About Engaging Mayors
Mayors and city officials in many communities are forming strategies to create seamless, high-quality out-of-school time (OST) programs for children and youth. Elected officials also recognize they can expand the impact of OST initiatives through joint planning, leveraging relationships and knowledge of best practice information, when they partner with their statewide afterschool network.
Changes in the funding environment have shifted cities’ motivation to work with statewide afterschool networks. Over the past decade cities have been major recipients of the U.S. Department of Education’s 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) grant program.
- Public safety is a top concern in every city and children are most at risk during OST hours.
- Youth are most likely to engage in risky behaviors during the afterschool hours. Since city leaders are concerned about their communities’ future, they care about how young people use this time.
- City leaders are concerned about the educational success of young people. Afterschool and expanded learning programs provide opportunities for youth to enhance and apply academic skills.
- Employers lose between $500 and $2,000 per employee per year due to high stress and low productivity after 3:00 pm when working parents’ children leave school. Afterschool and expanded learning programs help parents focus on their jobs, knowing their children are safe until they get home.
Strategies to Support Engaging Mayors
- Help cities share their local success with other communities across the state and give city efforts visibility through the networks’ wide-reaching listserv, statewide meetings and their partners.
- In cities where afterschool and expanded learning programs have been a priority, networks can use their local expertise to determine if local successes can be replicated statewide.
- Partner to improve quality of programs across the state.
- Partner on data collection efforts. It is the network's role to understand the afterschool landscape across the state so they have the capacity to administer large scale surveys and conduct data analysis.
- Work together to determine cost-savings as a result of policy changes. Cities can experience significant cost-savings through joint use of facilities, licensed child-staff ratio requirements and resource-sharing when state policies change to allow greater flexibility at the local level.