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As important as it is to know what to do to start a successful after-school program, it is equally as useful to know what not to do. In a study of Community Learning Centers by the Department of Education, the results seemed to suggest that children participating in after-school programs were no better off than those who were not. The reason? Attendance.

There is nothing to be gained from a program that no one goes to, even if it’s the most well crafted program in the world. Making sure that students, parents, and teachers alike are interested enough in a program to engage in it is one of the most important ways to start and maintain a successful after-school program. While after-school attendance could never be mandatory, a big part of the goal of these programs is teaching accountability and responsibility which starts with getting students who have signed up to show up.

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