How to Start an Out-of-School Time Program


How to Start an Out-of-School Time Program

There are over 4,400 publicly funded expanded learning programs throughout the state of California that serve nearly 430,000 children and youth.

In addition, there are thousands of privately run expanded learning programs throughout the state. The California AfterSchool Network’s mission is to provide expanded learning program practitioners, advocates, and community members with the resources and tools necessary to build high quality expanded learning programs in California. This short guide (below) is intented to be a brief overview of public and private expanded learning programs in California. 

State or Federally Funded Expanded Learning Programs in California 
Includes after school, summer, and year-round programs such as:

  • Afterschool Safety and Education and Safety (ASES)
  • 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) 
  • After School Safety and Enrichment for Teens (ASSETs)

Other Expanded Learning Programs in California
Includes community based organizations, family run, private organizations, etc.                


Additional Resources for Program Start-Up

Quality Standards for Expanded Learning in California
Use the Quality Standards for Expanded Learning in California to set an aspirational vision of quality for your Expanded Learning program.

ASAPconnect provides multiple levels of support to Expanded Learning across California. They offer multiple resources that may be beneficial for program start-up. One crucial resource is the California Core Competencies for Before/After School Professionals – co-developed by CA field leaders and ASAPconnect, this resource provides a list of recommended knowledge and skills for professionals who work in expanded learning programs.

The Afterschool Alliance
The Afterschool Alliance works to ensure that all children have access to affordable, quality afterschool programs. Visit the Afterschool Alliance Start-Up page for an abundance of resources, tools, and tips for starting an afterschool program in your community.

Beyond the Bell Toolkit
Beyond the Bell – A Toolkit for Creating Effective Afterschool and Expanded Learning Programs is a practical and easy-to-use guide to afterschool programming that, contains great information for program leaders who want to start or improve an afterschool and expanded leaning program. 

Impact Afterschool Start-Up Guide 2012
The Iowa Afterschool Alliance has created the Impact Afterschool Start-Up Guide to help equip practitioners with strategies and tools to get up to speed faster and achieve more, sooner. Use this as a blueprint for creating your action plan and assist you during the start-up phase of program implementation.

SEDL Start-Up Guide
This third edition of A Resource Guide for Planning and Operating Afterschool Programs provides a description of resources to support 21st Century Community Learning Center afterschool programs. Many of the entries will also apply to before-school, summer, and community learning center programs. 


21st CCLC and ASSETs Informational Webinar

California Department of Education logo

The Expanded Learning Division (EXLD) of the California Department of Education (CDE) is pleased to announce the release of two webinars to provide additional support and resource tools for applicants applying for 21st Century Elementary/Middle Schools and 21st Century ASSETs funding. Access the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st  CCLC) Elementary/Middle webinar here. Access the After School Safety and Enrichment for Teens (ASSETs) webinar here. A login or registration to view the webinar is not required. Closed captioning is available.


Getting it Right: Strategies for After-School Success

This report synthesizes the last 10 years of findings from Public/Private Ventures and other researchers’ work to address one of the most demanding challenges facing today’s after-school programs-how to create and manage programs that stand the best chance of producing specific, policy-relevant outcomes.


Start a Program: New York State Network for Youth Success

The New York State Network for Youth Success is dedicated to building a youth-serving system that increases the quality and availability of afterschool and expanded learning programs. NYS supports all programs that promote young people’s intellectual, social, emotional, and physical development outside the traditional school day. NYS has valuable resources for those interested in starting an out of school time program, including:

  • General Tools and Resources 
  • Funding and Sustainability
  • Program Design and Quality
  • Expanded Learning Models
  • Middle School Programs