Program Quality News: Resources, Events & Opportunities

Aspen Institute National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development Final Report Now Available

Our nation is at a turning point: We now understand that social, emotional and cognitive development underpins children’s academic learning. This breakthrough understanding about how people learn is fueling a growing movement to educate children as whole people, with social and emotional as well as academic needs.

That’s the message of “From a Nation at Risk to a Nation at Hope,” the final report and recommendations from the National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development. The report offers specific actions to fundamentally shift how we teach children, with the understanding that the social, emotional and cognitive dimensions of learning are mutually reinforcing rather than distinct.

The Forum of Youth Investment’s CEO and co-founder Karen Pittman served as a Commissioner and led the Youth Development Work Group, convened to ensure that the critical perspective of the youth development sector is reflected in the recommendations being put forth by the Commission.

View the full report and its complementary research, practice and policy briefs here.

Join the Weikart Center at the Ready by 21 National Meeting

Registration is open for the 8th annual Ready by 21 National Meeting in Seattle, Washington, on April 23-25, 2019. Every year, the National Meeting brings together hundreds of leaders from around the country who are working to get all young people ready by 21 – for college, work and life. These leaders have dedicated themselves to improving the odds for children and youth through collective impact initiatives, policy alignment and program quality improvement. You’ll hear strategies, research and stories about partnering for better impact, aligning policies, improving program quality and performance, and embracing readiness in the pursuit of equity. Register now!

On Tuesday, April 23, join us for the Equity & SEL Pre-Session, open to network and program leaders working to support environments where young people learn. This workshop, hosted by School’s Out Washington and the Weikart Center, will offer engaging training and conversations around equity and structural racism as a necessary lens to supporting SEL with young people. The full day pre-session will contain two rounds of workshops and a keynote over lunch. Contact Adrienne Bard with any questions,


Collective Impact Learning Lab – Ready by 21 Version: Tools & Techniques for Achieving Results

Join the Forum for Youth Investment in Silver Spring, Md., on March 26-27, 2019 for a practical, hands-on, two-day workshop and coaching session designed for backbone leaders, steering committee members and other partners actively involved in community change efforts focused on children & youth.

The workshop is designed for leaders who are thinking about how the critical tasks of community change management can be staged and sequenced in order to move steadily towards improving outcomes. It is particularly useful for those in the early stages of forming or planning an initiative, or in the process of re-igniting or refreshing their initiative for the next phase of joint work. Special emphasis is given to tools and techniques that help leaders align and connect multiple issues and efforts, identifying areas for joint planning and action.

Find out more and register now.

Capacity Building

Our capacity building trainings, designed to be our most intensive and rewarding experiences, enable youth workers, managers and site leaders to lead professional development workshops and support sites through the quality improvement cycle.

Upcoming Training of Trainers (TOT) –

Youth Work Methods:

Youth Work Management:

Upcoming Coaching for Continuous Improvement (C4CI) –

  • Ann Arbor, Mich.: April 3-4, 2019 – Mark your calendars; registration is coming soon!

If you are interested in attending a capacity building training in the future, fill out this form so we can contact you when opportunities are available.


Developing a Field of Afterschool Leaders

The National Afterschool Association’s AfterSchool Today recently published an article, written by Jocelyn Wiedow, highlighting the variety of ways Sprockets, a longtime partner of the Weikart Center, works to support the development of leaders throughout the network. Sprockets views the development of afterschool leaders as vital to ensuring a strong sustainable field of youth work, elevating a diverse group of leaders that will strengthen the youth work field in Saint Paul.

Read the article here.

Partner Appreciations

Developing a Field of Afterschool Leaders

Congratulations to Dr. Meg Blinkiewicz of the Kalamazoo Youth Development Network (KYDNet), who was recently recognized by state legislators for her outstanding dedication and commitment to out-of-school time work in Kalamazoo County, Michigan. We are inspired by your leadership and commitment to increasing the number of youth who will be college and career ready by 21.

Learn more about KYDNet here.

Look to this new section of Program Quality News to join us in celebrating the achievements of our partners in the field! By sharing the inspiring work being done in out-of-school time settings, we hope to continue strengthening the community of organizations and individuals that are working to change the odds for young people. If you have successes you’d like to share, please email We look forward to celebrating with you!


Detroit Youth Development Resource Center

  • Improvement and Impact Manager

The Improvement and Impact Manager will manage YDRC’s portfolio of youth development program providers participating in the Acting with Data Learning Community, where providers measure and improve quality and impact on youth outcomes with best-in-class data tools and workshops. Learn more about this position.

Ignite Afterschool

  • Strategy Manager: Continuous Improvement & Data

The Strategy Manager for Continuous Improvement & Data will coordinate state and city-level data collection, analysis, and interpretation activities at the network level that support both Ignite and Sprockets. This full-time position will be an employee of Ignite Afterschool and Sprockets.