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Metro Newsroom

City Leaders Address Challenges to Building Citywide Afterschool Systems

Monday July 2, 2012

by Tim Mudd

As detailed in a recent study published by NLC’s Institute for Youth, Education and Families (YEF Institute), cities across the country are making a fundamental shift in their approach to afterschool programming, moving from management and funding of isolated programs toward in-depth collaboration across numerous stakeholders and program providers.

The emergence of comprehensive, citywide afterschool systems reflects a growing recognition among city leaders of the importance of afterschool programs to confronting local challenges such as public safety and helping children and youth succeed in school.

At a recent meeting in New York City sponsored by The Wallace Foundation, nine cities that are among the most advanced in their efforts to coordinate afterschool opportunities for children and youth discussed challenges and opportunities to building effective afterschool systems. Participating cities were Baltimore, Denver, Fort Worth, Grand Rapids, Jacksonville, Louisville, Nashville, Philadelphia and Saint Paul. Each of the nine cities has been awarded multi-year grants by The Wallace Foundation to support implementation of their local efforts to build or expand management information systems to track data on program participation and its connection to learning outcomes in school, as well as improve quality of programs.

City staff and their local partners underscored the challenges to linking disparate afterschool program providers within a collaborative framework of shared outcomes and accountability.

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