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Program Plan

Making Afterschool Programs Better (Huang & Dietel)
A. Goals:
a. Goals, or desired outcomes, are important to set because they are the cornerstone
of afterschool program success. Furthermore, letting students have a voice in the
goal setting process correlates with increased student engagement and excitement
towards their afterschool programs.
b. Key Findings (The best programs had…)
i. Clearly defined goals in a written plan
ii. Curricular design and specific practices aligned to program goals
iii. Goals of many high quality afterschool programs also had a specific
emphasis (e.g. science, technology, homework support, etc.)
c. Personal Program Plan:
i. The goals for my program plan would be my students would have a
program they are intrinsically motivated to attend, and offers them a place
to not only expand horizons, but also further their academic development.
As stated in the Larson article, individuals take initiative and do best when
they are in situations they are intrinsically motivated to be involved with
(Larson, 2000). Therefore, I want my goals to align with the wants of my
students and involve their constant feedback. In order to ensure my goals
are being met, I would make the specific emphasis of my afterschool
program to be STEM and to construct my staff, and activities off teaching
to align with the site’s emphasis and goals. As stated in Huang & Dietel,

some of the best programs have a specific emphasis, and design practices
to match the program goal or emphasis (Huang & Dietel, 2011). Goals
would be visually on display at program site for students to see every day,
and goals would be reevaluated periodically throughout the year. In these
evaluations, if it is found that goals have already been achieved or have
not been achieved, then new goals will be constructed and put on display.
By constantly displaying goals, and periodically reevaluating them,
students and staff can always be aware of the goals they are working
towards achieving.
ii. Source:
Larson, R. W. Towards a Psychology of Positive Youth Development
(2000). American Psychologist, 55, 170-183. Web.

B. Leadership:
a. Strong leadership is important because the directors of after school program want
to have experience. Furthermore, it is important to have leaders who value the
opinions of their staff and students to ensure the programs goals are aligned with
the needs of everyone involved.
b. Key Findings (The best programs had leaders who…)
i. Articulated a clear program mission, vision statement, and goals
ii. Used a bottoms up leadership style
iii. Promoted a team culture of positive relationships, frequent
communication, and staff problem-solving skills
c. Personal Program Plan:

i. As the leader of my program plan, I would always ensure my students and
staff are involved in the decision making process. I would hold weekly
staff meetings on Fridays, to obtain staff feedback on how they felt that
week went, what activities they did or did not like, and what they think we
can do better in the upcoming week. By allowing my staff to voice
concerns, we can work together as a team to solve the problems our site
may be having. Furthermore, I would ensure there is a mission statement
visible to all parents, students, and staff that aligns with our emphasis of
STEM. I would construct all field trips, activities, and daily tasks to align
with our goals and allow the students opportunities to lead program based
activities. As found in the Hansen & Larson article, students had positive
experiences and learned more from activities when they were given
opportunities to have the lead role (2007). As the leader, I would teach my
students the best approaches to leading while managing any negative
stress that could come from leading, and allow them to lead their peers in
areas they hold individual expertise. This would demonstrate to my
students and staff that I am not superior to them and help maintain positive
ii. Source:
Hansen, D., & Larson, R. Amplifiers of Developmental and Negative
Experiences in Organized Activities: Dosage, Motivation, Lead Roles, and
Adult-Youth Rations. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 28,
360-3374. Web.

C. Staff:
a. Quality programs recruit qualified staff and create collegial environments
supporting their programs’ missions. Furthermore, it is important to have staff
with low turnover rates so the staff has an opportunity to build positive
relationships with one another.
b. Key Findings (The best programs had leaders who…)
i. Had high education levels (at least a bachelor’s degree)
ii. Had more than three years of work experience in afterschool education
iii. Had low turnover rates (staff remained at one site for more than three
iv. Had professional development offered to them
c. Personal Program Plan:
i. As the leader of my program plan, I would ensure I am providing my
students with the highest quality staff possible. The qualities I would look
for in staff would be individuals who have a strong work ethic, passion for
STEM, are willing to learn new things, have a college degree in an area
related to STEM, and would be willing to invest their time into my
program for an extended period of time. As the leader, if I see any of my
staff members are not working to achieve our sites goals, or do not mesh
well with the students or staff, then I would work with that staff member
to either solve the problem or let them go. To ensure my staff members are
being effective, I would hold staff evaluations and workshops to better the
staff’s skills. Seeing as lack of STEM skills is a prevalent problem in our

