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Afterschool & Youth Development

Afterschool & Youth Development e-Source

The goal of this e-Source is to provide resources to improve the rate of proficiency in English Language Arts (ELA) for at-risk students in youth development and afterschool programs, with an end goal of every student performing at or higher than grade level.  For summer and after school providers with an existing program, this e-Source will provide guidance for quality and intentional literacy inclusion.  For those who are looking to start or expand programming, this e-Source will provide guidance and resources to help start a program as well.



In spring 2017 Literacy For All (LFA), a donor-advised fund of the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, engaged Deloitte to determine the impact of adult low literacy on Georgia’s workforce and economy. The Deloitte study provided some alarming facts:1 in 6 adults in Georgia has low literacy skills -- that’s 1.7m adults.


  1. 65% of the state’s 3rd grade students are not reading at grade level.

  2. Children whose parents have low literacy levels have a 72% chance of being at the lowest reading level.

  3. Low literacy costs Georgia $1.3b annually in incarceration costs, lost revenue and social services.

  4. Literacy is a multigenerational issue.

  5. Local implementation and collaboration are keys to marked improvement.


Based on the Deloitte findings, LFA partnered with the Georgia Chamber of Commerce and the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education to initiate the Georgia Literacy Commission (GLC), a business-led group, and its Advisory Committee, comprised of education and literacy experts. They convened to study best practices relating to changing the trajectory of literacy in Georgia. The Commission released its first set of recommendations in November 2017, and they include initiatives that are actionable at the community level and have promise for statewide, systemic improvements.


To keep pace with current and future workforce needs, as a baseline, Georgia needs a literate and educated talent pool.  Possession of literacy skills is foundational to an individual’s continuing education, workforce training, and self-sustainment.  The Georgia Literacy Commission’s recommendations include initiatives that are targeted and focused on improving literacy from birth through adult years.  This Adult Education e-Source focuses on increasing awareness and engagement to improve literacy in the adult years. The ultimate goal of this e-Source is to prepare adults to be self-sustaining citizens.

The Case for a Focus on Literacy in Youth Development and Afterschool Programs

The Case for Afterschool

Georgia’s afterschool and youth development programs provide thousands of youth—from PreK through high school—with safe and enriching environments in their time outside of the home and school contexts.  High quality afterschool and youth development programs can make important contributions to young people’s development and well-being. To ensure that Georgia’s young people are equipped to thrive and succeed in the multiple domains of their lives, afterschool and youth development programs must provide environments and experiences that benefit youth socially, emotionally, and academically.


What is an afterschool and/or youth development program? This document uses the terms “afterschool” and “youth development” to fully describe programs that serve youth any age between four and 18 during any of the following array of timeframes: before school, afterschool, during times and days when there is no school, during vacations, and summer. Comprehensive programs provide safe places for children and youth when their parents are not available, as well as academic support, enrichment activities, and youth development opportunities.


In most areas of Georgia, low literacy is a problem, and demand for youth development and afterschool programs far outweighs the supply.  The majority of students who are at or below grade level reading do not have access to summer school.  Quality youth development and afterschool programs that focus on literacy improvements can be powerful tools for children who need additional attention.  Thus, there is the need for additional programs, better access and a focus on literacy programming. When literacy becomes a focus of youth development and afterschool programs, literacy gains are greater and are achieved more quickly.


While this e-Source focuses specifically on literacy, it is important to note that literacy/academic enrichment is just one component of a quality youth development or afterschool program.  The importance of social and emotional development, exposure to new opportunities and safety cannot be overlooked.  It is also important to understand that youth development and afterschool programs alone cannot significantly move the needle on literacy.  It takes the entire community to support a culture of literacy and education.

The Case for Youth Development and Afterschool Programs, Generally


Generally, youth development and afterschool programs have been shown to have positive impact on

  • academics; summer slide (students not retaining what they learned during the school year)

  • Impact on social/emotional learning 

  • youth, family, and community well-being

  • neighborhood value – “do property and rent improvements create stability and improved education or do improved schools create a reason to stay?  The answer is both”

The link between quality youth development and afterschool programs and education is clear.


Children who attend youth development or afterschool programs are:

  • less likely to fall behind in school (due to better attendance and extra academic support)

  • more likely to get help if struggling

  • more likely to graduate high school


Research shows that high quality afterschool programs accelerate student achievement and development through[1]:

  • improved school attendance

  • increased positive social behaviors

  • reduced problem behavior in school

  • reduced risk-taking behaviors

  • improved school grades and test scores.


  • Youth development and afterschool programs also allow parents to stay employed which provides family security and helps kids stay in school.

  • When these programs are free or very affordable, they provide an incentive to attend and typically become the programs of choice.

  • Literacy is a multigenerational issue.  Adults with low literacy skills often have children with low literacy skills who are typically unable to help their children with literacy and academic development.  Youth development programs that employ a multigenerational approach can have larger impact on community literacy overall.


Many afterschool programs today focus primarily on childcare and/ or social and emotional stability. These programs are often essential for working families and often result in improved school attendance, but may not provide literacy support to students who could really benefit from such a focus.  An intentional focus on literacy is necessary to address the literacy crisis we face in Georgia. 


The demand for afterschool programs in Georgia greatly exceeds supply. All of the following data is summarized from GSAN’s infographics and research.


A Snapshot of Afterschool Programs in Georgia  

  • 282,453 (16%) of Georgia’s school aged children participated in afterschool programs

  • BUT nearly 600,000 (40%) more children would enroll if a program was available in their community

  • In 2013, 25% of Georgia families report at least one child was in a summer learning program, while an additional 42% say they want their children enrolled in a summer learning program[2]

  • The majority of students who are at or below grade level reading do not have access to a youth development program

  • Over 300,000 (18%) of Georgia’s children are alone and unsupervised afterschool between 3:00PM and 6:00PM

  • 45% of programs say they must at least double capacity of their program to serve all the kids in their community who need afterschool care[3]

  • Top 5 afterschool providers[4]

    • Public schools

    • Religious organizations

    •  Private schools

    • YMCA

    • Boys and Girls Clubs

  • 78% of Georgia’s parents say that afterschool programs help parents keep their job[5]


A snapshot of 21st Century Learning Centers Program (21st CCLC) in Georgia

  • 28,000 kids participated representing $38m in spending

  • 237 programs: 

    • 71% located in schools

    • 24% community-based

    • 5% in institutions of higher education

    • 188 of the 237 operate summer programs

  • 21st CCLC provides programming for kids and families.  In the 2015 school year, 33,886 parents attended 1,825 events ranging from GED prep to movie nights to sporting events.

