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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

Starting and Supporting a Program

Congratulations on developing an out-of-school time program for youth in your community. Research tells us that youth who are engaged in high quality out-of-school time programming demonstrate greater positive results than their peers who do not participate. Some of these key indicators of success include: 

  • Improved literacy skills and scores 

  • Improved math skills and scores 

  • Improved behaviors 

  • Decreased juvenile delinquency 


This toolkit is designed to assist programs who are starting from the ground up, programs that are developing out-of-school time programming from an existing source, and for those who are well established but need some additional support or fresh ideas to re-engage and reconnect programming. This toolkit can be downloaded as one PDF document or each section can be accessed individually below.

Full Document

Iowa Afterschool Alliance: Afterschool in a Box Toolkit

Download the full toolkit.

Individual Sections

Establishing Your Program

This section of the toolkit will provide articles of interest, samples, and templates on some of the necessary documentation that may be required to start your program and and are often considered best practice tools for out-of-school time programming. 

Budget Information

This section of the toolkit will provide insight into budgets including a look at the different types of funds associated with out-of-school time programs, fundraising and donations and management of dollars.

Staffing and Volunteer Considerations

This section of the toolkit includes information on staffing your program and how volunteers might be helpful.

The Value of Community Partnerships

This section of the toolkit addresses the role of community partners and the value they can add to your program.

Recruiting and Enrolling Youth into Your Program

This section of the toolkit discusses how to recruit youth to your program including information and samples on enrollment forms and other supporting materials. 

Effective Program Components

This section of the toolkit will assist you to identify effective program components and best practices. 

How to Effectively Evaluate Your Program 

This section of the toolkit allows you to consider your evaluation strategy in an effort to support effective programming.

How to Effectively Advocate for Your Program

This section of the toolkit offers tips, guidance, and suggestions for how to advocate for your program.

IAA Quality Standards and Self-Assessment Rubric

This section of the toolkit offers tips, guidance, and suggestions for how to advocate for your program.

When undertaken as a whole, the Iowa Afterschool Alliance’s Quality Standards provide a foundation for providing the most effective afterschool program – a program that prepares all its students to succeed in school, work and life. The goal of these Quality Standards is to reach each one as best as each site’s ability, considering time and experience, program size, number of staff, available funding, building or location restrictions, and so on. The IAA has also created a self-assessment tool that programs can use to evaluate their quality according to these standards and then develop a plan for improvement. 

Register for the Impact Afterschool Conference
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