Building an effective citywide afterschool data system requires a broadly collaborative effort usually between city government, the local school district(s), and community-based organizations to create a system that is fully responsive to the needs of its children. The City of Nashville is a prime example with its successful implementation of a data partnership between Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools and the City's afterschool program for middle schoolers, Nashville After Zone Alliance:
Coordinated, citywide afterschool systems have emerged across the country as a promising strategy to provide enrichment opportunities for children and help the city increase access to programing that improves the safety, health, academics, and workforce preparedness of young people.
However, cities often lack the data needed to answer basic questions about the scope and impact of local afterschool programs. To address this challenge, cities need to implement technologies to track, store, and correlate data on youth participation across dozens of organizations to ensure programs are having the desired impact.
This report describes a number of promising approaches and things to consider when building an afterschool management information system (MIS). It is a compendium of "what works," containing numerous examples of efforts led by different city departments, nonprofit intermediaries, schools and foundations, including a useful comparison of private MIS vendors.
Also available are an array of supplemental resources, including a model request for information, sample data sharing agreements, afterschool needs assessments, and links to resources published by NLC policy partners and member cities.
Based on true costs from private MIS software companies, this interactive cost calculator tool can help communities estimate the rough costs of purchasing software to help coordinate afterschool data across multiple providers to build a system of reliable information.
This guide provides municipal leaders and their key partners with basic strategies for collecting and using information to strengthen citywide OST systems. The six strategies presented here are intended to help build the capacity of communities to get and use information across a citywide system.