Administration and Organization

A quality program has well-developed systems and sound fiscal management to support and enhance worthwhile programming and activities for all participants. A quality program has a clear mission statement and set of goals. It has well-defined policies and procedures, which are documented in a handbook. The organization complies with mandates from government agencies and funders. Records are well-maintained and all required licenses are up-to-date.

Indicators & Performance Levels

(Click on the indicator to expand the performance level examples, or download the full set of indicators and performance levels here.)

A quality program:

Performance Levels
Rate your program in each of the indicators using the following system:

1 Must Address and Improve / Standards Not Met
2 Some Progress Made / Approaching Standard
3 Satisfactory / Meets Standards
4 Excellent / Exceeds Standards

Organizations are expected to strive for a satisfactory performance level (3) on all of the quality indicators.

Over time, programs should continue to strive for an excellent performance level (4).

1. Establishes clear attendance and participation expectations.

Performance Level 1
Although participants are expected to regularly attend the program, there is no verbal or written policy on attendance and participation.

Performance Level 2
Participants are told in the beginning of the year that they are expected to regularly attend the program. A written policy exists but is not distributed to participants or families.

Performance Level 3
Participants are provided with a written policy regarding attendance in the beginning of the year. The policy is posted in the program space. Staff members encourage participants to share the written policy to their families.

Performance Level 4
Participants are told in the beginning of the year that they are expected to regularly attend the program, and are asked to give feedback on this policy. A copy of the written policy is distributed to families at the program orientation session and posted in the program space. Staff members follow up with participants who do not regularly attend the program.

2. Has a system for the collection and monitoring of participant attendance data.

Performance Level 1
No system is in place for the collection and monitoring of participant attendance data.

Performance Level 2
A system exists for collecting and monitoring participant attendance data, but data is not regularly used or updated or is updated only once at the end of the program period. Data is not regularly reviewed by staff members. Staff is not trained in collecting data. Therefore, records may be incorrect or out of date.

Performance Level 3
A system exists for collecting and monitoring participant attendance data, and is regularly used and updated. Staff members know where to find data, and may use data for program planning and participant recruitment efforts.

Performance Level 4
A system exists for collecting and monitoring participant attendance data, and is regularly and frequently used and updated. The system is continually reviewed with the staff. Staff members know how to use the system and are encouraged to do so when planning activities and recruiting participants. Data is also used to track program dosage, and a plan is in place for participants who miss program days.

3. Maintains all required documents (e.g., health certificate, security clearance, insurance, etc.) where applicable.

Performance Level 1
The site director does not keep files current. Documents are not always renewed on time and may have expired. Staff members are not familiar with the required documents and are unaware of where the records are kept.

Performance Level 2
The site director has all required documents and maintains files for each of them, although some files may be out of date. Documents are usually renewed on time. Some staff members are familiar with the required documents, but most are not informed of their location.

Performance Level 3
The site director has all required documents and maintains up-to-date files for each of them. Documents are always renewed on time. Staff members are familiar with the required documents, know where they are kept, and they are generally able to answer questions about the documents if asked by families or inspectors.

Performance Level 4
The site director has all required documents and maintains up-to-date files for each of them. Documents are always renewed on time. Staff members are trained on what documents are required and why they are required to maintain program safety and to protect youth. Staff members always know where the documents are kept, and they are always able to answer questions about them if asked by families or inspectors.

4. Creates and uses an employee handbook that clarifies internal policies and procedures.

Performance Level 1
No employee handbook exists. No formal policy review is done for staff. Policies and procedures are reviewed when an issue arises.

Performance Level 2
An employee handbook outlining internal policies and procedures exists but is not complete and/or is not updated. The handbook is available at the program site for staff members to review. Staff members are not given copies or any formal review of the handbook.

Performance Level 3
An employee handbook outlining internal policies and procedures is given to each new staff member. Staff members are encouraged to review the handbook. The manual is updated regularly and reviewed to ensure that it covers all relevant topics.

Performance Level 4
An up-to-date, comprehensive employee handbook outlining internal policies and procedures is given to each new staff member during their orientation. Staff members are encouraged to review the handbook. A site director or other staff member formally reviews the handbook with new staff members and allows time for them to ask questions regarding policies.

