a subset of 50, and case studies of 8 sites. The study seeks to document the nature of student participation and learning in science activities in “typical” (nonscience-specific) after-school programs, and the infrastructure required to support these programs. “Infrastructure” includes curriculum, staff recruitment and support, and program leadership and structures. The study brings together researchers at Harvard University (McLean Hospital), the Exploratorium, the Lawrence Hall of Science, and Reginald Clark and Associates. Most importantly, ILSA is part of the Program in Education, Afterschool & Resiliency (PEAR), which is dedicated to making meaningful theoretical and practical contributions to youth development, school reform, and prevention of high-risk behavior. PEAR was founded in 1999 as a collaboration between Harvard Medical School/McLean Hospital and the Harvard Graduate School of Education with a number of strong community partners. The program was established in response to the growing recognition that high-quality afterschool programs hold the promise of building resiliency and preventing high-risk behavior in youth, as well as contributing to school success. PEAR takes a developmental approach to the study of new models of effective afterschool programming, and incorporates educational, health, public policy, and psychological perspectives. PEAR presents on its website (http://atis.pearweb.org/) an assessment tool to measure performance of informal and out-of-school science, technology, engineering, and math programs that features a broad range of proven methodologies and instruments.
Each of the five featured initiatives (LIFE, CILS, AYS, CISTL, and PEAR) publishes its findings through peer-reviewed research articles, conference presentations, symposia, and white papers, some of which are easily accessible through their informative websites. Yet, like many initiatives of these kinds, transfer of knowledge from original research to practice remains challenging. However, readers are encouraged to look for more information and to connect to the growing network of scholars and scholarly practitioners that emerge from these important investments into the intersection of formal and informal teaching and learning.