c. The program allows adjustments to the regular schedule when appropriate.

  • Performance Level 4: When a youth need or activity opportunity arises that requires adjustment in the regular schedule, the program is flexible enough to adapt and still accomplish key program components such as snack time, physical activity time or homework time (if applicable). If such adjustments become too common (ex. substantial diversions on a weekly basis), the staff reshape the official routine accordingly. Schedule changes are clearly communicated to program parents.
  • Performance Level 3: The program often allows needed adjustments to the regular schedule, but these adjustments may impact key program components resulting in limited or canceled snack, physical activity or homework time (if applicable). Schedule changes may not be communicated to program parents.
  • Performance Level 2: The program often allows needed adjustments to the regular schedule, but other times the schedule is too rigid to address a youth need or activity opportunity. Or alternatively, the program adjusts when needed, but the daily routine becomes confusing because the program does not return quickly enough to the regular schedule or because diversions are too common. Program parents are not informed of schedule changes.
  • Performance Level 1: The program schedule is often too rigid to address a youth need or activity opportunity that requires adjustment to the routine.

10. Movement between activities is youth-centered

a. Youth can move between activities on their own without waiting for the whole group to move, to the extent possible.

  • Performance Level 4: On most occasions that youth move between activities, they are able to do it on their own without waiting for a large group to move. Youth are rarely rushed to finish activities. Youth can get drinks and go to the bathroom without waiting for a group.
  • Performance Level 3: Youth are often able to move on their own between activities, but it is common for youth to have to wait for the whole group to move too. Youth are sometimes rushed to finish activities and sometimes have to wait for a group in order to get drinks or go to the bathroom.
  • Performance Level 2: On most occasions that youth move between activities, it is as a large group. Youth are often rushed or waiting, including when getting drinks or going to the bathroom.
  • Performance Level 1: Youth may not move between activities on their own.

b. When the group has to move as a whole, the program manages the movement so it is orderly and quick and youth waiting is limited.

  • Performance Level 4: On most occasions that youth move as a group, most youth stay on task the whole time. This is a result of the process being well-planned and as quick as possible and, in some cases, planned activities and behavior techniques to keep youth engaged while waiting for other youth.
  • Performance Level 3: On most occasions that youth move as a group, a small number of youth may become disruptive, but the group as a whole generally stays on task. The program plans for these occasions so that they will occur relatively smoothly.
  • Performance Level 2: On most occasions that youth move as a group, a substantial number of youth become disruptive, but the group as a whole generally stays on task. The program plans for these occasions so that they will occur relatively smoothly, but staff do not plan sufficiently to keep most youth on task the whole time.
  • Performance Level 1: When the group has to move as a whole, it is common for the process to take a long time, confusion to break out, and the experience to become trying for both staff and youth.

11. Materials are adequate for programming

a. Materials are in good condition. They are stored in an organized manner to keep them that way and encourage youth to take good care of them.

  • Performance Level 4: All programming supplies offered to youth are fully usable, and equipment and sets have all parts necessary for use. Staff encourage youth to positively repurpose materials that are not usable as originally intended, as long as this process is safe. When worn materials cannot be repurposed, they are recycled or disposed of in a safe and timely manner. Materials are rarely damaged while stored. Youth and staff are rarely careless with program materials, and materials are rarely damaged for reasons other than standard wear.
  • Performance Level 3: Most programming supplies offered to youth are fully usable, and most equipment and sets have all parts necessary for use. The manner in which materials are stored is relatively protective of them, but materials sometimes get damaged due to improper storage. Youth and staff generally show care for program materials, but careless behavior sometimes leads to premature wear or damage. Worn or damaged materials are disposed of, but not repurposed or recycled.
  • Performance Level 2: Programming supplies offered to youth are sometimes broken or missing parts. Program supplies may be prematurely worn or damaged by poor storage conditions or by careless handling by staff or youth.
  • Performance Level 1: It is common for youth to use program materials that are broken or missing parts. Staff do not encourage youth to positively repurpose materials that are not usable as originally intended. Materials are stored in a haphazard manner and are often damaged while stored. Staff and youth are careless with program materials, which leads to premature wear or damage.

b. There are enough materials for the number of youth and the activities offered.

