MOST Effective Practices Guide

What is the MOST Effective Practices Guide?

Those of us who work in youth development come from many backgrounds. We call ourselves youth workers, librarians, artists, teachers, coaches, social workers, or maybe something else entirely. We share a belief that the work we do every day positively impacts young people's success.

The OST community in Madison has come together to define what makes our programs great and put together a hands-on guidebook to help our community of providers build research-based best practices into every step. The ideas and practices outlined in this guide are based on research with proven success in guiding the field of out-of-school time towards quality, effective programming.

Who created this guide?

The guide was created by the MOST Quality Support and Continuous Improvement Work Group (members listed below.) The work group spent eighteen months researching OST best practices, identifying the shared values and beliefs of OST programs within Madison, adopting the MOST building blocks that contribute to the successful afterschool programs and developing this guide to help OST programs continuously improve their programs. The guide was officially launched April 28, 2017.

MOST Quality Support and Continuous Improvement Work Group Members:

  • City of Madison Community Development Division – Childcare and Youth Programs
  • Common Wealth
  • First Tee of South Central Wisconsin
  • Goodman Community Center
  • Lussier Community Education Center
  • Madison Children's Museum
  • Madison Metropolitan School District and Madison School & Community Recreation
  • Madison Public Library
  • Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin
  • Simpson Street Free Press
  • State of Wisconsin Department of Youth and Family – YoungStar
  • University of Wisconsin – Extension – 4H Youth Development
  • University of Wisconsin – Morgridge Center
  • WARF & Morgridge Institute for Research
  • Wisconsin Afterschool Network
  • Wisconsin Youth Company

Is this intended to be used as a ranking system like Youngstar?

No, instead of providing a system of rewards and sanctions, MOST will provide coaching, training, program improvement tools and this guide to help MOST coalition members improve the quality of their programs. The MOST Effective Practices Guide is designed to create a common language on the key building blocks for effective OST programs in Madison.

Each of the OST programs in Madison comes to the process of continuous program improvement from a different perspective. Everyone can find something in the MOST Effective Practices Guide to strengthen their programs and make a positive difference for youth. While the MOST building blocks for effective programs represent the overall best practices for OST programs in Madison, how it looks will vary greatly by the type of program or age of youth you work with.

What is the Continuous Program Improvement (CPI) Cycle?

We want great outcomes for youth and great outcomes result from quality programming. The Building Blocks section of the guide helps define the hallmarks of quality that apply to a broad array of programs. But knowing what goes into quality programs is not enough. We must also be intentional about continuously improving our practices to ensure our programs are of the highest quality.

The CPI cycle isn't meant to imply that our programs will never be "good enough." Rather it recognizes that program quality is not an end goal that we can check off our to-do list and set aside. Just as a garden needs continual tending to flourish, we need to continually nurture quality. Continuous program improvement is a process to help us do this tending.

Will there be professional development support for this guide?

Yes. Some professional development will be offered in the fall of 2017 as part of an initiative to get more staff lead teacher qualified. MOST will begin providing professional development through a pilot program with a small number of organizations that will be selected in January 2018 for the 2018-19 school year. Upon completion of the pilot and any necessary improvements, we anticipate providing training and support more broadly to MOST Coalition members by September 2019.