More than 10 million children participate in afterschool and summer programs each year. No matter when your program occurs, it can change lives and help youth build a brighter future. Good programs have a ripple effect, helping to strengthen an entire community. If you want to compete with the best, draw in the youth who need you the most, and live up to your program’s full potential, you need to track results.
The right data can help you continuously adapt your youth programming to the needs of the children and communities you serve.
The Power of Data to Promote Program Success
Program administrators spearhead extracurricular programming because they care about kids. They want to make their community and their world a better place by giving children the best possible advantages.
With such a strong focus on people, it’s easy to forget about the data. Good data, though, tells you a lot about how people are doing, how your team is performing, and how you can best help the children enrolled in your program thrive. BellXcel is committed to equity through opportunity—and opportunity through actionable data. Every program needs data. Data makes visible the things that you might otherwise overlook.
Here are the benefits of tracking program success:
- You’ll make better use of resources. The right data tells you which interventions work best. This allows you to focus on thriving programs, pouring your best resources into the services that are already working.
- You’ll set clearer, more specific goals. Tracking data requires you to set measurable goals according to what's most important to you and your stakeholders or funders. Once your goals are well articulated, you can plan all the elements of your program to align with or fulfill your goals.
- You’ll gain the recruiting insight you need. How do programming decisions affect enrollment? Which programs draw in the most children? Many program administrators can’t answer these questions. The right data tracking changes that.
- You’ll seamlessly manage enrollment. Ensuring you have enrollment insights from day one will allow you to make decisions that foster the best possible learning environment.
- You’ll gain the power to assess program success. The right data tracking software empowers you to measure the program areas that are relevant to your success, whether it's assessing your culture and climate, curriculum and instruction, behavior management strategies, and more.
How Programs Can Use Data in the Short and Long Term
The great thing about data is that if you haven't started collecting it, don't fret! You don't need months or years' worth before it's useful - you can begin acting on data from day one, then continuously use it to improve your programming.
Before Your Program Gets Started
Make sure your program is measurable from the start with mechanisms in place to capture the most pertinent data. This data can also help you monitor for effective recruitment and enrollment, so you know to ramp up outreach if your numbers fall short.
BellXcel partner note: BellXcel’s online enrollment functionality allows families to directly enter data into your system. This ensures you know who will be in your program and when, giving you a head start on building out rosters and preparing for attendance.
During Your Program
Use the right data to monitor for continuous improvement. For example, monitoring attendance enables you to contact caregivers about youth absences. A variety of tools for monitoring and understanding engagement empower staff to monitor youth skill development and educator effectiveness. Quality data and analysis help you design plans to take remedial action.
BellXcel partner note: If you're using the BellXcel Quality Check, you'll want to review the Quality Screener content in the Professional Learning & Resource Library.
After Your Program Ends
What went well? What will you do differently next time? Data is the key that unlocks answers to these questions. You can explore what happened, what worked, and what didn’t, then capture that information in a shareable format.
How BellXcel Can Help
BellXcel's software platform allows you to measure the data that matters most to you and your stakeholders, then analyze this data in a flexible manner to improve your programming.
Our Sharing Stories of Impact Toolkit helps partners better understand exactly how their programs are performing and how to compile data in a sharable format. We encourage programs to assess performance with data. That includes:
- Average daily attendance
- Number of children served
- Age range of children that attended
- Hours of professional development provided
- Program satisfaction
- Social and emotional growth
BellXcel can work with any kind of program, whether you’re cultivating reading, math, and SEL, or aiming to boost confidence through sports or art. Programs have the freedom to match curriculum to your program goals - choose one of ours or use your own! Reach out to us today to chat through how we can provide support as you measure your impact, document your successes, and improve your programming.