  • Performance Level 4: Staff take the material needs and the number of youth into account when planning activity offerings, so that materials are always sufficient for carrying out the activity as planned. There is a system in place to help youth share materials that are in high demand.
  • Performance Level 3: Activity offerings are generally based on consideration of the number of youth and the material needs and the program rarely offers activities that youth are unable to complete due to insufficient materials. There is a system in place to help youth share materials that are in high demand, but it sometimes breaks down.
  • Performance Level 2: The program frequently offers activities that youth are unable to complete due to insufficient materials. There is a system in place to help youth share materials that are in high demand, but it often breaks down.
  • Performance Level 1: It is common for youth to be unable to complete activities as planned due to insufficient materials. There is no system in place to help youth share materials that are in high demand.

c. The materials are age appropriate and developmentally appropriate.

  • Performance Level 4: Staff in charge of materials acquisition apply knowledge of theory and research into what types of materials are appropriate for different ages and different developmental stages. Most youth in the program regularly find materials that are well-suited to their age and developmental stage.
  • Performance Level 3: Staff consider program youth’s ages and developmental stages when acquiring materials, but this process reflects limited use of theory and research into this topic.
  • Performance Level 2: Materials are generally age-appropriate, but most youth use some materials on a regular basis that are not developmentally appropriate and not adapted adequately to their developmental needs.
  • Performance Level 1: There is a frequent mis-match between the ages or developmental stages of program youth and the materials that are offered to them.

12. The afterschool program is linked to the school day

a. Staff use formal procedures and/or information methods for communicating with the schools the youth attend. For example, the program administration may seek to develop a collaborative relationship with the school principal(s) or attend building team or instructional meetings at the school(s). These collaborations may vary depending on whether the program is sited at a school and whether it serves youth from one school or multiple schools.

  • Performance Level 4: The program has clear formal procedures for communicating with the schools the youth attend, and all staff are aware of them. These procedures promote communication that is proactive and a relationship with the schools that is collaborative. The program understands and supports the school’s goals/mission and vice-versa.
  • Performance Level 3: The program has regularized methods for communicating with the schools the youth attend, but not all staff are aware of these methods, and these are not formal procedures. Program communication with the schools is often proactive and collaborative.
  • Performance Level 2: There is no regular method for communicating between the program and the school/s. It is common for the program to communicate with the schools reactively or in a manner that does not foster collaboration.
  • Performance Level 1: There is little communication between the program staff and the schools that the youth attend.

b. Program staff are aware of the content and skills the youth are learning during the school day.

  • Performance Level 4: Program staff speak with school staff and with program youth on a regular and planned basis in order to remain updated on the content and skills the youth are learning during the school day. Program staff gain awareness not only of what youth are learning in school but also the teaching methodologies the schools are using. Program staff also gain awareness of the learning and progress of individual program youth and not just the class or group as a whole.
  • Performance Level 3: Program staff speak with school/district staff and/or with program youth in order to remain updated on the content and skills the youth are learning during the school day. Program staff are aware of what youth are learning but not of teaching methodologies used in the schools, and they are aware of the general curriculum but not of the learning and progress of individual program youth.
  • Performance Level 2: Communication between program staff and school/district staff about the content and skills the youth are learning during the school day is infrequent. For example, this communication may happen at the beginning of the program year, but never again.
  • Performance Level 1: Program staff are generally unaware of the content and skills the youth are learning during the school day.

c. Activities complement the school day rather than repeat what youth do in the classroom.

  • Performance Level 4: Program staff plan activities that give youth opportunities to build on what they learn in school. Program activities are substantially different from the activities youth do in school, while covering overlapping content areas. Activities encourage youth to further explore content areas from school that they find interesting or challenging and encourage youth to practice skills they learn in school through real-world or project-based applications.
  • Performance Level 3: Program staff plan activities that overlap in content area with what youth learn in school. These activities sometimes build on what youth learn in school through further exploration of content areas or opportunities to practice skills through real-world applications.
  • Performance Level 2: Program activities often repeat content and skill practice from the school day without adding anything substantially different.
  • Performance Level 1: Program activities are totally disconnected from what youth do in the classroom. Alternatively, program activities that cover content from the school day do not go beyond simple repetition of what youth do in the classroom.

d. Program links to the school day are informed by the needs of the individual youth.