5. Has complete and current enrollment/registration documents for all participants.

Performance Level 1
Youth are permitted to participate without formal registration. Therefore, not all participants fill out a registration document, and the program does not have an accurate enrollment list. Incomplete documents are not sent back to families for completion, so the program does not always have complete information about participants. The enrollment form does not include all necessary components such as permission for emergency medical care.

Performance Level 2
Participants are accepted into the program when they complete a registration document, and staff members follow-up with youth to ensure their form is received. The program has an accurate enrollment list. Incomplete documents are not sent back to families for completion, so the program does not always have complete information about each participant. The enrollment form may not include all necessary components such as permission for emergency medical care.

Performance Level 3
Participants are accepted into the program when they complete a registration document, and staff members follow-up with youth to ensure their form is received. The program has an accurate enrollment list. Incomplete documents are sent back to families for completion prior to the beginning of the year, so the program always has full information about each participant. The enrollment form includes all necessary components such as permission for emergency medical care.

Performance Level 4
Participants are accepted into the program when they complete a registration document, and staff members follow-up with youth to ensure their form is received. Staff members also contact families who expressed interest in the program but never registered. The program has an accurate enrollment list that includes all required information. Incomplete documents are sent back to families for completion prior to the beginning of the year, so the program always has full information about each participant. If the document is not returned, program staff members follow up with the family and assist them with completing the document.

6. Maintains accurate and accessible medical records on participants.

Performance Level 1
Medical records are incomplete or not current. Staff members are unaware of where records are filed or records are filed in a location that is inaccessible to staff members.

Performance Level 2
The program asks for medical records and receives them from each participant. Forms are kept on file, and most staff members know where to access them and are able to do so. Forms are updated when the program is contacted by a participant’s family member or when an emergency occurs.

Performance Level 3
The program asks for medical records and receives them from each participant. Forms are kept on file, and all staff members are told where the records can be accessed. Staff members ask families to share updates to the medical records as necessary.

Performance Level 4
The program asks for medical records and receives them from each participant. Forms are kept in a filing system that maintains the records from each year for each participant. Staff members are told during staff orientation where the records can be accessed and what information is in them. Staff members ask families to share updates several times during each program year.

7. Has a clear salary structure for program staff.

Performance Level 1
The program does not have a salary structure for staff. Salary decisions are made based on informal criteria and positions are frequently created to conform to existing staff.

Performance Level 2
The site director uses a salary structure which is unwritten and rarely explained to staff. Salary decisions are often made according to this structure.

Performance Level 3
The program has a salary structure that is written in a policy handbook. Salary decisions are always made according to this structure.

Performance Level 4
The program has a salary structure that is written in a policy handbook. Salary decisions are always made according to this structure. The salary structure outlines entry-level, middle management, and leadership position salaries, as well as the factors that may affect salary (i.e. level of schooling, years of experience, etc.). Staff is fully aware of this structure, and salary decisions are based on formal criteria.

8. Has well-defined methods of communication with program stakeholders.

Performance Level 1
Staff members work independently of community organizations, schools, and other stakeholders that are not part of the program. Meetings with stakeholders happen on an ad hoc basis or when there is a crisis.

Performance Level 2
The site director initiates regular meetings with a few local principals and leaders of organizations based on his/her personal contacts. Dates and space for collaborative program activities are targeted but not finalized. There are no formal methods of documentation and there is no regular contact with other stakeholders.

Performance Level 3
The site director has regularly scheduled meetings with local principals and with other community leaders. The site director and other stakeholders have meeting times scheduled for planning and sharing information. As a result, collaboration begins to happen on youth recruitment and funding initiatives. School records are made available to the program and program attendance is shared with schools. Discussions are held among the partners to illustrate youth progress and success, and to identify remaining gaps in services for youth in the program.

Performance Level 4
The site director meets frequently with local school administrators and community leaders to reflect on program accomplishments and future directions. There are shared goals and expectations, and youth are encouraged to enroll in the program by schools and other stakeholders. The site director is actively involved in school leadership teams. The program regularly receives student records from schools and provides program information to schools. If the program wishes to access school buildings or other neighborhood facilities, there is a system for confirming dates and times in advance. Discussions are held among the partners to illustrate youth progress and success, and to identify and fill remaining gaps in services for all youth in the community.

