Madison Out-of-School Time (MOST) Initiative

Purpose: The purpose of the Madison Out-of-School Time (MOST) Initiative is to ensure all of Madison's children and youth have access to the kinds of comprehensive, high quality, out-of-school time (OST) programs that support positive youth development, educational achievement, and/or career and community readiness.

In order to accomplish this, the MOST initiative will engage parents and youth, OST program providers, the City of Madison (City), the Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD), Dane County (County), and community stakeholders to develop a city-wide system that supports collaboration and coordination across OST programs for children and youth.

History: Local interest in developing an OST system in Madison began to gain traction in 2012. The City of Madison's Education Committee was interested in piloting a version of an OST system for two elementary and two middle schools. During the 2013 budgeting process, a new position in City of Madison's Community Development Division was created to assess youth needs and opportunities in the Brentwood Neighborhood. It was envisioned that while this position would begin in Brentwood, it would develop into a broader position that looked at OST resources and needs throughout the city.

Toward the end of 2012, Mayor Soglin met with a host of neighborhood center directors and articulated a vision in which all children and youth were within walking distance of OST activities. He encouraged center directors to take a lead role in developing a system that would adequately serve youth throughout Madison. Toward that end, a broad group of center directors and other OST Providers came together twice in early 2013. Further, a coalition that included representatives from OST program providers, MMSD, the County, and the City attended a conference hosted by the Wallace Foundation in Baltimore on building OST systems.

Since then, a broad coalition along with a small action team consisting of City, County, and MMSD staff, along with OST providers have outlined a preliminary approach to building a local OST system. This is the MOST Initiative.

Rationale

  • Children and youth gain learning and developmental benefits by frequent participation in high-quality programs
  • The best route to providing high-quality services to more children is to adopt a citywide, coordinated approach that is sustainable
  • A coordinated citywide system will enable a more effective use of public/private Out of School Time (OST) resources

Components

The MOST Initiative has identified three potential components of a city-wide OST system. They are:

Collective Vision & Goals - Develop a common vision and shared goals across OST program providers, schools, local government, families and communities, and funding organizations in order to:

  • Facilitate coordination and collaboration
  • Support diverse, high quality children and youth OST programming.

Information Collection & Sharing - Develop management information systems for sharing data in order to:

  • Give youth, families, and communities better access to existing programs and resources
  • Identify where children and youth lack access to programs
  • Provide real-time data for better decision making.

Program Quality Improvement - Support program improvement that leads to positive outcomes for youth, families, and communities. We will:

  • Collectively define quality OST programs
  • Enhance the capacity of OST programs to improve outcomes for youth
  • Provide coaching/mentoring to OST program providers

Structure

  • The MOST Coalition consists of a broad array of stakeholders invested in children & youth success and working to create and sustain a city-wide OST system. This includes representatives from OST program providers, MMSD, the County, the City, and other community stakeholders.
  • The MOST Action Team is a subgroup of the MOST Coalition which engages and facilitates stakeholders to act on behalf of the MOST Project. It works between Coalition meetings to advance the MOST Initiative. Other subgroups form as needed. It also acts as a liaison between the Coalition and the City of Madison Education Committee.
  • The City of Madison Education Committee supports the efforts of MOST as the formal link to elected bodies and local government for policy and resource recommendations.