  • Performance Level 4: Program staff speak with the school staff and with program youth on a regular and planned basis in order to remain updated on individual youth progress and needs in the school day environment. Staff then intentionally incorporate this information during program planning.
  • Performance Level 3: Program staff speak with school staff and/or with program youth in order to remain updated on individual youth progress and needs in the school day environment, and incorporate this information during program planning. However, this process is generally not regularized, planned, or fully intentional.
  • Performance Level 2: Only in isolated instances do program staff speak with school staff and/or with program youth in order to remain updated on individual youth progress and needs in the school day environment, and incorporate this information during program planning.
  • Performance Level 1: Staff are not aware of individual youth progress or needs in the school day environment.

e. The program takes steps to make the schools aware of the importance of the afterschool program and what it offers.

  • Performance Level 4: The program uses both media and direct communication with school or district staff on a regular basis to show the benefits both of the specific afterschool program and of afterschool opportunities in general. As research or best practice in the field of afterschool emerges, the afterschool program shares this information with school or district staff.
  • Performance Level 3: The program uses both media and direct communication with school or district staff at least on an annual basis to show the benefits both of the specific afterschool program and of afterschool opportunities in general.
  • Performance Level 2: Most years, the program uses either media or direct communication with the school or district to deliver at least one message about the importance of either the specific afterschool program or of afterschool opportunities in general.
  • Performance Level 1: The program does not generally communicate with the school or district or use the media in order to make the case for its importance.

13. Professional development around programming and activities is appropriate and high quality

a. Program staff receive training to ensure that they are qualified to oversee program activities.

  • Performance Level 4: All program staff involved in developing or carrying out activity plans participate in formal training and facilitated job-embedded learning related to the specific programming and activities that take place in the program.
  • Performance Level 3: All program staff involved in developing or carrying out activity plans participate in some formal training and/or facilitated job-embedded learning related to most of the programming and activities that take place in the program. Program staff infrequently lead activities without training.
  • Performance Level 2: Program staff frequently lead activities without training.
  • Performance Level 1: Program staff receive little training related to program activities.

b. Staff training around programming and activities is suited to the needs of the particular program.

  • Performance Level 4: Staff training around programming and activities is customized to reflect program needs through an intentional and regularized process of assessing those needs and adjusting the staff training plan accordingly.
  • Performance Level 3: Staff training around programming and activities is generally suited to the ends of the program, but is not regularly reassessed or adjusted as needs may change.
  • Performance Level 2: Staff training is sometimes suited to the needs of the program. Staff training needs are rarely reassessed or adjusted. The same trainings may be offered
  • Performance Level 1: Staff training around programming and activities is generally divorced from the unique needs of the particular program.

c. Wherever possible, the program links professional development opportunities for program staff and for school staff.

  • Performance Level 4: Program staff often participate in professional development side-by-side with school staff.
  • Performance Level 3: Program staff use professional development curricula and processes that match those used by school staff and/or occasionally participate in professional development side-by-side with school staff.
  • Performance Level 2: Program staff rarely participate side-by-side with school staff. There are frequent missed opportunities for shared training on topics relevant to both program and school staff.
  • Performance Level 1: Professional development for program staff is not connected to professional development for school staff.

d. Professional development in this area follows the guidelines for appropriate and high quality professional development outlined in the Administration section, standard #4. For example, professional development around programming and activities includes mentoring and ongoing, job-embedded learning in addition to formal training opportunities.

  • Performance Level 4: The administration conducts ongoing assessment of the program’s professional development needs and offerings in the area of programming and activities, then develops an annual professional development plan incorporating these considerations. The program uses qualified, experienced trainers and/or evidence-based training materials for professional development in the area of programming and activities. Professional development in the area of programming and activities includes mentoring and job-embedded learning in addition to formal training opportunities.
  • Performance Level 3: Program administrators develop professional development plans, but in an ad-hoc way. The program uses qualified, experienced trainers and/or evidence-based training materials for professional development in the area of programming and activities.
  • Performance Level 2: Program administrators do not develop professional development plans. Trainings in this area may limited or offered at random.
  • Performance Level 1: The program offers program staff minimal training in the area of programming and activities.