Education Evolutions // Impact Insights

Structured afterschool programs improve academic outcomes

Lana’s structured afterschool programs rely on routines that create positive reinforcement and enhance student outcomes.

Lana Learn’s 21st Century Community Learning Center has become a staple of Cardozo Education Campus’ afterschool community. The consistent delivery and high quality of the initiative has led to a greater awareness of the program on campus. Additionally, the space we provide allows for students to count on the program as a safe, enriching environment after school. Structure and consistency are integral in providing a program where students regularly attend. Structured Learning Environments improve student behavior, increase academic performance, and allow instructors to better meet students’ individual needs. We rely on three main steps to ensure we have successful structured afterschool programs.

1. Start strong and on time – every day

All of our instructors arrive on time each day at Cardozo to deliver programming. When students see that their instructors are both timely and consistent, they learn that they can rely on the program. Additionally, it’s important that we start our sessions on time. We set up our room early every day, so that when students enter the space, we can focus on greeting them and getting started. After just a couple of weeks of practice, students show up, sign in, and find their seats independently.

2. Set expectations for tutoring time Daily

Throughout the school year, we have developed a daily routine that ensures students can complete schoolwork effectively. We set a timer each day that is dedicated to focused tutoring time. During this period, instructors set the expectation that the environment is dedicated to focusing on schoolwork. The instructors then split off into small group or one-on-one tutoring for this period, ensuring we meet individual needs. Over time, building this routine into a daily ritual has strengthened students’ ability to remain focused on schoolwork. As a direct result of this routine, student grades have increased dramatically over the course of the fourth quarter.

3. Positively reinforce with engaged learning opportunities

Lana’s coaches provide educational activities developed with the student voice in mind that we use as daily rewards for program attendees. Each day, we provide academic enrichment after our focused tutoring time. We base enrichment on mathematics, English, social and emotional learning (SEL), or college & career readiness. Through games, teambuilding activities, and discussions, we structure these activities as positive reinforcement. Students have begun to expect their academic enrichment and look forward to the experience.

Through the consistent delivery of an engaging, highly structured after school environment, our program attendees have come to rely on our program. Our students report that they feel productive, safe, and happy in our program. We thoroughly enjoy our time with our students and are excited to see how their academic achievement shines through as the school year wraps up!

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