How to Start an Out-of-School Time Program


How to Start an Out-of-School Time Program

The California AfterSchool Network’s mission is to provide the resources and support needed by the OST field and its partners across sectors to build high-quality OST programs that improve the lives of California’s most vulnerable children, youth, families, and communities.

This short guide (below) is intended to be a brief overview of public and private out-of-school time opportunities in California. 

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

  • Afterschool Safety and Education and Safety (ASES) – State Funds
  • Expanded Learning Opportunities Program (ELO-P) – State Funds
  • 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) – Federal Funds
  • 21st CCLC After School Safety and Enrichment for Teens (ASSETs) – Fedearl Funds

Other Out-of-School Time Opportunities in California
Includes community-based organizations(CBO), family-run, private organizations, etc.                


Additional Resources for Program Start-Up

Set Your Vision: 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. Program Plans for Expanded Learning opportunities are based on the 12 quality standards.

Assess Your Readiness
Measure your readiness with AIR’s reliable and validated readiness assessment, then receive actionable scores and access to resources that will help you build readiness for change.

Identify Staff Competencies
ASAPconnect provides multiple levels of support to Expanded Learning programs across California. They offer a number of 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.

Access Additional Supports

  • 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.
  • AIR: Beyond the Bell –  4th Edition: A Toolkit for Creating Effective Afterschool and Expanded Learning Programs: 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 or expanded learning program. 
  • NAA: The National Afterschool Association (NAA) offers a number of resources for the OST field. They recently released a revised Core Knowledge, Skills, and Competencies for Out-of-School Time Professionals (CKSCS)This version of the resource reflects updated research and best practices specific to diversity, equity, inclusion, and antiracism. The CKSCs focus on creating inclusive program spaces, applying antiracist principles,  and designing activities and programs that center and value all identities furthering efforts toward equity. The revision includes a new content area and additional and streamlined knowledge, skills, and competencies, integrated throughout, explicitly indicating the vital role equity, inclusion, access, and antiracism play in youth work.