So You Started an After School Program - Now What?

By Alyssa Thornley | Sep 22, 2021 7:45:00 AM

Of the many unsung heroes of the COVID-19 disaster, owners and staff working tirelessly in after-school programs are at the top of the list. 

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AfterSchool21 Summer 2021 Release: GPRA Reporting Made Easier

By Alyssa Thornley | Sep 17, 2021 10:55:00 AM

The AfterSchool21 (AS21) Summer 2021 software development release helps out-of-school-time (OST) programs collect their data and generate calculations needed to comply with new government reporting mandates that started July 1, 2021. Also in the release is new financial reporting capabilities for programs that charge fees. 

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After School Programs During COVID 19 - Heroes for the Community

By Alyssa Thornley | Aug 20, 2021 8:00:00 AM

During the early days of the pandemic, after school care programs continued the learning and caring the best they could.  

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5 Ways to Engage In-Person and Hybrid Summer Camp Participants

By Alyssa Thornley | Aug 2, 2021 8:59:59 AM

With the pandemic abating and the school year coming to a close, many students will be entering summer camps. Whether in-person or hybrid, it can be difficult to keep children engaged with the materials while also ensuring they enjoy their experience. We’ve compiled a list of 5 effective strategies to keep your summer camp participants engaged.

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Streamline Tracking for Grant-Funded Program Data with AfterSchool21

By Alyssa Thornley | Jul 21, 2021 8:15:00 AM

21CCLC data management and 21APR accuracy

Grant coordinators collect a daunting amount of data to maintain the federal funds that help operate after-school programs. It is especially true when their program participates in the U.S. Department of Education's 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) initiative, which promotes the creation of after-school learning centers and other academic enrichment efforts. 

The 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21CCLC) program awards grants to programs to fund after-school enrichment. Every state has different requirements regarding data collection, and this year is even more confusing for K-12 Grant Administrators as new government reporting requirements took effect July 1.

AfterSchool21 (AS21) by TransACT simplifies the reporting and data collection process by allowing program administrators and grant administrators to track, manage, and compile data, easing federal or state reporting burden.

Significant changes for grant-funded programs under the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) requirements called for more comprehensive reports in many areas. Program administrators have to pull data from new sources to show progress towards their goals. Current AS21 subscribers have access to a reporting system and automated calculations updated for GPRA changes. State Departments of Education and after-school programs across the country are already planning for these changes. AS21 provides a complete picture of a program in an easy-to-access online system: 

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Social Distancing for Summer Camps - Sign In and Sign Out With Mobile Capabilities

By Alyssa Thornley | May 31, 2021 7:24:06 AM

Summer camp season was largely wiped-out last summer, but this year camps are expected to be wide open for in-person activities in many states. That is, provided steps are taken to minimize the possibility of spreading COVID-19. 

According to the American Camp Association (ACA), more than 5,000-day camps and 7,000 overnight camps are running across the country every year. Many church and school-based summer camps operate annually as well.  

Guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates day and overnight camps should mirror current recommendations for K-12 schools, including staggered arrival and drop-off times to limit contact between groups. 

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Best Practices for Community Engagement Across the Country

By Alyssa Thornley | May 31, 2021 7:20:49 AM

Out-of-school-time (OST) programs benefit from community support, and engaging with community partners is a critical part of any program's funding sustainability plan 

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What is GPRA and How Will it Affect My OST Program?

By Alyssa Thornley | May 25, 2021 8:30:00 AM

New government reporting mandates go into effect iJuly 2021, and 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21CCLC)-funded after-school and OST programs will be significantly impacted by the changes.  

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AfterSchool21 Spring 2021 Release: Mobile Friendly Sign-In and Sign-Out Capabilities

By Alyssa Thornley | May 20, 2021 7:42:21 AM

The AfterSchool21 (AS21) Spring 2021 development release keeps parents and out-of-school-time (OST) program staff safe while preserving the accuracy of attendance records with new user-friendly, mobile drop-off/sign-in and sign-out functionality.     

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The American Rescue Plan Act: A Financial Lifeline for After-school Programs

By Alyssa Thornley | May 10, 2021 6:50:52 AM

Welcome relief in the form of a federal funding boost of $39 billion is now helping after-school and summer programs to reopen and stay open.

The American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act, passed in early March, provides a total of $123 billion to support families, K-12 schools, and the childcare sector. 

What does ARP mean for summer and after-school programs?

The financial lifeline is specifically for "evidence-based activities" to address learning loss. These activities can be summer learning programs, extended day, or after-school programs.

This financial package is welcome news to the childcare industry that suffered through the pandemic. Skyrocketing costs and declining enrollment put many programs and childcare centers at risk of closing. Many switched to a virtual program delivery, a novel concept in many cases. The result was many failed to attract the same number of participants as the in-person program.

As parents head back to work, after-school programs are now ramping up again and returning to full capacity.

Now that financial relief is on its way, the challenge is to find the best way to use these funds and track where they eventually go. Better data collection will enable programs to spend on services that offer the most value.

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