Inclusive Practices in Out of School Time
In Maryland we know there are simply not enough opportunities for young people in the out of school hours (afterschool and summer). We also know that finding high-quality, appropriate afterschool and summer activities for children can be even more difficult and frustrating for parents of youth with disabilities. MOST is dedicated to increasing the quantity and quality of out of school time opportunities for ALL of Maryland’s young people. To that end, we want to take a focused and strategic look at how the Out of School Time field in Maryland can better serve young people with disabilities.
The Baltimore Out-Of-School Time Inclusion Project began in 2014 with the goal of increasing opportunities for low-income youth with disabilities to participate safely and effectively in after school and summer programs. National and local data show that youth with disabilities are over-represented among chronically absent students, over-represented among students who leave school without completing and over-represented among students who are suspended and arrested in school. Data show that participation in OST programs improves school attendance and engagement. Data show that youth with disabilities are underrepresented in OST programs in Baltimore and nationally.
The Baltimore OST Inclusion Project intends to increase disability and racial equity awareness, and provide inclusion training, technical assistance and coaching for after school and summer programs who wish to make their services more welcoming and effective for youth of all abilities. Currently, house at the Maryland Out of School Time Network (MOST.) Each year the Project is led by AmeriCorps VISTAs, with supervision provided by MOST.
The Project members include a cohort of Baltimore City OST programs who wish to become models of inclusive practice. Over 28 programs are part of the cohort developed over the past two years, potentially impacting the quality of OST and summer program services delivered to over 100,000 youth statewide. A list of cohort members is attached. Now in our third year, we have made great progress reaching more OST programs and ensuring sustainability.
Baltimore OST Inclusion Project Guidelines for Participants:
With support from the OST Inclusion VISTA, OST programs in the Project cohort will conduct a self-assessment and create a personalized Inclusion Strategies Plan. OST programs will accomplish their personalized goals with the help of disability and race equity experts who will provide training, technical assistance and coaching as requested and at no cost. Upon completion of their Inclusion Strategies Goals, OST programs will have incorporated sustainable inclusion practices into their program. These sustainable inclusion practices should enhance overall program quality and increase opportunities for youth with disabilities to participate safely and effectively in the program.
Benefits of Participation in the OST Inclusion Project
1. Inclusion Professional Development (PD)/ Training at no cost
2. Access to free training on a variety of topics including, but not limited to, Foundations if Inclusion, Universal Design for Learning, Supporting Positive Behavior, Designing your program space to promote success, Understanding 504 plans, IEPs and the IEP process
3. The opportunity to exchange Baltimore OST Inclusion Project training hours for required Family League PD hours
4. Opportunities to earn CEUs (Continuing Education Units) and COKs (Core of Knowledge)
5. Enhance your resume by gaining skills and knowledge as an Inclusion Facilitator for your site
6. Connections to Community Partners and Technical Assistance experts, such as Kennedy Krieger, Brighter Stronger Foundation, Disability Rights Maryland (formerly MDLC,) Kids Included Together, Hussman Institute for Autism, Ramapo for Children, Parents’ Place of Maryland, Baltimore Racial Justice Action Network, Abilities Network/Project ACT, Humanim , League for People with Disabilities and more
7. Support and guidance to become a model of inclusive practice
8. Opportunity to enhance overall program quality
9. Opportunity to network with other Baltimore organizations and OST programs
10.Have access to THE AFTER SCHOOL & SUMMER PROGRAM HELPLINE, get immediate support from Baltimore OST Inclusion Project. Project staff member will reply to your Helpline call within 2 business days.
Getting From Yes to How Helpline
The Getting From Yes to How Helpline is being piloted in Baltimore City to offer guidance, support and technical assistance to OST program providers on including youth with disabilities successfully in their programs. If your OST program has questions about including youth with disabilities, is currently experiencing specific challenges related to inclusion, you can call the helpline at any time and leave a brief message. Your call will be returned within two business days, by a MOST staff member who will collect more specific information about your question or issue and help refer you to the Getting From Yes to How a team of professionals to offer additional assistance.
You can also fill out our Getting From Yes to How Helpline form, found here.
1-888-219-2440 x 1
Below are some local and national resources for Out of School Time Providers on inclusion. We are currently in the process of planning trainings and other events related to serving youth with disabilities in the out of school hours. For a general guide for parents, youth and OST providers, "Together Beyond the School Day: Including Youth with Disabilities in Out of School Time Programs" is now available online as a helpful manual for facilitating inclusion in OST programs.
Data and policy recommendations are included in the Maryland Development Disabilities Council publication: Child Care and Out of School Time Activities: Increasing Quality and Access for Children With Disabilities.
- Abilities Network
- Kids Included Together (KIT)
- Maryland Center for Developmental Disabilities
- Maryland Coalition for Inclusive Education
- Maryland Developmental Disabilities Council
- People First Language
- College Resources for Students with Disabilities
- Scholarships for Students with Disabilities