OST Glossary of Terms

# A B C D E F G H I J L M O P Q R S T U W Y


21st Century (learning) Skills

The Framework for 21st Century Learning consists of core subjects and themes that revolve around three core skills: life and career skills, learning and innovation skills, and information media, and technology skills. These are the skills that students need in order to be successful in the 21st century. Principals of 21st Century skills include authentic learning, mental model building, internal motivation, multi-modal learning, social learning and international learning. The 21st Century skills are also mentioned as “non-cognitive skills,” “social-emotional learning (SEL),” character development, etc.


Academic Outcomes

The skills, content, knowledge and abilities that students develop through course work and other educational experiences in school and outside of school.


A process in which certification of competency, authority, or credibility is presented. The accreditation process assures consumers that programs meet a professionally recognized level of quality.


Academic achievement refers to the level of schooling youth have successfully completed and the ability to attain success in their studies. Academic achievement can also mean academic performance and is demonstrated in grades, standardized test scores, college attendance, etc. See also “proficiency.” 

Achievement Gap

The achievement gap refers to the disparity in academic performance between groups of students. The achievement gap is reflected in grades, standardized test scores, course selection, dropout rates, college completion rates and other success and performance measures. See also, “Equity Lens.”

active versus passive involvement with technology and electronics

In an “active involvement” setting, youth are producing 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. Examples of “passive involvement” include using the internet to research a report or using a web-based learning program.

activities requiring an increased attention to safety
These are activities that are safe enough to offer during an afterschool program but may be hazardous if not conducted properly. Examples may include woodworking, art or science projects with toxic materials, skate boarding, or swimming.
adequate supervision

This is supervision that is adequate to meet the standards, especially in the Safety and Environmental Health and Human Relationships categories of the New Jersey Quality Standards for Afterschool (NJQSA).

administrative staff

This refers to program staff that are responsible for fiscal management, human resources, facilities management, organizational development, evaluation, and program implementation.


Programs and activities for 5-18 year-olds that take place when they are not in school, including before/after school, evenings, weekends, summer, and holidays. Also known as Expanded Learning Opportunities (ELOs).

Afterschool and Youth Development – AYD

A field of professionals and volunteers who provide before school, afterschool, summer, and other types of learning and development programs for children and youth ages 5-21 years. AYD programs are supported by schools, public agencies, childcare, for and not-for-profit entities, and community-and faith-based organizations. AYD programs are transformational for many disengaged youth who have not been served in traditional settings, placing priorities on high quality programs and racial equity in AYD field.

Afterschool Professional

A person who is employed in the field of afterschool.

  1. Someone who makes the commitment and effort to recognize their privilege (based on gender, class, race, sexual identity, etc.) and work in solidarity with oppressed groups in the struggle for justice. Allies understand that it is in their own interest to end all forms of oppression, even those from which they may benefit in concrete ways.

  2. An action, not an identity. Members of the advantaged group recognize their privilege and work in solidarity with oppressed groups to dismantle the systems of oppression(s) from which they derive power, privilege, and acceptance. Requires understanding that it is in their own interest to end all forms of oppression, even those from which they may benefit in concrete ways. It means taking intentional, overt, and consistent responsibility for the changes we know are needed in our society, and often ignore or leave for others to deal with; it does so in a way that facilitates the empowerment of persons targeted by oppression. This framework can be used to imply that one does not feel directly implicated by the oppression.


  1. OpenSource Leadership Strategies, “The Dynamic System of Power, Privilege, and Oppression” (2008).

  2. Compiled by White Noise Collective, “Shared Understandings.” Citation is unknown (see their list).


Anti-Racism is defined as the work of actively opposing racism by advocating for changes in political, economic, and social life. Anti-racism tends to be an individualized approach, and set up in opposition to individual racist behaviors and impacts.


SOURCE:  Race Forward, “Race Reporting Guide” (2015).

Related Resources:  Theory (scroll down alphabetically to the box for “Anti-Racism”)
Location: FUNDAMENTALS / Core Concepts


An interactive process between students and instructors that measures a performance or skill, with the goal of offering feedback and fostering growth and improvement. Differs from evaluation in that there is no judgment or grading of the skill.


An asset-based approach sees youth as resources and agents of change, rather than problems to be fixed or passive consumers of services. The asset-based approach identifies factors youth need to achieve healthy adulthood, and sets program goals in terms “building assets” rather than “reducing risks.”

At-Risk Youth

Refers to young people for whom the probability of successfully transitioning to adulthood and achieving economic self-sufficiency is low, based on social and emotional factors such as chronic poverty, drug use, poor school attendance and performance, rate of food insecurity, etc.

Attendance Rate

Rate of school attendance as calculated by the New Jersey Department of Education.


Best Practice

A practice that promotes high quality standards of afterschool programming. It is research based and evaluated to show a positive impact on child and youth outcomes.


Intolerant prejudice that glorifies one’s own group and denigrates members of other groups.


SOURCE:  National Conference for Community and Justice, St. Louis Region. Unpublished handout used in the Dismantling Racism Institute program.


BIPOC stands for Black, Indigenous, and people of color. Pronounced “bye-pock,” this is a term specific to the United States, intended to center the experiences of Black and Indigenous groups and demonstrate solidarity between communities of color.

Black Lives Matter

A political movement to address systemic and state violence against African Americans. Per the Black Lives Matter organizers: “In 2013, three radical Black organizers—Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi—created a Black-centered political will and movement building project called #BlackLivesMatter. It was in response to the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s murderer, George Zimmerman. The project is now a member-led global network of more than 40 chapters. [Black Lives Matter] members organize and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes. Black Lives Matter is an ideological and political intervention in a world where Black lives are systematically and intentionally targeted for demise. It is an affirmation of Black folks’ humanity, our contributions to this society, and our resilience in the face of deadly oppression.”


