More and more parents throughout the community are learning that quality out-of-school time (OST) programs can help their kids in a number of important ways. Yet, parents don’t always know how to get the information they need on quality OST programs in their area. This portion of the web site is designed to help you:
• Better understand how to identify a quality OST program
• Find an OST program that is convenient for you
• Gain a bit more information about OST programs in general
BLOCS has identified a series of Best Practice Guidelines, known as BLOCStar, for OST programs. By adhering to these best practices, programs that participate in BLOCStar have demonstrated commitment to continuous quality improvement and the adoption of Youth Development principles within program activities.
Participation in BLOCStars has steadily grown since 2014, as more sites are complying with the three best practices each year – assessing quality using the YPQI methodology, measuring SEL using either the SAYO-Y or SRYB instrument, and tracking youth participation using JCPS’ CASCADE data system – thus contributing to the results we’re witnessing related to program quality and student outcomes.
To identify local BLOCStar programs and locations, look for the BLOCStar logo next to program names in 2-1-1 information referral service as well as identifying signage at BLOCStar site locations.
Find a Program
At times parents need help locating after school and summer out-of-school time programs. This map gives you a general snapshot of locations for BLOCStar Programs in our area.
Metro United Way’s 2-1-1 help referral service directs people looking for resources to the appropriate service provider. You can find the most up-to-date information on programs available to you by calling 2-1-1, texting your zip code to 898211, or clicking here.
Why OST Matters
Out-of-School Time (OST) programs provide regularly scheduled, structured, and supervised activities for students outside of the regular school day. OST programs promote positive youth development and offer a variety of learning opportunities, including tutoring and homework help, mentoring, cultural and arts exposure, social development, and recreation.
OST programs are essential to any strategy to improve outcomes for youth, particularly those from vulnerable groups that typically experience the largest academic achievement gaps.* By focusing on social-emotional learning (SEL) skills, they can play an important role in shrinking the college/career readiness gap by equipping young people with skills such as critical thinking, communication, and perseverance.
Training for professionals in youth development is critical to providing quality out-of-school time programs. BLOCS is committed to providing a structure for out-of-school time professionals to receive quality training based on youth development professional core competencies. BLOCS has also partnered with Jefferson Community and Technical College (JCTC) to offer a Youth Development Certificate, which is a 60-hour professional CEU (continuing education units) certificate that is open to anyone who works with youth.