After School

Comprehensive After School System of New York City (formerly OST)

boy receiving trophy in front of class of young chefs

The Comprehensive Afterschool System of NYC (COMPASS) formerly known as the Out-of-School Time (OST) Program is comprised of over 890 programs serving young people enrolled in grades K-12. Through its network of providers, COMPASS offers high quality programs that have a strong balance of academics, recreation, enrichment, and cultural activities to support and strengthen the overall development of youth. COMPASS aims to help young people build skills to support their academic achievement, raise their confidence and cultivate their leadership skills through service learning and other civic engagement opportunities.


The Out-of-School Time Program initiative was the forerunner to COMPASS and started in 2005 with an initial investment of $46 million. Changed to COMPASS in 2014 to better name NYC’s contribution to building afterschool systems, COMPASS has integrated the best of OST while preparing for an unprecedented expansion in programming aimed at serving middle school youth. Programs are offered at no cost to youth and are purposefully located in public and private schools, community centers, religious institutions, public housing and parks recreational facilities throughout the City both to leverage the use of public spaces but also to help youth find a place that best fits their needs. With the Middle School Expansion, COMPASS after school programs now have presence in virtually every middle school throughout the five boroughs. Through continued advancement from COMPASS-Elementary to SONYC to COMPASS-High, DYCD helps prepare our young people achieve healthy success in school and motivate them to become lifelong learners beyond school!


COMPASS Program Models

  • The COMPASS-Elementary model is a robust design built on lessons learned by DYCD throughout COMPASS’s history and caters to the whole child from Kindergarten through 5th grades. Beyond STEM, COMPASS programs strive to integrate literacy into all instruction; offers homework help, basic arts instruction and physical activity, including nutritional programming to promote healthy living. COMPASS programs are offered 3 hours each day, 5 days per week including and on 13 school holidays during the school year. Services are also offered during the summer.


  • SONYC for School’s Out NYC is the COMPASS’ middle school model that serves as a pathway to success for youth in 6th, 7th and 8th grades. Structured like clubs, the model offers youth choice in how they spend their time; provides rigorous instruction in sports, arts and youth leadership. NYC becomes the classroom through trips and opportunities for instruction beyond the traditional facilities. Programs are offered 3 hours each day, 5 days per week during the school year. Services are also offered during the summer months at some locations.


  • SONYC Pilot, In 2015, COMPASS launched a pilot program to service middle school youth in ACS and homeless facilities. There are 7 Pilots programs that are located at DHS, Secure Detention (SD) and Non-Secure Detention Facilities (NSD) providing support and services to youth involved in justice system. In collaboration with the Administration for Children Services and the Department of Homeless Services as well as community-based organizations with history working with these populations, DYCD is offering tailored programming to cultivate supportive relationships, work with adolescents to stay on track, and foster optimism. Ultimately, we hope to stimulate curiosity, nurture talents, broaden horizons, build resilience, and encourage youth to visualize brighter futures.


  • COMPASS-High is designed to help incoming high school ninth graders (freshman) navigate their new surrounding and to matriculate to tenth grade. In addition to advocacy within the community, the COMPASS-High model offers targeted academic, social, and emotional supports. Program hours are specific to each school.


  • COMPASS-Explore allows providers more flexibility to tailor their programs to different audiences throughout the city. Its programs are as varied as exploration and preparation for legal careers to boat building.