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United Way's Perspective On OST

United Way views high-quality Out-of-School Time (OST) programs as one important support — within the context of a broad array of wrap-around supports— to achieving our national goal and preparing every young person for success. United Ways and their partners can strengthen the out-of-school field by adopting a systemic approach to improving quality, access, sustainability, data collection & evaluation, and alignment & coordination, rather than piecemeal approaches focused on individual programs or funding streams.

United Way believes that an educated citizenry that has the skills needed for the evolving workforce is the foundation of a strong, globally competitive economy.  Yet, too many students still fail to graduate high school on time. To address this challenge, United Way has set an ambitious national education goal of cutting the high school dropout rate in half by the year 2018 and is mobilizing individuals, communities, and organizations across America to work collectively so that more students graduate high school prepared for college and career.

Participation in high-quality OST programs helps students academically. It is proven to improve student work-study habits, homework completion rates, and course grades. Increased student engagement and school performance can, in turn, help improve overall educational attainment and increase graduation rates. OST participation also benefits children and youth physically, socially, and emotionally, as it increases self-esteem, improves youth relationships with peers and adults, and lessens youth negative risk-taking behavior.

On a national-scale, the importance of OST is gaining exposure. Yet the potential of out-of-school programs can only be realized when the children and youth who need them have access to programs that are high-quality and that reflect their needs and interests. United Ways play a key role in making this a reality. Your United Way can use this Toolkit to enhance your OST efforts and effectively promote high-quality, accessible programs.

Toolkit Overview

Use the Toolkit to connect with general guidance, tools, templates, and additional resources related to developing and deepening an Out-of-School Time system. Click the link above for a Site Map and description of toolkit contents.

Use the Learning Modules to assess your United Way and community’s progress in developing an OST system, and use it to learn how to develop and deepen your work in key areas like engaging stakeholders, strengthening quality, using data, etc.

Use United Way Online to share Out-of-School Time tools or access tools not included in here. We will periodically curate resources from United Way Online to add to the Toolkit.

Explore the Learning Modules!

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