Local governments can invest in this strategy using State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).
- This strategy can help address educational disparities and promote healthy childhood environments. The U.S. Department of Treasury has indicated that strategies that help achieve this outcome are eligible for the use of Fiscal Recovery Funds.
- Investments in this strategy are SLFRF-eligible as long as they are made in qualified census tracts or are designed to assist populations or communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.
- Extracurricular activities include any organized social, art, or physical activities for school-aged youth that occur during out-of-school time. Activities can take place before or after school or during the summer.
- Activities vary widely. They and may include academic enrichment, tutoring, mentoring, homework help, arts (music, theater, and drama), technology, science, reading, math, civic engagement and involvement, and activities to support and promote healthy social/emotional development.
- Most after-school programs operate for approximately two to three hours per day, four to five days per week.
- Programs can occur in a variety of settings, including schools, museums, libraries, park districts, faith-based organizations, youth service agencies, county health agencies, and community-based organizations
Evidence and impacts
Ranked as having the highest level of evidence by County Health Rankings and Roadmaps
- Improved self-esteem and positive social behavior
- Improved academic performance
- Reduced use of drugs and alcohol
- Reduced violent behavior, sexual activity, and juvenile crime
Best practices in implementation
- Note: This content is under review
- Factors that drive positive outcomes in extracurricular settings include student access to and sustained participation in the program, the quality of programming and staffing, and strong relationships between programs, schools, families, and other community institutions.
- Recruitment and retention outcomes are improved via tailoring programs to youth interests, family engagement with regard to participant attendance, and cultivating participant sense of belonging.
- Programs that require staff to have more advanced academic credentials and focus on academics or the arts tend to produce better outcomes.
- Parent liaisons on staff can improve relationships between programs and families.
County Health Rankings and Roadmaps evidence overview of extracurricular activities "A meta-analysis of after-school programs that seek to promote personal and social skills in children and adolescents," American Journal of Community Psychology (2010) "After school programs in the 21st century," Harvard Family Research Project (2008) Wallace Foundation: "The cost of quality out-of-school-time programs"