9. Has approved budget; reviews and adjusts budget periodically.

Performance Level 1
The site director does not track expenses and revenues, and does not have access to budget information. The organization’s fiscal staff does this independently, and other staff members and stakeholders never review this financial information. No system of accountability exists related to budget issues.

Performance Level 2
The site director tracks expenses and revenues using a budget template. The budget is updated once or twice each year. The budget is approved by the program’s oversight body (i.e. Board of Directors, school administrators, etc.) once in the beginning of the year. However, staff members and stakeholders never review the budget.

Performance Level 3
The site director tracks expenses and revenues using a budget template. The budget is updated quarterly. The budget is approved by the program’s oversight body (i.e. Board of Directors, school administrators, etc.) once in the beginning of the year, and again at a mid-year point. The site director reviews the budget with other staff members and stakeholders.

Performance Level 4
The site director tracks expenses and revenues using a budget template. The budget is updated at least monthly, and includes updated expense and revenue projections. The budget is approved by the program’s oversight body (i.e. Board of Directors, school administrators, etc.) once in the beginning of the year, and again at a mid-year point. The site director reviews the budget with other staff members and stakeholders, and points out line items that directly affect staff decisions about the program such as the supplies budget.

10. Establishes and maintains a centralized database of participant and program information that is regularly updated and usable by staff.

Performance Level 1
The program does not have a database for tracking participants’ information, such as attendance records or emergency contact numbers. Attendance and other data is missing or is maintained by hand.

Performance Level 2
The program has a database for tracking participants’ information. The database is not maintained; information is often outdated or incorrect. Some participants’ information does not appear in the database. The site director is the only staff member with access to the information.

Performance Level 3
The program has a database for tracking participants’ information. The database is regularly maintained; information is generally updated and correct. Information appears in the database for all participants. The site director is the primary database user, but other staff members can access the information.

Performance Level 4
The program has a database for tracking participants’ information. The database is regularly maintained; information is generally updated and correct. All information for each participant appears in the database. In addition to standard information, the database includes sections for notes on participant behavior, progress, and special needs. The site director is the primary database user, but other staff members can access the information and are encouraged to do so in order to ensure that as much information as possible is stored about each participant.

11. Completes all required reports and submits them in a timely manner.

Performance Level 1
No system exists for timely submission of reports. The program has no system for tracking reports, and they are often submitted late or not at all. Reports are written independently by the site director or another staff member.

Performance Level 2
The site director is responsible for ensuring that reports are submitted on time, but does not have a formal tracking system. Most reports are submitted by their due date. Reports are written independently by the site director or another staff member.

Performance Level 3
The site director maintains an up-to-date chart on all reporting requirements to funders and partners and their due dates. The chart is followed strictly and all reports are submitted on time. Reports are written by the site director or another staff member and are often reviewed by a second reader.

Performance Level 4
The site director maintains an up-to-date chart including all reporting requirements to funders and partners, including information about report content, due dates, and the person responsible for writing them. The chart is followed strictly and all reports are submitted on time. Every report is reviewed by several staff members and other relevant stakeholders to ensure that it accurately reflects the program.

12. Ensures that supplies are organized, maintained, and accessible.

Performance Level 1
Supplies are not regularly maintained or ordered. Staff members often run out of what they need for activities. Supplies are kept in a number of areas, making it difficult to know where things are. Supplies are sometimes locked up in areas where staff members do not have access.

Performance Level 2
Supplies are ordered throughout the year, but no formal inventory method is established. Therefore, the program often ends up with too much or too few of each item. Supplies are kept in a number of accessible areas, but staff members generally can find what they need.

Performance Level 3
A supplies inventory check is conducted several times throughout the year and supplies are ordered as needed. Staff members have the supplies they need for each activity. Supplies are organized by activity type in specific areas and are always accessible to all staff members.

Performance Level 4
A supplies list is maintained as items are used, so staff members are aware as soon as an order needs to be placed. A formal inventory check is done several times throughout the year to ensure all items have been ordered, and that they are accessible and organized by activity type. Staff members use program plans to determine what supplies they will need ahead of time, and prepare supplies in advance for each day.

13. Records and tracks expenses.

Performance Level 1
No staff member is responsible for tracking expenses. Therefore, records may be incomplete and out of date.