SOURCE:  Black Lives Matter, “Herstory” (accessed 7 October 2019)


This refers to buses with a capacity for at least 10 passengers. See NJ Licensing 10:122-9.2 for more information about the definition of Type I and Type II School Buses (see page 282 of NJ Licensing 10:122-9.2).



Private sector, governmental, and foundation leaders who can provide financial and marketing leadership at the local and state levels in support of afterschool programs. Champions bring resources, influence, and advocacy to bear for programs across the state.

Child/Youth Outcomes

What children and/or youth are expected to know and be able to do as a result of participating in an activity, lesson, program, or event.

Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP)

A Federal program that provides healthy meals and snacks to children and adults receiving care in group day care homes, emergency shelters, at-risk afterschool care centers, and childcare centers. It plays a vital role in improving the quality of day care and making it affordable for many low-income families.

Child Study Team

The Child Study Team consists of a school psychologist, a learning disabilities teacher/consultant, and a school social worker. They are the employees of the school district who are responsible for conducting evaluations to determine eligibility for special education and related services for students with disabilities. This definition is from SPAN, the Statewide Parent Advocacy Network (www.spanadvocacy.org).

Collective Impact

A methodology for addressing social issues articulated by John Kania and Mark Kramer that involves cooperation and commitment from various sectors, working toward a common goal.

College and Career Readiness

The level of preparation a student needs in order to enroll and succeed without remediation in a credit-bearing course at a post-secondary institution that offers a baccalaureate degree or transfer to a baccalaureate program. Also includes high-quality certificate programs that enables students to enter a career pathway with potential future advancement.

Common Core

The Common Core State Standards Initiative (CCSSI) is an education initiative in the United States that details what K-12 students should know and do in English Language Arts and Mathematics at the end of each grade.

Communities of Color

Persons from communities of a particular racial representation, including African-American, Hispanic/Latino, Native American, Alaska Native, American Indian, Asian, Pacific Islander, and mixed races.


A self-identified collective of individuals, aligned with one or more local jurisdictional boundaries for the purposes of data indicator assessment and tracking.

Community Based Grant

Grants designated for programs, services, and initiatives in communities.

community stakeholders

These are program stakeholders that are not program staff, parents, or youth. For example, “community stakeholders” includes staff from the schools that serve the afterschool program and other people who live or work in the community where the program is located.


Respecting and protecting the privacy of information related to the children, youth, families, and colleagues in a program.


(as in “behavioral consequences”) Consequences are the result of youth breaking a program rule. See the resources section of the New Jersey Quality Standards for Afterschool for more guidance on this topic.

Contextual Learning

Refers to learning through interaction with and interpretation of environments. Contextual learning is anchored in the context of real-life situations and problems.


Activities or programs that display enough support over time to allow the participants to build content and skills mastery. Participants also have access to guidance and support to learn about the real-world applications of the skills they are learning and what they must do to acquire these skills.

Core Competencies

Core competencies are knowledge and skills that can be measured to assess effectiveness of a professional. They can be used to develop professional development plans. The afterschool field has identified nine core competencies for afterschool programs and professionals. These competencies are:

  • Activities, Curriculum and Environment
  • Youth Development and Engagement
  • Diversity and Inclusion
  • Families, Communities and Schools
  • Health, Safety and Nutrition
  • Highly Skilled Personnel
Community Based Training

Professional development that is presented by a qualified trainer outside of the college system.

critical thinking

This refers to processing new knowledge through analysis, synthesis, interpretation, evaluation, illustration, and comparison. It is through this type of processing that youth are able to further develop their skills, worldviews and values. This definition is from the National Afterschool Association Platform (www.naaweb.org).

Cultural Awareness

The ability to learn and integrate background histories, traditions and learning styles in relationship to race, culture, ethnic background and language preference. Every individual is rooted in culture. Components of culture (a) Culture has an influence on the beliefs and behaviors of everyone, (b) Culture is passed from generation to generation, (c) Culture is dynamic and changes according to the contemporary environment (d) Home language is a key component to identity formation.

Culturally Relevant Activities

Creative and art-oriented activities that connect to the cultural experiences, diverse learning styles, and self-expression of all students.

Culturally Appropriate

The ability of an organization or program to be effective across cultures, including the ability to honor and respect the beliefs, language, interpersonal styles, and behaviors of individuals and families receiving services.

Culturally Responsive

The ability of individuals, groups, or organizations to be responsive in continuously identifying and addressing embedded racial inequities in policies, programs, and practices to ensure alignment to the key beliefs in the State of NJ Equity Lens; including the ability to honor and respect the beliefs, language, interpersonal styles, and behaviors of diverse service recipients.


Data Sharing

The practice of public agencies and schools sharing individual student information with afterschool and youth development programs in order to individualize learning strategies and focus supports to improve youth outcomes.

decision-making skills

These are skills that help youth through the process of making decisions, including considering options, considering consequences, weighing options, and choosing a course of action. If the decision is in the context of a challenge or problem, these can be called problem-solving skills. If the challenge or problem is related to a social situation or conflict, these can be called social problem-solving skills or conflict-resolution skills.

developmentally appropriate

When determining if a rule, expectation, practice, or activity is developmentally appropriate, staff should consider the physical, cognitive, emotional, and social development level of the youth.

Digital Literacy

The ability to effectively and critically navigate, evaluate, and create information using a range of digital technologies.

  1. The unequal treatment of members of various groups based on race, gender, social class, sexual orientation, physical ability, religion and other categories.

  2. [In the United States] the law makes it illegal to discriminate against someone on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, or sex. The law also makes it illegal to retaliate against a person because the person complained about discrimination, filed a charge of discrimination, or participated in an employment discrimination investigation or lawsuit. The law also requires that employers reasonably accommodate applicants’ and employees’ sincerely held religious practices, unless doing so would impose an undue hardship on the operation of the employer’s business.


1. Institute for Democratic Renewal and Project Change Anti-Racism Initiative, A Community Builder’s Tool Kit, Appendix I (2000).

