By Katie Brackenridge and Jessica Gunderson, Partnership for Children and Youth
Expanded Learning 360°/365 helps out-of-school time professionals better support social-emotional learning for youth. We're happy to share some new tools meant to help school day and after-school educators align their efforts.
The Partnership for Children & Youth (PCY) has released a new brief about aligning school day and expanded learning efforts around social-emotional learning (SEL), Finding Common Ground: Connecting Social-Emotional Learning During and Beyond the School Day.
K-12 educators and the expanded learning community often miss the opportunity to work together to support their students’ SEL skills development because they use different language and operate within separate initiatives. This brief can help facilitate dialogue between K-12 and expanded learning leaders by cross-walking key priorities, strategies, and language that impacts SEL.
Also, we want to call your attention to Measuring Quality: Assessment Tools to Evaluate Your Social-Emotional Learning Practices. This guide crosswalks several well-known program quality assessment tools with essential practices to support kids' social-emotional learning and character skills. Use it to select a program quality tool that best fits your approach to supporting social-emotional learning.
Katie Brackenridge joined the Partnership for Children & Youth in 2004 and directs the Expanded Learning Initiatives.
Jessica Gunderson joined the Partnership for Children & Youth in 2011 to help shape and manage our expanded learning time and community school advocacy and policy work.
Expanded Learning 360°/365 seeks to help policymakers, district and school leaders and expanded learning providers better identify and integrate social-emotional and character skills into their work with young people. Expanded Learning 360°/365 is a collaboration of ASAPconnect, California School-Age Consortium, Partnership for Children and Youth, and Temescal Associates/LIAS.
By Diego Arancibia, ASAPconnect
Are you tired of viewing yourself and your colleagues through a "deficit lens”, always thinking about those things you’re not good at doing, what your co-workers need to improve upon, and ultimately focusing on what you and your organization lack?
Nearly a decade ago, Gallup unveiled the results of a landmark 30-year research project that ignited a global conversation on the topic of strengths. Since then, more than 3 million people have taken Gallup’s StrengthsFinders assessment to learn what their own natural strengths are as well as those of their colleagues. People who use their strengths every day are six times more likely to be engaged on the job; teams that focus on their strengths are 12.5% more productive.
Tom Rath and Barry Conchie, authors of Strengths Based Leadership: Great Leaders, Teams and Why People Follow, share that it’s easy for leaders to misunderstand what followers need. To run an organization effectively, leaders must be able to strategize, set visions and priorities, build relationships, influence others and make things happen. But if you ask followers what they need from their leaders, the clear answer is trust, compassion, stability and hope. These four basic needs are the result of a Gallup research team asking more then 10,000 followers what the most influential leaders contribute to their lives. It’s critical for leaders to understand and meet those basic needs, because if people don’t have close friendships on the job and if they don’t have a leader who cares about them, there’s almost no chance that they’ll be engaged in their work.
ASAPconnect is hosting a two-day Strengths Based Institute on June 27-28, 2016 at the Santa Clara County Office of Education in San Jose. This training, facilitated by the Youth Development Network, is intended for working teams. Space is first-come, first-served. Register soon to reserve a space for you and your team! For more information, please contact Judy Trevino at Judy_Trevino@sccoe.org.
Diego Arancibia has been a leader in the after school and non-profit field for over two decades. His experience has ranged from working with students in elementary, middle school, and high school in both programmatic and administrative capacities. His marketing and programming methods are extremely innovative and have been embraced by after school and non-profit practitioners everywhere, producing some of the most successful programs in the nation. He also has had the privilege of traveling across the country to train youth program advocates in consensus building, action planning, and team-building workshops. Currently, Diego works as the Director of ASAPconnect and lives in the Bay Area with his beautiful wife and his amazing son and daughter.
By Sam Piha
“Social and emotional learning (SEL) must be accounted for if we want our youth to succeed. Empathy is just as important as English. The David P. Weikart Center for Youth Program Quality, a division of the Forum, is working hard to shed new light on ways to equip youth with the valuable social and emotional skills they need.” - Forum for Youth Investment
The How Kids Learn Foundation sponsored a Speaker's Forum with Charles Smith, Founder and Executive Director of the David P. Weikart Center for Youth Program Quality on May 6th in Oakland, CA and on May 10th in Los Angeles, CA. The Speaker's Forum topic focused on Social Emotional Learning in Afterschool – Research, Measurement, and Best Practices. The Weikart Center identifies six important domains of SEL: emotion management, empathy, teamwork, responsibility, initiative, and problem solving.
Below is an interview with Charles Smith.
Q: Can you briefly describe the origins of the Youth Program Quality Assessment (YPQA)? Why were you interested in the development of this?
A: The Youth PQA was developed to address a number of problems that were occurring for teachers and youth workers, and their organizations, in out-of-school time field. First and foremost, in the era of “education accountability” and No Child Left Behind (circa 2000) people who were focused on Positive Youth Development practice had few tools to demonstrate that they were doing work at a high standard. The PQA was designed to help people demonstrate their good work and that they were being accountable to a standard. A second reason for development of the PQA was to get the discussion of practice to the right level of granularity so that when the measure was used, practice could actually be discussed.
