The Certified Observer Network is a group of Boston youth program community members trained in the use of the Assessment of Program Practices Tool (APT), a research-validated quality assessment tool developed by the National Institute on Out-of-School Time (NIOST). With an Observer Certification from Boston Beyond, program staff can:

  • Confidently observe and assess their own program using the APT. 
  • Join a cohort of trained individuals that observe and assess programs in Boston Beyond’s collective impact initiatives.
  • See best practices in action throughout Boston, and network with fellow professionals in the field.


Boston Beyond’s Certified Observer Training is a two step process:

  • Step 1: Complete a two-day APT training (valued at $1,500), including a practice site visit with a NIOST Master Observer
  • Step 2: Observe another program in Boston Beyond’s network in tandem with a NIOST Master Observer. Compare assessment ratings with the master observer to establish inter-rater reliability.
  • Step 3: Certified Observers then conduct either one summer program observation or two school year program observations per calendar year.


Please contact Emily Dodge at if you’re interested in learning more.


Observer Certification Handout