Cities seeking role models on the after-school programming front need look no further than Providence, R.I., according to a new study.
The report commends Providence for having put together, in a relatively short time, a strong network of after-school initiatives targeting middle school students—traditionally, a challenging group to enroll.
It says the city began knitting together community-based options for 6th, 7th, and 8th graders in 2004. Today, Providence is divided into three AfterZones, which are neighborhood-based, after-school campuses offering services in an array of sites, such as libraries and recreation and art centers, rather than in one center or school.
Keys to success in Providence include: an existing, well-coordinated network of after-school providers; consistent data collection on enrollment and attendance; effective leadership, from the mayor’s office on down; the use of multiple sites for programming; and sensitivity to what middle schoolers need.
Still, the report cites challenges in Providence, particularly in following up and making recommended improvements and getting local organizations to take on more management responsibilities, particularly in tough budget times.
The study was commissioned by the Wallace Foundation of New York City.
A version of this article appeared in the May 12, 2010 edition of Education Week as After-School Programs