  • 8 out of 10 kids who participated in 21st CCLC in Georgia increased homework completion

  • 7 out of 10 kids who participated in 21st CCLC in Georgia improved classroom behavior

[1] Durlak and Weissberg,, Lopez, M. E. (2015). Leave them wanting more: Engaging youth in afterschool. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Family Research Project.





A Snapshot of Youth Development and Afterschool Programs Around the State

Snapshot of Programs in GA


Community Based Programs


Next Level Community Development Center (NLCDC) was started as an outreach ministry of Bibb Mount Zion Baptist Church in 2000 and quickly grew by leaps and bounds. Teddy Parker Jr., pastor of Bibb Mount Zion at the time, was the visionary behind the organization. The organization served 35 students at the outset, and is now serving 175 students in the summer and 75 through the after-school program.


The After-School Program, Summer Day Camp, and E.L.I.T.E. Leadership Academy are all academic-based and designed to prepare students to succeed academically, prepare for college and careers, encourage healthy lifestyles, promote self-management, reinforce positive attitudes, establish parental involvement, and inspire community activism.


Programs are FREE to qualified students (K-12th grade) in the community with transportation provided to select schools and communities serviced by the Macon Housing Authority. Hot meals and snacks are provided during each program. A variety of enrichments activities including but not limited to tap, step and hip-hop dance, competitive sports, swimming, culinary art, art classes, and more are offered throughout the year within the programs.


The organization has a 100% high school graduation rate.


Next Level Macon receives federal 21st Century funding and funding from the Ga. Dept. of Human Services. 


Address: 3268 Avondale Mill Road | Macon, GA 31216
Phone: 478.781.0401
Fax: 478.788.2371


M. Agnes Jones – public school leveraging multiple partnerships

M. Agnes Jones Elementary School is supported by two community churches two days a week with an afterschoolprogram. Friendship Baptist Church provides tutoring for students in need of extra assistance. Shiloh Baptist Church provides school supplies and an after-school program. On Tuesdays and Wednesdays the chuches provide tutoring, dinner, and door to door transportation from school to the home.  For a complete listing of M. Agnes Jones partners click here.



Boys and Girls Club of Atlanta – a focus on literacy and leveraging technology make a big difference!


Great miracles are happening at Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta! Club staff and school teachers team up to help kids reach new heights. Fittingly, 8-year-old Miracle is a shining example of a Club member, who now faces new possibilities, because of their commitment to supporting Great Futures for our kids.


Miracle's friends at Center for a New Generation at Connally Elementary Boys & Girls Club describe her as fun-loving, strong-willed and passionate. Her Club instructors agree, adding that Miracle's incredible drive is what led her to making significant strides with her reading, despite the uphill challenges she faced early in the schoolyear.


Miracle began the 2015-16 school year with difficulty identifying sounds and letters, and decoding basic sentences; but through the collaborative efforts of her school teachers, Ms. Hanshaw, Ms.Vernon, along with CNG site director Catherine Driskell, Miracle is now able to read small books with more confidence and ease.


There were times when Miracle wanted to give up on improving her reading skills, but Driskell and Hanshaw spent extra time with her after school applying fundamental concepts like phonemic awareness to improve Miracle's comprehension. Driskell would then follow up with reinforcement activities using computer-based programs to support Miracle's classroom learning.


"Ms. Driskell was very patient, creative and flexible. She would often ask for additional assignments to go above Miracle’s required homework," Hanshaw said.


Their efforts to help Miracle eventually paid off. Week after week, the instructors began to recognize that a new Miracle was unfolding right before their eyes. That little girl, known for her passion and strong will outside of the classroom, began to show up inside the classroom, and in her study sessions at the Club.


"She has addressed some of her deficits and made those her strengths," Hanshaw said. "I'm so proud of the growth she has made academically and emotionally throughout this journey."


Sample YMCA Program (offered in partnership with the University of Georgia)

Make 3rd Grade a BIG Success!  Summer Reading Skills Program for Entering 3rd Graders

(Note:  courses are offered for all ages from rising 1st graders to rising college and adults)

Since 2004, The University of Georgia, Center for Continuing Education & Hotel has offered programs designed and taught by instructors from the Institute of Reading Development who has taught valuable reading skills to more than two million students across the United States since 1970.

These programs help students become better readers at every age and inspire a love of books and reading.  The program focuses on comprehension, non fiction and textbooks, fluency, long word decoding and independent reading. 

The program consists of five weekly classes with learning in between classes.  Class size is limited to 20 students. This program is offered for a fee.

For more information about this program contact: Lydia Thacker



Faith Based Programs

La Amistad

LaAmistad provides a volunteer-led afterschool program that encompasses tutoring and mentoring. They work to improve the academic performance and individual educational needs of each child. Educational support is also supplemented by summer enrichment programs and opportunities that provide students with career, cultural and life experiences. LaAmistad also offers counseling and family support services to students and families.

LaAmistad deems parent education just as important as student education. Parents must be equally committed to their student’s education and must pledge to ensure their student graduates from high school. Their ongoing parent workshops provide parents with the tools and skills necessary to help their student achieve success both at home and at school. LaAmistad’s 10-week English for Successful Living program offers adult opportunities to learn English. Parents of LaAmistad are also invited to participate in civic engagement opportunities that allow them to establish support groups and a strong community network.

Lastly, LaAmistad currently partners with churches and religious institutions to provide the students with a safe environment to learn and grow. LaAmistad builds students and families to have strong minds, bodies, and character.

LaAmistad believes that engaging students, families and caregivers together as a cohesive unit establishes a support system where every student is given the opportunity to succeed and thrive academically, physically and personally.


Privately Funded Community Based Program


Horizons - Atlanta

The Horizons summer learning program model has a 50 year track record for producing positive and consistent results, addressing gaps of achievement and opportunity between underserved students and their middle and high income peers.

