It’s springtime, yet rather than preparing for end-of-year assessments, graduation, prom, and summer school, educators and school personnel, along with community organizations and families, are grappling with the challenges of facilitating learning, keeping young people safe, and supporting their overall well-being when “out-of-school time is all the time.” As educators try to find stop-gap measures to make learning accessible to every student, what are the most effective ways to engage and empower our adolescents, particularly in high school and beyond, so that they are equipped to manage change and difficulty?
Opportunities to support young people’s learning and development are normally shared and spread across various spaces, places, and delivery modes in schools, community organizations, and families. But a month ago, most of those places were abruptly shut down, thrusting families into the lead coordinating role. Learning and development didn’t stop – these are natural human processes. But the unevenness of supports became a lot more apparent, even within extended families.
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.
At least 21 federal agencies support programs and services focused on youth. What does it take to make sure that all of these policies and programs add up to positive, healthy outcomes for young people? For over a decade, the Federal Interagency Working Group on Youth Programs has brought together representatives from these federal agencies to promote achievement of positive results for at-risk youth through coordination and collaboration, evidence-based and innovative strategies, and youth engagement and partnerships.
I spent time this past week listening to nonprofit colleagues across the country who are sharing stories about how they are helping and learning from their national staff, their affiliates, local partners or schools, and the local staff, youth, and families they serve as they all adjust to this new normal. The stress on this sector is real, but the responses are incredible as many of these organizations scramble to help families and schools figure out what happens when out-of-school time is all the time.
In Puebla, a city of about 1.5 million people in central Mexico, there’s a school with a name that may only sound familiar to people from southeast Michigan. With a combination of active, experiential learning, a strong focus on social and emotional skills, and opportunities for building connections with land and community, Colegio Ypsilanti has been providing high-quality education to children and youth from preschool through high school for the past 35 years.
Housing insecurity can be an antecedent to other major issues including health disparities, high youth disconnection rates, economic growth and greater dependence on public assistance. Many of these often overlapping factors are also the driving cause of minorities moving into low-income public housing in the first place.
The Opportunity Index is a data tool to calculate the opportunity score for every U.S. state and most counties. This score identifies challenges and successes across four dimensions: economy, health, community and education. The East End scored 51.7 out of 100 in economy. For context, Virginia has a score of 61.1, an almost 10-point difference. The national economy score is 55.4 — still higher than Richmond.