Increasing College and Career Readiness through Afterschool and Competency-Based Learning

Increasing College and Career Readiness through Afterschool and Competency-Based Learning
Increasing College and Career Readiness through Afterschool and Competency-Based Learning


To further our goal of college and career readiness for all students, AYPF has been exploring the opportunities that exist at the intersection of afterschool and competency-based learning.  Research as demonstrated that high-quality afterschool providers help contribute to a student’s college and career readiness through college and career exploration, social and emotional learning, soft skills development including communication and team-building, various enrichment activities, and more. In recent years, we have also seen the growth of competency-based learning, an approach within classrooms and schools that stresses specific skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, and teamwork, and paired with less reliance on seat-time, allows students to advance upon mastering competencies at their own pace. As students learn and develop valuable skills and competencies both in and out of school, it seems natural to explore strategies and policies to support the intersection, interaction, and interrelationship of these two fields that have demonstrated success in preparing students for college and careers.

This webinar served as the release of AYPF’s white paper on current trends and opportunities at the intersection of afterschool and competency-based learning.  Our presenters shared promising practices in the realms of badging, internships, work-based learning experiences, and other emerging strategies that bridge afterschool and competency-based learning and discussed opportunities moving forward in policy and practice.

Presenter Biographies:

joe formattedJoseph DiMartino is founder and president of the Center for Secondary School Redesign (CSSR). In this role, Joe provides leadership for a network of over twenty school change coaches directly impacting transformational school change initiatives across the United States.  Under his leadership, CSSR has become recognized as a leading provider of ground breaking technical assistance to support both policy change and change leadership at the school and district level—leading to a richer more personalized school experience for all youth.

Joe holds a B.A. from Brown University, a M.Ed. in Special Education and Counseling from Rode Island College, and has completed all the coursework for a Ph.D. in Culturally Responsive Education from Brown University. Joe is first and foremost a parent and grandparent, often stating that he has learned much more from his six children, including the four adopted from outside the United States, than he could ever hope to teach them. Helping to create learning environments where diversity is valued, as exemplified in his family, is a prime motivator for Joe.

marcia formattedMarcia Dvorak, Ph.D., is the Director of the Kansas Enrichment Network, an organization that seeks to create a sustainable structure of statewide, regional, and local partnerships, focused on policy, sustainability, and quality expanded learning opportunities. In her role as Director, Dr. Dvorak is responsible for managing the statewide afterschool coalition. Recent efforts have concentrated on creating a statewide STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) system, connecting likely and unlikely partners to increase STEM opportunities for children and youth. Dr. Dvorak has an extensive background in public education, both as a classroom teacher and principal. In addition to her role with the Network, Dr. Dvorak serves as an Assistant Director for the Center for Public Partnerships and Research at the University of Kansas.

jenna formattedJenna Tomasello joined AYPF in June 2015. Her role as Program Associate involves the development of learning events and products, including forums, study tours, webinars, discussion groups, and publications, and the dissemination of policy and practice guidance to multiple audiences. Jenna has a background in philosophy and legal studies, and holds a Master’s degree in Educational Policy from the University of Rochester Warner Graduate School of Education and Human Development.



dan formattedDan Tsin joined Urban Alliance in July 2012. As Director of Data & Accountability, he oversees all internal and external program evaluation, performance management, and strategic planning for the organization. Previously, Dan worked as a data analyst for DC Public Schools and as a consultant at IBM. Dan graduated from the College of William and Mary in 2006 with a degree in finance and holds a Master of Public Policy degree from the George Washington University, with a focus on Program Evaluation and Education Policy.

View the presentation slideshow

The Intersection of Afterschool and CBL White Paper Synopsis

Video: CBL In 60 Seconds


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.