After-School Learning

Building an after school network

Every kid deserves a safe, supportive place to learn and grow beyond school hours. Boston Beyond coordinates and supports a large, citywide network of school and community providers who are making that vision a reality. In particular, Boston Public Schools has been a committed partner in this process of expanding quality after-school experiences to more of Boston’s students. Together, we have significantly expanded after school offerings for Boston’s highest need students, with a relentless focus on quality.

Each year, we offer peer learning opportunities, rigorous evaluation tools, and technical assistance to help our network members elevate their practice and make a lasting impact on student learning.

Why does after school matter?

The after-school hours represent a tremendous opportunity—time for students to build skills and develop socially and emotionally among peers and caring adults. Quality after-school programs reinforce and expand upon the learning children do during the school day, contributing significantly to student success.

  • Students who participate in evidence-based after-school programs show improved school attendance, greater engagement in learning, and improved graduation rates (Huang et. al, 2008).
  • Students from low-income families who are most at-risk experience the greatest gains (Vandell et al, 2007).

How the network operates

Boston Beyond acts as a convener and facilitator for nonprofit providers, educators, researchers, city leaders, and others who share our mission to expand and improve after-school opportunities for Boston students. We work together as a community to share best practices, develop new solutions to outstanding challenges, guide policy, and build our collective professional capacity.

Four themes guide this collaborative after-school agenda:

  • Focus on skills: Partners commit to developing a common set of skills that students need for success in work, college, and life; each provider integrates these skills into their unique programs.
  • Program innovation: We work together to design and test innovative curricula, program designs, pedagogy, and other practices as we seek ever-better outcomes for students.
  • Common measures: Network members use our comprehensive evaluation tools to track student participation and outcomes and identify programmatic strengths and areas for improvement.
  • Professional learning: We build the professional skillset of program leaders and staff through opportunities to study and exchange best practices, discuss common challenges, and observe one another in action.

Special Initiatives

Through targeted initiatives, our network members work together to address areas of common concern in after-school practice. Currently, Boston Beyond directs three special initiatives:

  • Partnerships for Social & Emotional Learning Initiative: developing strategies to support a seamless experience of social and emotional learning at the elementary level. [more]
  • BoSTEM: expanding STEM programming and cultivating STEM career aspirations among middle schoolers. [more]
  • Skill Badging: designing a system for validating students’ attainment of crucial skills in middle and high school. [more]

2018 ACT Skills Summit: From Data to Action

Explore our strategies to advance student skill development.

Having learning opportunities that take place beyond the walls of the schools is what good community partners bring to the experience of education.

Dr. Lindsa McIntyre, High School Superintendent, Boston Public Schools