University of Phoenix
Program Evaluation Plan for Arkansas School of the 21st Century Program Background
The Paragould School of the 21st Century was the first site implementing the Zigler model in August 1992. Startup funds were initially provided by Paragould businesses to renovate an older elementary campus. The district has grown from the Elmwood campus of seven classrooms infants – four year olds to opening the Oakwood building housing 5 additional classrooms. S21C is an integral part of the Paragould School District. By August, 2013, seven preschool classrooms will join kindergarten and first grade students at the new Paragould Primary building located on Country Club Road. The Paragould School District was successful in passing a millage to build this site and a middle school (Gilliam, & Marchesseault, 2005). The funding has been successfully braided together since 1996 using funds from the Parents as Teachers program, Even Start, Arkansas Better Chance, DHS vouchers, 21st Century Community Learning Center grants, Title I funds, NSLA, and now the new THRIVE grant from Arkansas Child Abuse and Neglect. The Paragould School District sponsors the special needs program, which also reaches out to any child at a childcare center or Head Start needing services. The Arkansas School of the 21st Century (AR21C) is part of a national school-based model that began as a state initiative in 1992. The AR21C is now in 43 communities within Arkansas with 173 sites with the support of the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation (WRF) and the Ross Foundation (School of the 21st Century, 2004). The AR21C is a school reform model that addresses childcare, family services, before and after school programs, health education services, while also providing a network of professionals that provide training and support for participants. There are six core components to the program that are adapted to the needs of the communities served (School of the 21st Century, 2004). The core components are guidance and support for families; early care and education for young children; before school, after school, and vacation care for school-age children; health education and services; networks and training for childcare providers; and information and referral services. According to WRF all 21C programs have six guiding principles, which are to facilitate strong parental support and involvement; provide universal access to childcare and other services; offer all programs as non-compulsory; to focus on all developmental pathways, including cognitive, physical, social, and emotional domains; to provide high quality in all services; and to offer professional training and advancement opportunities to childcare providers (School of the 21st Century, 2004). Purpose of Evaluation
The program evaluation as a whole seeks: (1) to discover if 21C after-school programs improve students’ in-school performance and out-of-school experiences and behaviors, for whom these programs work, how they work, and under what circumstances they work, and (2) to identify ways to increase the effectiveness of after-school programs and to sustain them beyond the federal 21C grant (Oppenheim, & MacGregor, 2002). The plan for accomplishing these purposes rests on key principles tied to the successful completion of program evaluations in general and on a framework of major factors and their relationships that plausibly link after-school programs to positive changes in students’ learning, behaviors, and personal growth (Bryant, Clifford, Early, & Little, 2005). The program evaluation of 21st Century programs will intentionally be broad in coverage. Comprehensiveness is a critical principle in evaluations in which several specific interventions comprise an overall programmatic initiative. It is critical that program evaluations, unlike more targeted evaluations, have sufficient breadth to ensure...