TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — A national progress report gives Florida’s afterschool programs high marks.

Florida is one of only nine states that received four out of a possible five stars in the report released Wednesday. No states received five stars. The Afterschool Alliance and the JC Penney Foundation issued the report.

Florida Afterschool Network executive director Larry Pintacuda said it’s a proud achievement, but work is still needed to increase the quality of Florida’s programs. The network’s goals include creating and sustaining public and private partnerships for school-based and school-linked programs.

The ratings were based in part on growth in afterschool participation and development of state policy and funding. Another factor was advancement in afterschool leadership.

Research shows children in afterschool programs are more likely to succeed in school and stay out of trouble.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.

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