Outcomes include measurable gains in reading, math, social skills, confidence, school-year attendance, and high-school graduation rates, as well as stable individuals, families, and communities.


When a student enrolls in Horizons Atlanta the summer after Kindergarten, he or she joins a learning community that extends year-round, with a signature six-week summer intensive through 8th grade. Horizons Atlanta students, all of whom are free-or-reduced-lunch qualified, come from public schools, and are in need of academic support. By design, roughly 2/3 of students perform below grade level when they first enroll. And, because we make a long-term commitment to our families, siblings of enrolled students receive admissions preference when they are of eligible age to apply. Our programs are physically located within or geographically near communities and public schools in need. For most programs, we provide daily bus transportation to and from our site, helping to mitigate any safety concerns for students who reside outside of walking distance to our program sites. We also strive for our programs to be as closely located to their feeder public schools as possible so as to enhance the collaborative nature of our work and further our understanding and connection to the home communities of our students. 

The six-week summer session is Horizons’ hallmark. Beginning the summer after Kindergarten, students join a small cohort of approximately 15 students that receives ample individual attention in a new educational environment: the resource-rich campus of an independent school, college, or university. Horizons programs blend high-quality academics – with an emphasis on literacy and STE(A)M – with arts, fitness, cultural enrichment, field trips, and confidence-building challenges. Every Horizons student also learns to swim!

Returning year-after-year, students, staff, and families develop deep, trusting relationships. Working together with families, Horizons sets and fosters high expectations for students’ social and emotional development, engagement, and achievement, and helps students and their families navigate the systems to make success possible. Horizons programs also offer workshops throughout the year for students’ families on topics such as financial planning, English language, navigating the college admission process, immigration/documentation, and more.


Corporate Sponsored Program


12 for Life is a cooperative education program supported by Southwire Company helping students gain extra motivation to finish 12 years of school and enjoy better lives. By providing students with classroom instruction, on-the-job training, key work/life skills, mentoring, and employment opportunities, Southwire is helping them stay in school, graduate, and go on to become successful, productive members of the workforce – ensuring those real-world skills translate into real-life success. 



Dalton City of Refuge sponsors a summer literacy program, “No Child Left Behind,” designed to meet needs of students in PreK-through 8th grade who are below grade level reading.  Recently, the program expanded to include Math.  Shaw Industries donated the facility for this program.


City of Refuge works closely with Whitfield County and Dalton City Schools.  Through this relationship, City of Refuge can obtain test data, etc., on the students to determine how to address student needs. 


City of Refuge staff meet with students’ parents at their homes.  They discuss the summer school program and the benefits.  This is a very important step because parents need to understand the program and support their children as they participate.  This meeting is also important in building trust between instructors and parents.  Parents are asked to sign a FERPA release so that staff can review students’ grades, test scores, and other academic matters. 


During the summer months, students meet twice each week.  Students meet for approximately two hours in the afternoon.  Students’ siblings are also encouraged to attend on these days; the program provides books for them to read during this time.


The summer school day consists of time for recreation, snack time, a character building activity, then instruction.  A hot meal is provided for dinner.  City of Refuge provides transportation for parents so that they can join students for dinner.  This is an important part of the program; it helps to build trust among parents and helps them understand the importance of education and literacy training. 


Currently employed teachers and retired teachers serve as instructors.  City of Refuge also has a partnership with Dalton State College; student teachers can serve as instructors under the supervision of a certified teacher or retired teacher.  The student to teacher ratio is small – one teacher for every eight students.  The small ratio provides an environment for quicker improvements.  The instructors use Fountas and Pinnell leveled literacy intervention program to assist students.


In the upcoming year, the City of Refuge is moving into a larger facility (also donated by Shaw Industries). The goal is to expand the summer program from two days a week to four days and to provide afterschool programs for students.  Additionally, parents will be provided vocational programs while their children are in after school classes. There will also be opportunities for parents to use their skills to make money (making jewelry, etc.)  Parents who did not graduate from high school will be provided GED preparation while their children are on campus. 


Donors to City of Refugee’s education programs include Shaw Industries, local churches, and other local businesses.

For more information on this program contact:

Pamela E Cudd

City of Refuge, CEO

Dalton, GA 30720

706.226.1301 – O

706.226.5097 – F


Food Bank: (706) 226-1301



Housing Community Programs

There are numerous programs improving family literacy, provided at housing communities.  See the GLC Housing Community E-Source for examples.  Add hyperlink to Housing e-Source here


Willow Branch Community, Clarkston, GA (a Star C community) – A 501(c)(3) focused on reducing transience in the local school system and improving students’ academic success through a collaboration of the three important pillars of an individual’s success: affordable housing, free access to on-site afterschool programming, and affordable medical care.  Transience is student turnover due to students changing schools during the school year.  It is very disruptive to individual student’s learning and the overall classroom environment.  When families have access to safe, decent, affordable housing, they are able to remain in their communities.  The outcome is reduced transiency, which stabilizes the community and improves the performance of the local elementary school.  For the 2017 – 2018 school year, Willow Branch’s community wide GPA averaged 3.5, and their milestone pass rate was 88%.

Willow Branch is a privately-owned community with affordable rents.  (Rents are not subsidized).  Willow Branch receives wraparound services through Star-C whose mantra is an education model with an affordable housing solution. 


Here’s a great quick video to show the power of a program such as Star C



Gainesville Housing Authority

The Gainesville Housing Authority has many efforts underway to improve literacy and educational outcome for their residents:

  • Six-week summer program on-site which includes lunch.  To make this program possible, the Housing Authority partners with the local food bank to provide lunches and the Brenau School of Education to provide education students as teachers.

  • Utilizes a third-party database that allows them to measure student progress and incorporates school data so that the program directors know whether programs are effective.

  • Relationships with local school counselors.  This is critical as many of the student residents need additional support and share housing concerns with counselors who can work with the Housing Authority to determine solutions.

  • Parent liaisons at schools. These are part-time, paid positions that provide communication between schools and parents.  These liaisons are present in the housing community office during rent collection times to meet parents, form relationships and discuss the importance of children’s education.

