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Knowledge From the Field

The Beacon Community Centers Middle School Initiative: Final Report

Published: September 2011

Publisher(s): Policy Studies Associates, Inc.

Author(s): LaFleur, Jennifer; Mark Low; Rebecca Romash; Christina A. Russell

Funder(s): Wallace Foundation

View Report (54 pages; 768KB; PDF)

The Beacon Community Centers Middle School Initiative: Final Report

Area of Focus: Out-of-School Time


The report evaluates New York City’s Beacon Middle School Initiative, which was launched to increase services to middle-grades youth through programs in academics, life skills, career awareness, civic engagement, physical health, and arts and culture. The report describes youth characteristics and participation, program features, connections to school and communities, youth reports of their experiences, and relationships between program characteristics and youth outcomes.

 Key Findings and/or Recommendations

+In general, middle-grades youth were positive about their experiences at Beacon Centers, agreeing that activities were engaging and offered opportunities to try new things, helped them feel more confident playing sports, and helped them finish homework more often.

=Beacons that enrolled large numbers of middle-grades youth were more likely to be housed at middle schools.

=Participants rated their experiences more highly at Beacons that had stronger relationships with the host schools.

=Beacons that were better connected to the families of participants had greater success in achieving regular attendance among participants.

=Participants reported more opportunities to try new and interesting things when the Youth Council had more input in selecting program activities.

Focus: New York City

Subjects/Keywords: Middle School; OST; Out-of-School Time

+ Successful strategy
= Observation
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