Ready News: August 7, 2020

Disruption Creates Opportunity: We Must Do Better Together

Blog by Karen Pittman and the Readiness Projects Partners

Every aspect of community life has been disrupted, from the economy to the family. Disruptions on multiple fronts have wreaked havoc with young people’s rhythms, relationships, and responsibilities. Coordinated responses are desperately needed, especially among the people, places, and spaces where young people spend their time.

Our teams have reviewed dozens of district re-opening plans and expert guidance and we see two important themes:

  • An acknowledgement that experiences and relationships drive learning. This is a basic takeaway of the science of learning and development. When learning is all or partially happening virtually, relationships are different and need to be augmented for children and youth to succeed and thrive. There’s a fundamental equity issue here: with school buildings closed, youth in low-income communities are even more disconnected from the supports and services they need. This calls for more adults from families, afterschool programs, and community partners to connect, support, and advocate for youth.
  • An expressed desire from schools and districts (and sometimes funding requirements) to “partner with families and community.” We all know, however, that eloquent language is often followed up with limited execution, sometimes for valid reasons. The missed opportunities for school/community partnership were masked when school was in full swing eight hours a day, five days a week, ten months a year. Now partnership is an imperative. Community partners have assets – buildings, staff, experience, connections – that are making a difference and can be put to better use.

Read more.



Supporting Quality Learning Experiences in Virtual OST

Free Webinar
Thursday, August 13
1:00-2:00 PM EDT

Join a discussion about program quality in virtual summer and afterschool programs with three leading national organizations in the quality improvement, coaching, and measurement space. Questions include:

  • How does quality differ in-person and online using established dimensions?
  • Do all dimensions matter equally; are new ones needed?
  • How should we account for stress in both students and staff?
  • Can the frameworks support planning virtual environments? If so, how?

Take advantage of the collective knowledge of three organizations that are leading efforts to support high quality virtual youth programs through continuous improvement approaches.

Panelists include:

  • Gil Noam, director of The PEAR Institute
  • Georgia Hall, director of the National Institute on Out-of-School Time (NIOST)
  • Kim Robinson, managing director of the David P. Weikart Center for Youth Program Quality and executive vice president of the Forum for Youth Investment

Register now.


2020 KIDS COUNT Data Book Now Available

The 31st edition of the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s KIDS COUNT® Data Book describes how children across the United States were faring before the coronavirus pandemic began.

This year’s publication continues to deliver the Foundation’s annual state rankings and the latest available data on child well-being based on the latest available data for 16 key indicators. It also identifies multi-year trends – comparing statistics from 2010 to 2018 – the latest year of data available. As always, policymakers, researchers, and advocates can continue using this information to help shape their work and build a stronger future for children, families, and communities.

Data over a recent period of eight or so years reveal encouraging trends in child well-being nationally, with improvements documented in 11 out of the 16 indicators. In 2018, more parents were economically secure and lived without a high housing cost burden. In addition, more teens graduated from high school and delayed childbearing and children’s health insurance coverage continued to be something to celebrate.

Explore the data book.



Karen Pittman Explores the Science of Learning and Development in the COVID-19 Era

With so much uncertainty and so little time to reflect, young people across the country- and the adults who care for them- are asking: how can I make meaning of the COVID crisis? To help answer this question, the Science of Learning & Development Alliance has interviewed education leaders to learn how this science can be used to navigate this pandemic and its implications for young people, their communities, and the systems that surround them.

The Forum’s president and CEO Karen Pittman was recently highlighted in a discussion on how to equip young people with the right set of skills to succeed.

An excerpt:

Q: What’s one piece of concrete advice drawing from the science of learning and development that you would elevate for every educator or other adult supporting young people?

Karen: My advice is to start with relationships, and understand that developmental relationships are more than just caring. It starts with caring, but it really moves through to make sure that young people are cared for and feel that they have a connection. It moves into making sure that young people have a sense of agency, that we’re sharing power with them, that we are really helping them think about how to be challenged and how to grow. But we still have to have the learning component. We still have to have the content. And if you are an adult who is not an official teacher, there is still content that can be delivered. It is important to support them.

Read the interview.

Visit the Making Meaning series page.



Afterschool Alliance Releases Guidance for Reopening Programs

As communities and states begin to emerge from lockdowns, afterschool and summer learning programs are developing plans to welcome youth back through their doors. There are significant considerations programs need to undertake in order to successfully and safely reopen. To help afterschool and summer learning programs through this process, the Afterschool Alliance has curated a number of resources, guides, and examples to help develop a plan to safely care for children and youth.

Explore these resources.

A key tool for reopening programs is A School Year Like No Other Demands a New Learning Day: A Blueprint for How Afterschool Programs & Community Partners Can Help. The Forum recently signed on to a statement of support for this blueprint.