  • Resident services directors sit on the local board of education to strengthen the partnership with local schools.

For more information on the Gainesville Housing Authority programs, contact Beth Brown,


Summer Transition Programs


A Guide for Georgia Schools on Kindergarten Transition Planning for Terrific Transitions 

The transition into Kindergarten is an important time for students. This guide provides the steps communities can take to ensure that students are prepared to enter Kindergarten.


School Transition is a process that prepares all partners – students, families, schools and communities - to develop knowledge, skills, and relationships that help students move from one educational setting to another.


Voices for Georgia’s Children infographic with stats about the importance of summer transition programs

DECAL summer transition program

The Summer Transition Program is a six week intensive academic program with high-quality instruction and a focus on language, literacy and math. The experience is designed to reduce the achievement gap by providing additional family support and resources to targeted high needs populations.  This program is for rising kindergarteners or pre kindergarteners who meet specific criteria. 



The six-week summer session is Horizons’ hallmark. Beginning the summer after Kindergarten, students join a small cohort of approximately 15 students that receives ample individual attention in a new educational environment: the resource-rich campus of an independent school, college, or university. Horizons programs blend high-quality academics – with an emphasis on literacy and STE(A)M – with arts, fitness, cultural enrichment, field trips, and confidence-building challenges. Every Horizons student also learns to swim!

For more ideas on how to improve literacy in your community or program, check out GOSA’s grantee initiatives.  These initiatives range from bookmobiles and summer programs to teacher education.  Most initiatives involve community partnerships, and the list represents most geographic regions in the state.

e-Source for Providers

e-Source for Providers

This section is intended to provide helpful tools to providers, from statewide standards and a literacy framework to suggested practices, example programs and tips for including an intentional focus on literacy.  Then you can also hyperlink the words statewide standards, literacy framework, suggested practices, intentional focus on literacy.

The Georgia ASYD Quality Standards is a collaborative project that is led by the Georgia Statewide Afterschool Network and GUIDE, Inc. and funded and endorsed by the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services, the Georgia Department of Education, the Georgia Department of Public Health. The standards are evidence-based, research-driven and are categorized into nine “Quality Elements”:


  • Programming & Youth Development

  • Linkages with the School Day

  • Environment & Climate

  • Relationships

  • Health & Well Being

  • Staffing & Professional Development

  • Organizational Practices

  • Evaluation & Outcomes

  • Family & Community Partnerships


Please see the complete list of Georgia Afterschool and Youth Development Standards (ASYD) for more details.

Framework for Literacy Improvements

Framework for Improvements

The most effective programs for improving family literacy have involved a multigenerational approach in which both the student and the parent(s) are supported.


The Get Georgia Reading Campaign partners developed a clearly defined common agenda to create the conditions for every child in Georgia to become a proficient reader by the end of third grade.  This framework consists of four research-based pillars that work together to provide a platform for success and should be considered for all early learning, youth development and afterschool programs: 

  • Language Nutrition: All children receive abundant, language-rich adult-child interactions, which are as critical for brain development as healthy food is for physical growth.

  • Access: All children and their families have year-round, affordable access to, and supportive services for, healthy physical and social-emotional development and success in high-quality education (birth – adult) with a focus on literacy or academic achievement.

  • Positive Learning Climate: All educators, families, and policymakers understand and address the impact of learning climate on social-emotional development, attendance, engagement, academic achievement, and ultimately student success.

  • Teacher Preparation and Effectiveness: All teachers of literacy and education programs are equipped with evidence-informed skills, knowledge, and resources that effectively meet the literacy needs of each child and adult in a developmentally appropriate manner.  


For more information about these four pillars or the Get Georgia Reading Campaign,

Suggested Practices to Focus on and Improve Literacy in Youth Development and Afterschool Programs

Suggested Practices

The Georgia Afterschool & Youth Development (ASYD) Quality Standards provide a framework for understanding and evaluating overall program quality – from physical activity to STEAM, staffing to data collection. For programs that wish to have a more intentional focus on literacy, the following list contains suggested practices to support literacy improvement in summer and afterschool programs. This is not intended to be an all-inclusive list. 


Suggested Practices in Programming & Youth Development

  1. Make literacy improvement a primary component and goal of the program. 

  2. Dedicate a specific amount of programming time to literacy.  Consider literacy improvement goals when setting time per week dedicated to literacy and student teacher ratio.

  3. Give priority to literacy support for students performing below grade level.

  4. Adopt intervention tools that help identify and set strategies to remediate struggling students.

  5. Ensure small group settings for literacy improvement time.

  6. Leverage literacy improvement methods that are proven to work (e.g., milestone drills, book reading assignments, technology programs).  See Literacy Interventions Matrix on p. x?

  7. Institute project-based and hands-on learning. 

  8. Literacy is more than reading and access to books.  Be intentional about incorporating literacy into all activities and lessons from sports, arts, health and wellness to academic topics and weave literacy into everything you do.  Keep in mind that literacy includes communication skills, digital literacy and basic life skills.  See Literacy Interventions Matrix for examples.

  9. Make programming inviting and attractive to all regardless of academic performance.

  10. Leverage technology tools to increase reading levels.  See technology tool resource guides (hyperlink this to that section of the e-Source)


Suggested Practices in Linkages with the School Day

  1. Link school curriculum with afterschool programming.

  2. Provide consistent instruction between school and afterschool programs. 

  3. Leverage classroom teachers for afterschool and youth development programs whenever possible.


Environment & Climate

  1. Provide tools and resources for reading/writing (markers, pencils, paper, etc.) to promote literacy activities through different modalities, etc.

  2. Create a literacy-rich, print rich environment by incorporating easily accessible, age appropriate, high interest books, posters, labeled materials and other written materials.   See sources for books and hyperlink to that section.

  3. Ensure developmentally appropriate books are available and accessible to youth.   See sources for books and hyperlink to that section and See Suggested Reading lists and hyperlink to that section which is appendices L, M and N.  Now they don’t have to be appendices.


Suggested Practices in Relationships

  1. Provide books that focus on social and emotional learning (also known as bibliotherapy).  Click here for a list of bibliotherapy books.

