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Knowledge From the Field

Hours of Opportunity: Volumes I, II and III

Published: October 2010

Publisher(s): Wallace Foundation; RAND Corporation

Funder(s): Wallace Foundation

Related Organization(s): RAND Corporation

View Report (325 pages; 2.36MB; PDF)
Issue Brief
Video Commentary

Area of Focus: Out-of-School Time


The three-volume report examines efforts to build citywide, coordinated systems of after-school, summer, and other out-of-school time (OST) programs. Volume I, Lessons from Five Cities, evaluates the experiences across cities that undertook major system-building projects, and Volume III, Profiles of Five Cities, looks at each venture in detail. Volume II, The Power of Data, examines the adoption of management information systems by OST efforts in eight cities.

Key Findings and/or Recommendations

+Each project that sought to increase access to OST did so (four out of the five Wallace-supported cities), by increasing the number of program locations and slots available to students, developing online program locators, and providing transportation.

+Data from new information systems led to improved programming and also informed funding decisions and bolstered advocacy efforts.

=Strong commitment from the mayor, thoughtful data-based planning, and the early development of shared goals among collaborators boosted system-building efforts.

=Improving OST quality was difficult for all five cities, and though steps were taken to develop and use program standards and provide training, no city could claim that the programs being offered were of universally high quality, nor could they demonstrate quantitative improvements in quality.

=Financial sustainability was a concern for all five cities, exacerbated by the downturn in the economy.

=Challenges in using new data systems included lack of time, lack of computer skills, the burden of re-entering information into different technology set-ups, and the perception of data collection as oriented to contract management and compliance rather than improving services.

Focus: National

Subjects/Keywords: After-School Programs; Information Technology; Summer Learning

+ Successful strategy
= Observation
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