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After-School Quality: The Process for Program Improvement

The Pennsylvania Key is implementing an exciting quality improvement program with your ELRC called “After-School Quality: The Process of Program Improvement”.  Developed by the National Institute on Out-of-School Time, After-School Quality is designed to assist afterschool programs in implementing a continuous quality improvement process using a team approach.

The process will involve staff and other stakeholders in recognizing opportunities for program growth and navigating improvement plans.  “Team” is the cornerstone of After-School Quality.  Successful implementation will be led by a team, supported by a team, and celebrated by a team.  Technical assistance for your program throughout the process is available through your ELRC.

Professional Development (PD)

Professional development for school-age practitioners is primarily delivered through regionally based school-age specialists.  For information about professional development available in your area, visit the PD Registry or Early Learning Resource Center (visit raiseyourstar.org and search by county or zip code).

The sessions listed to the left are statewide modules that have been developed to support school-age practitioners meet specific professional development requirements in Keystone STARS.

Links to Learning Foundations (6 hrs.)

  • A six hour professional development event, developed by NIOST, to support practitioner understanding of the role of afterschool in providing complementary supports to insure developmental progress of children. Participants learn how to guide curriculum planning in afterschool and how to link activities to learning standards and quality standards.  The content also explores theme and project based learning and how they are beneficial to children in afterschool programs.
  • Links to Learning Foundations may be delivered as individual sessions in which case the following content must be completed: 1) Introduction & Theoretical Framework, 2) Curriculum Planning, 3) Linking Activities to Benchmarks and Learning Standards, and 4) Theme and Project based Learning.
  • Keystone STARS-Content will meet Learning Standards Core Series requirement for school-age practitioners

Links to Learning: Coordinating and Communicating with Schools

  • This session explores ways to increase linkages between school and afterschool, focusing on specific strategies to build relationships, to increase communication and coordination between the program and the school, and work on curriculum together.
  • Keystone STARS-Content supports Partnerships with Family & Community

Links to Learning: Engaging Families

  • This session will focus on the importance of family engagement in afterschool with regard to children’s learning and development. Participants will explore practical ways to engage families and develop a plan for better family engagement.
  • Keystone STARS-Content Supports Partnerships with Family & Community

Using Portfolios to Bring Out the Best in School-Age Children (6 hrs.)

  • A six hour professional development event to support the successful implementation of Portfolios to support children’s development and enhance program quality.  The session may be delivered as two, three hour sessions titled: Part 1 of 2 – Supporting Children’s Development & Enhancing Program Quality; Part 2 of 2  – Preparing for Success Implementation of Portfolios
  • Participants will learn about how Portfolios in school-age programs can be used as a tool: to document children’s growth and development; for program planning and implementation; for helping children reflect on their experiences and set goals; for sharing important information about children’s experiences with parents; for professional development.  Information will be shared about using developmental checklists as a framework for portfolio development; analyzing completed checklist and related documentation; and comparing and linking checklists to the Pennsylvania Child Service Report and the Key Areas of the PA Learning Standards.
  • Keystone STARS-Content will support Observation/Curriculum/Assessment at STAR 3 & 4 for school-age practitioners.

Additional Resources

Learning Standards

Research & Reports


Betsy O. Saatman


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