Quality After School Time: An Evaluative Study of the Eastside Story After School Program in Austin, TX
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Research Purpose: As the need for quality after school care for school-age children grows, so does the need for a tool to measure the quality of after school programs. This study uses existing literature to develop a practical ideal type for after school programs. The model is then used to asses The Eastside Story; a program in Austin, Texas. Recommendations to improve of The Eastside Story program are drawn from the assessment. Methodology: A thorough examination of literature pertaining to after school programs reveals five primary components of quality programs: strategic planning, partnership elements, staff elements, effective program practices, and child-centered location. Utilizing the case study research method, these five components are used to assess the Eastside Story program. The data collection methodologies in this case study include document analysis, structured interviews, and direct observation. Results: The results of the case study illustrate Eastside Story's strengths and weaknesses. While current level of strategic planning at The Eastside Story fails to meet the criteria set in the practical ideal type, the criteria was met or exceeded for effective program practices and staff elements. Room for improvement within the partnership elements component was also identified.