On May 21, 2014, we released the fourth edition of Beyond the Bell: A Toolkit for Creating Effective Afterschool and Expanded Learning Programs last month. So what is the Beyond the Bell Toolkit? The Toolkit is both a guide and a suite of professional development services and practical tools designed to help program leaders and their staff create and sustain high-quality, effective afterschool and expanded learning programs. Beyond the Bell works well both for those starting a brand-new program and those looking to improve an existing program without reinventing the wheel.
The Toolkit is designed to help afterschool and expanded learning program leaders and staff adopt a model of continuous improvement. The content of the Toolkit reflects a cycle of improvement: develop, implement, evaluate, and improve. The idea behind the cycle is for program leaders and staff members to develop programs using sound processes, implement those programs by employing high-quality practices, rigorously evaluate the implementation of the program, and use the data from the evaluation activities to continually improve the program. The Toolkit is grounded in the strengths-based approach to youth development—the tools and associated professional development services aim to capitalize on the strengths of staff, young people, their families, and the community.
Interested in learning more? Looking for ways to ensure your programs are ready to go this fall? Visit our website to learn more about using the Toolkit with your staff and to schedule an introductory training with our expert professional learning facilitators! The Toolkit is available for purchase on our website, where you will also find information on our associated professional development services.