After school education programs can provide fundamental resources for students to expand and enrich the education they receive during the school day, as well as fill critical gaps in the schedules and opportunities of students. Boston Beyond’s After School Learning community includes programs around the city of Boston dedicated to continuing education and enrichment past the classroom and the regular school day.
Members of this community of practice engage in three activities over the course of the school year:
Use common units of measurement to assess and describe youth participation in their programs, plus the skills that their students practice, the degree to which they develop them, and the quality of programming from a youth development perspective.
Convene to review cohort-wide measurement results and discuss emerging policy and practice regarding social emotional learning and school-community partnerships.
Participate in periodic professional development opportunities focused on systemic needs identified through measurement activities, strategic priorities for BPS, and promising practices and trends in out-of-school time learning.
In addition, Boston Beyond provides members of the community of practice with comprehensive program quality reports that include school day outcomes at the program level such as average attendance rate, measures of academic achievement, and BPS school climate survey results, as well as network-wide comparisons for each metric. The estimated in-kind value that Boston Beyond provides to each member of the After School Learning community of practice is valued at $9,000 annually.
As a part of the After School Learning community, Boston Beyond has a number of partners that participate in specific education initiatives. Currently Boston Beyond directs three initiatives that target specific aspects of learning for students in distinct developmental stages.
Partnerships for Social & Emotional Learning Initiative (PSELI)
PSELI is a national research initiative funded by the Wallace Foundation, that is committed to developing effective strategies to foster social-emotional capabilities at the elementary school level. You can learn more about PSELI here.
BoSTEM is an initiative funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education to the United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley, with whom Boston Beyond collaborates to bring quality after-school STEM programming to middle school students in Boston. You can learn more about BoSTEM here.
Skill Badging is an initiative focused on giving middle and high school students the opportunities to build, articulate, and be recognized for their growth in key college and career readiness skills. As a part of this initiative, students can earn badges for their progress in the attainment of certain skills, as well as receive school credit for certain credit-bearing projects and opportunities. You can read more about Skill Badging here.