United Way of Massachusetts Bay has conducted a study involving 4,100 children in 78 after-school programs from 10 economically diverse school districts throughout the state. The aim of the study was to discover what made a successful after-school program in Massachusetts. The study yielded four characteristics that the UWMB feel make up an effective program, they are:
1. Staff: the more highly educated and highly paid the staff is the higher the quality of the program.
2. Programming: challenging, structured activities to be done in small groups were shown to be more effective.
3. Communication with families: more direct communication between families yielded greater student participation and cooperation with adults in the program.
4. Connections with schools: the more communication the after-school program has with the teachers and school administrators, the more successful they are at understanding and catering to the needs of the individual students.

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