Out of School Time Programs in Baltimore City
by Sheila Matano
The Baltimore Education Research Consortium (BERC) recently released a new report on schools in Baltimore City that provide out-of-school time activities. All the schools in the reports were funded under the Community Schools Initiative at the Family League of Baltimore City.
One of the key outcomes for the OST programs was attendance; the report showed students who attended OST on a regular basis had a slightly higher school attendance rate than their peers who did not (95.0% compared to 93.0%).
Another key outcome was that students who attended OST were significantly less likely to be chronically absent from school in 2011-12 than their peers; 62% of regular OST attenders were no longer chronically absent compared to 51% of their comparable peers. In other words, the number of regular OST attenders who were chronically absent went from 215 to 71 whereas the number of regular OST attenders who were severely chronically absent decreased from 33 to 24 as highlighted in the visual below.
Challenges in Evaluation of OST Programs
Structured, well-implemented high quality after school programs have the potential to support and promote a healthy learning environment. Programs that have shown promising educational outcomes must address key factors such as access, sustained participation, program quality and strong partnerships. However, there is still much to be learned about what factors work to support students and what outcomes should be tracked as a measure of educational success.
What other interesting findings do you see in the report? What are your thoughts on what makes a Community School successful?
 Differences were not significant among high school students.
 Chronic Absence is defined by MSDE as students enrolled for at least 90 days who miss more than 20 days. In the report, BERC defines chronic absence as missing more than the equivalent of one-ninth of days (or 20/180) of days on roll.
 Severe Chronic Absence is defined by MSDE as students missing more than 40 days a school year. It is operationalized in BERC’s report as missing more than the equivalent of two-ninths (or 40/180) of days on roll.