Ready News: February 22, 2022

Let’s Talk Social and Emotional Learning Podcast

The field of social and emotional learning (SEL) is rapidly expanding as educators sharpen their focus on helping children build skills beyond academic knowledge. School climate initiatives, anti-bullying work, positive behavior supports, and other SEL efforts are now steering programs in schools and out-of-school time (OST) settings across the country. Building children’s SEL skills has taken on even more urgency in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A new podcast series from The Wallace Foundation looks at the history of SEL, its practice, some recent developments, and its future. The three episodes feature the authors of an updated guide, Navigating Social and Emotional Learning from the Inside Out, Looking Inside and Across 33 leading SEL Programs: A Practical Resource for Schools and OST Providers; Revised and Expanded 2nd Edition (Preschool and Elementary Focus).

Listen now.

Engaging Youth in Policy Efforts: Examples from the Field

Readiness Projects Blog by Michelle Boyd, Jill Young, and Arielle Lentz, American Institutes for Research 

This is the fourth in a series of blogs from the editors and authors of “It Takes an Ecosystem: Understanding the People, Places, and Possibilities of Learning and Development Across Settings.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has been undoubtedly difficult for everyone, especially youth and young adults. They’ve grappled with social isolation, school and work disruptions, and constantly evolving circumstances. Policy approaches that promote healthy learning and development ecosystems and cross-sector collaboration will be critical to ensuring we successfully support youth in navigating current and future realities.

We discussed some of these policy approaches in our chapter, “From System to (Eco)System: Policy Examples That Foster Cross-Sector Collaboration.” In the chapter, we emphasize that policy efforts at the national, state, and local levels should actively engage young people, their families, and communities to ensure that policy efforts reflect the lived experiences of the people they are intended to support. Now more than ever, including youth voices and perspectives is critical.

Read more.

National Voter Support for Funding Children’s Services

More than 80% of voters believe that creating equitable opportunities for children to get a strong start in life should be one of the highest priorities for government—and they are willing to raise their own local taxes to make those opportunities possible. This finding, and others about voters’ attitudes toward funding for children and youth services, comes from a new national poll by the Children’s Funding Project of U.S. voters who participated in the 2020 election. Explore the poll results landing page for infographics, additional results, and a meta-analysis of more than 60 state, local, and national surveys.

Read more.

Data in Collective Impact: Focusing on What Matters

This article appears in the Stanford Social Innovation Review.  

One of the five conditions of collective impact, “shared measurement systems,” calls upon initiatives to identify and share key metrics of success that align partners toward a common vision. While the premise that data should guide shared decision-making is not unique to collective impact, its articulation ten years ago as a necessary condition for collective impact catalyzed a focus on data use across the social sector. In the original article on collective impact in Stanford Social Innovation Review, the authors describe the benefits of using consistent metrics to identify patterns, make comparisons, promote learning, and hold actors accountable for success. While this vision for data collection remains relevant today, the field has developed a more nuanced understanding of how to make it a reality.

The data we collect—and the data we don’t—reflect our values and what we think is important. We track data on our finances. We monitor our blood pressure. And if you’re like me, you pay attention to your fantasy football team for five weeks and then forget about it. When we need to, we change our behavior—our spending, our exercise, our starting running backs. We make these adjustments because we care about the outcomes and have information that tells us we should do something differently.

Read the full article.

Listen to a Collective Impact Forum podcast featuring the author.

Seeking Youth for STEM Leadership Opportunity

The Flight Crew program, run by the Afterschool Alliance for Million Girls Moonshot, is a cohort of youth advocates, ages 13-18, who are committed to creating equity for girls in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) by elevating youth voices and inspiring future STEM leaders. The program is seeking young scientists, engineers, inventors, builders, and leaders who have been inspired by their experiences outside of the school classroom.

Flight Crew members will participate in six months of virtual programming where they will hone their leadership and advocacy skills using their own experiences from afterschool STEM learning. Those selected will be eligible for a $1,000 stipend, an all-expense-paid trip to the annual Million Girls Moonshot summer 2022 event, and an all-expense-paid opportunity to go to Space Camp for summer 2023.

The Flight Crew application is open to youth ages 13 to 18 who identify as female, gender-expansive, or outside of the identity of cis-gender male. Applicants will share their views in a written, video, or art piece. Applications are due February 25, 2022.

The Catalyze Challenge: Grant Funding for Career-Connected Learning Models

The Catalyze Challenge offers grants to design, pilot, and expand learning models that support young people in accessing economic opportunity and lifelong success. This represents a great opportunity to secure funding for breakthrough innovations centering on career identity development and planning, post-high school transitions, and early-stage ideas on career-connected learning. The Challenge’s Accelerate award grants up to $500k to models ready to serve students, and the Ignite award grants up to $50k for planning and research.