society, I would want staff that is passionate about the topic and are up to
date with best practices. As found in The Power of Discovery: STEM
article, the more passionate the staff were about teaching STEM, the more
they were willing to implement STEM activities. Also, the higher the
belief the staff had in the importance of STEM, the higher the increase in
student performance. Therefore, I would ensure any staff member I
employed, saw the same value in teaching STEM that our site did.
ii. Source:
Vandell, D.L., Simzar, R., O’Cadiz, P., Hall, V., Karash, A. (2014). The
Power of Discovery: STEM 2013-2014 Report.

D. Program:
a. Quality programs offer their students three or more activities each day. Programs
provide their students with homework help, but also included activities that
supported academic development and new skill enrichment.

b. Key Findings (The best programs had…)
i. Employed unique and innovative strategies to engage students in the
afterschool setting, placing emphasis on making learning fun

ii. Frequent use of research-based practices
iii. Took field trips to enhance student learning and motivation
iv. Encouraged parents to be involved in the afterschool programs

Parents who were very satisfied with the positive changes in their
children’s behaviors and attitudes

c. Personal Program Plan:

i. The key focus areas I will be implementing into my program are STEM
(Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). These focus areas
relate to our goals seeing as the overall goal of our program site is to
expand our student’s horizons and interest in the area of STEM. Our
program will align the curriculum taught with in the school day, by
keeping an open line of communication with our student’s science and
math teachers. By keeping an open line of communication, our staff can
ensure we are teaching topics using the same methods our student’s
teachers are. This will in turn keep the kids on track and cause no
confusion. Seeing as Technology and Engineering are not topics formally
taught in school, those areas will not align with the school day, but they
will be the areas in which we expand our student’s horizons. To keep our
students engaged we will construct hands on activities where are students
can implement prior knowledge, while developing new skills.
Furthermore, seeing as Huang & Dietel stress successful programs
implement field trips, we will take our students on field trips to further
their interest and understanding of STEM. When students arrive to our
program, they will be given the first hour to do homework. Our staff can
answer homework questions, and provide feedback on efficiency of the
student’s homework. Then the following two hours will be a program
based work shop that correlates to one of the four focus areas of STEM.
Each week will be dedicated a letter, and there will be a goal for what the
students are being taught with in that subject. For example, on Monday

students will be given a topic relating to science, and the basics of that
topic in lecture form. Tuesday – Thursday students will work in groups to
create a project our experiment that relates to the topic assigned with the
aid of our staff members. Friday the students will present their experiment
and findings to their peers. Ultimately, this will allow students to
constantly be learning new subjects, and be given the opportunity to
develop their social skills through oral presentations.

ii. Source:
Huang, Denise, and Ronald Dietel. Making Afterschool Programs Better
(2011): 1-15. University of California Los Angeles. Web.

E. Evaluation:
a. Quality programs have ongoing evaluations to measure program performance and
make continuous improvement. Evaluation is done internally to identify program
strengths and weaknesses.
b. Key Findings (The best programs…)
i. Conduct internal evaluations, whether it be informal or formal
ii. Are evaluated externally
iii. Include pre-post testing or classroom evaluations
c. Personal Program Plan:
i. The three questions our evaluation would address are: Are our students
further developing their academics in the subjects of science and math?
Are our students engaged and enjoy what they are learning? Is our staff
providing the best guidance to our students and are passionate when they

teach? To measure success, I will implement pre-post testing where our
student’s science and math skills are measured at the beginning of the
school year and again at end. Furthermore, I will use surveys and
individual meetings with students to see what they like and dislike about
what our program offers to them. This will help me as a leader know
which activities to stick with, and which ones to remove. Ultimately, these
pre-post tests and surveys will help me plan out my program based
learning activities, and keep my student intrinsically motivated to attend
our program. Lastly, I will hold weekly meetings with our staff to ensure
we are all on the same page, they are happy with how the program is being
ran, and to ensure we maintain positive relationships.