The Extended Learning Opportunities (ELO) Unit, in the Office of Student Support Services, administers the federally-funded 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) Program for out-of-school-time programs in New Jersey, which include before-school, afterschool, or summer. The 21st CCLC Program purposes to advance student achievement to promote knowledge, skills, and understanding through enriching, hands-on and creative opportunities that complement the school day.
Afterschool programs provide not only a safe place to go, but also provide our youth with necessary workforce development skills, while equipping them with life skills that will nurture and encourage positive, healthy choices. The ELO Unit, as a part of its mission to provide leadership, direction, and support to educators and parents, routinely reviews resource materials and information, as well as researches best practices, to stay current in the area of out-of-school programming.
- 21st Century Community Learning Centers Program
These programs offer academic remediation and enrichment activities, arts and cultural experiences, youth development, support services and physical activity that are designed to reinforce and complement the regular academic programs and develop social skills and personal dispositions to foster academic and career success. Additionally, the programs promote parental involvement and, for their adult family members, the programs offer literacy and other educational services that assist parents in becoming full partners in the education of their children. Grantees include local education agencies (LEAs), non-profit, for-profit, community-based, and faith-based organizations, operating solely or in partnership with other agencies.
- New Jersey Afterschool Network
The statewide network for New Jersey’s Afterschool Communities advocates for the implementation of the New Jersey Quality Afterschool Standards and promotes and supports the development, continuity, and expansion of out-of-school time programs.
Statewide Training and Technical Assistance
- New Jersey School-Age Care Coalition Annual Conference
- The department offers various training opportunities in the area of academic remediation, academic enrichment, positive youth development, cultural/art, health, nutrition and physical fitness and parental involvement. For an up to date list, please send a request to NJ21stcclc@doe.nj.gov.
National Training Opportunities
New Jersey Specific Research and Data
National Research & Data
Research suggests various strategies to effectively implement extended learning opportunities, engage staff and community members and increase youth's knowledge and skills. Some of this information is shared below:
Indicators of Program Quality
NJSACC (The Statewide Network for NJ's Afterschool Communities) – with support from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation and the NJ Department of Education – convened a group of afterschool leaders for a two year period between 2011 and 2013. Out of this partnership, the New Jersey Quality Standards for Afterschool (NJQSA) were formed.
The NJQSA – together with the Assessment Tool – is a resource that afterschool programs can use for self-evaluation and should be part of a process for continuous quality improvement. The standards and accompanying tool can be found at http://www.njsacc.org/qualityStandards/index.php.