  2. Develop a mentoring system.  Mentors can be community volunteers, older, exemplary students, sister school students.  Click here for a list of community volunteers. Britta link this to volunteer organizations on p.32.

Suggested Practices in Staffing & Professional Development

  1. Provide shared professional development programs for both school and afterschool professionals.

  2. Provide teachers/instructors, volunteers and staff with literacy training opportunities.

  3. Partner with other organizations for extra literacy support (e.g., teachers/ instructors)

    1. Retired teacher organizations such as GREA

    2. Nearby universities’ schools of education can provide student teachers (working under supervision of a certified teacher)


Suggested Practices in Organizational Practices

  1. Reduce cost of afterschool programming by partnering with other organizations in the community such as the YMCA, Boys and Girls Club, parent volunteer organizations, religious organizations, etc.  See partnership matrix please hyperlink to that section.

  2. When leveraging community volunteers, ensure they are focused and qualified volunteers or groups who have a long-term commitment to provide consistent support.

  3. Solicit and incorporate youth voice in the planning, development, and implementation of programming.


Suggested Practices in Evaluation & Outcomes

  1. Set SMART (specific, measurable, ambitious, realistic, time-bound) goals for youth outcomes and a specific goal for literacy improvement at the outset of the program or year and measure and report regularly to drive continuous improvement in program (Example, x % of students reading at or above grade level by x date or x% improvement by x date)

  2. Select and implement appropriate assessment tools to measure effectiveness of program practices and youth outcomes.  Click here for assessment tool resources.  May include technology tools for improving milestones

  3. May include a specific tutoring intervention process to tailor help for students to get past key learning difficulties

  4. Agree upon appropriate measures to track student literacy gains (e.g., ELA milestone achievement and GPA improvement).

  5. Establish data sharing agreement with public schools.  Click here for an example – link to APS data sharing agreement

  6. Benchmark measures prior to program start.

  7. Compare to GA milestone proficiency rate and same proficiency rate for at-risk schools and students.

  8. Track students in program vs. similar students not in program to measure effectiveness of program. 

  9. Track transient students and do not include in data for measuring effectiveness as transiency can significantly skew results.



Suggested Practices in Family & Community Partnerships

  1. Engage school board members and other community and school day leaders in summer and afterschool programs.

  2. Incorporate multigenerational approaches whenever possible to support family literacy.

  3. Engage local, state and federal officials by inviting them to participate in the program or on the board.  Communicate the effectiveness of programs and impact on school outcomes so that programs get appropriate political and funding support.

  4. Engage parents by visiting with them prior to the start of the program; help them understand the importance of the program and get their support.

  5. Provide dinners/lunch for students and parents.  The USDA Child and Adult Care Food Program will provide free breakfast, lunch or snacks to most summer and after school programs that serve low income families. In addition, Title I free and reduced lunch funding can be used for summer program meals as well.  Click here for more information hyperlink to Meals for children in the Topics of interest section. 

  6. Engage parents during the youth development program hours by offering GED preparation classes, vocational classes, or activities for parents to use their skills to help their children build literacy skills.  Parents can often assist with instruction while earning money to contribute to their own family’s self-sufficiency.

  7. Build relationships with literacy organizations and book distributors.  Click here for a list of resources for books. Hyperlink to the resources for books section


For additional practices and methods see this resource:

Learning and Enhancing Literacy Learning in Afterschool Programs:  A Practice Guide

Literacy Integration Matrix

The Literacy Integration Matrix (LIM)

The Literacy Integration Matrix illustrates how youth development and afterschool programs can incorporate literacy into curriculum or program content to build literacy development for PreK-12th grade students. Using a research-based model, the Literacy Integration Matrix incorporates four interdependent characteristics of meaningful learning environments: active, collaborative, authentic, and goal directed (Jonassen, Howland, Moore, & Marra, 2003). The Literacy Integration Model associates four levels of literacy integration (i.e., entry, adoption, adaptation and infusion) with each of the four characteristics of meaningful learning environments.


How should the Literacy Integration Matrix) be used?

The LIM is designed to assist organizations, schools, and districts in evaluating the level of literacy integration in youth development and afterschool programs and to provide models of how literacy can be integrated into programs in meaningful ways.


What are the next steps for developments with the Matrix?

We envision the LIM to be a living document with model lesson plans and videos added in the coming months and years. Districts and schools are encouraged to use the LIM in the context of literacy integration goal development and associated professional development planning. We aspire to a time when all youth development and afterschool programs will be able to effectively monitor their progress through a continuum of literacy integration levels.


Who produced the model for the Literacy Integration Matrix?

The Literacy Integration Matrix is adapted from the Literacy Strategies Integration Matrix produced by the Florida Center for Instructional Literacy strategies.

Measuring Improvements

Measuring Literacy Improvements in Youth Development and Afterschool Programs

Focusing on outcomes is important because stakeholders must understand the program’s intended goals and whether it actually accomplishes them, defined as outcomes.  These outcomes determine the quality of literacy programming in youth development and afterschool programs. Focusing on outcomes as part of a continuous program improvement effort is vital to any program, regardless of actual outcomes.


  1. Consider conducting internal evaluations. Internal evaluations can be conducted by people affiliated with your program such as staff, volunteers, parents, and youth. Internal evaluation involves asking good questions, gathering fit-for-purpose data and information, and then making sense of that information. Internal evaluations assess what is and is not working, and for whom.  From that information, then determine changes needed, particularly to advance equity (don’t understand this????) and excellence goals.

  2. Consider the relationship between time dedicated to literacy programming, attendance and the desired and achieved outcomes.

  3. Consider youth participation/surveys in the evaluation process.


Suggested Measures of Success of Youth Development and Afterschool Programs

The following outcomes are the most widely accepted measures of literacy/education improvement, but it is not intended as a comprehensive list.  Click here for an example of a comprehensive review of an afterschool program.  This only an example.  

Academic Outcomes, Generally

  • GA Milestones Assessment Proficiency for ELA and Math

  • Increased test scores

  • Improved grades

  • On-time promotion

  • High school graduation

  • Enrollment in post-secondary education

  • Increased school attendance

  • Decreased school tardiness

  • Increased homework completion


Are there metrics that programs can use without partnering with school system?

