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Extended-Service Schools Initiative

Ages 6-14

Rating: Level 3


The Extended-Service Schools (ESS) Initiative promotes academic and nonacademic development of young people during their out-of-school hours. While the programs differ in organizational structure and management, all ESS programs operate their programs in school buildings, involve partnerships between community-based organizations (and/or universities) and schools, and offer a range of activities to the children and youths who participate—including academic and enrichment activities and sports and recreation. In addition, the financial resources are under the control of the partnering organization rather than the school.


The ESS Initiative evaluation used a multimethod approach design. The collected data included baseline and follow-up student surveys, parent surveys, and activity observation from 2,000 youths (grades 1 through 8) from 10 different schools in six different cities. The final follow-up questionnaires included 16 outcome measures of behaviors and social–psychological constructs across three outcome areas: risk and nonrisk behaviors, school attitudes and behaviors, and adult support. The data study was conducted primarily through multivariate analysis.

The evaluation concentrated on four central questions:

1. Which children and youths came to the afterschool programs? (Also, why did they come? And, were the programs attracting the young people who could most benefit from participation?)
2. What were the characteristics of high-quality activities in these programs—activities that promoted the positive development of the youths who attended?
3. What benefits did the youths gain from participation?
4. What was the cost to operate the afterschool programs, and what were the ways to finance them?


Students who participated in the ESS Initiative experienced positive change in four key areas:

  • Staying out of trouble. Responses from both students and parents suggest that the ESS Initiative influenced students’ ability to respond in a socially appropriate manner to social challenge and that participating students were less likely to have begun to drink alcohol.
  • Improving school attitudes and behavior. Roughly two thirds of the youths believed that ESS helped them do better in school.
  • Strengthening social networks. Students and parents reported that the program assisted in youths’ development of social skills with other children and helped youths feel less shy around adults.
  • Learning new skills, seeing new possibilities, and improving self-confidence. Nine out of 10 parents felt the program helped their children learn new skills, expand their interests, and feel better about themselves. Students also reported improved self-confidence and that they had learned new skills and interests.

Risk Factors


  • Anti-social behavior and alienation/Delinquent beliefs/General delinquency involvement/Drug dealing
  • Cognitive and neurological deficits/Low intelligence quotient/Hyperactivity
  • Mental disorder/Mental health problem/Conduct disorder


  • Low academic achievement
  • Negative attitude toward school/Low bonding/Low school attachment/Commitment to school

Protective Factors


  • Religiosity / Involvement in organized religious activities
  • Social competencies and problem-solving skills


  • High expectations of students


  • Involvement with positive peer group activities


Grossman, Jean Baldwin, Marilyn L. Price, Veronica Fellerath, Linda Z. Jucovy, Lauren J. Kotloff, Rebecca Raley, and Karen E. Walker. 2002. Multiple Choices After School: Findings From the Extended-Service Schools Initiative. Philadelphia, Pa.: Public Private Ventures.


Jean Baldwin Grossman
Public/Private Ventures
2000 Market Street, Suite 600
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Phone: (215) 557-4400
Fax: (215) 557-4469
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