Finally, we were frustrated that training in curriculum for teachers and youth workers wasn’t resulting in lasting changes in the organizations, i.e., participation in training didn’t result in changed practice. The PQA was built for a continuous improvement model that required system leaders and funders to send clear signals that (1) the quality of adult-youth interaction at the point of service was the most important part of the work and (2) that front line teachers and youth workers were going to be empowered to make decisions about how to create high quality.
Q: You have been involved in helping programs conduct data driven program improvement. What do you believe are the greatest challenges to this work?
A: This is hard work so there are many challenges – and rewards. One of the greatest challenges is getting people to trust the process, which is why we advocate for “lower stakes” approaches. A majority of individuals in a continuous improvement system have to feel that the standard for quality is fair, that it’s possible to improve to meet that standard, and that supports are available to help them get there. When we achieve these criteria, many OST professionals and their organizations have been willing to do the work year after year and have reported very high levels of satisfaction with the process.
Q: We have found that one of the inhibiting factors for program improvement within afterschool programs is the fact that this work takes time and due to budget restrictions, organizations are less inclined to grant the needed time for reflection and planning to complete this work. What are your thoughts regarding this issue?
A: Time is always a challenge and some circumstances make it difficult to do the continuous improvement (CI) work. The challenge with time is almost always a system issue – if leaders are committed to doing the CI work then they focus on all of the things that can be done to integrate continuous improvement into everyday operations: Recognizing that CI time is also professional development time; moving org cultures and resources from “monitoring inputs” to “coaching on performance data” so that leaders become part of the CI resource; and there are many other ways that we’ve learned over the years. A PQA driven CI process is currently happening in over 4,000 OST sites each year so we know it can be done in lots of circumstances but it takes time to experiment and “fit” the CI process to how an organization does its everyday business.
Q: Can you briefly describe the Weikart Center? What was the link between the YPQA and the development of the Weikart Center, if any?
A: The Weikart Center was started to take the PQA and CI work to scale. In many ways, the most important role of the Weikart Center is to help clients adapt the CI methods and measures to the circumstances that are unique to their OST systems. In our view, one size does not fit all when it comes to working with young people and communities – one size typically fits one. Every use of the PQA has to adapt to produce value for each specific community of users and that has been the primary role of the Weikart Center.
Q: Can you briefly describe why you are now focusing on SEL?
A: In a very general sense, quality (i.e., PQA) is framework for understanding the OST settings where children and youth spend time. The other side of that framework needs to describe the skills that individual young people build as they engage with high quality OST settings. Social and emotional learning can have many different specific definitions but, in general, SEL skills are how we understand those individual youth skills. SEL skills are the skills that grow in high quality OST settings.
Q: You put a lot of work in the Preparing Youth to Thrive field guide. Why did you develop this, what is the focus? Who does the guide target (what age group, etc.)?
A: Preparing Youth to Thrive was a unique opportunity to work with expert practitioners to define best practices that have emerged from their many years of experience and their many types of clinical and professional expertise. Our primary goal in the guide was to get the descriptions of practice to a “granular” level of actual behaviors and conditions in OST settings.
Most SEL research is focused on what changes inside of individual youth while the conditions and practices that support that change are either too abstract or too sketchy for use. Our goal in the guide was to both name the key practices (none of which are new to most OST professionals) and then produce descriptions of the practices that users could recognize their own work in.
Charles Smith is the founder and Executive Director of the David P. Weikart Center for Youth Program Quality, a division of the Forum for Youth Investment, and Senior Vice President at the Forum. The Weikart Center currently provides technical supports to a portfolio of over 115 quality improvement systems service a total of 4,250 sites, including several thousand direct service organizations that provide out-of-school time learning opportunities for children and youth. Dr. Smith leads the measures and analytics team at the Weikart Center and guides the Center’s efforts to design and implement lower stakes accountability policies.
By Guest Blogger, Aleah Rosario from CalSAC
For the 2017 year, the Leadership Development Institute 360/365 seeks 5 organizations dedicated to the development of social-emotional learning and character building to commit 3-5 staff to participate in the intensive, year long, cohort-based program for emerging leaders in afterschool and expanded learning. Using a multicultural leadership framework and modeled after our existing LDI fellowships, the 2017 LDI 360/365 program will equip teams of 3-5 site coordinator level professionals with skills in management and leadership to effectively lead high-quality programs that build the character of staff and young people.
To apply, organizations must complete an intake call with CalSAC to discuss eligibility by May 13, 2016. If minimum eligibility is determined, CalSAC will invite organizations to apply by submitting an online application by May 20, 2016. Interested organizations should contact Aleah Rosario at firstname.lastname@example.org or (510) 444-4622 x102. Download program and application information here.
Sam Piha is the founder and principal of Temescal Associates, a consulting group dedicated to building the capacity of leaders and organizations in education and youth development.