  • There are many free assessment tools that can be leveraged in any program. Click here to find the most appropriate tool for your program.


Data Sharing with School System to Measure Outcomes

The most effective way to measure student literacy progress is to work with your local school system to share student information.  There are various ways to share information. 

  • FERPA Release – one of the simplest ways to track student progress is to ask students and their families to sign a FERPA release form which gives the school system consent to disclose student information to a youth development or afterschool program provider.  For a sample FERPA agreement, click here. Please link to FERPA appendix.

  • Data Sharing Agreement – A more sophisticated approach to obtaining student information is to enter into a Data Sharing Agreement with the school system.  This approach allows both parties to define data elements to be shared, the process by which data is exchanged, data storage requirements, contract period, etc. Typically, however, these agreements limit the program to aggregate student data (so the program would not have access to specific student information) Click here to see a sample data sharing agreement. Please hyperlink to APS Data Sharing appendix.


In order to track broader, system-wide literacy improvements across larger data sets, a software tool may be helpful.  A few sample tools include:

  1. Efforts to Outcomes (ETO) Software

  2. Cayen Afterschool Software

  3. The EZReports Software: Afterschool Software

Effective Sources of Funding

Effective and/or Creative Sources of Funding

​Funding is often seen as a great challenge, however, convening the right partners often reduces the need for net new funding.​

  • Approach your city council or county commission.  Education is critical to cities’ and counties’ ability to attract and retain businesses and families.  For example, Sylvester’s city council (Worth County) supports summer and after school initiatives in their community.

  • Identify private foundations and individuals. 

  • Community Foundations can often provide helpful links to funders.

  • Local Banks typically have a legal obligation to support their communities and thus can be a great source of support.

Connecting Business with Afterschool

Businesses in your community can be a source of strong and consistent support.  For tips on how to engage business partners, see these useful websites


Afterschool Alliance - Connecting business with afterschool:  Learn to bring businesses and afterschool together

Grant Opportunities

Below is a list of grants opportunities that focus on summer or after school.  This is not a complete list, but could provide a good start for grant research.

21st Century Learning Center Grants:  Federal grants administered through the Ga. Department of Education. Go to:


CAPS – offered by DECAL

The Childcare and Parent Services (CAPS) program is designed to help low income families afford safe quality child care. The CAPS program is administered in all 159 Georgia counties by the local county Department of Early Care and Learning (DECAL)


Community Foundations can help identify donors with an interest in education/ literacy.  Many Community Foundations are seeking ways to make a collective impact on literacy in Georgia.  Connect with you Community Foundation as another avenue to funding.


DECAL:  Bright from the Start

Bright from the Start: Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning (DECAL) provides resources for child care and early learning programs that make a commitment to improve the quality of services they provide. This link provides opportunities supported by the Department of Early Care and Learning Funds through competitive grants (RFA/RFP), or program applications to support these improvement efforts. Complete details for each opportunity, including information about key deadlines and dates, applicant eligibility, award amount, and monitoring and accountability expectations, can be found in each application.


Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS)  provides grants to non-profit organizations and public agencies that provide quality out-of-school time programs and services to youth between the ages of 5 and 17. Out-of-school time programs must serve youth and families within low-to-moderate income communities and the foster care system within the state of Georgia based on the eligibility guidelines.  The goals of the DFCS Afterschool Care Program are to strengthen youth-serving organizations and institutions by providing funding that increases their capacity to design, implement, and sustain quality youth development programs and services; Provide opportunities for youth to establish positive relationships with their peers and caring adults during traditional non-school day hours, and; Provide technical assistance to organizations and agencies as they implement services and activities that support the overall well-being of youth as they prepare for, and transition into, young adulthood. 


Dollar General Literacy Foundation
The Dollar General Literacy Foundation supports nonprofit organizations, educational institutions, and libraries that offer literacy programs in communities served by Dollar General in 44 states. The Foundation provides support through the following grant programs: Adult Literacy Grants support nonprofit organizations that provide direct services to adults in need of literacy assistance. Family Literacy Grants support family literacy service providers that combine parent and youth literacy instruction. Summer Reading Grants help nonprofit organizations and libraries with the implementation or expansion of summer reading programs for students who are new readers, below grade level readers, or readers with learning disabilities. Online applications for the three programs described above must be submitted by February 22, 2018. In addition, Youth Literacy Grants support schools, public libraries, and nonprofit organizations that work to help students who are below grade level or experiencing difficulty reading. The application deadline for this program is May 17, 2018. Visit to access guidelines for each grant program.


Literacy For All (LFA)

LFA connects innovative, results-focused community partners with each other and with funding opportunities designed to address literacy as a multigenerational community issue. 


GA Department of Education: Literacy for Learning, Living and Leading in Georgia (L4GA) Grant


Georgia Electric Membership Corp. (EMC)

An association that enables Georgia’s electric membership corporations to pool their resources to gain strength and efficiency on issues common to the EMCs. A not-for-profit 501 (C)(6), member-owned organization whose mission is to promote the EMCs of Georgia by providing member-focused leadership and a unified voice through advocacy, education and communication.  EMC services include youth and education programs. The local EMCs offer grants to support certain education efforts.


The Goizuetta Foundation

The Goizueta Foundation supports efforts within metropolitan Atlanta that are most aligned with their focus and shared values as well as their strategic priorities. They seek to build relationships with organizations and understand their impact before investing in them over the long term.


Governor’s Office of Student Achievement (GOSA)

GOSA offers a variety of grant opportunities throughout the year.  Click for more details


Georgia Statewide Afterschool Network website which lists funding opportunities for summer and afterschool programs.



Advancing Afterschool:  They work to increase access to quality educational opportunities for all children — particularly those from low-income families and underserved communities.


Toyota Foundation

Since its founding in 1987, the Toyota USA Foundation has awarded more than $52 million to non-profit organizations in the United States.  The Foundation is committed to enhancing the quality of education by supporting innovative programs and building partnerships with organizations dedicated to improving the teaching and learning of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.


Your local United Way

How to Start a Program

How to Start a Program

Every program serving children 12 or under must be licensed or apply for an exemption.  For more information click here.


Wondering where to start in creating an afterschool program? These resources will help walk you through basic steps of planning and establishing an afterschool program.


