Ready News: January 24, 2022

Young People Facing Challenges Need Schools & Services to Work Together to Support and Nurture Them as They Build Their Futures

Blog by Mishaela Durán, President & CEO 
This piece is featured in the 1/24 The 74 Newsletter 

When I first saw West Side Story, one moment brought me back to my high school principal’s office. The Jets were singing, “We ain’t no delinquents, we’re misunderstood. Deep down inside us there is good!”

I could have said the same thing when my principal was suspending me for truancy. He told me I would never amount to anything.

But he never understood why I missed school. I had to be at home to care for my younger brothers when my mother was hospitalized for her lifelong mental illness and my father was working at his job in construction.

And in the same way the Jets sang about Officer Krupke behind his back, I could never tell my principal that to his face.

While a lot has changed since Stephen Sondheim wrote those lyrics almost 60 years ago, too often police, school officials and even professionals dedicated to serving young people don’t understand that most teenagers are trying to be their best selves even under the most trying circumstances.

Read more on The 74.

Strengthen Programs & Practices with Weikart Center Workshops

The Forum’s Weikart Center for Youth Program Quality partners with networks of youth programs to implement evidence-based quality improvement and accountability systems. To help build local capacity, the Weikart Center regularly offers trainings that prepare participants to lead their quality improvement process.

Upcoming opportunities include:

  • SEL PQA External Assessor Reliability Training on January 31-February 4
  • Program Quality Assessment (PQA) Basics for the Youth & School-Age PQAs on February 7-8, 2022
  • Youth PQA External Assessor Reliability Training on February 21-25
  • SEL Essentials on February 25
  • School-Age PQA External Assessor Reliability Training on February 28-March 4
  • SEL PQA External Assessor Reliability Training, March 14-18

Learn more and sign up for future events.

The Forum is Hiring

The Forum continues to grow and we have a number of exciting career opportunities available. We are currently seeking an Executive Vice President, Cross-System Consulting, who will lead cross-sector, cross-system coalition-building with and strategic consultation to state and local jurisdictions. The person taking on this position will be a keen strategist and skilled tactician with a deep commitment to racial and social equity and expertise in providing consultation to state and local leaders across sectors and systems as they work together to improve outcomes for youth through data analyses, problem identification, systems change reforms, strategy development and implementation, and new initiative thrusts or pivots.

Learn more about this role and other openings.

January Making the Invisible Visible Discussion: Stories of Belonging: Strengthening Our Ecosystems Approach to Learning & Development

Webinar by the Readiness Projects 
January 25, 2022, 12:30-2:00 PM ET 

The charge to understand and lift up belonging is rooted in ideas formulated at j. powell’s Othering & Belonging Institute based on the simple idea that belonging is not just how we treat each other, but also about how we organize our economy, structures, schools, and community spaces so that everyone, with their diverse identities and histories, belongs.

In this Making the Invisible Visible session, presenters will share three stories from the Equitable Ecosystems for Youth & Young Adults working group that demonstrate the powerful impacts of othering and belonging across multiple systems within the learning and development ecosystem – schools, child welfare, and juvenile justice. In grapple groups, participants will be invited to explore how these stories can be used to guide thinking and action to ensure all adults in all settings are contributing to belonging for each and every young person.

Why Afterschool Programs Need Social and Emotional Learning Now

Wallace Foundation Blog 

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, educators around the country are seeing an increasing need to support young people who may be struggling with anxiety, depression, fear, trauma, food insecurity or even homelessness. And nearly two-thirds of parents feel that their children’s social and emotional development has been affected by the pandemic, according to research from the EASEL Lab at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Social and emotional learning (SEL) strategies can support young people as they cope with and recover from the pandemic, but the classroom is not the only setting to engage students in SEL. Afterschool and summer learning programs also can provide unique opportunities to help young people develop their social and emotional skills, behaviors and beliefs, which can help kids manage the challenges they have faced over the past two years.

A recent webinar jointly hosted by The Afterschool Alliance, Every Hour Counts, and the Forum for Youth Investment explores how afterschool programs around the country have employed SEL strategies to help kids focus their thinking, manage their behavior, and understand and deal with feelings, particularly as they continue to face the uncertainty caused by COVID-19.

Read more.