New Jersey Department of Education

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Common Core

  • Title: Afterschool and the Common Core State Standards
    • Source: Afterschool Alliance
    • Summary:  Afterschool programs can incorporate Common Core principles to provide additional support to struggling students, while emphasizing creativity.  Afterschool programs can also help students build the critical thinking and analytical skills that the Common Core State Standards emphasize. This article highlights the New Jersey School Age Care Coalition's Supporting Student Success Program which provided 10 schools with individualized guidance to incorporate the Common Core State Standards into their afterschool programs.
  • Title: The Common Core Standards: What Do They Mean for Out-of-School Time?
    • Source: The Forum for Youth Investment
    • Summary:  This article provides information about how the implementation of the Common Core State Standards will affect the out-of-school time field.  It describes how the New Jersey School-Age Care Coalition (NJSACC) is training afterschool program coordinators to align their programs with the Common Core curriculum.  It continues with a description of NJSACC's Supporting Student Success project, which consists of trainings on how to use out-of-school time programs to strengthen in-school learning, while also emphasizing Common Core practices.  The articles also details that out-of-school time is the ideal time to address Common Core "habits of mind," such as "problem-solving, perseverance, independence, and understanding other cultures."  It concludes by stating that the biggest challenge facing out-of-school time providers is overpromising and focusing too much on academics, rather than creativity and self-expression.  Recommendations for the Out of School Time field regarding the Common Core:
      1. Out-of-school time programs should become knowledgeable so that they can support districts that may be overburdened during the transition process;
      2. Out-of-school time programs should align activities with the new "habits of mind," program;
      3. Coordinators should have open communication networks and should conduct staff and professional trainings; and
      4. Out-of-school time programs should facilitate communication between schools and parents, regarding the alignment of Common Core Standards and their program.

Parental Involvement

  • Title: Afterschool: A Key to Successful Parent Engagement
    • Source: Afterschool Alliance
    • Summary: This article describes the extensive benefits that parental involvement brings to a student's education, especially during middle school years, including: improved academic performance; overall attitude and behavior;  higher attendance and graduation rates; and lower dropout rates and negative behaviors. Three categories of parental involvement identified through a meta-analysis study, school-based, home-based involvement, and academic socialization/communication, are discussed. Afterschool programs can help schools improve parent engagement and student success by providing additional resources and assistance to parents that are accessible after work hours to encourage them to become involved in their child's education.
  • Title: Family Engagement in Anywhere, Anytime Learning
    • Source: Harvard Family Research Council
    • Summary: This newsletter provides suggestions for afterschool programs to bolster their parental engagement.  Research shows that engaging parents is an effective way to help decrease summer learning loss.  Involving parents in a child's education is also an effective way to close the academic achievement gap between high and low-income students.  The newsletter encourages out-of-school time (OST) programs to engage parents in anywhere, anytime learning.  Programs should urge parents to share a child's interests and needs with their teacher.

Civic Engagement

  • Title: Digital Media and Learning in Afterschool
    • Source: Afterschool Alliance
    • Summary:  This article provides an example of a school that has used digital media (by allowing students to review online news articles and blog posts) to enhance its civic engagement program.  Afterschool programs have successfully employed technology as a useful tool do to the flexible afterschool curriculum that allows students to drive their own learning based on their interests.


  • Title: 21st Century Afterschool Science Project
    • Summary: The 21st Century Afterschool Science Project is a federally-funded project supported by the New Jersey Department of Education for out-of-school time (OST) [before-school, afterschool, summer, winter recess, and weekends] programs in New Jersey.  The project was a collaboration among the New Jersey Department of Education, Liberty Science Center and the New Jersey School Age Care Coalition, to develop, pilot test and document a replicable model to enrich student learning and engagement in the afterschool setting.  This informal, hands-on science curriculum provides an opportunity to practice language arts and math skills, and reinforces science concepts that are appropriate for the OST setting.  The 21st CASP project produced a facilitators' guide, a 21 lesson curriculum, and a student journal.

  • Title: Partnerships with STEM-Rich Institutions
    • Source: Afterschool Alliance
    • Summary: Partnerships between afterschool programs and science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) institutions such as science centers, museums, universities, colleges, businesses, and federal science agencies are beneficial in strengthening the quality of STEM programming in afterschool programs.  These partnerships help expose students to field trips, expert staff, professional development, internships, preparation for college and trainings that students wouldn't have had without these collaborations.

Serving Students with Disabilities

  • Title: Afterschool Supporting Students with Disabilities and Other Special Needs
    • Source: Afterschool Alliance
    • Summary: Afterschool programs that provide an inclusive learning environment positively impact the academic performance, attitude, behavior, and social skills of students with disabilities. This article examines several studies on meaningful inclusion and participation of students with disabilities in classrooms and focuses on the flexible and adaptive nature of afterschool programs to do the same. Examples of several afterschool models that promote inclusive settings are discussed. This article also highlights the efforts of the New Jersey School-Age Care Coalition in providing support and guidance to afterschool programs regarding how best to fully include students of all abilities.

Performing Arts & Visual Arts

  • Title: Art Enrichment in Afterschool
    • Source: Afterschool Alliance
    • Summary: Art classes can help a student to improve his or her cognitive skills, creativity, behavior, and academic scores. Schools focus on English language arts (ELA), science, and math instruction, and low-income schools are particularly lacking in a variety of arts instruction.  Afterschool programs can be helpful by filling the void of both performing and visual arts programming.

Career Exploration

  • Title: Computing and Engineering in Afterschool
    • Source: Afterschool Alliance
    • Summary:  Afterschool programs can help students to develop interests in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) early on, which can encourage STEM-related degrees later on in life.  The curriculum in afterschool programs is more flexible than the curriculum of the traditional school day. This allows students more freedom to complete creative projects and to take risks.

Additional Resources

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