Making the Connections: A Report on the First National Survey of Out-of-School Time Intermediary Organizations
Even in a recessionary economy, out-of-school time (OST) intermediaries -- nonprofits that coordinate partnerships among schools, providers, and government -- help increase the number of children who are able to access expanded learning opportunities. This and other findings are from the first-ever national survey of OST intermediaries, by the Collaborative for Building After-School Systems. The survey and resulting report, “Making the Connections: A Report on the First National Survey of Out-of-School Time Intermediary Organizations,” was made possible through a grant from the Wallace Foundation.
Major findings include:
- Even in a recessionary economy, intermediaries helped increase the number of kids in their cities or regions who got access to expanded learning opportunities. Overall, 64 percent of respondents reported that the number of youth served by OST programs in their communities increased.
- Typically intermediaries needed private interests, such as foundation funding, to invest in building after-school systems before they were able to raise significant public funds. Generally the longer an organization has been working in OST, the more likely it is to report that funding for OST is “mostly public” as opposed to “mostly private.”
- Intermediaries play import roles in increasing funding and developing quality standards and tools. Use of quality standards and tools is widespread among intermediaries that have been working in OST for more than three years.
- Intermediaries identify as their most pressing priority the need to expand access to more children who are underserved by expanded learning opportunities. When asked to select their most pressing issues for the next five years, the survey group as a whole identified, in descending order, increasing access for underserved youth (59 percent); raising funds for programs (46 percent); and establishing data systems to drive quality (35 percent).
- Less than a third of survey respondents report that their communities are using data systems to track program participation rates. Data systems are more commonly used by organizations with six or more years of experience working in OST.
- Some intermediaries are missing opportunities to do the long-term work of changing policy and building data systems, but more than 70 percent seek ways to share knowledge and become more effective.