Time to Reflect
As the school year winds to a close, most School Age programs transition from their after school programs to their full day summer programs. In the frenzy to prepare for the summer program to come, it is easy to forget to evaluate the after school program that is ending. Because the school year has a clear beginning and end, afterschool programs are well situated to evaluate their progress from one year to the next. The end of the year is the perfect time to reflect on your after school program and set goals for the future while this year is still fresh in your memory.
This can begin simply as gathering information from your staff, children, families, school officials, host organizations and stakeholders about what went well, what didn’t and what ideas they have for the next school year. You can do this informally through discussions with individuals or in meetings, or you can be more formal and data oriented by surveying your staff and childcare community. Through this process, you may discover a professional development need, a new idea for family involvement idea, or that you may need to rearrange your staff due to a large influx of kindergartners in afterschool in August.
Take time to inventory your program supplies to determine what is ready for the next year, what you need to restock and what is ready for the trash heap. Also, touch base with your school leadership to find out about any changes in the upcoming school year that would affect your program, like changes to the school configuration or even bus routes. Your SACC TA can provide resources and support to help you in this process.
Once you have this information, you can use it to begin setting goals for next school year in staffing, professional development, scheduling, resources or any area where needs emerge. This then becomes a part of your program’s CQI plan.
So even as you plan for summer, taking time to reflect on the past year can be a first important step in making your next afterschool program year a success.