Developing powerful environments where youth can thrive requires coordination, critical backbone services, supports, and continuous quality improvement. The American Institutes for Research (AIR) and The Opportunity Project (Tulsa, OK) presented this webinar focused on integrating learning systems through quality expanded learning opportunities.
With youth development programs suddenly shifting to virtual delivery, there is a need to consider what program elements and staff practices are critical to foster relationships and create experiences that support the development of young people in these spaces.
Supports for quality improvement grow in importance the longer that virtual offerings remain a fixture of youth programs. Virtual programming seems likely to be with us into the next school year due to uncertainty around COVID-19-related public health guidelines, and already programs are seeing potential benefits of continuing virtual programs to support their mission.
According to The Aspen Institute’s “From a Nation at Risk to a Nation at Hope” report, school-community coordination is critical to supporting children's well-being. Building on this, new research from the National Academies of Sciences, titled "Shaping Summertime Experiences: Opportunities to Promote Healthy Development and Well-Being for Children and Youth," highlights the role of summertime – a unique opportunity to foster such cross-sector partnerships. The importance of these partnerships are more important than ever before, given the trauma, adversity, food insecurity, and other disruptions that children and families are experiencing.
As much of the country, the Forum for Youth Investment stands in anger, disgust, and grief by the recent murder of George Floyd. We are painfully aware that this is not an isolated incident, as evidenced by the murders of Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor mere weeks earlier. The violence and inhumanity that led to these and the deaths of countless other Black Americans at the hands of police brutality and blatant racism are but one manifestation of the force of structural racism.
CASEL CARES is a new initiative from CASEL (Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning) that connects individuals and communities with experts to address how Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) can be most helpful in today’s circumstances. It is important to recognize that the most vulnerable students are at particular risk during this time. As part of the CASEL CARES webinar series, the Education Trust’s John King and the Forum’s Karen Pittman recently offered reflections on existing inequities in education that have been exposed and exacerbated by the pandemic.
Our current system is limiting youth potential. There are four new COVID-19 induced realities that every organization and every adult is dealing with: 1) the inadequacy of current applications of and uses of virtual platforms, even when available, for virtual-only academic instruction, 2) the heightened visibility and exacerbation of many different kinds of inequities such as health, emotional wellness, family resources, food and housing insecurity (within and across families, schools, communities), 3) the certainty of traumatic effects (associated with the virus, compounded by the closings, the separations and losses, the disconnection from important communities in young people’s lives), and 4) the uncertainty of re-openings (schools, child and youth development programs, workplaces, and the economy).