On this page...
- Quality Before & Afterschool Programs
- Types of Activities Found in Quality Before & Afterschool Programs
- Common Elements of Quality Before & Afterschool Programs
- Quality Standards for Before & Afterschool Programs
- Iowa's Blueprint for Afterschool
- Grant Program & Awards
The purpose of the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) program, first authorized as a national program in 1996, is to provide grants to schools, community-based, faith-based, and/or non-profit organizations as partners for the establishment of community learning centers to keep children safe in the after school hours. With the enactment of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001 the administration of the distribution of funding for the 21st CCLC program has been devolved to the states. The overarching goal of the state administered program is to establish or expand community learning centers during non-school hours to provide students who attend schools eligible for Title I Schoolwide Program funds (i.e., 40% of students are eligible to receive free and reduced lunch) with academic enrichment opportunities and supportive services necessary to help them achieve academically and develop socially, emotionally, physically, and behaviorally.
The NCLB Act of 2001 recognizes that improved student achievement occurs when communities implement programs and strategies scientifically proven to be effective. The 21st CCLC program is an essential part of this initiative. Many communities across the State of Iowa are working together with new energy and inspiration to create a more positive future for their children and youth. Their focus is on constructive learning activities during non-school hours. With caring adult guidance, school and community-based academic and youth development programs result in greater achievement and social outcomes for children and youth.
Before and afterschool programs have the potential to make a significant contribution to the following “Results for Iowa Youth” in the positive development of all the state’s children and youth:
- All Iowa children and youth are healthy and socially competent.
- All Iowa children and youth succeed in school
- All Iowa children and youth are prepared for productive adulthood.
- All youth have the benefit of safe and supportive families, schools, and communities.
Quality before and afterschool programs can provide safe, engaging environments that complement the school day by promoting learning to improve student outcomes. While there is no one single formula for success in afterschool programs, both practitioners and researchers have found that effective programs combine academic, enrichment, cultural, and recreational activities to guide learning and engage children and youth in wholesome activities. They also find that the best programs develop activities to meet the particular needs of the communities they serve.
- Tutoring and supplementing instruction in basic skills, such as reading, math, and science
- Drug and violence prevention curricula and counseling
- Youth leadership and character building activities
- Volunteer and community service opportunities
- College awareness and preparation
- Homework assistance centers
- Courses and enrichment in arts and culture
- Computer instruction
- Language instruction, including English as a second language
- Employment preparation or training
- Mentoring and service-learning
- Activities linked to law enforcement
- Supervised recreation and enrichment programs and events
- Physical fitness, nutrition, and obesity prevention programs and activities
Looking at the spectrum of before and after school programs, researchers and practitioners have identified some common elements necessary to developing high quality programs that meet the needs of the diverse population of school-age children and youth.
In addition to the desired results that focus the work, the Common Elements listed below represent nationally recognized standards on which quality afterschool programs are based. While programs should be oriented toward achievement of the four (4) result areas, the principles of quality programs should undergird all program design.
- The program is a combination of academic, enrichment, cultural, and recreational activities that guide learning and engage children and youth in wholesome activities.
- Goal setting and strong management
- Planning for long-term sustainability
- Quality afterschool staffing
- Attention to safety, health, and nutrition issues
- Effective partnerships
- Strong involvement of families
- Extended learning opportunities
- Linkages between school-day and afterschool personnel
- Evaluation of program progress and effectiveness
The Iowa Afterschool Alliance (IAA) sought to develop standards of quality for Iowa's aftershool programs because of up until September of 2008, no single approach to quality programming and administration existed that could be utilized by the whole range of programs that provide services to children and youth in Iowa.
The IAA Quality Work Group has developed a set of 10 standards and 88 corresponding indicators of quality afterschool programming and administration that can be immediately implemented by programs of all types, locations, and funding streams. More information can be found on the IAA Afterschool Quality webpage.
The Iowa's Blueprint for Afterschool document outlines five strategies for ensuring access to affordable high-quality afterschool in Iowa for children and youth ages 5-17. It is designed to serve as a tool for policymakers to use in partnership with local stakeholders to identify the core elements of effective delivery of quality afterschool programs in Iowa so all youth and families have access to such opportunities in their community.
Cohorts VII & VIII: Iowa has changed the grant cycle to a period of three (3) years for all new awards, starting in 2012.
Cohorts I-VI: Entities eligible to receive Iowa’s grant funds for a period of five (5) years has been expanded to include local educational agencies (LEAs), cities, counties, community-based organizations (CBOs), faith-based organizations (FBOs), non-profit organizations (NPOs), or a consortium of two or more such agencies, organizations or entities. Applicants are required to plan their programs through a collaborative process that includes parents, youth, and representatives of participating schools or local educational agencies, governmental agencies (e.g, cities, counties, parks and recreation departments), community organizations, and the private sector.
Grant Awards - Cohort VIII 2013-2016 (2013-03-27)
Grant Awards - Cohort VII 2012-2015 (2012-06-05)
Grant Awards - Cohort VI 2010-2015 (2011-04-19)
Grant Awards - Cohort V 2009-2014 (2010-04-09)
Grant Awards - Cohort III 2007-2012 (2008-08-01)
Every year, each 21st CCLC grantee is required to submit basic information about the characteristics associated with their programs and the outcomes they were able to achieve as a result of providing services to the students and adult family members attending their programs. This data includes activities, attendance, partners/subcontractors, staffing, and regular attendees’ math and reading proficiency levels. This data is submitted to a national collection system called Profile and Performance Information Collection System (PPICS).
Iowa Afterschool Report 2012 - Evaluation data from grantees, site visits, surveys and PPICS.
Iowa PPICS data available here: