Project-Based Learning (PBL)

Lesson 5: Organization and Staffing

See the organizational structure for running an after-school AfterZone program.

January 20, 2009

Effectively running one or several community campuses (or AfterZones) relies on the support of a variety of people, including staff members of the intermediary body and program providers. Below is the organizational structure, including the roles and responsibilities of staff and governing bodies. Though this type of hierarchy took years and a lot of resources to establish, you can start small with just one AfterZone made up of a few volunteer-led after-school programs.

Download an organizational chart of the AfterZone system: A visual representation of how this after-school system works. (60KB)


Operations and Governing Bodies

Members of the community and programs play an important role in short-term and long-term planning and operations of AfterZones. Here's a list of cooperatives and how they function in overseeing the organization's goals:

  • Community-Based Site-Management Agencies

    Site-management agencies are organizations in the area, such as the YMCA, that sponsor and oversee the day-to-day operations and logistics for each AfterZone. Providence After School Alliance employees might assist in the AfterZone operations, but the site-management agency is the core supervisor

    The agency usually has oversight of one school in the AfterZone. The AfterZone site coordinator is employed by the site-management agency to oversee the AfterZone with support and guidance from the AfterZone manager. These organizations should be well established with good sustainability prospects (for example, experience with child-care licensing and structure for billing to receive child-care subsidies). Site-management agencies receive substantial grants to support AfterZone operations, such as through funding from the 21st Century Community Learning Center grant.

  • AfterZone Coordinating Councils

    AfterZone coordinating councils consist of representatives from key community partners (such as the school principal, a library representative, and a director from the site-management agency) in each AfterZone. Representatives from this governing body serve as fundamental decision makers for the AfterZone. Monthly coordinating council meetings are held to discuss program needs, budget, and staffing issues of each AfterZone, facilitated by the AfterZone manager.

    In the beginning, you might have just one AfterZone coordinating council, but as the number of AfterZones expands, so will the number of related councils. Key members from each AfterZone coordinating council serve as representatives for the overseeing body, the citywide coordinating council.

  • Citywide Coordinating Council

    The citywide coordinating council is the top level of the AfterZone hierarchy. Ideally, the council should consist of two representatives from each AfterZone coordinating council. Members discuss big-picture issues across the city, such as the business plan, annual programming, and evaluation.

    As you begin developing your community's network of after-school programs, this committee might be rolled up into the AfterZone coordinating council. Key leaders who are dedicated to youth should be on this committee.

Staffing Structure

Download staff roles and responsibilities: An in-depth summary of the key players in the day-to-day AfterZone operation and how they interact (160KB)

The following list includes key day-to-day employees of PASA and the site-management agency:

  • The AfterZone manager is an employee of PASA. This person is responsible for leading all AfterZone planning efforts, facilitating the AfterZone coordinating council, coordinating with off-site partners, and spearheading quality-improvement activities.

  • The AfterZone site coordinator is a full-time employee of the site-management agency and is funded through the 21st Century Community Learning Center grant. This person is responsible for leading the day-to-day activities at the school site, including interacting with program providers, supervising AfterZone program staff and volunteers, and facilitating transitions and data input.

  • The After-school liaison is a school-funded staff person. This is the key school contact responsible for day-to-day logistics and communication with the principal, the teachers, and other staff. For more details about the roles and responsibilities for these individuals, download the AfterZone Responsibilities Chart.

The following support staff are also involved in the AfterZone operations:

  • Youth Engagement Specialists (YES workers) work with staff from the site-management agency and on-site PASA employees to help manage the day-to-day logistics of the individual AfterZone sites. YES workers hand out snacks, take attendance, serve as bus monitors, and lead or assist in program activities. YES workers are also critical in leading Club AfterZone activities, which are one-hour learning sessions held on site. During each session, YES workers lead programs or support other program providers to increase youth participation. (Club AfterZone is discussed in greater detail in Lesson 7.)

Download a YES-worker job description: When it's time for your program to start staffing, use this sample support-staff job posting as a guide. (92KB)

  • AmeriCorps members help YES workers with day-to-day logistics like snacks and attendance, as well as support and lead Club AfterZone and other programs.

  • College volunteers provide support during transition and snack times, assist program providers during programs, and lead homework help or other activities during Club AfterZone. Volunteers report to the AfterZone site coordinator.


We use these terms throughout this and other PASA lessons:

21st Century Community Learning Center grant: Provided by the U.S Department of Education to community learning centers that provide academic-enrichment opportunities during nonschool hours for children, particularly students who attend high-poverty and low-performing schools.

AfterZone: A geographic area that defines a "community campus" of schools and community providers in the area. Students from different schools can attend a network of after-school programs within the zone.

Providence After School Alliance (PASA): An intermediary agency responsible for creating a system of high-quality after-school opportunities for middle school youth in Providence, Rhode Island. Initially funded by the Wallace Foundation and Bank of America, PASA is driven by the collective efforts of over 150 public and nonprofit after-school providers and is spearheaded by Mayor David N. Cicilline.

Site-management agency: Community-based organizations that oversee the day-to-day AfterZone operations and logistics, often located at one school for each AfterZone.


Key Points

Here are some important factors to consider:

  • The staff should consist of site agency individuals, intermediary employees (such as PASA members), college and high school volunteers, and school-funded employees.
  • Site-agency staff run the day-to-day operations of all after-school programs, tracking and overseeing students.
  • Key community providers should assemble into committees for overseeing short-term and long-term goals of AfterZones.
  • AfterZone Coordinating Councils involve key program providers and community members for each AfterZone, and meet monthly to discuss budgeting, staffing, and operations.
  • The citywide coordinating council is made up of a few key members of each AfterZone coordinating council to oversee big-picture issues.

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  • Project-Based Learning (PBL)
  • Family Engagement
  • Professional Learning
  • 6-8 Middle School

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