News from the field

The Wallace Foundation Releases Study on Data Use in Afterschool Systems

A recent report commissioned by the Wallace Foundation, Connecting the Dots: Data Use in Afterschool Systems, emphasizes people and process alongside technology as key components to promoting effective data use in afterschool systems. The report was written using information gathered from the Foundation’s Next Generation Afterschool System Building Initiative, a multi-year effort designed to build capacity and strengthen afterschool programs in Baltimore, Denver, Fort Worth, Grand Rapids, Jacksonville, Louisville, Nashville, Philadelphia and Saint Paul.

The report finds that data captured and measured in afterschool systems reflects shared stakeholder goals. System adaptability in response to changing priorities, staff turnover and new leadership is key, while people and processes are critical to ensuring data quality. Effective strategies highlighted for developing data capacity include starting small (and slow!) with a limited set of data and providers, hiring dedicated staff with a background in data analytics, and providing ongoing training to support a culture of data use.

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