2. U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Laws Enforced by EEOC (accessed 28 June 2013).


Diversity includes all the ways in which people differ, and it encompasses all the different characteristics that make one individual or group different from another. It is all-inclusive and recognizes everyone and every group as part of the diversity that should be valued. A broad definition includes not only race, ethnicity, and gender—the groups that most often come to mind when the term “diversity” is used—but also age, national origin, religion, disability, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, education, marital status, language, and physical appearance. It also involves different ideas, perspectives, and values.


It is important to note that many activists and thinkers critique diversity alone as a strategy. For instance, Baltimore Racial Justice Action states: “Diversity is silent on the subject of equity. In an anti-oppression context, therefore, the issue is not diversity, but rather equity. Often when people talk about diversity, they are thinking only of the “non-dominant” groups.”


SOURCE:  UC Berkeley Center for Equity, Inclusion and Diversity, “Glossary of Terms” (page 34 in 2009 Strategic Plan). Baltimore Racial Justice Action, “Our Definitions” (2018).


Economic Inequities

The inequitable distribution and allocation of resources needed to address the educational, health, and social service needs of the most vulnerable populations due to disproportionate representation at policy and decision making venues.

emergency preparedness plan

This is a written plan of action for coordinating the response of program staff in the event of a disaster within the afterschool program or the surrounding community.

emotional regulation

This is the process of coping effectively with stress, anxiety, distress, anger, and other difficult emotions.


Engagement refers to elements that allow children and youth to develop their interest and motivation over time in creative ways. Engagement can be displayed through a variety of methods (e.g., behavioral, emotional, cognitive, vocational).

Enrichment Program

Enrichment activities expand on students’ learning in ways that differ from the methods used during the school day. They often are interactive and project-focused. They enhance a student’s education by bringing new concepts to light or by using old concepts in new ways. These activities are fun for the student, but they also impart knowledge.


A social construct that divides people into smaller social groups based on characteristics such as shared sense of group membership, values, behavioral patterns, language, political and economic interests, history, and ancestral geographical base.


Examples of different ethnic groups are: Cape Verdean, Haitian, African American (Black); Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese (Asian); Cherokee, Mohawk, Navaho (Native American); Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican (Latino); Polish, Irish, and Swedish (White).


SOURCE:  Teaching for Diversity and Social Justice: A Sourcebook, edited by Maurianne Adams, Lee Anne Bell, and Pat Griffin, Routledge, 1997.


Related Resources:  Race, Ethnicity, and Indigeneity (scroll down alphabetically to the box for “Ethnicity”)


Location: FUNDAMENTALS / Core Concepts


An evidence-based curriculum or practice has been tested using rigorous research methods and found to be effective at achieving the desired outcomes. If it’s not possible or practical to use an evidence-based curriculum or practice, providers should use the best available research to guide practice. Providers should combine use of research and evidence-based curricula or practice together with professional experience and attention to the values of the people served.



Includes all persons whom are responsible for and involved with the child/youth and who the child/youth identifies as having a long-term impact on their lives, including but not limited to parents, guardians, custodial siblings, and grandparents.

Family Engagement

The shared responsibility in which schools and other community agencies and organizations are committed to reaching out to engage families in meaningful ways, and in which families are committed to actively supporting their children’s learning and development. Effective family engagement reinforces learning in multiple settings — at home, in prekindergarten programs, in school, in afterschool programs, in faith-based institutions, and in the community.

Food Insecurity

Defined as the limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate or safe foods, or limited or uncertain ability to acquire acceptable foods in socially acceptable ways.

Free and Reduced Price Lunch Eligible

Children of households whose income is at or below 185% of the federal poverty guidelines. Often abbreviated as FRL

Front Line Staff

Leaders, teachers, assistants and aides who work directly with children and youth to implement program elements and/or activities.


global learning

The end goal of global learning is to develop globally competent youth. Globally competent youth are those who investigate their world, including their immediate environment and beyond; recognize their own and others’ perspectives; communicate and collaborate with diverse audiences; and translate their ideas and findings into appropriate actions to improve conditions.



Asia Society (www.asiasociety.org).

Global Literacy

International knowledge, skills, and perspectives that are woven into afterschool activities such as games, reading, and art, or cooking.


harsh discipline methods

These include the following: corporal punishment; aversive stimuli; withholding nutrition or hydration; inflicting physical or psychological pain; demeaning, shaming, or degrading language or activities; unnecessarily punitive restrictions; forced physical exercise to eliminate behaviors; punitive work assignments/assignments exclusively for punishment; punishment by peers; and group punishment or discipline for individual behavior.



Council on Accreditation (www.coanet.org).

Historically Underserved

Currently, New Jersey has several targeted initiatives to serve historically underserved students which includes students of color, students in poverty, students with disabilities, and English language learners.


Homeless Student

A child or youth who lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence.

Homework Assistance

Tutoring or assistance with qualified staff in a designated space and time with links to school, teachers, students, and families.

host agency

This is the agency where the program is sited, for example the school or the church where the program is located. If the program has its own building, it may not have a host agency.


Idle Youth

Youth not living in group quarters who have not been enrolled in school for three months and are not in the labor force.


This stands for “Individualized Education Program,” and it is mandated by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) that all public school youth with documented special education needs have one. An IEP is different for every youth who has one and is basically a plan for how to make sure that individual youth is able to succeed in school.

Indicators (Community)

Community level data points that track measures of social progress.

Indicators (Individual)

Personal level data points that track measures of individual progress.

Individual Racism

Individual racism refers to the beliefs, attitudes, and actions of individuals that support or perpetuate racism. Individual racism can be deliberate, or the individual may act to perpetuate or support racism without knowing that is what he or she is doing.



  • Telling a racist joke, using a racial epithet, or believing in the inherent superiority of whites over other groups.

