Out-of-School Time Programs are at their best when they are linked with the school-day as this best supports youth academic achievement and social-emotional learning. The activities and program offerings should complement school-day lessons and concepts. However, not replicating the school day is a careful balancing act that requires coordination with the school, while keeping the unique essence of out-of-school. Youth academic and social growth is bolstered by the fun, hands-on and relational learning that is the hallmark of OST programming.
- VA Profile of a Graduate: The Virginia Board of Education has recently developed The Profile of a Virginia Graduate, a framework for diploma standards to ensure that high school graduates are prepared for success in life after high school. The Profile of a Virginia Graduate becomes effective with first-time ninth graders in the fall of the 2018-2019 school year or the graduating class of 2022. This framework describes the knowledge, skills, experiences, and attributes that students must attain to be successful in college and/or the workforce and to be “life-ready” in an economy and a world characterized by rapid change. The board has determined that a life-ready Virginia graduate must:
Achieve and apply appropriate academic and technical knowledge (content knowledge);
Demonstrate productive workplace skills, qualities, and behaviors (workplace skills);
Build connections and value interactions with others as a responsible and responsive citizen (community engagement and civic responsibility); and
Align knowledge, skills and personal interests with career opportunities (career exploration).
With this framework, there is flexibility among counties to define what the profile looks like, as it certainly will vary by different parts of the state. The elements of the profile, along with its adaptability makes for a natural pairing to OST programming in many facets. Expanded Learning opportunities supports the content knowledge characteristic. A direct line can be drawn from OST college and career readiness to the profile characteristic of workplace skills and career exploration. Just as the same direct line can be drawn from the community engagement and civic responsibility to service learning in OST.
- Programing that supports special populations: Work with school staff to ensure that you are making appropriate accommodations for specialized student populations such as English Language Learners or Special Education students. When appropriate, attend 504 and IEP meetings. To support special populations through program offerings you include activities that are accessible or tailored to various populations. Likewise, offer programing that allows integration of various student populations that otherwise are isolated from one another. Team up with Special Education or ESOL educators to provide informational meetings to OST program staff. This is also a great place to utilize community partnerships that can address specific needs of students.