Programs are designed to follow a community school model, which sees the school as the center point of the community where youth, families, and community residents work as equal partners with schools and other community institutions to develop programs and services.Community schools aim to foster strong partnerships between schools, families, and community partners, share accountability for results, set high expectations for all, build on the community’s strengths, and embrace diversity.
Programs provided out-of-school care with an emphasis on activities designed to foster student achievement and social emotional growth.
The nine program sites were housed in schools from three public school districts and served children from prekindergarten through sixth grade.
Theoretical models of student engagement also highlight the potential benefits of being highly engaged in school for social relationships and emotion regulation , although such social competence outcomes have not been as widely documented as academic ones, notably achievement and school completion.
Studies that have examined engagement in after-school activities find that it is also associated with academic and social benefits.  found that student engagement, as rated by program staff, interacted with after-school attendance in predicting academic outcomes among elementary school children: student engagement increased the positive association between after-school participation and classroom performance.
There is however a larger body of literature on the effects of student engagement during the school day.
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This literature—which conceptualizes engagement as multidimensional and having cognitive, emotional, and behavior components—shows that engagement in school is robustly associated with higher academic achievement and lower risk of school dropout (e.g., [9–12]).
In the present study, we use data from a longitudinal study of after-school programs in elementary schools to examine staff ratings of students’ engagement in after-school program activities and how engagement is associated with academic and social outcomes in school.
Most empirical investigations of student engagement during school or in after-school activities have relied on either student or teacher/staff reports, with similar patterns of findings across reporters [7–9, 11].
Subsequent research has confirmed the importance of considering attendance and engagement, in addition to enrollment, when assessing outcomes related to after-school programs [2, 8].
Despite the theoretical importance of student engagement in after-school programs as a key facet of program participation, only a few empirical studies have incorporated engagement as a predictor of outcomes associated with after-school participation.