Ready News: November 16, 2021

It Takes an Ecosystem: Understanding the People, Places and Possibilities of Learning and Development Across Settings

Recent research and initiatives make a strong case for what developmentalists have argued for decades: A young person’s learning and development is shaped in positive and negative ways by the interactions they have with all the adults across all settings in their life. In “It Takes an Ecosystem,” a new volume in the series Current Issues in Out-of-School Time, editors Kim Robinson (The Forum for Youth Investment) and Tom Akiva (University of Pittsburgh School of Education), along with authors from across the spectrum of youth fields expertise, explore what it will take to reshape our systems to support this scientific understanding and build stronger learning and development ecosystems. The book is now available for purchase here.

Please also check out the Changing the Odds Medium page for the launch of a new blog series by the Readiness Projects featuring the book’s authors.

Navigating SEL from the Inside Out: Implications for Out-of-School Time Programs

Webinar Presented by the Afterschool Alliance and Co-Hosted by the Forum for Youth Investment and Every Hour Counts  
November 18, 3:00-4:00 PM ET 

This past summer saw the release of an updated version of the Navigating Social and Emotional Learning from the Inside Out report from the EASEL Lab at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Presented by the Afterschool Alliance and co-hosted with the Forum for Youth Investment and Every Hour Counts, this webinar will dive deep into what the research says around SEL in OST programs with Stephanie Jones, Professor of Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and coauthor of the report. We will discuss the value of SEL in afterschool and identify straightforward, cost-effective strategies for improving SEL in any program.

The webinar will also feature a presentation by Cheryl Hollis, Chief Program Officer of WINGS for Kids, who will provide insights for how to implement the lessons from the report in programs. Join us for a great discussion on how and why afterschool programs around the country are leveraging SEL to help kids recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Welcoming the First Cohort of Opportunity Youth Congressional Liaisons

Blog by Thaddeus Ferber, Executive Vice President, The Forum for Youth Investment 

“Wow,” my young colleague said, his voice echoing off the high marble walls in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. “I didn’t know what to expect when I came here, but now that I have done it, I realize this is what I have wanted to do my whole life: share my story with people who can make a difference.”

I live for these moments, working in partnership with Opportunity Youth United to help Opportunity Youth—young people ages 16 to 24 who are not connected to school or the workforce—meet with their elected officials. Of all the advocacy activities we do, these are the most likely to change hearts, minds, and policies, and have been the most important driver of the Reconnecting Youth Campaign’s greatest successes: securing a cumulative $195 million additional federal funding for Opportunity Youth programs over two years; securing $518 million in the COVID recovery packages; and potentially billions more in the Build Back Better Act making its way through Congress.

Read more.

Putting Data to Work for Young People

Leaders of out-of-school-time systems recognize the need for periodic “pulse checks” to evaluate their efforts and inform improvements. But what exactly should they be measuring, and how? A new measurement framework and companion guidebook offered by Every Hour Counts, “Putting Data to Work for Young People,” provides some answers. The framework, which was piloted by Boston After School & Beyond, Providence After School Alliance, and Sprockets (St. Paul, Minn.) lays out 11 possible outcomes systems may want to track. The framework specifies indicators of progress, the type of data that can be collected, ways to use the findings, and a set of questions to help leaders think through issues of racial equity and inclusion. The accompanying guide, written by researchers from the RAND Corporation, provides nuts-and-bolts information and concrete examples for each outcome.

Explore the framework.

Parents 2021

Learning Heroes Release Event 
December 8, 2:00 PM ET 

On December 8, Learning Heroes will release Parents 2021, their annual nationwide research with K-12 parents, teachers, and, for the first time, principals.

After a year of disrupted learning, this timely research dives deeply into the beliefs and perceptions of these three audiences, their mindsets around school-family partnerships, and the support they need to develop and team up around equitable family engagement practices.

Participants are invited to engage in an interactive conversation to explore questions such as:

  • How will families engage in their children’s education this year?
  • What are families’ top priorities for home-school communications?
  • Where is there alignment between parents, teachers, and principals and where do they differ?
  • What gaps remain in terms of what parents and teachers know about students’ academic performance?
  • Where do we go from here?