Performance Level 2
The fiscal staff is responsible for tracking expenses. He or she records expenses whenever possible, but not always. Other staff members, including the site director, are not aware of where to find expense records.

Performance Level 3
The site director is responsible for tracking expenses, and records all accounts payable. Records are kept in a book or electronic spreadsheet. Staff members are aware of where the records are kept.

Performance Level 4
The site director is responsible for tracking expenses. The site director records all accounts payable and ensures that another staff member checks his or her records to confirm that expenses were tracked correctly. All staff members know where to find records in case an inquiry is made. Records are kept in both a book and an electronic spreadsheet.

14. Complies with government mandates.

Performance Level 1
Staff members are not aware of government mandates and, therefore, are not always in compliance with them. The site director does not speak with staff at the government agencies that work with afterschool programs (i.e. social services, education, or health agencies). The site director does not provide current information about mandates to program staff.

Performance Level 2
Staff members attempt to comply with government mandates including following safety codes and maintaining licenses. The site director is aware of most mandates; when time permits, the site director works with staff members to ensure compliance. The site director does not speak with staff at the government agencies that work with afterschool programs (i.e. social services, education, or health agencies).

Performance Level 3
Staff members comply with government mandates including following safety codes and maintaining licenses. The site director is aware of all mandates and tells staff members what actions or documentation is mandated to ensure compliance. The site director communicates with some staff at the government agencies that work with afterschool programs (i.e. social services, education, or health agencies) when a question arises around mandates.

Performance Level 4
Staff members comply with government mandates including following safety codes and maintaining licenses. The site director is aware of all mandates and trains staff members on what actions or documentation is mandated, why it is important to the management of the program, and what they need to do to ensure compliance. The site director maintains ongoing relationships with key staff at the government agencies that work with afterschool programs (i.e. social services, education, or health agencies), including Contract Managers and/or Inspectors.

15. Maintains current and accurate activity schedule with room assignments.

Performance Level 1
The program does not have a written activity schedule. Participants have to ask where activities are each day. Staff members cannot easily direct participants to activities.

Performance Level 2
The program has a written activity schedule with room assignments, but it is not always accurate. Participants occasionally get lost going to activity locations. Staff members can usually direct participants to activities, but sometimes have to refer them to the site director.

Performance Level 3
The program has a written activity schedule with room assignments, which is updated daily. Participants are always able to find activity locations. Staff members can always direct participants to activities.

Performance Level 4
The program has a written activity schedule with room assignments, which is updated daily. The schedule includes a brief description of the activity and which staff member is responsible for it. Staff members can always direct participants to activities. Participants are always able to find activity locations and know which staff member to ask if they have questions.

16. Develops, reviews, and updates plan for family involvement.

Performance Level 1
No plan for family involvement exists. Therefore, family involvement occurs occasionally but is not a deliberate aspect of the program’s design.

Performance Level 2
A plan for family involvement was created by the site director. The plan provides a few opportunities for families to participate, such as attending a program orientation. The plan has not been updated since the program began. Staff members are asked to implement the plan whenever possible.

Performance Level 3
A plan for family involvement was created by the site director, staff members, and family members of participants. The plan includes several types of opportunities for families to participate, such as attending a program orientation, facilitating activities, and assisting with fundraising. The plan has been updated a few times since the program began to respond to community needs. Staff members are asked to implement the plan whenever possible.

Performance Level 4
A comprehensive plan for family involvement was created by the site director, other staff members, and family members. The plan includes several types of opportunities for families to participate, such as attending a program orientation, facilitating activities, assisting with fundraising, and participating in continuous improvement efforts such as regular self-assessment. The plan is regularly updated to respond to community needs and to incorporate feedback from families. Staff members are trained during orientation on the importance of implementing the family involvement plan.

17. Negotiates optimal use of school, CBO, and community resources to best meet the needs of participants and their families.

Performance Level 1
Staff members do not have established relationships with schools, CBOs, and other community organizations. Therefore, resources from other organizations are rarely shared with participants and their families. Staff members do not receive support from the staff at other organizations. Program activities are often moved to different spaces or lose access to shared equipment by the program host with no prior discussion or approval.

Performance Level 2
Staff members have some informal relationships with schools, CBOs, and other community organizations. These relationships are mostly based on the site director’s personal contacts. Resources from other organizations are shared with participants and their families occasionally, but not consistently, when staff members are aware of them. Staff members receive little support from the staff at other organizations.

