By Kelly D. Drummond, Tennessee’s Afterschool Ambassador
High quality afterschool programs increased positive youth development outcomes of the youth we served. High quality programs delivered safe and structured organizational programs with positive social interactions between youth and staff, provided relevant staff training with ongoing professional development, have a clear and defined purpose or mission, offer engaging opportunities for growth and development for youth, and evaluate program outcomes based on specific goals. Is your afterschool program a quality program?
During my time at the National Statewide Afterschool Network meetings in Detroit, I was reminded of the importance of ensuring that all afterschool programs in our state meet these parameters for high quality. However high quality cannot be attained with our high quality staff. As providers, the most important part of our high quality program involves hiring and retaining quality staff to implement the activities. While there are no universal standards for finding quality staff, program managers are tasked with finding the best staff, who are able to build strong and lasting relationships with our young people.
As Tennessee Afterschool Network we need to continuously focus on hiring and training high quality staff. As summer approaches and the program hours are extended, we know that staff quality is even more critical to our success. As the Tennessee Afterschool Network, we need to assist in the development of staff training that will help our employees become high quality staff. As a Network, when we work together, our high quality programs are more effective and our children have better outcomes.
Kelly Drummond, with Boys & Girls Clubs of the Tennessee Valley, is a TN Afterschool Network Steering Committee member and was selected earlier this school year by the Afterschool Alliance to serve as an Afterschool Ambassador for Tennessee.