APAS (A Program Assessment System)

Assessment of programs are invaluable to creating the highest quality afterschool programs. WYAA, with support from National Institute of Out of School Time (NIOST) implemented its initiative, A Program Assessment System (APAS), which builds a common approach to quality improvement across the field.

Outcomes from APAS include:

  • An upward trend in attitudes, skills and behaviors of youth
  • Peer networking and relationship building between programs
  • A statewide shared vision and understanding of high quality afterschool and OST programming

STEM System Building

The Wyoming Cross-Sector STEM Collaborative is WYAA’s statewide pilot project to advance STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) learning in afterschool. The project gives afterschool program providers a structure for defining the elements of high-quality STEM activities.

The Tool:

  • Dimensions of Success (DoS)® uses a rubric to measure tangible outcomes
  • WYAA partnered with researchers from PEAR/Harvard University/McClean Hospital to implement DoS.
  • Two-year project funded by the Noyce Foundation in partnership with the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation.

Core Competencies

Core competencies outline the skills, knowledge, and dispositions required of professionals to deliver high-quality programming and support youth development and learning. You can view the “Core Knowledge and Competencies for Afterschool and Youth Development Professionals” which were adopted by WYAA and authored by the National Afterschool Association. It outlines 10 content areas:

  1. Child and Youth Growth and Development
  2. Learning Environment and Curriculum
  3. Child/Youth Observation and Assessment
  4. Interactions with Children and Youth
  5. Youth Engagement
  6. Cultural Competency and Responsiveness
  7. Family, School, and Community Relationships
  8. Safety and Wellness
  9. Program Planning and Development
  10. Professional Development and Leadership

Program Quality Practices

The Wyoming Program Quality Practices are a companion to the Core Knowledge and Competencies, and they provide a common understanding of the essential components of quality practice in afterschool and youth development programs. They are not requirements nor intended to be a regulatory checklist. Rather, they provide a definition of quality for which programs can strive as they pursue continuous quality improvement. These guidelines capture the practices that have been demonstrated through research to lead to quality programs, and incorporate the priorities and values unique to Wyoming.

The PQPs provide programs, communities and stakeholders with a way to voluntarily examine the quality of programs and to engage in important discussions about program quality. They set the stage for development of a comprehensive and coordinated system of services that will best serve Wyoming’s children and youth. Most of all, they send the message that we believe quality is important, and we hold ourselves accountable for improving quality.

Juvenile Justice

WYAA began an initiative to understand juvenile justice issues in Wyoming and promote high-quality afterschool programs as a resource for high-risk children in grades K-12. Afterschool programs help divert risky behaviors through expanded learning opportunities and by nurturing positive youth development.

The Juvenile Justice Initiative:

  • Identifies current programs and partnerships in Wyoming communities that focus on prevention and early intervention of risky behaviors for K-12 youth
  • Develops meaningful resources and training opportunities to help afterschool programs better serve our most vulnerable, at-risk children

Intended Outcomes:

  • Reduce juvenile citations
  • Increase school attendance
  • Increase engagement in learning
  • Improve grades
  • Raise the graduation rate