Children and youth spend only 20 percent of their waking hours in school. How they spend the remaining 80 percent of time has a profound impact on their growth and development. A growing body of research shows that high-quality out-of-school time programs are linked to positive academic and social emotional youth outcomes, including:
- improved attendance and grades
- increased engagement, motivation, growth mindset, and cooperation
- the development of career pathway skills
For three decades, School’s Out Washington (SOWA) has served a critical role to advance equitable expanded learning ecosystems in Washington state. We work to ensure high-quality afterschool and summer programs are available so all of Washington’s youth—but especially low-income youth and youth of color—can have the opportunities they deserve to thrive.
Every year SOWA supports approximately 650 afterschool and summer programs through assessments, training and coaching, impacting 90,000 young people across the state of Washington. Through our grant-making, we drive funding to expand access and improve quality for programs that predominantly serve low–income, youth–of–color and refugees, reaching 10,000 youth last year.
SOWA was funded through the third phase of the Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) Challenge, which focused on demonstrating how the Preparing Youth to Thrive content, training, performance measures and practices can be integrated into youth serving organizations across the country to improve SEL practice. Five afterschool system partners with local, statewide and national reach participated in partnership with David P. Weikart Center for Youth Program Quality.The initiative culminated in the release of case studies that will highlight the process of how each organization integrated the social and emotional learning supports and these lessons will be shared widely with the field.