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Training offered in after-school delivery of science, engineering and technology

The Issue

The need for after-school professional development in California is great, with over 4,000 state and federally funded after-school programs and nearly that many other community-based after-school sites. Over 2 million youth, 19 percent of California’s total youth population, regularly attend these after-school programs. Even in the highest quality programs, the annual staff turnover rate exceeds 33 percent, severely impacting program quality and pointing to the need for continuous in-service training. Increasingly, after-school programs are being called upon to ramp up their science, engineering, and technology (SET) program offerings to address the decline in youth interest, competency and performance in these fields.

What Has ANR Done?

The California 4-H Youth Development Program provided five training sessions across the state where after-school trainers receive in-depth instruction on using the University of California and University of Nevada's Tools of the Trade II 4-H After-school Training Guide: Inspiring Young Minds to be SET Ready for Life. Trainers - representing parks and recreations, 21st Century after-school programs, school districts, nonprofits, and other organizations including 4-H - in turn, delivered at least eight hours of the training modules to over 740 other after-school line-staff. Monthly conference calls and webinars provided additional support to the trainers.

The Payoff

After-school educators increase understanding, skills, and confidence

Hundreds of after-school program staff received consistent in-service training on incorporating effective science, engineering and technology strategies in after-school settings and creating science-rich, learner-centered environments for sparking interest and enthusiasm for SET subjects. A retrospective survey of the trainees showed significant improvement in their understanding of the elements of high-quality SET programming in after-school programs, as well as how to incorporate inquiry and experiential learning in their SET lessons. Additionally, they reported an enhanced appreciation for the role of after-school staff as a facilitator of youth’s acquisition of science, engineering and technology interest and skills. The evaluation also found significant gains in trainers’ confidence in training others on high-quality, non-formal SET programming.


Supporting Unit: California State 4-H Office

Sharon K. Junge, (530) 754-8518, skjunge@ucdavis.edu
Sue Manglallan, (858) 694-8836, ssmanglallan@ucdavis.edu