Expanding Horizons

Participating Networks

Context

Expanding Horizons is a collaborative project between five statewide afterschool networks to integrate global learning into afterschool and expanded learning programs. The project makes policymakers and educators more aware of the need for global learning and provide tools, models and resources for the field.

Across the nation, education leaders are becoming aware of the critical role afterschool and expanded learning opportunities play in preparing students for the challenges that await them. By re-imagining how, when and where young people learn, policymakers and educators are focusing on strategies such as hands-on learning, working in teams and problem-solving. Before school, afterschool and summer programs are a few of the places already using these learning approaches successfully to engage students and increasing their chances for success.

Through this work, deep connections have emerged between global learning and high-quality out-of-school time (OST) programming. These connections span all aspects of programming and administration, including a shared mission that promotes student success in work and life in the 21st century; program organization and management that is based on an asset model that values diversity; curriculum planning and delivery that includes 21st century skills, service learning and STEM education.

Collaborative Steps

  • Networks are identifing and cultivating strategic, focused partnerships to expand each state’s ability to implement global learning in afterschool and expanded learning settings.
  • Networks arel developing learning communities to inform one another’s efforts.
  • Networks also provide leadership and project materials that are useful to other networks’ efforts.

Impact

For the past two years, the collaborators have participated in an ongoing technical assistance project sponsored by Asia Society which has focused on advancing professional development systems for afterschool staff as well as building awareness among strategic stakeholders around global learning. The goals of the project are to:

  1. Increase the quality and quantity of global learning in OST programs by building the capacity of statewide afterschool networks to offer professional development that advances high-quality global learning in afterschool programs and in partnership with schools; and
  2. Increase systemic supports for global learning in afterschool by providing technical assistance to statewide afterschool networks that will help them enhance public awareness and advance supportive policy changes, using models of best practice to demonstrate the impact of global learning.

Expanding Horizons is the next step in the evolution of a strategic, targeted approach to build afterschool and expanded learning systems, influence policy and develop the tools needed to take informal learning to the next level. This new work will also help the statewide afterschool networks strengthen partnerships and develop robust learning communities.