After-school programs have changed dramatically over the last 20 years, and there are currently efforts underway to professionalize the field. The after-school practitioner, also known as an out-of-school-time (OST) practitioner, is a professional who works with children and youths within the context of an after-school program. While some after-school practitioners are certified teachers, many are not.

After-school programs are indeed distinct, but too often educators think of after-school as a separate entity rather than an opportunity for partnership and collaboration with the school day. It’s not uncommon for teachers to be unaware of what their students do after the final bell rings or who works in the after-school program at their school.

Stronger collaboration between teachers and after-school practitioners offers mutual benefits for both educators, while strengthening student learning and development. Here are five reasons why your after-school practitioner is your biggest ally:

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