Chicago Out-of-School Time Project
The Chicago Out-of-School Time Project is a city-wide effort to systematically advance OST in Chicago. Funded by the Wallace Foundation in 2006, the Project aims to strengthen the city’s OST system through four key strategies:
- Increase coordination, access and reach of quality programming;
- Increase teen participation through a citywide communications strategy;
- Establish common definitions of after-school program quality and increase supports for continuous improvement of program quality;
- Continually build support and readiness for achieving sustainable, coordinated and dedicated funding.
With these aims in mind, the Chicago Out-of-School Time Project approached the Weikart Center in 2007 about piloting the Youth Program Quality Intervention in Chicago. They selected 38 sites from its nearly 1,000-site network to participate in a pilot program improvement project during the 2008-2009 school year. Sites were chosen from five partnering institutions: the Chicago Park District, the Chicago Public Library, After School Matters, the Chicago Public Schools and the City of Chicago Department of Family & Support Services. Chicago continues to expand the number of participating sites as the quality improvement work enters its second year.