Forum Flash: August 2011

Improving Program Quality, Reaching Educators, Gathering all Stakeholders

The Forum for Youth Investment Forum Flash

www.forumfyi.org
 

Forum Flash is part of the Forum for Youth Investment's e-newsletter series. Forum Flash informs you about what's going on at the Forum for Youth Investment, and about resources, opportunities, careers and recent events.
Camp Fire Expands System for Quality Improvement

While program assessment and staff training are valuable but sometimes daunting tasks, Camp Fire USA is expanding both efforts through a partnership with the Forum.

 

At a recent training summit, the David P. Weikart Center for Youth Program Quality, a division of the Forum, helped build Camp Fire's on-the-ground capacity to assess program quality and carry out skill-building opportunities for staff and volunteers at Camp Fire councils across the country. Essentially, selected Camp Fire employees are now trained to conduct and oversee certain types of assessments and training for other Camp Fire staff.

 

This effort is part of Camp Fire USA's Quality Improvement System, which is modeled on the Weikart Center's evidence-based Youth Program Quality Intervention. For more on the Camp Fire initiative, see page five of this newsletter. For more on the Weikart Center's Youth Program Quality Intervention, go here.  

 

Showing the Pipeline to Educators

A conference in Virginia last month offered one way to make sure college and career readiness is a priority for public schools - and to show educators how Ready by 21 helps them meet that priority.

 

The three-day Vision to Practice Conference, hosted by the Virginia Department of Education, drew teams from all school districts in the state - showing a significant commitment among educators to the concept of readiness. A major theme was that readiness is the responsibility of all stakeholders, not just the schools.

 

To drive home that point, Forum CEO Karen Pittman delivered a keynote address about Ready by 21 and the Insulated Education Pipeline. To help attendees see the impact of Ready by 21 strategies, the Forum, the American Association of School Administrators (a Ready by 21 National Partner) and the Ready by 21 team from Richmond, Va., presented three workshops.  

 

The state posted materials from the conference here. (The Forum materials are under July 13.)

Getting all the Players in the Same Room

Anyone who tries to get leaders from different sectors to work together better knows that sometimes you have to literally get them in the same room - which is what Chattanooga, Tenn., did last month when it convened 300 teachers, frontline workers, business people and foundation leaders for a conference about improving supports for young people.

 

Chattanooga has been carrying out Ready by 21© for more than a year, and the three-day What's Next conference reflected the city's commitment to big change through collaboration. After a keynote workshop that focused on understanding poverty - led by Ruby Payne, founder of the aha! Process for educational and community development - there were sessions on program evaluation, asset-based community development and the correlation between trauma and poverty. Larry Pasti, the Forum's director of field services, led a workshop in which a diverse panel of community leaders discussed how to apply the lessons of the conference to further mobilize the city.

 

The event was organized by the On Point youth development program and co-sponsored by several partners in the city's Ready by 21 initiative, including the United Way of Greater Chattanooga, the YMCA and Hamilton County public schools.

A Standard Tool to Evaluate Afterschool Quality

Looking for a proven tool to evaluate youth programs? Oakland, Calif., has found it in the Weikart Center's Youth Program Quality Assessment (YPQA), which "is becoming a standard used to evaluate a wide variety of youth programs throughout the city," says the Oakland Community After School Alliance.

 

The YPQA - which focuses on such key areas of quality as youth engagement and supportive environments - is being used to measure quality at more than 100 programs, the alliance says, "including school and community-based after school programs, summer programs, wellness and healthy transitions programs, and older youth programs that serve ages 15-20." Read the Alliance newsletter for more detailed information.

Helping More Students Graduate
With more and more students taking longer than four years to complete high school, a push is on to help those students by including their graduations in calculations about school effectiveness.

An issue brief released this month, Making Every Diploma Count: Using Extended-Year Graduation Rates to Measure Student Success, explains that "extended-year graduation rates allow states to document increases in graduation rates compared to the traditional four-year measure, and highlight the successful work of schools and districts to get struggling and out-of-school students back on track to graduation." The brief encourages states to calculate five- and six-year high school graduation rates, so that the efforts by schools "to serve struggling and off-track students are recognized and not discouraged."

The Forum joined numerous national organizations that signed on in support of the brief, which was created by the American Youth Policy Forum, Gateway to College National Network and the National Youth Employment Coalition.

Help Wanted - Training Coordinator
The David P. Weikart Center for Youth Program Quality, a division of the Forum for Youth Investment, seeks a training coordinator for its Ypsilanti, Mich., office. The training coordinator will manage the delivery of training and technical assistance to the Weikart Center's growing national client base of out-of-school time systems. Key responsibilities include managing all aspects of the Weikart Center's core capacity-building curricula; building and supporting a national network of field consultants and trainers; facilitating the development of a national learning community organized around the Weikart Center's quality improvement content and training methods; and supporting the creation and improvement of training and technical assistance products and services.
 
See the full job posting here, as well as an existing posting from the Forum for a managing director for program and field services.

The Forum for Youth Investment is a nonprofit, nonpartisan "action tank" dedicated to helping communities and the nation make sure all young people are Ready by 21®: ready for college, work and life. Informed by rigorous research and practical experience, the Forum forges innovative ideas, strategies and partners to strengthen solutions for young people and those who care about them.
 

Publishing Date: 
August 25, 2011