Research & Action Report Spring/Summer 2009

In July, 2008 the Robert Bowne Foundation transferred the Afterschool Matters (ASM) initiative to the National Institute on Out-of-School Time (NIOST) at the Wellesley Centers for Women. The four components of this comprehensive initiative are: (1) the Practitioner Fellowship Program, which provides an inquiry-based year-long research and writing professional development experience for out-of-school-time practitioners; (2) the Afterschool Matters journal, which disseminates findings and experiences of the Practitioner Fellows and other relevant research from the out-of-school-time field; (3) the Edmund A. Stanley, Jr. Research Grantee program to foster high-quality, cutting-edge research that has lasting impact on the field; and (4) the Research Roundtables, periodic forums for connecting research and practice.
NIOST’s goals in acquiring the ASM initiative include generating additional funding support to enable the national expansion of the initiative, and to ensure the sustainability of ASM into the future.

Practitioner Fellowships
NIOST partnered with the National Writing Project (NWP) to develop and offer practitioner fellowships through the University of Pennsylvania at Philadelphia and the University of California at Berkeley. Their content expertise in professional development and the improvement of writing, and nation-wide focus made them the ideal partners for the national expansion and facilitation of the Fellowship Program.

Since September 2008, fellowship groups in Philadelphia and the Bay Area have been meeting twice each month at facilitated meetings. The Out-of-School Time Resource Center at the University of Pennsylvania is conducting an evaluation of the Philadelphia Practitioner Fellowship Program (PFP). Early evaluation findings show that the Fellows offer overwhelmingly positive feedback about the facilitators and agree that they are enhancing their research and writing skills through the Fellowship. The Fellows also offer constructive feedback for the continued improvement of the Fellowship.

Afterschool Matters Journal
NIOST currently plans on two annual issues of the Afterschool Matters journal. Recent issues of Afterschool Matters and the companion publication, Occasional Paper Series, including articles by David J. Shernoff; Deborah Lowe Vandell; Charles Smith; and Laurie Van Egeren, can be accessed online at www.niost.org.
The spring 2009 issue of Afterschool Matters was recently distributed and includes articles highlighting middle school-afterschool strategies and out-of-school-time work-based learning experiences for older youth. The NIOST team is actively working on the fall 2009 issue, reviewing the rich variety of rigorous and compelling articles submitted.

Edmund A. Stanley, Jr. Research Grantees
Four new grantees to the Edmund A. Stanley, Jr. Research program have been selected including: Nancy Peters of the Out-of-School Time Resource Center at the University of Pennsylvania; Judy Nee of the National Afterschool Association; Carter Julian Savage of Society of African American Professionals; and a team of researchers under the direction of Dr. Stephen W. Raudenbush, from the University of Chicago.

NIOST scholars are pleased and excited to have received generous funding from the Robert Bowne Foundation to continue this project into the future and look forward to nurturing the growth and continuation of the initiative.