Florida Afterschool Network
The Florida Afterschool Network is composed of stakeholders statewide who recognize the crucial importance of accessible and affordable quality afterschool programs for children and youth. These stakeholders include state and community leaders, education experts, business and workforce entities, service providers and parents. Ensuring that Florida’s children and youth have opportunities to participate in engaging, safe and quality programs during out-of-school hours benefits the economy, provides access to opportunities to expand student knowledge and provides enrichment activities.
Florida Afterschool’s mission is to provide unified leadership to advocate for the development, enhancement, sustainability and accessibility of evidenced-based high quality afterschool and summer programs and policies statewide. Through generous funding provided by the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, Florida Afterschool created the following specific goals to carry out its mission:
- Establish collaborative public and private partnerships which connect local, state and national resources supporting afterschool and summer programs;
- Promote quality afterschool standards that inform program decisions and public awareness; and
- Advocate for policies that expand funding, quality improvement initiatives and accessibility of afterschool and summer programs
Florida Afterschool works with members and numerous other partners around the state to improve focus and alignment of work and ultimately increase student outcomes.
As Florida Afterschool works to strategically support afterschool statewide and in individual communities, work priorities and intentional focus include:
- Partnership with the National Conference of State Legislators to develop a data repository that identifies the landscape of afterschool providers by county. Florida Afterschool is in the process of developing protocols to collect information on program types, capacity, resources and needs. This repository will be made available to Florida Afterschool partners to help strategically focus and build a policy agenda for upcoming legislative sessions, as well as inform community leaders, stakeholders and policymakers on the current landscape of afterschool and summer programs in Florida.
- Development of a customizable toolkit that communities can use to articulate the impact and importance of high-quality afterschool programming.
- Plans to work with partners and host community town hall meetings. The town halls will support the convening of business and community leaders in an effort to engage communities in a dialogue of afterschool’s impact to the economy, crime prevention, student success, and career readiness. Engagement of local county and city officials, school districts, law enforcement, local PTA organizations, legislators, Florida Afterschool partners, subject matter experts and other relevant partners will provide a strong forum for prioritizing afterschool programming, investments and public policy.
- Quality as a pinnacle priority resulting in the creation of a committee of afterschool experts, practitioners, and funders to revise the Florida Afterschool Network Quality Standards for Afterschool Programs to ensure optimal implementation, develop a measure of fidelity, and increase usage by afterschool providers.
- STEM programming through engagement of STEM Hubs as well as providing access to middle school age afterschool programs to write code and control satellites inside the International Space Station and to compete against other states.
Through collective effort, Florida Afterschool works with the Florida Children’s Council, the Florida Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, and numerous other partners around the state to improve focus and alignment of work and ultimately increase student outcomes. For more information about the Florida Afterschool Network, visit www.flafterschool.org or contact FAN Director, Brian Hickey, at email@example.com.