COMPASS

The Comprehensive After School System of NYC (COMPASS NYC) comprises more than 800 programs serving young people enrolled in grades K-12. Through its network of providers, COMPASS NYC offers high quality programs with a strong balance of academics, recreation, enrichment and cultural activities to support and strengthen the overall development of young people.
COMPASS NYC began as Out-of-School Time (OST) in 2005 with an initial investment of $46 million. Today, with increased funding and steadfast commitment by Mayor Bill de Blasio and his administration, the COMPASS NYC system is projected to serve 85,000 youth with a budget of $247.3 million. New York City’s trailblazing efforts at ensuring access to quality afterschool for all its young people have been recognized nationally in publications like “Hours of Opportunity” by the Wallace Foundation, among others.

With a name change in 2014 to better represent NYC’s contribution to building afterschool systems, COMPASS NYC integrates the best OST practices with the unprecedented expansion of afterschool programs serving the City’s middle school students. Programs are offered at no cost to young people and are strategically located in public and private schools, community centers, religious institutions, public housing, and recreational facilities throughout the City. COMPASS NYC aims to help youth build skills to support their academic achievement, raise their confidence, and cultivate their leadership skills through service learning and other civic engagement opportunities.

Key elements of all COMPASS NYC programs are:

  • Robust opportunities for youth to explore their interests and creativity.
  • Intentional integration of literacy and Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematic (STEM) into traditional programming for all elementary and middle school participants to expose them to content and professions of the future.
  • Age-appropriate programming that is hands-on, project-based and aligned with educational standards.
  • Environments that support social and emotional learning.
  • High quality arts and sports instruction.
  • Strategies that support youth and families during critical educational transitions.
  • Emphasis on youth engagement and making learning fun.

The COMPASS elementary model is a robust design built on lessons learned by DYCD throughout OST’s history, and caters to the “whole child” in kindergarten through 5th grade. Beyond STEM learning, it strives to integrate literacy into all instruction and offers homework help, basic arts instruction, and physical activity, including nutritional programming to promote healthy living. Programs are offered three hours each day, five days per week.


COMPASS NYC’s middle school model, renamed SONYC (School’s Out New York City), serves as a pathway to success for youth in 6th, 7th and 8th grades. Structured like clubs, the model offers young people a choice in how they spend their time; provides rigorous instruction in sports and arts; and requires youth leadership through service. The City itself becomes a classroom through trips and opportunities for instruction beyond a traditional learning setting. Programs are offered three hours each day, five days per week.

Finally, the COMPASS NYC Transition to High School Program (THS) is designed to help incoming high school ninth graders navigate their new surroundings with

targeted academic and social and emotional supports, and advocacy within the school community. Research shows that when freshmen get off track, they are more likely to drop out than finish high school. Program hours are specific to each school.

Through a continuum of programming — from COMPASS NYC elementary to SONYC middle school to COMPASS NYC Transition to High School — we help our young people achieve success in their education and motivate them to become lifelong learners beyond school!