182922 What have we learned? Five years of evaluation data from an after-school program designed to foster positive youth development among middle school students

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Sara Corwin, MPH, PhD , Department of Health Promotion, Education and Behavior, University of South Carolina, Arnold School of Public Health, Columbia, SC
Willie H. Oglesby, MSPH, PhD , Arnold School of Public Health, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC
Kara Montgomery, MEd, DrPH , Arnold School of Public Health, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC
Out of school time, usually from 3:00-6:00pm, is often when youth engage in health risk behaviors. After school programming has been found to increase academic performance, students' engagement and attendance rates. In 2003, the Knight-funded community based arts infused after school enrichment pilot program was implemented in three “lower performing” middle schools in Columbia, South Carolina. The purpose of the program was to enhance students' academic performance and to promote positive youth development. The intervention activities included: classroom curricula integrated with day school lessons, multiple arts approaches, field trips to community events, and transporting students to four community partner sites for instruction and participation in studio art, performance arts, and nature appreciation.The evaluation team from the University of South Carolina, Arnold School of Public Health, in collaboration with multiple project stakeholders and utilizing mixed-methods, collected five years of process, impact and outcome data. A combination of qualitative and quantitative methods was employed to evaluate the fidelity of program implementation, curriculum delivery, attributes of successful community partnerships, program reach, parental participation, and students' satisfaction with program activities. A retrospect of “lessons learned” from the five year evaluation will be presented. Numerous contextual and organizational factors unique to the school-community partnership were found to contribute to the successes and challenges of implementing the program. Implications for adopting similar programs and evaluation strategies will be provided.

Learning Objectives:
At the end of the session, participants will be able to: 1. Describe 3 risk behaviors that middle school students may engage in during after school hours if unsupervised. 2. Describe a model for community-school based art infused after school program designed to improve student’s academic performance and promote positive youth development. 3. Articulate the successes and challenges of implementing a school-community based after school program. 4. Explain 4 evaluation strategies utilized in assessing the effectiveness of the after school program.

Keywords: School-Based Programs, School Health Educators

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the PI on the project and have been involved since year 1 of funding. I have no conflicts of interest.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.