Performance Level 3
Staff members have relationships with several local schools, CBOs, and other community organizations. Several staff members maintain these relationships; relationships are not lost during staff transitions. Resources from other organizations are shared with participants and their families regularly. Staff members receive support from the staff at other organizations. The program and other organizations share human resources such as specialist teachers, security guards, or nurses.

Performance Level 4
Staff members have relationships with most local schools, CBOs, and other community organizations. Several staff members maintain these relationships; relationships are not lost during staff transitions. Many of these relationships have established partnership agreements that outline how the relationship will benefit the program. Resources from other organizations are shared with participants and their families regularly. Staff members receive support from the staff at other organizations through partnerships. The program and other organizations share human resources such as specialist teachers, security guards, or nurses, and the program utilizes community volunteers to serve as tutors, mentors, and group leaders.

18. Documents where participants are during program hours.

Performance Level 1
The program does not document where participants are during program hours. Staff members cannot easily locate participants, making it difficult for family members, health staff, or others to find them.

Performance Level 2
The program uses a sign-up form for activities during program hours. When participants change activities, the activity sign-up lists are not updated. Staff members can generally locate participants when activity sign-up lists are accurate.

Performance Level 3
The program documents where participants are during program hours by having staff members take attendance for each activity. The site director collects the attendance logs and keeps them on file. Staff members can always locate participants when necessary.

Performance Level 4
The program documents where participants are during program hours by having staff members take attendance for each activity. The site director collects the attendance logs and reviews them to determine which activities participants attend most, and uses the information to make adjustments to the program. Staff members can always locate participants when necessary.



Taking Action, Suggested Stakeholders, Try This!, and Tips for Success

RIGHT NOW: ADDRESSED WITHIN THE FIRST 30-60 DAYS OF ASSESSMENT.
Program leadership distributes a staff manual and reviews policies and procedures to ensure the safety and well-being of all young people and staff. A meeting is set with principals in local schools to discuss and create a written memo regarding the afterschool services to be provided, resources to be shared, and a clarification of roles and expectations.

THIS YEAR: ADDRESSED BY THE END OF THE PROGRAM YEAR.
Staff are trained on all reporting and documentation procedures. Program leadership works with school administrators on how to best share student information. They also begin meeting quarterly with principals to share successes and identify programs and projects for possible collaboration.

NEXT YEAR: ADDRESSED AT THE BEGINNING OF THE NEW PROGRAM YEAR.
Program leadership begins planning in June for the following academic year. A strategic planning session is held for partnering schools and afterschool staff to discuss new systems for information-sharing. The staff manual is updated as necessary. Licenses that are expired are renewed.

The following stakeholder groups may be appropriate to involve in surveys and focus group discussions around this element:

  • Program Administrators
  • Program Staff
  • School Principals
  • Staff of Partner Programs
  • Other

Try to implement these best practices in record-keeping at your site:

  • Be concise. Notes on program participants should include only relevant information in appropriate detail, e.g., only provide information that is directly relevant to the delivery of services for intended youth outcomes.
  • Be accurate. Besides providing accurate information, direct quotes should be recorded whenever possible. As the information may be shared with other agencies, the records must be legible and free from jargon (meaningless words).
  • Be up-to-date. Progress notes, crisis interventions, or incident reports should be written as soon as possible after an event has happened to prevent loss of information due to time lapse.
  • Be meaningful. Notes should distinguish clearly between facts, observations, hard data, and opinions.
  • Be internally consistent. Notes should be structured according to a pre-set format, and acronyms used should be meaningful to all within the organization.

Here are a few tips for ensuring a solid organizational structure at your site, especially when time is limited:

  • Set up a schedule that identifies deadlines for completing all necessary program reports and documentation of procedures; this can save a lot of time in the long run.
  • Get to know your community and potential partners such as schools, businesses, and faith-based organizations. Be aware of barriers for establishing collaborative relationships with potential partners.
  • Create, distribute, and review an employee handbook that outlines policies and procedures.
  • Make sure that staff, parents, schools, and other stakeholders are aware of your mission and program goals. Find a central location at your site such as a bulletin board to display your mission and program goals.

Research, Tools and Templates, and Resources