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What Matters, What Works: Advancing Achievement After School

Public/Private Ventures

In 1999, the Foundation launched the largest program initiative in our history: Communities Organizing Resources to Advance Learning (CORAL), an eight-year, $58 million effort to improve the educational performance of low-achieving students in five California cities.

During the school years from 2004 to 2006, the Foundation engaged Public/Private Ventures (P/PV) to evaluate the CORAL initiative. P/PV documented CORAL outcomes, lessons learned and promising strategies for boosting student achievement through after-school programming.

Based on the full outcomes report “Advancing Achievement,” by Public/Private Ventures, this brief, “What Matters, What Works” provides important guidance for after-school program designers, practitioners and funders. It also has relevance to public policymakers.

Based on lessons from the initiative and its evaluation, this report underscores the potential of after-school programs in the ongoing drive to advance children’s academic achievement. More specifically, it shines a light on what matters most for programs that strive to promote academic success — namely, program quality and youth engagement. It also suggests what works by linking these program attributes to academic benefits.