  • Avoiding people of color whom you do not know personally, but not whites whom you do not know personally (e.g., white people crossing the street to avoid a group of Latino/a young people; locking their doors when they see African American families sitting on their doorsteps in a city neighborhood; or not hiring a person of color because “something doesn’t feel right”).

  • Accepting things as they are (a form of collusion).

SOURCE:  Flipping the Script: White Privilege and Community Building by Maggie Potapchuk, Sally Leiderman, Donna Bivens, and Barbara Major (2005).


This is the process of learning through asking questions, especially increasingly deeper questions.

Institutional Racism

Institutional racism refers specifically to the ways in which institutional policies and practices create different outcomes for different racial groups. The institutional policies may never mention any racial group, but their effect is to create advantages for whites and oppression and disadvantage for people from groups classified as people of color.



  • Government policies that explicitly restricted the ability of people to get loans to buy or improve their homes in neighborhoods with high concentrations of African Americans (also known as “red-lining”).

  • City sanitation department policies that concentrate trash transfer stations and other environmental hazards disproportionately in communities of color.

SOURCE:  Flipping the Script: White Privilege and Community Building by Maggie Potapchuk, Sally Leiderman, Donna Bivens, and Barbara Major (2005).

Related Resources:  Racism (scroll down alphabetically to the box for “Institutional Racism”)

Location: FUNDAMENTALS / Core Concepts


This refers to activities that are based on careful consideration of the purpose.

  1. Exposing [one’s] multiple identities can help clarify the ways in which a person can simultaneously experience privilege and oppression. For example, a Black woman in America does not experience gender inequalities in exactly the same way as a white woman, nor racial oppression identical to that experienced by a Black man. Each race and gender intersection produces a qualitatively distinct life.

  2. Per Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw: Intersectionality is simply a prism to see the interactive effects of various forms of discrimination and disempowerment. It looks at the way that racism, many times, interacts with patriarchy, heterosexism, classism, xenophobia — seeing that the overlapping vulnerabilities created by these systems actually create specific kinds of challenges. “Intersectionality 102,” then, is to say that these distinct problems create challenges for movements that are only organized around these problems as separate and individual. So when racial justice doesn’t have a critique of patriarchy and homophobia, the particular way that racism is experienced and exacerbated by heterosexism, classism etc., falls outside of our political organizing. It means that significant numbers of people in our communities aren’t being served by social justice frames because they don’t address the particular ways that they’re experiencing discrimination.


1. Intergroup Resources, “Intersectionality” (2012).

2. Otamere Guobadia, “Kimberlé Crenshaw and Lady Phyll Talk Intersectionality, Solidarity, and Self-Care” (2018).


Related Resources:  Intersectionality

Location: FUNDAMENTALS / Core Concepts


job-embedded learning

This refers to staff learning that occurs while staff are performing their jobs or learning that is deeply connected with the day-to-day work of the staff. This is opposed to learning that occurs during a separate session or that is detached from the day-to-day work of the staff.

Juvenile Referral Rate

The rate of law enforcement reports to juvenile departments alleging one or more felony or misdemeanor acts.


learning skills

These are skills that will help youth to learn in varied contexts and throughout their lives. Examples are critical thinking and inquiry, as well as other personal, social, and emotional skills.

Limited English Proficient

Individuals who do not speak English as their primary language and who have a limited ability to read, speak, write, or understand English can be limited English proficient, or “LEP.”

Literacy Enhancements

A variety of materials available for reading, such as books, newspapers, magazines, books on tape etc. in the languages of the children and youth in the program. Also includes program activities that assist children and youth in developing literacy skills.



Refers to a developmental relationship in which a more experienced or more knowledgeable person offers a less experienced or less knowledgeable person guidance, support, and encouragement in order to help them develop in a specified capacity.

Model program

A program that successfully implements one or more best practices, meets the standards of a high quality afterschool program, and serves as an example for other programs to learn from.

Motivational Resilience

Enthusiastic hard work and persistence in the face of challenging coursework.


Opportunity Youth

Youth age 16 to 24 who are neither enrolled in school nor participating in the labor force.

On-time Graduation

A student graduates on-time if he/she receives a high school diploma within four years of starting 9th grade.

Opportunity Gap

Refers to the ways in which race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, English proficiency, community wealth, familial situations, or other factors contribute to or perpetuate lower educational aspirations, achievement, and attainment for certain groups of students.


The systematic subjugation of one social group by a more powerful social group for the social, economic, and political benefit of the more powerful social group. Rita Hardiman and Bailey Jackson state that oppression exists when the following 4 conditions are found:

  • the oppressor group has the power to define reality for themselves and others,

  • the target groups take in and internalize the negative messages about them and end up cooperating with the oppressors (thinking and acting like them),

  • genocide, harassment, and discrimination are systematic and institutionalized, so that individuals are not necessary to keep it going, and

  • members of both the oppressor and target groups are socialized to play their roles as normal and correct.

Oppression = Power + Prejudice

SOURCE:  What Is Racism?” − Dismantling Racism Works (dRworks) web workbook.


A final product or end result for children and youth, such as academic, social, or health etc.

Out-of-School Time

Refers to the non-school time periods for school-age children and adolescents, during which there is often a need for school-age child care and other types of expanded learning opportunities. You can also use afterschool or expanded learning opportunities.



The agencies, organizations, and other community members who work together to provide financial support and other resources that work towards a common goal.

peer support

This is the emotional or practical help that youth give to each other.

People of Color

Often the preferred collective term for referring to non-White racial groups. Racial justice advocates have been using the term “people of color” (not to be confused with the pejorative “colored people”) since the late 1970s as an inclusive and unifying frame across different racial groups that are not White, to address racial inequities. While “people of color” can be a politically useful term, and describes people with their own attributes (as opposed to what they are not, e.g., “non-White”), it is also important whenever possible to identify people through their own racial/ethnic group, as each has its own distinct experience and meaning and may be more appropriate.


SOURCE:  Race Forward, “Race Reporting Guide” (2015).


