Rising to the Challenge: Leveraging the Science of Learning and Development to Address the Reality of the Times

A recent virtual event launched the Readiness Projects and featured a series of short segments and interviews to tee up real-time topics for action and reflection in the days to come. What are we seeing, hearing, leveraging, and doing to respond to one very visible fact: out-of-school time is now all of the time? Together, we are stepping back to think about the inequities that are even more pressing for today’s youth.

See below for interactive transcripts and short segments from each portion of the event.

Part 1: The Readiness Projects Goals

In the opening, along with our partners from the National Urban League (NUL) and the American Institutes for Research (AIR), we briefly explain how we’ve modified our thinking about the Readiness Projects to adjust to the times.

Part 2: It starts with Relationships . . . now more than ever!

In this section, Karen Pittman (Forum) and Kent Peckel (Search Institute) engage in a dialogue on the power of developmental relationships. Why are they the first non-negotiable for optimized learning? Why do they matter now more than ever?

Part 3: Summer Mash Up Opportunities

In this section, Deb Moroney (AIR) sits down with Ross Wiener (Aspen Institute), Jennifer Peck (Partnership for Children and Youth), and Jennifer Sirangelo (National 4-H Council) in a discussion on what “summer learning” means in the year of COVID-19. Schools, families, and nonprofit and community organizations are taking stock of what students will need and assessing what they can do with adjusted resources. Young people’s social and emotional needs will get more attention than ever.  How can we use this opportunity to make stronger, more coordinated connections to science findings about the role all adults in all contexts can play to support learning and development?  What adults, what settings, what learning opportunities fit our new understanding of “essential”?

Part 4: Policy Roundup

In this section, Hal Smith (NUL) and Merita Irby (Forum) host round robin updates from a range of partners giving their perspectives on emerging and urgent policy agendas and investments.  Moving from the heart of the pandemic into the summer and fall will raise any number of policy issues for districts, education stakeholders, state officials, elected officials, and philanthropy. What are the right set of policy considerations? How do we anticipate learning loss while tending to social and emotional assets and needs? What about students who were already behind and education in schools and districts that were already under-resourced?  In addition to a focus on school age youth, what about older teens and young adults?  Those whose high school completion process was disrupted?