By Katie Landes, Director of GSAN, for Get Georgia Reading’s blog
It’s official: The long-awaited Georgia Afterschool & Youth Development (ASYD) Quality Standards were released December 1. And this is kind of a big deal for Georgia because more than 280,000 of the state’s school-aged children participate in an afterschool program. Other reasons to embrace our move toward improving these programs include:
- Having a clearer definition. Afterschool programs can look vastly different from provider to provider. The ASYD Quality Standards directly address this by building a shared understanding around what quality afterschool means.
- Showing how other states have already benefited from these standards. Georgia joins 32 other states that have quality standards for their afterschool programs. The release of Georgia’s standards shows a commitment by the state to provide Georgia’s youth with enriching experiences after the last school bell rings.
- Getting the message out about what we can expect. These standards will help families and stakeholders understand what quality afterschool programming looks like.
- Giving kids that extra leg up. Most importantly, the quality standards will ultimately help afterschool programs ensure our youth are on track to succeed in school, work and life.
What are the quality standards?
The Georgia ASYD Quality Standards are a framework providers can use to evaluate and improve their programs, and they are organized in nine categories, which are called quality elements. View the nine elements here.
The standards can help providers figure out what they are doing really well, and where they could improve.
The standards are informed by research in a variety of disciplines including education, child development and psychology, organizational psychology, business management, and public health.
The goal is for ALL afterschool programs in Georgia to use the ASYD Quality Standards to help ensure Georgia’s youth are receiving enriching, high-quality out-of-school time experiences.
The Georgia ASYD Quality Standards is a collaborative project funded and endorsed by the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services, the Georgia Department of Education, and the Georgia Department of Public Health. Workshops to train afterschool and youth development providers on how to use the standards and the self-assessment tool will be offered throughout 2016 leading up to the Georgia Afterschool & Youth Development Conference in Fall 2016. To learn more about the standards and to receive resources and events aligned to the standards, sign up for the Georgia Afterschool & Youth Development newsletter.