There is no question that I am a fan of out-of-school time (OST) systems — data-driven, coordinated community-level efforts to improve access to quality before and after school and summer learning experiences. Just check my track record to know I have helped incubate dozens of them across the country, both as part of The Wallace Foundation team as well as a Big Picture Approach consultant with the Forum for Youth Investment. But for all I thought I knew about OST systems, I learned another critical value-add of having one in your community — they can help with saturation.
I have a confession to make: I am a data junkie, and I’m proud of it.
In the now annual rite of fall, my Facebook feed is filled with friends and family members proudly showing off their children, generally in the driveway or front yard, about to set out for their first day of the school. I can’t help but think back to when I was jittery for the first day of class, filled with excitement and questions. Will my new teacher be nice? Who will be in my homeroom and other classes? Will everyone else think my new Trapper Keeper is as cool as I think it is?
My mother’s mission upon learning of her pregnancy with my twin brother and me was to provide us with everything she never had. She wanted to open the world beyond Chicago and expose us to as many experiences and opportunities as possible. Growing up, we were busy kids.
Readiness. Quality. Equity.