Our mission is to help afterschool educators improve students' learning and contribute to their lifelong success. To that end, we:
- identify the needs of the afterschool community
- develop content specifically for afterschool programs
- provide research-based teaching strategies
- offer public television's extensive educational resources to afterschool staff
- offer opportunities for afterschool staff to exchange resources and ideas
- offer opportunities for afterschool staff to network and initiate partnerships
Thirteen/WNET New York's Educational Technologies Department started the Afterschool Exchange in an effort to reach out to the afterschool community. Research has shown that afterschool programs can motivate students to achieve academic success, improving their classroom performance and their desire to learn. Afterschool programs make education fun for kids -- so, as a leading provider of lively, educational multimedia, we wanted to share Thirteen's resources with afterschool staff, through annual face-to-face events and a Web site.
The project began in February 2001, when Thirteen/WNET launched Afterschool Programs: From Vision to Reality, an online workshop in the award-winning Concept to Classroom professional development workshop series for K-12 educators. This unique workshop was designed -- in collaboration with experts in the field of afterschool education -- to help afterschool educators both start and maintain successful afterschool programs.
Based on our research for this workshop -- which included study of the current research, interviews with experts, and interactions with educators -- Thirteen/WNET concluded that the best way to help afterschool staff was to offer a project comprised of face-to-face events, multimedia resources, teaching strategies and lots of fun, media-based activities. Thirteen/WNET held the first Afterschool Exchange event in July 2001, focusing on offering public television resources to Metropolitan New York-area afterschool staff. Participants' enthusiasm and post-event surveys showed us that afterschool educators and staff need events in which they can share ideas and develop partnerships. They also showed that they want to develop fun, enriching programs that complement an academic curriculum. They asked for more face-to-face communication with other afterschool educators and experts, and continual online support.
The Afterschool Exchange, which blends in-person professional development events with a broadly accessible Web site, is intended to meet afterschool staff needs. To find out more about these services, read the Project Overview.