NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
PDF on ERIC Download full text
ERIC Number: EJ1068579
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 10
Abstractor: ERIC
Making the Most of the Middle: A Strategic Model for Middle School Afterschool Programs
Morehouse, Holly
Afterschool Matters, n8 p1-10 Spr 2009
Early adolescence is a time of transition, change, and growth. At no other time after gestation and early infancy are the human body and mind undergoing such rapid developmental changes. The bodies of young adolescents are physically and sexually maturing. Cognitive changes expand thinking abilities; social and emotional changes move adolescents towards greater independence. During early adolescence, youths' very existence is about transition; their skills and abilities, like their bodies and minds, are under development. However, what can be seen as an exciting period of growth and change can create frustration for both students and adults unless afterschool programs serving middle school youth are designed with the specific, unique characteristics of young adolescents in mind. In an effort to improve afterschool programming for middle school youth in Vermont, the Vermont Department of Education partnered with the Nellie Mae Education Foundation to identify best practices for middle school afterschool. The goals of this project were to increase regular attendance in Vermont's middle school afterschool programs and to build stronger student outcomes for participating youth. Drawing from both the literature on adolescent development and the studies of best practices in afterschool programming, the project resulted in the development of a new framework for middle school afterschool programs based on five components, which the authors call the five Rs of program design: relationships, relevance, reinforcement, real-life projects, and rigor. The five Rs, which are described in this article, offer a strategic model for after-school programs, a model that acknowledges and embraces the stages of transition and growth in early adolescence while building on the common strategies, characteristics, and practices of successful middle school afterschool programs in Vermont. Afterschool leaders can use these five components, each of which plays a role in increasing youth participation rates and supporting positive youth development outcomes, to inform the development and design of their middle school afterschool programs.
National Institute on Out-of-School Time. Wellesley Centers for Women, 106 Central Street, Wellesley, MA 02481. Tel: 781-283-2547; Fax: 781-283-3657; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Middle Schools; Secondary Education; Junior High Schools; Grade 5; Intermediate Grades; Elementary Education; Grade 6; Grade 7; Grade 8
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Vermont
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A