Building A Robust Afterschool System: Lessons And Opportunities

Building A Robust Afterschool System: Lessons And Opportunities
Building A Robust Afterschool System: Lessons And Opportunities


Over the last decade, there has been a shift in the way many cities are approaching out of school time – moving from independent, isolated programming and funding to coordinated, citywide systems. As a result of this shift, many cities have seen improvements in access to and quality of afterschool programs. The Wallace Foundation’s recent perspective, Growing Together, Learning Together, catalogues and organizes efforts to date around key principles of afterschool system building, and provides a snapshot of the opportunities that lie ahead for cities aiming to build a sustainable system.

This webinar provided an overview of the cornerstone elements of an afterschool system and showcased how these elements are reflected in the system building work in three communities: Palm Beach County, Florida; Seattle/King County, Washington; and Providence, Rhode Island. Representatives from these communities discussed the various approaches they’ve taken to develop a citywide afterschool system, the steps they’ve made to ensure their system meets the needs of their community, and the challenges and successes they’ve experienced along the way. In addition, we explored opportunities for continued growth and sustainability, as well as several emerging issues moving forward.

Presenter Biographer

betsy for blog page formattedBetsy Brand has served as the Executive Director of AYPF since 2004, and she served as Co-Director of the organization since 1998. Betsy has spent her career working on education, workforce, and youth policy and specializes in comprehensive approaches to helping young people be prepared for today’s careers, lifelong learning, and civic engagement. Betsy’s education policy career started when she served as a Legislative Associate for the U.S. House Committee on Education and Labor from 1977 to 1983. She subsequently served with Senator Dan Quayle as a Professional Staff Member on the U.S. Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee from 1983 to 1989, where she handled all federal education and training legislation. In 1989, Betsy was appointed Assistant Secretary for Vocational and Adult Education at the U.S. Department of Education, under President George H.W. Bush, where she worked for four years. From 1993 to 1998, Betsy operated her own consulting firm, Workforce Futures, Inc., which focused on policy and best practices affecting education and workforce preparation.

Betsy has a B.A. from Dickinson College, Carlisle, PA and serves on various boards, including the Center for Occupational Research and Development, Latin American Youth Center, and Diploma Plus.

SuzetteSuzette Harvey has served as the executive director since 2006.  Prior to joining Prime Time, she spent eight years in the field of philanthropy at the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation in Miami. A native of New York, she was employed at Scholastic Inc. to help launch a new family magazine in the early 1980s focusing on using personal computers in the home. Prior to joining Scholastic, she was a vocational counselor for a youth employment program run by the New York City Mission Society. She was formerly a board member of the United Way of Palm Beach County, the Donors Forum of South Florida, the Center on Nonprofit Effectiveness and the Old Dillard Museum. Suzette also serves on the Selection Committee of the Palm Beach County Cultural Council’s Muse Awards and as a panelist for the Pathfinders of Palm Beach/Martin Counties Scholarship Fund sponsored by The Palm Beach Post. Recognized by Success South Florida magazine as one of South Florida’s 50 Most Powerful Black Professionals of 2008, she is a graduate of Leadership Palm Beach County Focus 211; Nonprofits First’s Go Lead Luminaries, Class of 2009 leadership development program; the University of Miami’s 2007 Senior Executive Leadership Initiative; and Leadership Miami Class of 1989. Suzette has a BA in International Relations from Brown University and a MS in Leadership from Nova Southeastern University.

Priscilla Photo formatted for RPPriscilla M. Little oversees the foundation’s $10 million effort to assist nine cities in providing more high-quality after-school programs through a coordinated systems approach. Little, the former associate director of the Harvard Family Research Project, has been working in education and conducting educational research for more than 20 years, with a particular emphasis on research and evaluation to support and improve after-school experiences. She has worked with national education research firms, state education agencies, nonprofits and private foundations. Little has also has led research teams to investigate policy-relevant after-school issues, such as boosting youngsters’ participation in programs, improving program quality, building after-school systems, and supporting expanded learning partnerships. In addition, she has helped develop tools to assess the quality of programs and worked with statewide networks of after-school providers to adopt common standards for programming. Outside the after-school arena, Little has worked in the areas of family engagement, early childhood, and the use of data for continuous improvement. Little received her undergraduate degree in music history and theory from Smith College, and her master’s degree from the Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Study at Tufts University.

hillary formatted for RPHillary Salmons manages the oversight of PASA and its three strategies. She also has primary responsibility for community engagement and fundraising efforts. Previously, Hillary led an education initiative called Rhode Island Scholars where business leaders spoke to middle school students around the state on the importance of college and taking math and science courses in high school. She also served as the Vice President for Program Development for Health & Education Leadership for Providence (HELP), a now-defunct coalition focused on improving the health and education of the children of Providence. While there, she worked to establish numerous systemic health and education initiatives. Hillary has a MA in Public Administration from the University of Oklahoma and a BA from Harvard University.

jessica formatted for RPJessica Paul Werner has been dedicated to building the youth development field since she served as an AmeriCorps*VISTA in Portland, Maine in 1999. After receiving her Masters in Public Administration at the University of Washington Evans School of Public Policy and Governance in 2002, Jessica supported youth worker professional development and youth leadership programs at the YMCA of Greater Seattle for nine years. Jessica started as YDEKC’s Executive Director and first staff member in 2011. Jessica is a proud Seattle Public Schools graduate and now lives with her family in Shoreline, Washington.

Click here to download the presentation slides


The American Youth Policy Forum (AYPF), a nonprofit, nonpartisan professional development organization based in Washington, DC, provides learning opportunities for policy leaders, practitioners, and researchers working on youth and education issues at the national, state, and local levels. AYPF events and publications are made possible by contributions from philanthropic foundations. For a complete list, click here.