This refers to something that happens at regular or generally predictable intervals of time. Choosing the appropriate amount of time for the interval is up to the individual program.

personal, social, and emotional skills

These are skills that help youth positively interact with others and be successful reaching various goals throughout their lives. professional development – This refers to the process of gaining skills and knowledge that help a person make progress in her/his career. It is broader than the term “staff training,” which is more limited in its scope.

Positive Youth Development (PYD)

A philosophical approach to working with young people that includes empowering the youth to be a resource to their communities; working with youth rather than for them; and involving young people in all stages of decision-making. Goals and outcomes are based on the capacities, strengths, and developmental needs of the young people.

  1. Power is unequally distributed globally and in U.S. society; some individuals or groups wield greater power than others, thereby allowing them greater access and control over resources. Wealth, whiteness, citizenship, patriarchy, heterosexism, and education are a few key social mechanisms through which power operates. Although power is often conceptualized as power overother individuals or groups, other variations are power with (used in the context of building collective strength) and power within (which references an individual’s internal strength). Learning to “see” and understand relations of power is vital to organizing for progressive social change.

  2. Power may also be understood as the ability to influence others and impose one’s beliefs. All power is relational, and the different relationships either reinforce or disrupt one another. The importance of the concept of power to anti-racism is clear: racism cannot be understood without understanding that power is not only an individual relationship but a cultural one, and that power relationships are shifting constantly. Power can be used malignantly and intentionally, but need not be, and individuals within a culture may benefit from power of which they are unaware.

  3. (A) The ability to name or define. (B) The ability to decide. (C) The ability the set the rule, standard, or policy. (D) The ability to change the rule, standard, or policy to serve your needs, wants, or desires. (E) The ability to influence decision makers to make choices in favor of your cause, issue, or concern. Each of these definitions can manifest on personal, social, institutional, or structural levels:  

  • Personal Power – 1. Self-determination. 2. Power that an individual possesses or builds in their personal life and interpersonal relationships.  

  • Social Power – 1. Communal self-determination. 2. A grassroots collective organization of personal power. 3. Power that social groups possess or build among themselves to determine and shape their collective lives.  

  • Institutional Power – 1. Power to create and shape the rules, policies, and actions of an institution. 2. To have institutional power is to be a decision maker or to have great influence upon a decision maker of an institution.  

  • Structural Power – To have structural power is to create and shape the rules, policies, and actions that govern multiple and intersecting institutions or an industry.



  1. Intergroup Resources, “Power” (2012).

  2. Alberta Civil Liberties Research Centre, “Racism and Power” (2018) / “CARED Glossary” (2020).

  3. Our Shared Language: Social Justice Glossary, YWCA (2016).


A pre-judgment or unjustifiable, and usually negative, attitude of one type of individual or groups toward another group and its members. Such negative attitudes are typically based on unsupported generalizations (or stereotypes) that deny the right of individual members of certain groups to be recognized and treated as individuals with individual characteristics.


SOURCE:  Institute for Democratic Renewal and Project Change Anti-Racism Initiative, A Community Builder’s Tool Kit, Appendix I (2000).

Priority Youth

Youth aged 16 to 24 who are at risk of disconnecting from the education system, already disconnected from the education system, or are at risk from being able to transition successfully to the labor force.


Unearned social power accorded by the formal and informal institutions of society to ALL members of a dominant group (e.g. white privilege, male privilege, etc.). Privilege is usually invisible to those who have it because we’re taught not to see it, but nevertheless it puts them at an advantage over those who do not have it.


SOURCE:  Colours of Resistance Archive, “Privilege” (accessed 28 June 2013).

Professional Development

The advancement of skills or expertise through continued education.


Project-based learning generally revolves around answering a question, solving a problem, or meeting a challenge. It reflects the types of learning and work people do in the everyday world outside the classroom. Common characteristics of project-based learning include real-world relevance, complex and long-term tasks, opportunities for youth to look at the task from multiple perspectives, tasks that cross disciplines, multiple possible outcomes, collaboration, opportunities for youth to reflect and incorporate their own values and beliefs, and a polished final product. This definition is based on the perspective of the Buck Institute for Education and its website devoted to project-based learning: pbl-online.org.

Promising Practice

An action that a program has done that, based on repetition and experience, has shown to provide a positive outcome.

Program Administrator

Someone at a high level of supervision. This person may not necessarily work directly with children and youth, but oversee those who supervise programs directly.


Quality Rating Improvement System (QRIS)

Provides a common set of expectations and standards to define and measure the quality of early learning settings. The Quality Standards promote and support comprehensive facility quality and help ensure that quality practices are having a direct impact on individual children’s progress.

Quality Standards

A set of agreed-on benchmarks that after-school programs identify as being important to their success. They also serve as guides to continuous improvement and accountability.

Qualitative Evaluation

Qualitative evaluation methods yield narrative data – often describing experiences, perceptions, or opinions – that are less easily summarized in numerical form. Content analysis is the most common way of analyzing qualitative data. Qualitative data add detail, depth, and meaning to quantitative data.

Quantitative Evaluation

Quantitative evaluation methods yield numerical data that are typically analyzed using statistical methods.



For many people, it comes as a surprise that racial categorization schemes were invented by scientists to support worldviews that viewed some groups of people as superior and some as inferior. There are three important concepts linked to this fact:

  1. Race is a made-up social construct, and not an actual biological fact.

  2. Race designations have changed over time. Some groups that are considered “white” in the United States today were considered “non-white” in previous eras, in U.S. Census data and in mass media and popular culture (for example, Irish, Italian, and Jewish people).

  3. The way in which racial categorizations are enforced (the shape of racism) has also changed over time. For example, the racial designation of Asian American and Pacific Islander changed four times in the 19th century. That is, they were defined at times as white and at other times as not white. Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, as designated groups, have been used by whites at different times in history to compete with African American labor.


1–2. PBS, “Race: The Power of an Illusion” (2018–2019 relaunch of 2003 series).