Beyond the Bell: Start-Up Guide

This e-Source from Learning Point Associates provides ideas to get you started conceptualizing and implementing your program.


Resource Guide for Planning and Operating Afterschool Programs

This SEDL e-Source provides a description of resources to support 21st Century Community Learning Center afterschool programs. Many of the entries also apply to before school, summer, and community learning center programs.


ABC…123: Starting your Afterschool Program

This e-Source was created by the Utah Department of Workforce Services in collaboration with the Utah State University Extension 4-H. This e-Source is a useful resource for those afterschool providers who are located in rural areas.


Afterschool Alliance

This page will connect you to resources on how to start your program and fund it, new research, and good websites to know.


More information on starting a program:


More information on starting a program:


Establishing the right partnerships can make all the difference in terms of funding, effectiveness, colocation, data sharing, etc.  Programs that initially seem expensive often come to bear with partnerships for little to no additional funding.

Resources for Providers

Primary Resources for Youth Development and Afterschool Providers


The Georgia Statewide Afterschool Network (GSAN) is a public-private collaborative that envisions a day when all communities in Georgia have the resources to provide exceptional afterschool programming. Our mission is to advance, connect, and support quality afterschool programs to promote the success of children and youth throughout Georgia.   GSAN’s website provides resources, professional development opportunities, and policy and advocacy updates and opportunities.

Goergia Afterschool & Youth Development (ASYD) Initiative

The Georgia ASYD Initiative is managed by a collaborative led by GSAN, GUIDE, Inc., Georgia Division of Family and Children Services, and Georgia Departments of Education and Public Health. The ASYD website provides access to the Georiga ASYD Quality Standards and self-assessment tool, information on the Georgia ASYD Conference and other training events, and resources to support your program.

Afterschool Alliance

The Afterschool Alliance is the only organization dedicated to raising awareness of the importance of afterschool programs and advocating for more afterschool investments to ensure that all children have access to affordable, quality afterschool programs.

Boys and Girls Club of America


DECAL – Bright from the Start

Bright from the Start Georgia's Department of Early Care and Learning. Meeting the child care and early education needs of Georgia's children and their families.


Quality Rated

Quality Rated is a systemic approach to assess, improve, and communicate the level of quality in early and school age care and education programs. Similar to rating systems for other service related industries, Quality Rated assigns a quality rating to early and school age care and education programs that meet a set of defined program standards.

21st Century Learning Centers

This program supports the creation of community learning centers that provide academic enrichment opportunities during non-school hours for children, particularly students who attend high-poverty and low-performing schools. The program helps students meet state and local student standards in core academic subjects, such as reading and math; offers students a broad array of enrichment activities that can complement their regular academic programs; and offers literacy and other educational services to the families of participating children.

Georgia DFCS Afterschool Program

The goals of the DFCS Afterschool Care Program are to:

Strengthen youth-serving organizations and institutions by providing funding that increases their capacity to design, implement, and sustain quality youth development programs and services;Provide opportunities for youth to establish positive relationships with their peers and caring adults during traditional non-school day hours, and;Provide technical assistance to organizations and agencies as they implement services and activities that support the overall well-being of youth as they prepare for, and transition into, young adulthood. 


United Way

Provides a plethora of resources such as running an effective program, program examples, research on the importance of quality summer learning programs


Words2Reading promotes early language and literacy development through quick access to easy-to-use resources for families, caregivers, and teachers.



Resources for Books 

Action Ministries

Distributes books with lunches and provide additional education activities and reading

Books for Keeps

Books for Keeps works to improve children’s reading achievement by addressing barriers related to the accessibility and appeal of reading material.  We give books to children whose reading opportunities outside of school might be otherwise limited due to geography, income or other factors.


Dolly Parton Imagination Library  

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is a book gifting program that mails free, high-quality books to children from birth until they begin school, no matter their family’s income.

Ferst Foundation for Childhood Literacy

Ferst Foundation addresses one of the most basic issues of childhood literacy-ensuring the availability of quality books in the home so that parents can read to their child.


Malcolm Mitchell Foundation

Read with Malcolm is a youth literacy initiative founded in 2015 by former University of Georgia wide-receiver and current New England Patriots wide receiver, Malcolm Mitchell.  The mission of Read with Malcolm is to transform the lives of young students through literacy. The organization’s goals are to introduce book ownership to students in households where reading is not a priority and to improve literacy in schools with below grade-level reading skills.


Public Libraries provide a multitude of resources from the obvious, books, to the less obvious, hotspots and afterschool programming.  Look up your local public library to see what they offer in your community.  Click here to find your local library.


Reading is Fundamental

Provides Book Ownership, Read for Success – an innovative reading intervention program to prevent summer slide, and Literacy Central – an online resource for teachers as well as volunteers and provides lesson plans, activities, games, videos etc.


Technology Resources

Technology resources are a great way to provide literacy support and have many beneifts:

  • Readily available curriculums

    • save planning time

    • can allow programs with limited staff the opportunity to provide a literacy focus with out a literacy specialist or additional resources

    • address all levels of education without having to create curriculums for every grade level

  • Self paced activities provide flexibility to work with many different types of programs

  • Teach valuable digital literacy while using the tools

  • Most tools track benchmarks and success

  • Many tools are free of charge

  • The tangible nature of these programs lends itself well to fundraising or direct asks to support the online tool

Technology Resource Examples

Training, Teacher and TA Resources 


  • Georgia Statewide Afterschool Network (GSAN)

    • GSAN offers technical assistance and coaching aligned to the Georgia Afterschool & Youth Development Quality Standards and training on specialty topics such as advocacy, budgeting and sustainability, event planning, and engaging communities.

  • GUIDE  Inc.

    •  GUIDE offers workshops for youth development professionals and workshops for youth. Topcis include Best Practices in Youth Dvelopment, Building Positive Relationships, and many more!

  • ASYD

    • All training is aligned to the Georgia Afterschool & Youth Development Quality Standards. Offerinings include the 3-day bi-annual Georgia ASYD Conference, 1-day Quality Standards workshops, and Quality Element specific workshops.

