Standards for public agencies

2020 Edition

Out-of-School Time Services (PA-OST) 2: Personnel

Program personnel have the competency and support needed to provide services and meet the needs of children and youth.

Interpretation

Competency can be demonstrated through education, training, or experience. Support can be provided through supervision or other learning activities to improve understanding or skill development in specific areas.
2020 Edition

Currently viewing: OUT-OF-SCHOOL TIME SERVICES (PA-OST)

VIEW THE STANDARDS

Purpose

Children and youth who participate in Out-of-School Time programs gain the personal, social, emotional, and educational assets needed to support healthy development, increase well-being, and facilitate a successful transition through childhood and adolescence, and into adulthood.
1
Full Implementation, Outstanding Performance
A rating of (1) indicates that the agency's practices fully meet the standard and reflect a high level of capacity.  
  • All elements or requirements outlined in the standard are evident in practice, with rare or no exceptions: exceptions do not impact service quality or agency performance. 
2
Substantial Implementation, Good Performance
A rating of (2) indicates that an agency's infrastructure and practices are basically sound but there is room for improvement.
  • The majority of the standards requirements have been met and the basic framework required by the standard has been implemented. 
  • Minor inconsistencies and not yet fully developed practices are noted; however, these do not significantly impact service quality or agency performance.
3

Partial Implementation, Concerning Performance
A rating of (3) indicates that the agency's observed infrastructure and/or practices require significant improvement.  

  • The agency has not implemented the basic framework of the standard but instead has in place only part of this framework.  
  • Omissions or exceptions to the practices outlined in the standard occur regularly, or practices are implemented in a cursory or haphazard manner.  
  • Service quality or agency functioning may be compromised.  
  • Capacity is at a basic level.
4
Unsatisfactory Implementation or Performance
A rating of (4) indicates that implementation of the standard is minimal or there is no evidence of implementation at all.  
  • The agency’s observed service delivery infrastructure and practices are weak or non-existent; or show signs of neglect, stagnation, or deterioration.
Self-Study EvidenceOn-Site EvidenceOn-Site Activities
  • Table of contents of orientation curricula
  • Table of contents of training curricula
  • Procedures for conducting personnel observations
  • Tool/rubric for personnel observations
  • Procedures for supervising occasional/casual volunteers
  • Sample job descriptions from across relevant job categories
  • Documentation tracking staff completion of required trainings and/or competencies and training hours
  • Orientation curricula
  • Training curricula
  • Documentation of:
    1. wages
    2. benefits
    3. paid time to plan/set up activities
    4. paid time to participate in training/professional development
    5. opportunities for advancement
  • Interviews may include:
    1. Program director
    2. Relevant personnel
    3. Volunteers
  • Review personnel files
  • Review volunteer files
  • Observe staff interactions

PA-OST 2.01

The Program Administrator is qualified by:
  1. a bachelor’s degree in a related field, one year of related experience, and six credits of professional preparation; or
  2. a bachelor’s degree in an unrelated field, two years of related experience, and 12 credits of professional preparation.

Interpretation

The Program Administrator is responsible for the overall direction of the program, including: (1) developing goals and policies; (2) program planning and evaluation; (3) program administration, including fiscal management; and (4) agency development, including management of human resources.
Examples: Related fields can include education, child development, developmental psychology, youth studies, family social sciences, and recreation.
 
Credits represent approximately 15 hours of participation in a post-secondary course, and can be earned through college classes, technical vocational classes, or community-based trainings or workshops. Credits of professional preparation may be in areas including administration (e.g., human resources, fiscal management, agency development, strategic planning, marketing, and community development), child and youth development (i.e. development during middle childhood and adolescence), and other areas related to out-of-school time programming (e.g., health and safety, developmentally-appropriate practices, group or individual guidance, community service and service learning, working with families, community outreach, and activity planning).

PA-OST 2.02

The Site Director is qualified by:
  1. a bachelor’s degree in a related field, six months of related experience, and six credits of professional preparation;
  2. a bachelor’s degree in a related field, one year of related experience, and nine credits of professional preparation;
  3. an associate’s degree or two years of college in a related field, 18 months of related experience, and six credits of professional preparation; or
  4. a recognized state or national school-age care or youth worker credential such as CYC Certification, 18 months of related experience, and six credits of professional preparation.

Interpretation

The Site Director is responsible for the daily operations of the program, including: (1) supervising personnel; (2) overseeing all program activities; (3) communicating with families; and (4) building relationships with the community.
Examples: Related fields can include education, child development, developmental psychology, youth studies, family social sciences, and recreation.
 
Credits represent approximately 15 hours of participation in a post-secondary course, and can be earned through college classes, technical vocational classes, or community-based trainings or workshops. Credits of professional preparation may be in child and youth development (i.e. development during middle childhood and adolescence) and other areas related to out-of-school time programming (e.g., health and safety, developmentally-appropriate practices, group or individual guidance, community service and service learning, working with families, community outreach, and activity planning).

