Ready News: July 27, 2021

2021 Ready by 21 National Meeting Content Now Available

In May 2021 over 450 people from around the country convened virtually to participate in the Ready by 21 National Meeting. Through plenary sessions, workshops, and social opportunities they had the opportunity to see and hear from state and local partnerships; refine the way they think and talk about their own work; network with leaders from across the country; and find new ways to act and coordinate in response to the toughest challenges.

If you missed this year’s Ready by 21 National Meeting & want to review some of the impactful sessions we experienced virtually, recordings and resources from the two days of convenings are now available on our website.

Access the conference materials.

Putting Data to Work for Young People: New Resources

What kinds of outcomes should out-of-school system leaders think about measuring, and how? Every Hour Counts, a national coalition of citywide organizations that increases access to quality learning opportunities, particularly for underserved students, provides some answers to that question in its new measurement framework and companion guidebook, Putting Data to Work for Young People: A Guidebook for the Every Hour Counts Framework for Measurement, Continuous Improvement, and Equitable Systems.

Drawing from research by The RAND Corporation and piloted by three different intermediaries — one each in Boston (Boston After School & Beyond); Providence, R.I. (Providence After School Alliance); and St. Paul (Sprockets) — the new resources can help out-of-school time (OST) system leaders and providers better understand how to gather and analyze data to develop stronger afterschool programs. The framework and accompanying guidebook explore why data is important for OST systems, providing direction on identifying what information to collect, why to collect it, and how to use it. Using a model set of ideal outcomes for the system, program, and youth levels, the framework evaluates ways to measure progress on all three, with a particular focus on using data to advance equity in OST systems.

The measurement framework and guidebook were developed with support from The Wallace Foundation and Charles Stewart Mott Foundation.

Read the guidebook.

Surveys Find Parents Want Bold Changes in Schools — With More Learning Inside and Outside the Classroom

Analysis by Karen Pittman and Linda Darling-Hammond (originally appeared in the 74) 

COVID-19 disruptions gave parents and families unprecedented views into their children’s schools, classes, and teachers, and deepened insights into their children’s learning styles, interests, and challenges. Whatever they thought of their schools before, many parents now have strong opinions about what they want them to provide. They are looking beyond fall reopenings to rethink schooling, and they care about having good choices for interest-driven learning opportunities beyond the classroom.

Two important national parent surveys released in early May shed new light on how to think about the often-used phrase “more and better learning.” Both emphasize the importance of acknowledging that learning happens in families, schools, and communities in complementary ways.

Read more.

Summer Offers Opportunity to Bridge Gap in Academic and Social Emotional Learning

Blog by Aaron P. Dworkin, National Summer Learning Association, and Marlyn Torres, New York Life Foundation (originally appeared in Youth Today) 

As America’s education system and economy recover from COVID-19, communities everywhere are turning to summer learning for hope and inspiration in preparing students for the school year ahead. Thanks to a $30 billion federal investment through the American Rescue Plan, thousands of school districts, non-profit organizations, and government agencies have turbo-charged efforts to expand access to summer programs that accelerate learning, address social emotional needs and ultimately, rekindle the joy of summer for millions of students.

From working with a legion of summer and afterschool program leaders and grantees in the field, we hear two questions most often. “How can we ensure these new investments and programs reach the students who need them most?” and “How can we ensure youth continue to receive high-quality summer learning experiences even after the emergency funding runs out?

These are the two questions policymakers, educators, and families would be wise to remember and articulate why summer learning programs are unique, impactful, and well-positioned to respond to the diverse needs of children and youth at this moment.

Read the blog.

Join Our Growing Team!!

It’s an exciting time at the Forum and we’d love for you to join us! We are always looking for emerging superstars and proven dynamic leaders who are fun to be around, have an insatiable desire to grow and learn, and are passionate about changing the odds that all young people are ready for college, work, and life. Please review the following opening, and if interested, send us your resume and cover letter.

Research & Evaluation Specialist