  • Georgia Afterschool E-Learning Institute

    • Online professional learning with over 36 courses made specifically for out-of-school time professionals and hundreds of other courses. Access professional development anytime, anywhere. Membership is $75 per year.

  • COX Campus – Read Right from the Start

    • Free online courses and forums focused on literacy for educators and afterschool professsionals. Online learning specifically for professionals working with children K-3rd grade will launch in 2018.

  • Bright From the Start

    • Resouce for training opportunities across the state on a variety of topics for school-age professionals.

  • AaBbCc:  Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy:  Learning and Enhancing Literacy Learning in Afterschool Programs:  A Practice Guide

  • Fountes and Pernell

  • Designed for teachers, literacy leaders and district administrators, Fountas and Pinnell is a daily literacy retreat to reflect, recharge, research, and redefine literacy instruction.  Member based access to tools, resources, conversations, videos, tips, inspiration, transformative thinking and so much more.

  • Orton Gillingham

  • The Institute for Multi-Sensory Education’s proprietary professional development provides direct, systematic and sequential instruction that empowers educators to teach the foundation of the English language. Our revised and expanded research-based Orton-Gillingham training provides exceptional staff development. The Institute’s instructional approach is ideal for: general education, special education, reading teachers, and learning resource room specialists.  The IMSE Orton-Gillingham approach equips educators with strategies appropriate for every tier of the Response to Intervention model. Teachers, specialists, and aides can use these strategies to effectively intervene at the at-risk level and develop this population of students into successful readers, writers, and spellers. IMSE's trainings are hands-on and in-person, providing a unique, face-to-face learning experience for all participants. 

  • RESA Reading Endorsement – contact your local RESA

  • Sandra Dunigan Deal Center for Early Language and Literacy

  • Department of Education Teaching and Learning Opportunities

  • L4 Summer Literacy Institutes

  • Summer Literacy Institutes for Georgia's Elementary, Middle, and High School ELA Teachers.

Topics of Interest

Topics of Interest

Increasing Quality


An Afterschool Practice Guide

AaBbCc:  Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy:

Learning and Enhancing Literacy Learning in Afterschool Programs:  A Practice Guide


Age appropriate suggested reading lists

See Appendices L, M and N


Accelerated Reader Bookfinder

This link provides a tool for students, teachers, parents, and librarians to search in English or Spanish using criteria such as ATOS book level or a Lexile™ measure, interest level, title, author, fiction/nonfiction, subject, award-winners andstate lists.


Find a program


Find childcare


Meals for Children


USDA Food and Nutrition Service’ Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) 

The Summer Meals Program was established to ensure that children continue to receive nutritious meals when school is not in session. When school is out, SFSP provides free meals to kids and teens in low-income areas.  SFSP is administered at the Federal level by the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS).  The State agency approves sponsor applications, conducts training of sponsors, monitors SFSP operations, and processes program payments. Sponsors sign agreements with their State agencies to run the program.  SFSP reimburses approved sponsors for serving meals that meet Federal nutritional guidelines. Sponsors receive payments from USDA, through their State agencies, based on the number of meals they serve. All meals are served free to eligible children. 

For information on you you can provide meals at your program click here.


USDA Food and Nutrition Service’ Child and Adult Food Program (CACFP)

Provides aid to child and adult care institutions and family or group day care homes for the provision of nutritious foods that contribute to the wellness, healthy growth, and development of young children, and the health and wellness of older adults and chronically impaired disabled persons.  USDA's Child and Adult Care Food Program plays a vital role in improving the quality of day care and making it more affordable for many low-income families. Each day, 3.3 million children receive nutritious meals and snacks through CACFP. The program also provides meals and snacks to 120,000 adults who receive care in nonresidential adult day care centers. CACFP reaches even further to provide meals to children residing in emergency shelters, and snacks and suppers to youths participating in eligible afterschool care programs.  

Community-based programs that offer enrichment activities for at-risk children and youth, 18 and under, after the regular school day ends, can provide free meals and snacks through CACFP. Programs must be offered in areas where at least 50 percent of the children are eligible for free and reduced price meals based upon school data.  Reimbursement in Day Care and Non-traditional Centers.  Independent centers and sponsoring organizations receive cash reimbursement for serving meals to enrolled children and adults that meet Federal nutritional guidelines.  Centers and day care homes may be approved to claim up to two reimbursable meals (breakfast, lunch or supper) and one snack, or two snacks and one meal, to each eligible participant, each day.  Reimbursement for centers is computed by claiming percentages, blended per meal rates, or actual meal count by type (breakfast, lunch, supper, or snack) and eligibility category (free, reduced price, and paid). The State agency assigns a method of reimbursement for centers, based on meals multiplied by rates, or the lesser of meals multiplied by rates versus actual documented costs. 

CAPS The Childcare and Parent Services (CAPS) program is designed to help low income families afford safe quality child care. The CAPS program is administered in all 159 Georgia counties by the local county Department of Early Care and Learning (DECAL)


Language and Literacy Resources

Find links to other literacy resources on the Sandra Dunagan Deal Center for Early Language and Learning

Meals for children

Internet/Broadband Access at reduced price/free make this click to the suggested practice of providing broadband where all these options are already listed.


Literacy Intervention Techniques & bibliotherapy

Through coaching, training, and developing curriculum resources and programs, My Learning Partners work with families, schools, districts, and community partners to organize resources around student success. 


Research-Based Practices in Afterschool Programs for High School Youth


Marketing Afterschool

Raise your program’s profile

Facts Sheets, Quality, Policy & Advocacy, Expanded Learning Opportunities, STEM, Reading & Literacy, Physical Activity & Nutrition, Summer Learning, Global Education, Lights on Afterschool


20 University Rd., 6th Floor

Cambridge, MA 02138



The READS Lab at Harvard, led by Professor of Education James S. Kim, is a research-based collaborative initiative designed to identify and scale adaptive solutions for enhancing children's literacy. They work with leaders in school districts, schools, non-profit organizations, foundations, and universities who are committed to applying adaptive strategies to improve children’s literacy learning opportunities.

For More Information

For more information...

For additional Assistance, contact


Literacy For All (LFA)


Georgia Statewide Afterschool Network (GSAN)

Get Georgia Reading Resources Page

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