Ready News: April 6, 2020

Exploring the Intersection of Learning, Thriving, & Equity During Uncertain Times 

The COVID-19 pandemic and response is changing our lives at a rate unimaginable even a few weeks ago. Like many other organizations, the Forum is spending time reflecting on these changes and their meaning for the youth-serving field. We hope to contribute to the dialogue in a unique way that harnesses our over 20-year commitment to changing the odds for children and youth.

In the coming weeks, we’ll be offering our and others’ reflections on several questions, the first of which is: what happens when afterschool is all the time? Below we invite you to read reflections on this question from our President and CEO Karen Pittman.

We’ll also offer 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 Forum invites you to share your questions, concerns, and needs with us. The Forum is 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

What Happens When Out-of-School Time is All the Time? Blog by Karen Pittman

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.

AIR Informs Podcast: COVID-19 Response – Opportunities for Learning & Development in Out-of-School Time

While schools are closed because of the coronavirus pandemic, out-of-school time programs and employees continue to support students and provide child care-especially for parents who can’t work from home-while still complying with local policies and practicing social distancing. About 12 million people across the country are involved in running and supporting such activities.

In the second episode of “AIR Informs,” American Institutes for Research youth development expert Deborah Moroney, Ph.D., shares what parents should know about out-of-school time programs and resources to support students while they’re not in school.

Listen to the podcast.

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.