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Arkansas Standards for Out of School Time Program Quality

The Arkansas Out of School Network (AOSN) is a sponsored initiative of Arkansas State University Childhood Services and is a network of Out-of-School Time (OST) programs and youth development professionals from across the state. The mission of AOSN is to ensure that children and youth ages 5-19 have safe, healthy and enriching learning experiences during the out-of-school time hours. AOSN seeks to provide opportunities and supports to program leaders and policy makers as they work to strengthen and expand the OST field. AOSN recognizes that building and sustaining an infrastructure of quality programs is essential to providing access to high quality, age-appropriate OST opportunities.

Formulating an operational definition of OST Program Quality is also essential to strengthening programs at the point-of-service (POS).  Current research suggests that quality programs develop and implement intentional strategies for providing comprehensive educational and developmental learning opportunities (Peterson, T. K. 2013).   According to the Afterschool Alliance’s 2012 publication entitled Principles of Effective Expanded Learning Programs: A Vision Built on the Afterschool Approach, those intentional strategies and practices include: School-Community Partnerships, Engaged Learning, Family Engagement, Intentional Programming, Diverse and Prepared Staff, Participation and Access, Safety, Health, & Wellness, and Ongoing Assessment & Evaluation.

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