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Advancing Collaborative Research in Out-of-School Settings

Project Overview

ACROSS is a research-practice partnership (RPP) between researchers at New York University (NYU)’s Institute of Human Development and Social Change and a cross-unit team at Good Shepherd Services (GSS). Goals are to produce shared knowledge, strengthen best practices, and build evaluation capacity in diverse out-of-school settings.

Nearly one in four U.S. families has a school-age child enrolled in afterschool programming. Afterschool programs with safe environments, engaging activities, warm relationships, and responsive instruction foster positive youth development and improve social-emotional and academic skills in school-age children. Importantly, benefits of high-quality programs may be magnified for youth who face socioeconomic disadvantage or early academic or behavioral difficulties.

Given the value of high-quality afterschool care, NYU and GSS launched a research-practice partnership in 2014 to understand and strengthen afterschool programming in New York City’s low-income neighborhoods. The partnership is founded on principles of trust, mutualism, and commitment and focuses on projects that have methodological rigor and practical relevance. Working annually with 3,600 elementary and middle school youth, 450 afterschool group leaders, and 20 afterschool programs, ACROSS identifies efficient and effective ways to improve afterschool practices toward beneficial outcomes for staff and students.

Over the past several years, NYU and GSS have co-authored research publications and practice briefs highlighting a framework for high quality afterschool that emphasizes a structured, warm, responsive, and engaging space for staff and students. This framework, informed by research and practice evidence, drives ongoing research and guides “on-the-ground” decisions. As the RPP grows, ACROSS will continue to build organizational capacity and produce original research to benefit youth, families, and communities in – and beyond – New York City.

Selected Peer-Reviewed Publications

Other Publications