The Afterschool Hours: Examining the Relationship Between Afterschool Staff–Based Social Capital and Student Engagement in LA's BEST (January 2007)
The relationship between after-school staff and students is very important for encouraging and promoting longevity in school. The primary goal of this study was to examine the connection between perceptions of staff-student relationships and the educational values, future aspirations and engagement of LA’s BEST students. Researchers collected surveys from students and staff at 53 LA’s BEST after-school programs, with a focus on grades three to five. Both staff and students reported high levels of trust at the programs; most students reported that staff care about them and they feel comfortable at the program, though they were less likely to report that they feel important and emotionally supported by staff. Analyses revealed that these social support measures were related to students' valuing of education and future aspirations.
Author/Publisher: Huang, Denise, Allison Coordt, Deborah La Torre, Seth Leon, Judy Miyoshi, Patricia Pérez and Cynthia Peterson. National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing (CRESST).
Beyond Safe Havens: A Synthesis of 20 Years of Research on the Boys & Girls Clubs (2005)
Over the past 20 years, Boys & Girls Clubs of America have been the subject of over 20 research studies. These studies ranged widely in focus, from an evaluation of a specific career-prep curriculum to a comprehensive survey of Club alumni as adults. This report synthesized these diverse studies to pull out common themes, identifying strategies that were consistently successful in Clubs, and those areas that frequently posed challenges. The importance of high-quality staff emerged as a key theme, as did several strategies used by Clubs to hire and retain such staff, including: recruiting staff skilled for specific programs, promoting personnel from within the agency, ensuring the buy-in of staff to any new programming and providing sufficient staff training.
Author/Publisher: Arbreton, Amy J. A., Jessica Sheldon and Carla Herrera. Philadelphia: Public Private Ventures.
Finding Out What Matters for Youth: Testing Key Links in a Community Action Framework for Youth Development (2002)
The Community Action Framework for Youth Development was developed to describe the pathways that lead youth to positive outcomes and to highlight what needs the most attention. It looks at whether and how developmental outcomes (learning to be productive, learning to connect, and learning to navigate) affect early adult outcomes (economic self-sufficiency, healthy family and social relationships, and community involvement). Gambone et al. found that youth who had at least one highly supportive relationship with an adult did better than youth who had none.
Author/Publisher: Gambone, M. A., A. M. Klem and J. P. Connell
Community Programs to Promote Youth Development (2002)
http://www.nap.edu/catalog/10022.html (Note: This is not available for free online.)
This book focuses on community programs for youth and examines what is known about their design, implementation, and evaluation. The book identifies the set of personal and social assets that increase the healthy development and well-being of adolescents. It then discusses the settings that promote healthy development of those assets. The book defines supportive relationships as those that include qualities of emotional support (e.g., being caring and responsive) and instrumental support (e.g., providing guidance that is useful to young people). It discusses both what a supportive relationship is and some practices to develop supportive relationships.
Author/Publisher: National Research Council and Institute of Medicine. Committee on Community-Level Programs for Youth. Jacquelynne Eccles and Jennifer A. Gootman, eds. Board on Children, Youth, and Families, Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.
Specific Features of After-School Program Quality: Associations with Children’s Functioning in Middle Childhood (2010)
This study examined the relationship between after-school program quality and child outcomes in grades one, two and three. Researchers found that positive staff-to-child relationships were the most consistently important components of quality. Analysis showed that students in programs that rated more highly on a staff-to-child relationship scale consistently experienced greater increases in math and/or reading scores than students in lower-rated programs. The correlations between other elements of program quality and outcomes were more variable. The authors conclude that children’s positive relationships with program staff are beneficial at all ages studied, whereas in other program areas, best practices may vary with child age.
Author/Publisher: Pierce, K. M., D. M. Bolt and D. L. Vandell. American Journal of Community Psychology, 45, 381–393.
Implementation Quality and Positive Experiences in After-School Programs (2010)
Recent research suggests that several aspects of program implementation have an impact on participant outcomes, including attendance rates, student engagement, program management and staff quality. Using an experimental design, researchers measured these dimensions of quality in a middle school after-school program that offered a mixed curriculum including academic support, programs to prevent risk behaviors and social activities. Students reported the most positive experiences in programs that rated highly along the following quality dimensions: program management and climate; staff education and training; and engaging program content. Researchers concluded that staff quality might be the single most important characteristic of program success because the quality of program staff seemed to affect other aspects of implementation.
Author/Publisher: Cross, Amanda Brown, Denise C. Gottfredson, Denise M. Wilson, Melissa Rorie and Nadine Connell. American Journal of Community Psychology 45: 370–80.
(Note: This publication is not available for free online. It may be available through research library databases.)