Voluntary Quality Standards

NPSS Voluntary Quality Standards

The National Partnership for Student Success (NPSS) voluntary quality standards are designed for use by schools, districts, state education agencies, youth-serving organizations, foundations, community groups, and others to better understand essential components of quality, set goals as part of existing or emerging continuous improvement processes, set goals when designing new programs, and consider prospective partners.

These voluntary quality standards highlight a significant number of common elements across the five NPSS student support roles – tutoring, mentoring, student success coaching, postsecondary transition coaching, and wraparound/integrated student support coordination. They are essential to any effort to recruit, train, place, and support staff and volunteers in programs that are safe, supportive, and effectively engage students and families. These evidence-based definitions also include distinguishing features for each role.

With this shared vision of quality, the NPSS aims to advance and build upon the field’s commitment to expand quality programming in a way that is flexible and aligned with each community’s needs and chosen approach to pandemic recovery and program implementation. The concepts contained within this document are meant to spotlight and elevate existing quality improvement work that is taking place across the country and make it easier for schools and providers alike to identify what else might be needed as they incorporate new roles and expand the number of adults serving in those roles.

    • We encourage schools, districts, and state education agencies to include the concepts within the voluntary standards in RFPs or partnership conversations with potential providers of student supports.
    • We encourage providers of student supports – including but not limited to youth-serving organizations, school- or community-based programs, and the national, state and local networks that support them – to highlight for schools and key stakeholders how the concepts within the voluntary standards are core to their existing or emerging quality improvement systems and to consider these concepts when incorporating additional student support roles, designing new programs, or developing quality standards and continuous improvement efforts.
    • We encourage philanthropy to use the voluntary standards to help set goals for quality and continuous improvement efforts with grantees and in RFPs aimed at increasing student supports nationally, regionally, and locally.
    • We encourage state and local efforts building partnerships for student success to use the voluntary standards to guide partner selection and continuous improvement.

      A Collaborative Effort

      These voluntary quality standards were developed by the NPSS through collaboration between several leading national organizations and drawing upon existing quality standards and quality improvement work that has been developed by these and other organizations based on research over many years.

      Key collaborators include:

      • Accelerate 
      • Camp Fire National 
      • City Year 
      • Communities In Schools 
      • Everyone Graduates Center at Johns Hopkins University 
      • Knowledge to Power Catalysts 
      • MENTOR 
      • National College Attainment Network 
      • National Student Support Accelerator 

      Additional input was also provided by AmeriCorps, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, Girls Inc, Horizons National, InnovateEDU, National 4-H Council, U.S. Department of Education, and YMCA of the USA. This work also builds upon the significant contributions towards the understanding and improvement of quality programming made by the Weikart Center for Youth Program Quality (Forum for Youth Investment), Search Institute, National Afterschool Association, National Summer Learning Association, and Science of Learning and Development Alliance, among others.

      Reference to any non-U.S. government organization, event or product does not constitute an endorsement, recommendation or favoring of that organization, event or product and is strictly for the information and convenience of the public.

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