3. Paul Kivel, Uprooting Racism: How White People Can Work for Racial Justice (Gabriola Island, British Columbia: New Society Publishers, 2002), page 141.

Related Resources:  Race, Ethnicity, and Indigeneity (scroll down alphabetically to the box for “Race”)

Location: FUNDAMENTALS / Core Concepts

Racial Bias

Prejudicial opinions about particular groups because of their race.

Racial Equity
  1. Racial equity is the condition that would be achieved if one’s racial identity no longer predicted, in a statistical sense, how one fares. When we use the term, we are thinking about racial equity as one part of racial justice, and thus we also include work to address root causes of inequities, not just their manifestation. This includes elimination of policies, practices, attitudes, and cultural messages that reinforce differential outcomes by race or that fail to eliminate them.

  2. “A mindset and method for solving problems that have endured for generations, seem intractable, harm people and communities of color most acutely, and ultimately affect people of all races. This will require seeing differently, thinking differently, and doing the work differently. Racial equity is about results that make a difference and last.”


  1. Center for Assessment and Policy Development.

  2. OpenSource Leadership Strategies.

Related Resources:  Racial Equity

Location: FUNDAMENTALS / Core Concepts

Racial Healing

To restore to health or soundness; to repair or set right; to restore to spiritual wholeness.


SOURCE:  Michael R. Wenger, Racial Equity Resource Guide (W.K. Kellogg Foundation, 2012).

Related Resources:  Addressing Trauma and Healing and Trauma, Violence, and Healing

Locations: ACT / Strategies and PLAN / Issues

Racial Inequity

Racial inequity is when two or more racial groups are not standing on approximately equal footing, such as the percentages of each ethnic group in terms of dropout rates, single family home ownership, access to healthcare, etc.


SOURCE:  Ibram X. Kendi, How To Be An Antiracist, Random House, 2019.

Racial Profiling

The discriminatory practice by law enforcement, public agencies, businesses, community groups, and elected officials of targeting individuals for suspicion of crime, of unequal hiring practices, and of educational tracking based on an individual’s race, ethnicity, religion, or national origin.

Racial Reconciliation

Reconciliation involves three ideas. First, it recognizes that racism in America is both systemic and institutionalized, with far–reaching effects on both political engagement and economic opportunities for minorities. Second, reconciliation is engendered by empowering local communities through relationship-building and truth-telling. Lastly, justice is the essential component of the conciliatory process—justice that is best termed as restorative rather than retributive, while still maintaining its vital punitive character.


SOURCE:  The William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation, Position Statement on Reconciliation (2014).

Related Resources:  Racial Reconciliation

Location: ACT / Strategies


Racism = race prejudice + social and institutional power
Racism = a system of advantage based on race
Racism = a system of oppression based on race
Racism = a white supremacy system


Racism is different from racial prejudice, hatred, or discrimination. Racism involves one group having the power to carry out systematic discrimination through the institutional policies and practices of the society and by shaping the cultural beliefs and values that support those racist policies and practices.


SOURCE:  What Is Racism?” − Dismantling Racism Works (dRworks) web workbook.

Related Resources:  Racism

Location: FUNDAMENTALS / Core Concepts

refusal skills
These are skills that help youth resist inappropriate peer pressure.
relationship skills

These are skills related to interacting with other people. They include cooperation, communication skills, leadership skills, conflict resolution skills, refusal skills, and social responsibility.

Research Best Practices

Research that: (1) employs systematic methods that draw on observation or experiment; (2) involves data analyses that are adequate to test the stated hypotheses and justify the general conclusions drawn; (3) relies on measurements or observational methods that provide reliable and valid data; (4) is evaluated using experimental designs in which individuals, entities, programs, or activities are assigned to different conditions and with appropriate controls to evaluate the effects of the condition of interest; (5) ensures that experimental studies are presented in sufficient detail and clarity to allow for replication; (6) has been accepted by a peer-reviewed journal or approved by a panel of independent experts through a comparably rigorous, objective, and scientific review.

risk assessment
This is the process of deciding the amount and type of risk associated with something potentially dangerous.


Safe Space

Afterschool and youth development programs offer children and youth a safe space: a non-judgmental, respectful, and nurturing environment where children and youth can freely share thinking, receive learning, and practice social skills without fears for physical, emotional, and social safety.


This term is primarily used to refer to children from 5-12 years of age.

School-Community Partnerships

Are collaborations that weave together resources and strategies to enhance caring communities that support all youth and their families and enable success at school and beyond. Comprehensive partnerships represent a promising direction for generating essential interventions to address barriers to learning, enhance healthy development, and strengthen families and neighborhoods.

These are electronic devices with a screen. This includes computers, televisions, smart phones, and tablets.
self-awareness skills

These are skills related to understanding one’s self. They include the ability to identify and cultivate one’s strengths and positive qualities and the ability to recognize one’s emotions.


This is the ability to determine one’s own goals and to pursue the steps to achieve those goals.

self-management skills

These are skills related to managing one’s emotions and actions. They include self-control, goal-setting, perseverance, and emotional regulation.

service learning

Service-Learning is defined as a method by which students or participants learn and develop through active participation in thoughtfully organized service, that is conducted in and meets the needs of a community. It is coordinated among the community, an elementary school, secondary school, institution of higher education, or community service program. Service-Learning helps foster responsibility and is integrated into and enhances the academic curriculum of the students or the education components of the community service program in which the participants are enrolled. It also includes structured time for the students and participants to reflect on the service experience.



NJDOE: Keeping Our Students Safe, Healthy & In School

Site Supervisor/Director

A combination of structured learning and service to the community that promotes personal development and civic responsibility. Includes structured time for students to plan service projects beforehand, and time for personal reflection after the project is complete.

