Program Quality News: April 16, 2020

What Happens When Out-of-School Time is All the Time? Blog by Karen Pittman, President & CEO of the Forum for Youth Investment

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.

These staff and organizations justifiably are focused on the present. The rules for them are not as clear as those for schools. And there are few if any stopgap resources. In this blog, however, I want to look ahead a bit towards the future.

Summer is coming. A time when schools usually scale back and families, youth organizations, and employers step up. A time when the lack of public funding for summer learning exacerbates differences in school, family, and neighborhood resources. A time when growth in the gap between poor and affluent students’ math and reading is so expected that it has a name – summer learning loss. A time, also, when many students look for jobs and internships and the ones who could benefit the most are least likely to find them.

What will happen this year? Will mayors and school systems call dibs on summer if the hiatus lasts through the spring? Will families desperate for relief find summer options diminished because of nonprofit staff layoffs and closures? I hope not. We have an opportunity to plan for and invest in summertime learning activities that reflect true partnerships between families, schools, and community organizations and respond to the very diverse and very real needs our children and youth will have based on their experiences.

Read all of Karen’s reflections.




In the coming weeks, we’ll be offering resources and tools from our archives and from our many incredible partners to help push our thinking forward on how we can not only respond to the needs and changing landscape today, but also better prepare ourselves to meet future challenges.

As we are all stretched to grow and adapt to this new normal together, the Weikart Center invites you to share your questions, concerns, and needs with us. We are fortunate to connect to a wide range of stakeholders in the field, including many who have already created an arrange of supports and guidance, and we are committed to leverage those relationships to help respond to your real-time needs. Please feel free to reach out to us anytime at

Centralized Resource Bank for Afterschool and Out-of-School Time

The outbreak of COVID-19 raises many questions and concerns for everyone, including those in the afterschool and out-of-school time space. The National AfterSchool Association and Afterschool Alliance, together with other national partners, have created a centralized location for COVID-19 resources related to afterschool has been created.

The resources include examples of effective guidance, questions, suggestions, and best practices.

Access the resource bank.


SEL Resources During COVID-19

The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) recently launched CASEL CARES, a new initiative that connects the SEL community with experts to address how SEL can be most helpful in response to today’s circumstances. These SEL resources are designed to support educators, parents, and anyone who works with children.

Explore CASEL CARES resources.



Seven-Day Self-Care Challenge

Our partners at Prime Time Palm Beach County have created a Seven-Day Self-Care Challenge as a virtual on-demand offering designed to provide basic practice tools that can help us cultivate awareness, self-care, and resilience- particularly during challenging times. Each of the daily topics is accompanied by a 15-20 minute video session that guides the audience step-by-step through mindful awareness practices, movement and breathing exercises, and relaxation techniques that promote stress and anxiety reduction and overall well-being. If completing the challenge in seven days doesn’t work for you, you can participate at your own pace! More self-care tips from Palm Beach County can be found in the associated blog post, Navigating Anxiety Caused by the Coronavirus Outbreak.