Palm Beach County Afterschool Educator Certificate Process Evaluation
Stephen Baker, Tracey Lockaby, Kai Guterman
In recognition of the important role that professional development of afterschool practitioners plays in improving the quality of afterschool programs, Prime Time Palm Beach County, a not-for-profit intermediary organization dedicated to supporting quality afterschool programs, is currently piloting a new certification program for afterschool practitioners.
The program is called the PBC Afterschool Educator Certificate, and is for practitioners serving children through the fifth grade in Palm Beach County. The program provides stipends to individuals completing each of five series of workshops. Via these workshops, Prime Time seeks to increase the knowledge and skills of afterschool practitioners in order to improve program quality and retain staff. The workshops are designed to 1) teach afterschool practitioners a variety of techniques and skills that are instrumental in providing an environment that is safe, supportive and engaging; 2) give practitioners the information they need to effectively engage young people into staff positions and leadership roles at their programs; 3) provide practitioners with tools to improve the social and emotional environments of their programs; 4) teach practitioners how to create an encouraging afterschool climate with opportunities for youth to strengthen self esteem and relations with others; and 5) teach practitioners how to promote enthusiasm for learning by presenting youth with fun and innovative ways to enhance academic skills.
Chapin Hall is conducting an evaluation to document the implementation of this program during its pilot year. As part of the evaluation Chapin Hall seeks to understand the characteristics of participants and their perceptions of the program's effects upon their knowledge and skills and employment and educational aspirations.