PA-OST 2.03

Senior Group Leaders are qualified by:
  1. a bachelor’s degree in a related field and three months of related experience;
  2. a bachelor’s degree in an unrelated field, three months of related experience, and six credits of professional preparation;
  3. an associate’s degree or two years of college in a related field, six months of related experience, and six credits of professional preparation;
  4. an associate’s degree or two years of college in an unrelated field, one year of related experience, and six credits of professional preparation; or
  5. a recognized state or national school-age care or youth worker credential such as CYC Certification, six months of related experience, and six credits of professional preparation.

Interpretation

Senior Group Leaders are responsible for supervision and guidance of children and youth in the program, including: (1) activity planning and implementation; (2) communicating with families; (3) supervising support staff; and (4) relating to the community.
Examples: Related fields can include education, child development, developmental psychology, youth studies, family social sciences, and recreation.
 
Credits represent approximately 15 hours of participation in a post-secondary course, and can be earned through college classes, technical vocational classes, or community-based trainings or workshops. Credits of professional preparation may be in child and youth development (i.e. development during middle childhood and adolescence) and other areas related to out-of-school time programming (e.g., health and safety, developmentally-appropriate practices, group or individual guidance, community service and service learning, working with families, community outreach, and activity planning).

PA-OST 2.04

Group Leaders are qualified by: 
  1. a bachelor’s degree in a related field;
  2. a bachelor’s degree in an unrelated field, three months of related experience, and three credits of professional preparation;
  3. an associate’s degree or two years of college in a related field, and six months of related experience;
  4. an associate’s degree or two years of college in an unrelated field, nine months of related experience, and three credits of professional preparation;
  5. a recognized state or national school-age care or youth worker credential such as CYC Certification, and six months of related experience; or
  6. a high school diploma or GED, 18 months of related experience, and six credits of professional preparation.

Interpretation

Group Leaders are responsible for supervision and guidance of children and youth in the program under the direction of a Senior Group Leader, including: (1) activity planning and implementation; (2) communicating with families; (3) supervising support staff; and (4) relating to the community.
Examples: Related fields can include education, child development, developmental psychology, youth studies, family social sciences, and recreation.  
 
Credits represent approximately 15 hours of participation in a post-secondary course, and can be earned through college classes, technical vocational classes, or community-based trainings or workshops. Credits of professional preparation may be in child and youth development (i.e. development during middle childhood and adolescence) and other areas related to out-of-school time programming (e.g., health and safety, developmentally-appropriate practices, group or individual guidance, community service and service learning, working with families, community outreach, and activity planning).

PA-OST 2.05

Assistant Group Leaders are at least 16 years old.

Interpretation

Assistant Group Leaders are responsible for carrying out activities under the direct supervision of a Group Leader.

PA-OST 2.06

All personnel who work with children and youth are trained on, or demonstrate competency in:
  1. understanding child and youth development, including what matters most at different stages of development;
  2. building caring, supportive relationships with children and youth;
  3. instructing and engaging children and youth with different temperaments, needs, and abilities, including those who may be reluctant or struggling;
  4. managing groups effectively;
  5. promoting social and emotional development;
  6. positive techniques for guiding and managing behavior;
  7. collaborating with partners (e.g., with the program host, when applicable); and
  8. understanding expectations for professional conduct.

Interpretation

Training on some of the topics addressed in this standard may not be provided until after personnel have begun work. However, it is also important to note that personnel should never be expected to perform a task or provide a level of care that they are not yet prepared to handle. Accordingly, depending on personnel qualifications and the degree of responsibility personnel are expected to assume upon starting their jobs, it may be appropriate to provide pre-service training on some of the listed topics.

PA-OST 2.07

Program personnel are trained on, or demonstrate competency in, skills and topics relevant to the program activities offered, including safety and injury prevention related to the activities offered.

Interpretation

Training may not be provided until after personnel have begun work. However, it is also important to note that personnel should never be expected to perform a task or provide a level of care that they are not yet prepared to handle. Accordingly, depending on personnel qualifications and the degree of responsibility personnel are expected to assume upon starting their jobs, it may be appropriate to provide pre-service training that addresses the expectations of the standard.

Interpretation

Personnel who provide academic activities should be trained on, or demonstrate competency in: (1) implementing best practices in programming for the relevant academic areas and grade levels, and (2) understanding state and local academic standards. Agencies may partner with experts or educators from other agencies or entities in an effort to ensure activities are delivered by appropriately trained and qualified providers. For example, an agency striving to improve academic performance might arrange for academic activities to be provided by, or in conjunction with, certified teachers who have both content and grade-level experience. Similarly, an agency might arrange for its staff to be trained by an experienced teacher or curriculum developer.
Examples: The types of activities offered may vary. Examples include, but are not limited to: arts education and enrichment, health and wellness, academic enrichment and skill development, preparation for college and career, homework help and tutoring, and mentoring.

PA-OST 2.08

Employee workloads support the achievement of child and youth outcomes and are regularly reviewed.
Examples: Factors that may be considered when determining employee workloads include, but are not limited to:
  1. the qualifications, competencies, and experience of personnel, including the level of supervision needed; and
  2. the work and time required to accomplish assigned tasks and job responsibilities.

