A key aspect to PASA’s successful expanded learning systems building model is our commitment to and investment in consistent, ongoing quality improvement. PASA’s quality improvement system is nationally recognized due to its emphasis on continuous improvement, rather than periodic assessment.
Prior to PASA’s inception, city leaders engaged in candid dialogue with youth and parents in Providence. These conversations painted a similar picture time and again: there were not enough quality after-school opportunities for the city’s youth. Faced with a choice of a bad program, or no program at all, a young person will choose no program.
As a result, PASA made ongoing quality improvement the foundation on which our mission is built. Our quality improvement strategy is founded on quality standards and measurements developed by PASA and its community partners, with the guidance of national experts, to define what it means to be high quality and to know if we are reaching that goal.
PASA continues to develop its quality improvement system in partnership with the David P. Weikart Center for Youth Program Quality (CYPQ), a division of the Forum for Youth Investment. CYPQ provides valuable technical assistance and support as PASA grows and develops use of the RIPQA and its accompanying quality coaching model statewide. Learn more about the tool, contact Ann Durham or request a copy from the Weikart Center.
The RIPQA is a self-assessment tool that combines the validated Youth PQA (Form A) with a locally developed supplement that addresses the unique needs and priorities of Rhode Island after-school providers (Form B).
PASA uses the Rhode Island Program Quality Assessment Tool (RIPQA) to measure the performance of all of our program providers at both the middle and high school level, twice a year.
Each program site is assigned a Quality Advisor who participates in program observations, facilitates quality improvement planning, provides one-on-one technical assistance to each site as need based on the recommended action steps.
As part of PASA’s quality system, we use YouthServices.net to track data about student attendance, program popularity, and student participation. This ensures that we and our program partners know about student trends that are helpful in making decisions about programming and about making adjustments to overall program quality.
By tracking data, conducting program evaluations, and offering ongoing professional development opportunities to staff and program providers, PASA’s AfterZone and Hub after-school and expanded learning systems are united under a consistent umbrella of quality.
For information about how our quality standards are disseminated statewide, read the Guide to Rhode Island After-School Quality Standards.