Researchers examined social and emotional learning (SEL) ratings for two samples of 559 and 406 predominantly elementary-age youth of color, who were enrolled in out-of-school time (OST) programs serving communities mostly of high socioeconomic need in Palm Beach County, Florida. Covering the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 school years in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, the study predicted that programs’ participation in an SEL quality enhancement project would positively impact youth SEL. This quality enhancement was expected to emerge alongside the positive effects of foundational program quality achieved through participation in the Palm Beach County Quality Improvement System, which includes an array of supports provided by Prime Time Palm Beach County, a nonprofit OST intermediary organization. Amid the challenges of the pandemic, evidence emerged to support the positive impact of foundational quality on youth in OST, as well as the positive impact of an enhanced focus on SEL.



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