What are out of school time (OST) programs?
Out of school time programs encompass a wide range of program offerings for school-age children that take place before school, after school, on weekends, and during the summer and other school breaks. These programs:
- Promote engaged learning and positive youth development;
- Support working families and safe communities; and
- Strengthen the Texas workforce of today and tomorrow.
Learning opportunities that take place outside of the traditional school day are categorized in many different ways. TXPOST has created the OST Acronym Alphabet to explain the most common terms associated with OST programs.
How many Texas children and youth participate in OST activities?
- 935,057 Texas children are left unsupervised after school for an average of 7 hours per week. (Source: Afterschool Alliance, America After 3PM, 2014)
- 68% of school-age children live in households where all parents are active members of the workforce. (Source: Census 2010 ACS Estimates)
- 18% of Texas school-age children participate in afterschool programs or attend traditional child care centers. (Source: Afterschool Alliance, America After 3PM, 2014)
Is there demand for more OST opportunities in Texas? In 2014, 37% of surveyed parents reported that they would enroll their child in an afterschool program if it were available in their community, regardless of the current care arrangement. (Source: Afterschool Alliance, America After 3PM, 2014)
What types of OST programs exist? How are they funded?
OST programs are provided by a wide variety of organizations, many of which receive both public and private support. Schools, community centers, churches and other faith-based centers, and nonprofit organizations such as the YMCA and Boys and Girls Clubs serve as providers of OST programming. The Boys and Girls Clubs of Texas currently serve more than 334,000 youth club members in 127 communities across the state.
The largest single funding stream for OST programs in Texas is the 21st Century Community Learning Center grant program established by the U.S. Department of Education. In Texas, the 21st CCLC program is administered by the Texas Education Agency through the Afterschool Centers on Education (ACE). More than 144,000 students were served by these programs in 2015/16, and the vast majority of programming occurs on school campuses.
Other funding streams include the Child Care Development Fund, of which 25% is estimated to be used for school-age child care, primarily in the form of subsidies for needy families. Nonprofit foundations, local governmental entities, and corporate philanthropy also contribute to OST programs.
Sources: Texas Education Agency, National Institute on Out-of-School Time
TXPOST has also released a Texas Out of School Time Fiscal Analysis Report which finds that dedicated federal and state funding streams supporting out of school time programs for Texas youth are limited and impact is difficult to measure due to inaccessibility of data. Click here to read the full report or here to access the summary of the report.