PA-OST 2.09

In an effort to support and develop personnel, supervisors or other coaches:
  1. conduct regular, scheduled observations of personnel using a formalized tool that reflects established program practices;
  2. ensure that personnel are oriented to the expectations of the tool, prior to observation;
  3. provide opportunities for personnel to conduct self-assessments using the tool; and
  4. partner with personnel following observations to discuss strengths and needs, and establish short- and long-term goals for development and improvement.

Interpretation

The amount of observation conducted will typically take into account the type of programming offered. For example, a program that offers academic instruction may need a higher amount of observation than a program that is solely enrichment-focused.
Examples: Individuals who may conduct observations can include supervisors, outside consultants, trainers, or other frontline staff at the agency.

One way that agencies can support active personnel participation in discussions of strengths, needs, and goals is by providing opportunities for personnel to reflect on their own performance.

PA-OST 2.10

Professional development includes at least:
  1. 15 hours of training per year for Assistant Group Leaders;
  2. 18 hours of training per year for Group Leaders;
  3. 21 hours of training per year for Senior Group Leaders;
  4. 24 hours of training per year for Site Directors; and
  5. 30 hours of training per year for Program Administrators.

Interpretation

When a program operates only during the summer months, COA recognizes that personnel may participate in fewer hours of professional development.
Examples: Training delivery methods can include, but are not limited to: in-service training, adult education courses, higher education or college courses, distance learning, conference workshops, webinars, and self-paced electronic trainings.

PA-OST 2.11

Personnel have opportunities to participate in collaborative learning activities that include: 
  1. group meetings for joint problem-solving and mutual support;
  2. information sharing on topics such as child and youth development or parent-child relationships; and
  3. opportunities for personnel to plan together.

PA-OST 2.12

Personnel demonstrate that they work well together by: 
  1. communicating with each other while the program is in session to ensure that the program flows smoothly;
  2. meeting outside of program time to plan activities and discuss issues or problems that arise;
  3. cooperating with each other;
  4. being respectful of each other; and
  5. modeling positive adult relationships.
Examples: There are a number of ways for personnel to show that they work well together. For example, personnel can share work fairly and be flexible about their roles, pitching in to help one another as needed. Personnel can also help to ensure that the program flows smoothly by checking in with one another, communicating about their needs in a way that promotes cooperation, responding supportively to non-verbal cues, saving complicated discussions for times when children, youth, and families are not present, and keeping conversations about personal matters brief. Similarly, when problems occur personnel can discuss their differences and try to devise fair solutions, being mindful of their tone and demeanor.

PA-OST 2.13

In an effort to promote quality programming and compensate personnel for their time and energy, the agency provides: 
  1. the best wages it can afford;
  2. benefits, including health insurance and paid leave, for personnel who work full-time;
  3. paid time to plan, organize, and set up program activities and events; and
  4. paid time to participate in trainings and other professional development activities, including outside trainings and conferences when possible.
Examples: Agencies may take different steps to ensure implementation of this standard. For example, regarding element (a), an agency might pay all personnel above the minimum hourly wage, take education and experience into account when determining compensation, and offer opportunities for higher pay and/or advancement based on performance and/or length of service. Regarding element (b), agencies might also strive to offer benefits that extend beyond health insurance and paid leaves of absence (e.g., dental insurance, life insurance, disability insurance, retirement benefits, subsidized child care), or provide non-monetary benefits such as flex time, when possible. Regarding element (c), the amount of paid time provided will typically balance the agency's financial considerations with the amount of time needed to plan quality programming and activities. More time will typically be provided if personnel are responsible for developing their own curricula. Regarding element (d), an agency might compensate personnel for the time they spend in training activities by arranging for substitutes and paid time off so that personnel can participate in trainings during the work day, or by paying personnel for the time they spend in training outside of program hours. Agencies can also support professional development by offering tuition reimbursement. 

Conducting additional fundraising efforts and supplementing paid staff with volunteers (including AmeriCorps/VISTA volunteers who receive stipends from other sources) can help agencies make progress toward ensuring they have the funds needed to compensate personnel appropriately.

PA-OST 2.14

The agency: 
  1. provides volunteers with the orientation, training, and support they need to fulfill their roles and responsibilities;
  2. maintains essential information about volunteers, including identifying information and emergency contact information; and
  3. recognizes volunteers for their service.
NA The agency does not use volunteers to provide OST services, or all OST volunteers meet the standards for personnel.
Note: See PA-OST 15 for additional expectations regarding volunteer mentors.

Fundamental Practice

PA-OST 2.15

When the agency uses occasional or casual volunteers who are not subject to background checks, these volunteers are adequately supervised by personnel and are not left alone with children and youth.

Interpretation

The agency should consider the nature of volunteers’ responsibilities, along with their qualifications, when determining what level of supervision will be adequate.
NA The agency does not use occasional or casual volunteers.