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Our mission calls us to advance quality and professionalism, in the ultimate interest of those we serve.

We are honored to be the association that offers tools, resources, and support to the field for these pursuits.

In Minnesota, we have the good fortune to be a part of state and national movements that provide both a compelling rationale and an agreed-upon framework for this important work.

The State of Afterschool Quality Focus Briefs – National AfterSchool Association

The National AfterSchool Association is thrilled to announce it has published a series of focus briefs describing the State of Afterschool Quality. The briefs reveal the afterschool field has made progress in identifying, measuring and implementing quality practices. However, there has been less attention focused on programs to support the development of afterschool professionals.

We hope that you are able to use these briefs to advance the importance of your work, your quality improvement efforts, and your investments in your staff. There are a number of ideas of ways to use these briefs listed at the end.

Why Afterschool Quality Matters

Did you know children who participate regularly in quality afterschool programs have better grades and attendance in school than peers who do not? Learn more about how to identify afterschool quality – and the benefits it provides – in NAA’s series of focus briefs, The State of Afterschool Quality. In the briefs, NAA raises important issues and describe how the organization and its members are working across the country to ensure kids have access to interesting, lively and enriching summer and afterschool programs.

Identifying and Improving Quality Matters

Parents are looking for safe, high quality afterschool programs that provide a diverse and interesting curriculum. A new focus brief from the National AfterSchool Association, Identifying and Improving Quality Programs, provides a national overview of strategies states and cities are using to ensure families have access to excellent afterschool programs.

Promoting Professionalism

Afterschool and summer programs have the potential to close achievement gaps, increase third grade reading proficiency and improve community outcomes. The industry will not, however be able to achieve these outcomes without highly qualified, devoted professionals. Learn more about effective strategies for providing relevant and rigorous training opportunities here in Promoting Professionalism.

Funding Quality Initiatives

Educators, policymakers and families are asking afterschool programs to do a lot in a few short hours each day. Achieving these expectations requires funding to support regulations, program and practitioner standards, program and practitioner supports and accountability systems. In Funding Quality Initiatives NAA calls for commitment from public and private funders to equitably support efforts to improve program quality and professional preparation for all students, regardless of age or program setting.

The State of Afterschool Quality — Call to Action

The afterschool field is focused on providing programs that engage and inspire students—giving them an opportunity to more deeply explore topics of interest in a time and space that is more hands-on and flexible than the school day. Ensuring all kids have access to high quality programs requires programs, providers, policymakers and funders need to work together to support quality. This Call to Action from the National AfterSchool Association provides concrete actions for sustaining and growing afterschool quality.

How You Can Use These Focus Briefs

  • Use the Call to Action as a leave behind when visiting policy and decision-makers.
  • Use the individual briefs as content for 15-minute staff meetings.
  • Use the briefs to write talking points for meetings with funders, key champions and potential partners.
  • Write a letter to the editor of your local or regional newspaper to make the case for investing in afterschool quality.
  • Share with families to help them understand your program’s commitment to quality.
  • Share with school district staff/building principals – highlight quotes they will be particularly interested in.
  • Post quotes from the briefs on Facebook and Twitter—be sure to use the hashtag #afterschoolquality and include @MnAEYCMnSACA
  • Start a quality study circle—pick a brief to read before an advisory committee meeting and brainstorm policy asks/ next steps as a group.

Believe It. Build It.

Believe It. Build It. is here! For the first time, Minnesota has a clear effective practices guidebook for afterschool. Believe It. Build It. brings us together around common language and practices that are based in research but accessible to all afterschool stakeholders in Minnesota.

The guidebook includes:

  • "We Believe" statements that articulate the values that guide our work.
  • Building Blocks: Plainly stated descriptions to help you identify effective practices that strengthen your program and are more likely to result in positive outcomes for children. 
  • Four steps in a continuous program improvement process to help us build quality over time
  • Reflection questions and on-line resources to help bring Believe It. Build It. to life

Believe It. Build It. is not meant to sit on a shelf- it's meant to be used!  

Want your own DIY version?  Download Believe It. Build It. for free, put it in a binder, and explore how to use the guidebook in your organization.

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