Site Staff

Leaders, teachers, assistants, and aides who work directly with children and youth to implement program elements and/or activities.

social awareness skills
These are skills related to understanding other people. They include understanding social and conflict dynamics, understanding the viewpoints and perceptions of others, recognizing others’ emotions, and appreciating the value of others and of differences.
Social Development Activities

Activities that help children and youth develops friendships and other relationships, as well as how a child handles conflict with peers. Social development activities support how youth learn to interact with others around them. As they develop and perceive their own individuality within their community, they also gain skills to communicate with other people and process their actions.

Social-Emotional Learning (SEL)

A process for learning life skills, including how to deal with oneself, others and relationships, and work in an effective manner. In dealing with oneself, SEL helps in recognizing our emotions and learning how to manage those feelings. In dealing with others, SEL helps with developing sympathy and empathy for others, and maintaining positive relationships. SEL also focuses on dealing with a variety of situations in a constructive and ethical manner. SEL is commonly referred as “non-cognitive skills”, “21st Century skills”, character development, etc.

Social-Emotional Skills

Includes emotional maturity, empathy, interpersonal skills, and verbal and non-verbal communication. Social-Emotional skills are considered an important part of a child’s skills and dispositions, influencing the overall behavior of a person. Social-Emotional Skills are also referred as “non-cognitive skills”, “21st Century skills”, character development, etc.

social responsibility
This is the ability to act in a way that takes into account the wellbeing and expectations of others.
soft space
This is space that is physically soft and comfortable for youth. Examples include couches, rugs, and pillows. See the resources section of the New Jersey Quality Standards for Afterschool for more guidance on indoor space.
sound financial management
This refers to the policies, procedures, and tools that nonprofits use to plan and effectively allocate resources. It includes accounting, budgeting, and appropriate oversight by the Board of Directors. See the resources section of the New Jersey Quality Standards for Afterschool for more guidance on this topic.
This refers to anyone who works at the program on a paid basis. When the standards refer to administrative staff in particular, you’ll see the term “administration.” There is a separate standard about volunteers, and this one explains that standards relating to staff conduct in the Human Relationships category should apply to volunteers as well. Some programs refer to staff as “educators” to emphasize the educational role they play; this document does not use that term in order to avoid confusion, but it supports the belief that afterschool staff act as educators to the youth.
Staff-directed activities are those that a staff person, as opposed to the youth, develops and leads.
Stakeholders include anyone who has a stake in the afterschool program. This includes program youth, parents, and staff, as well as community stakeholders, such as staff from the schools that serve the afterschool program and other people who live or work in the community where the program is located.

Refers to the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, and is often used in education policy and curriculum content. STEM Education aims to increase interest and competency in STEM related careers. STEAM, with an added “A,” includes Arts in addition to the other fields.

Structural Racism
  1. The normalization and legitimization of an array of dynamics – historical, cultural, institutional, and interpersonal – that routinely advantage Whites while producing cumulative and chronic adverse outcomes for people of color. Structural racism encompasses the entire system of White domination, diffused and infused in all aspects of society including its history, culture, politics, economics, and entire social fabric. Structural racism is more difficult to locate in a particular institution because it involves the reinforcing effects of multiple institutions and cultural norms, past and present, continually reproducing old and producing new forms of racism. Structural racism is the most profound and pervasive form of racism – all other forms of racism emerge from structural racism.

  2. For example, we can see structural racism in the many institutional, cultural, and structural factors that contribute to lower life expectancy for African American and Native American men, compared to white men. These include higher exposure to environmental toxins, dangerous jobs and unhealthy housing stock, higher exposure to and more lethal consequences for reacting to violence, stress, and racism, lower rates of health care coverage, access, and quality of care, and systematic refusal by the nation to fix these things.


  1. Chronic Disparity: Strong and Pervasive Evidence of Racial Inequalities by Keith Lawrence, Aspen Institute on Community Change, and Terry Keleher, Applied Research Center, for the Race and Public Policy Conference (2004).

  2. Flipping the Script: White Privilege and Community Building by Maggie Potapchuk, Sally Leiderman, Donna Bivens, and Barbara Major (2005).

Related Resources:  Structural Racism

Location: FUNDAMENTALS / Core Concepts

Student Centered Learning

Student-centered learning is an approach to education focusing on the interests of the students, rather than those of others involved in the educational process, such as teachers and administrators.

Students with Disabilities

Students who require accommodations or adaptations because of autism; communication disorders; deaf/blindness; emotional disturbances; orthopedic impairments; other health impairments; specific learning disabilities; traumatic brain injuries; or visual impairments, including blindness.


Subcontractors are a type of partner that provides activities or services under contract.

Summer Food Service Program

The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) was established to ensure that low-income children continue to receive nutritious meals when school is not in session. Free meals, that meet Federal nutrition guidelines, are provided to all children 18 years old and under at approved SFSP sites in areas with significant concentrations of low-income children.

Summer Learning

High quality academic and enrichment activities that take place in the summer, and that aim to reduce learning loss over the summer months. Often targeted towards low-income students in order to reduce the academic achievement gap between high-income and low-income students.

Supplement not Supplant

Under the federal “supplement not supplant” requirement, 21st CCLC grantees may use grant funds only to supplement and to the extent practical, increase the level of funds that would, in the absence of federal funds, be made available from non-federal sources for the education of participating students.


A fiscal model that includes revenue and non-financial resources that meet the financial requirements to operate a program past short term funding streams. A program is sustainable if it has sufficient resources to operate its activities.



There are many definitions of this term, but this document takes it to be the design and use of tools and machines to solve real-world problems, as well as those tools and machines themselves. It is far broader than the term “electronics” and can include an activity such as hydroponic gardening (gardening with just water and no soil) or finding new uses for existing items.

Tutoring/Homework Help

These activities provide direct assistance with classroom work. Tutors or teachers help students complete their homework, prepare for tests, and work specifically on concepts covered during the school day.


Under-served Races/Ethnicities

Students whom societal systems have placed at risk because of their race, ethnicity, English language proficiency, socioeconomic status, gender, sexual orientation, differently abled, and geographic location.



