Launched in 2003 with support from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, the Integrating Afterschool and Education Reform project helped municipal officials align out-of-school and in-school learning.
Through this project, the YEF Institute provided technical assistance to 14 cities in an effort to help city officials positively change local policy, practice, and afterschool program design.
As a result of a broad outreach effort to more than 400 cities, 25 cities submitted applications to be considered for this technical assistance project. The following six cities were selected:
In addition to selecting new cities to which the YEF Institute would begin providing technical assistance, the YEF Institute continued working with the eight selected cities participating in the Municipal Leadership for Expanded Learning Opportunities (MLELO) project in this new technical assistance opportunity, with its focus on the integration of afterschool and education reform strategies. These cities were:
The Institute worked closely with the 14 city teams through monthly and quarterly conference calls; connected the cities to experts around issues of designing quality afterschool programs, standards, assessment of local needs, and evaluation; and shared examples of experiences from other cities. The Institute also sent regular listserv updates to provide the latest information on research, evaluation findings in the field, and tools.
In addition, the YEF Institute convened cross-site meetings in Sept. 2003 and April 2004 (at the Your City's Families Conference in Portland, Ore.), conducted site visits to each city, held a leadership academy, and organized a follow-up site visit to showcase best practices in afterschool. These regular communications helped each city develop a local action plan to guide the implementation of the project.
The YEF Institute conducted site visits using a variety of strategies designed to energize city teams in addressing challenges to the implementation of their action plans, including: meetings with municipal officials, school superintendents, and other key stakeholders; linking cities to national experts; holding press briefings; facilitating team retreats around strategic planning; assisting cities in developing a citywide afterschool system; and providing the cities with targeted training on aligning afterschool and daytime learning.