Out-of-School Time (OST) is supervised programming that youth regularly participate in before school, after school, and during summer break. These programs keep young people safe, provide child care for working families, and organize activities that help youth develop skills and improve academically. Sometimes, these programs are collectively referred to as “afterschool”.
OST in Iowa
Afterschool professionals fulfill a variety of roles in the lives of youth—they are often caregivers, behavior managers, teachers, friends, and confidants for students who sometimes do not have anyone at home who can reliably take on these responsibilities. For this reason, it is important that OST staff are competent and equipped with the skills required to fill these needs. The National Afterschool Alliance released research and a summarized infographic that outlines the key competencies found in effective and successful afterschool professionals. The IAA encourages all programs to keep these qualities in mind when hiring and training the staff that will be working with youth in their programs.
Even though working in the afterschool environment is an important job, it can be difficult to hire and keep qualified employees because of issues surrounding wages and part-time hours. The Iowa Afterschool Alliance has recently convened a task force to discuss some of these common issues with recruiting and retaining afterschool staff, so that systemic solutions can be identified.
The Iowa Afterschool Alliance endorses the National Afterschool Association’s Core Competencies for afterschool staff.