Quality Programs

​Quality Standards for Nevada OST Programs

The Nevada Afterschool Network (NAN) encourages all afterschool and out-of-school time (OST) programs to adhere to high quality standards that allow for participating youth and their families to gain the maximum benefit from these experiences. Research-based outcomes for quality programs include children and youth who are connected and engaged, parents who feel their children are safe and secure, and families who have a sense of pride and ownership of the program.


a physically and emotionally safe space for ALL youth, regardless of race, gender, age, language, ability, and unique needs.


to meet the needs of the youth and families they serve.


staff in obtaining personal and professional training to master the skills needed to excel at youth-supporting work.


to continuous quality improvement strategies that allow them to succeed at the essential aspects of quality listed above.

NV OST Program Quality Assessment Toolkit

NAN has identified four essential areas of an effective OST program through extensive review of evidence-based practices. Each of these areas contain indicators of quality that address organizational policy, staff training and preparedness, program structure, family engagement, and inclusive practices.

High-quality programs intentionally incorporate opportunities to guide youth development and provide social emotional learning through program policies and curricula. Indicators in this category help programs understand how to:

  • Develop, nurture, and maintain positive relationships and interactions among staff, participants, parents, and community members.
  • Provide opportunities for children & youth to actively participate in positive relationship development.
  • Establish strong partnerships with families and communities to fully support all children & youth.

High-quality programs design and maintain their physical environment with the safety of participating youth, families, staff, and visitors in mind. Indicators in this category provide specific guidelines to help programs develop:

  • Written policies & procedures that are provided to staff and families that promote the wellbeing, safety, and security of staff, families, and youth.
    • Welcome environment
    • Healthy meals and physical activities
    • Emergency preparedness plans
    • Internet safety
    • Safe storage and use of medicines and hazardous materials

High-quality programs ensure protocols are in place and available to all staff to understand program management. Additionally, opportunities for professional development should be available and encouraged for staff at all levels of the organization. Indicators in this category help to shape program policy that will help in the recruitment and retention of high-quality staff.

  • Have a defined infrastructure that supports intentional planning and ensures smooth program operations.
  • Positive working conditions for staff and supervisors, encouraging support and feedback.
  • Written policies & procedures to promote and support ongoing staff professional development.

High-quality programs implement evidence-based curricula and activities that are accessible to all youth. Youth and family input is essential to help ensure that program content and structure reflect the needs of participants and is updated regularly to maximize engagement. Indicators in this category provide guidelines for identifying, selecting, and implementing curriculum in quality out-of-school programs.

  • Support staff efforts to plan and implement intentional program activities that support youth physical, social, emotional, and cognitive growth.
  • Provide an environment and curriculum that engages ALL youth regardless of language, culture, or ability.

Quality Resources for Nevada OST Programs

Afterschool Alliance Program Toolbox – Updated Program Toolbox helps with starting and operation quality Out-of-School Time Programs 

Behavioral Health Toolkit for Afterschool Programs  – ​It was designed as a learning resource to enhance opportunities to support mental and social-emotional health for children and adolescents in afterschool programs.

2022 Every Hour Counts Resource Guide – ​​This resource guide features 30+ resources that our network and other national organizations have created to help afterschool intermediaries, providers, educators, families, and community leaders ensure that young people are set up to thrive this school year and beyond.

NIOST – Program Quality Resources – The National Institute on Out-of-School Time compiled an extensive list of Program Quality Resources to help innovate Out of School Time Programs.

Workforce Strategies – CTFF focuses on how to utilize the expanded learning space to grow and build the next generation teacher workforce for afterschool programs.

Workforce Development – The Afterschool Alliance has a variety of resources to help the OST field tackle workforce challenges to provide young people with the experiences, connections, and outcomes they deserve.

2014 Nevada Quality Standards Report – Quality Standards report of 2014 for the state of Nevada.

Using Federal Funds for Summer & Afterschool  – ​This guide identifies those opportunities, which providers, districts, summer and afterschool intermediaries and municipal and state officials can tap to cover program costs, plan for the future and develop infrastructure to execute their plans.

2020 Landscape of Quality Survey Results – AIR develops quality efforts in seven area’s including: afterschool quality standards, assessment tools, core competencies for afterschool program staff, credential systems, school-age quality rating and improvement systems, aligned professional development and skill building initiatives and frameworks.

AIR – Building Quality in Afterschool  – ​The Path to Quality resource portal provides afterschool networks with step-by-step guidance to help develop quality afterschool systems, programs, and staff.

Staff Supports for Building Quality in OST – Highlights of the four foundational supports for afterschool staff include, Core Competencies, Credential Systems, Aligned Professional Development Options and Career Pathways.

Measuring STEM Learning in Afterschool Programs – Tools for efficiency in STEM practices are constructed to evaluate programs success and how to adapt across diverse communities.

Framework for Effectively Working with Young People  –  This guide explores authentic youth engagement, including how it benefits young people, why it works and what it looks like in real life.​

U.S. Department of Education Institute of Education Sciences (IES) – This site catalogs a variety of resources, including those created outside of IES, that may be useful in this effort of finding “what works” for afterschool programs.

Creative Ways to Solicit Stakeholder Feedback  – ​We collected our favorite non-traditional ways to solicit input from stakeholders, like selfie stations, candy surveys, and collages, and put them into one place.

Essential Role of Intermediaries in Quality OST – ​An overview of the importance of supportive networks and intermediary groups to increasing the scale of and developing systems of funding and technical resources for high-quality after school programs

Skills for Success: Developing Social and Emotional Competencies in Out-of-School-Time Programs – This report offers guidance to out-of-school-time providers and intermediaries looking to incorporate social and emotional learning into their programming for young people.