White Fragility

A state in which even a minimum amount of racial stress becomes intolerable [for white people], triggering a range of defensive moves. These moves include the outward display of emotions such as anger, fear, and guilt, and behaviors such as argumentation, silence, and leaving the stress-inducing situation. These behaviors, in turn, function to reinstate white racial equilibrium.


SOURCE:  Robin DiAngelo, “White Fragility” (International Journal of Critical Pedagogy, 2011).

Related Resources:  System of White Supremacy and White Privilege

Location: FUNDAMENTALS / Core Concepts

White Privilege
  1. Refers to the unquestioned and unearned set of advantages, entitlements, benefits and choices bestowed on people solely because they are white. Generally white people who experience such privilege do so without being conscious of it.
  2. Structural White Privilege: A system of white domination that creates and maintains belief systems that make current racial advantages and disadvantages seem normal. The system includes powerful incentives for maintaining white privilege and its consequences, and powerful negative consequences for trying to interrupt white privilege or reduce its consequences in meaningful ways. The system includes internal and external manifestations at the individual, interpersonal, cultural and institutional levels. 

The accumulated and interrelated advantages and disadvantages of white privilege that are reflected in racial/ethnic inequities in life-expectancy and other health outcomes, income and wealth, and other outcomes, in part through different access to opportunities and resources. These differences are maintained in part by denying that these advantages and disadvantages exist at the structural, institutional, cultural, interpersonal, and individual levels and by refusing to redress them or eliminate the systems, policies, practices, cultural norms, and other behaviors and assumptions that maintain them.


Interpersonal White Privilege: Behavior between people that consciously or unconsciously reflects white superiority or entitlement.

Cultural White Privilege: A set of dominant cultural assumptions about what is good, normal or appropriate that reflects Western European white world views and dismisses or demonizes other world views.


Institutional White Privilege: Policies, practices and behaviors of institutions—such as schools, banks, non-profits or the Supreme Court—that have the effect of maintaining or increasing accumulated advantages for those groups currently defined as white, and maintaining or increasing disadvantages for those racial or ethnic groups not defined as white. The ability of institutions to survive and thrive even when their policies, practices and behaviors maintain, expand or fail to redress accumulated disadvantages and/or inequitable outcomes for people of color.



  1. Peggy McIntosh, “White Privilege and Male Privilege: A Personal Account of Coming to See Correspon­dences Through Work in Women Studies” (1988).

  2. Transforming White Privilege: A 21st Century Leadership Capacity, CAPD, MP Associates, World Trust Educational Services (2012).

Related Resources:  System of White Supremacy and White Privilege

Location: FUNDAMENTALS / Core Concepts

White Supremacy

The idea (ideology) that white people and the ideas, thoughts, beliefs, and actions of white people are superior to People of Color and their ideas, thoughts, beliefs, and actions. While most people associate white supremacy with extremist groups like the Ku Klux Klan and the neo-Nazis, white supremacy is ever present in our institutional and cultural assumptions that assign value, morality, goodness, and humanity to the white group while casting people and communities of color as worthless (worth less), immoral, bad, and inhuman and “undeserving.” Drawing from critical race theory, the term “white supremacy” also refers to a political or socio-economic system where white people enjoy structural advantage and rights that other racial and ethnic groups do not, both at a collective and an individual level.


SOURCE: “What Is Racism?” − Dismantling Racism Works (dRworks) web workbook.

Related Resources:  System of White Supremacy and White Privilege and Addressing Hate and White Supremacy

Locations: FUNDAMENTALS / Core Concepts and PLAN / Issues

  1. The term white, referring to people, was created by Virginia slave owners and colonial rules in the 17th century. It replaced terms like Christian and Englishman to distinguish European colonists from Africans and indigenous peoples. European colonial powers established whiteness as a legal concept after Bacon’s Rebellion in 1676, during which indentured servants of European and African descent had united against the colonial elite. The legal distinction of white separated the servant class on the basis of skin color and continental origin. The creation of ‘whiteness’ meant giving privileges to some, while denying them to others with the justification of biological and social inferiority.

  2. Whiteness itself refers to the specific dimensions of racism that serve to elevate white people over people of color. This definition counters the dominant representation of racism in mainstream education as isolated in discrete behaviors that some individuals may or may not demonstrate, and goes beyond naming specific privileges (McIntosh, 1988). Whites are theorized as actively shaped, affected, defined, and elevated through their racialization and the individual and collective consciousness formed within it … Whiteness is thus conceptualized as a constellation of processes and practices rather than as a discrete entity (i.e. skin color alone). Whiteness is dynamic, relational, and operating at all times and on myriad levels. These processes and practices include basic rights, values, beliefs, perspectives, and experiences purported to be commonly shared by all but which are actually only consistently afforded to white people.


1. PBS, “Race: The Power of an Illusion” (2018–2019 relaunch of 2003 series).

2. Robin DiAngelo, “White Fragility” (International Journal of Critical Pedagogy, 2011).

Related Resources:  System of White Supremacy and White Privilege

Location: FUNDAMENTALS / Core Concepts

World of Work

The arena of paid and non-paid employment, educational endeavors, and vocational efforts, which over a lifetime become a career.


An environment that is youth-centered is based on the needs and interests of the youth served.
Youth Development

A program for young people (generally early adolescent through teen) that focuses on assisting their growth and development in one or more domains of development such as physical & motor, social, emotional, character/moral, spiritual, and cognitive.

Youth-directed activities are those that the youth, as opposed to a staff member, develop and lead.
Youth Worker

One of the terms currently used to refer to people who work directly with children and/or youth in a wide range of afterschool programs.

Youth Program Quality Assessment (YPQA)

The Youth Program Quality Assessment (PQA)® is a validated instrument designed to measure the quality of youth programs and identify staff training needs. The Youth PQA is suitable for youth in grades 4 – 12. For children in grades K – 6, the School-Age PQA is developmentally appropriate.