Ready News: October 4, 2021

New Learning Heroes Research on Out-of-School Time

Learning Heroes, a nonprofit focused on helping families support their children, recently released a playbook to help educators, out-of-school time (OST) providers, and advocates communicate about the value of extracurricular activities in a child’s development. The playbook is informed by research focused on better understanding parents’, teachers’, and out-of-school time providers’ perceptions of the role extracurricular activities play in children’s social, emotional, and academic development. This toolkit offers a series of research-based infographics and content for people to share on social media and is available in English and Spanish. This playbook was created with support from The Wallace Foundation.

Read the playbook.

Return to School Guide: New Resources from the Field

Every Hour Counts, a coalition of citywide organizations that increases access to quality learning opportunities, has developed the “Return to School Guide”, a collection of resources that emerged from the field’s collective pivot to ensure that the transition back to school this fall met the needs of young people, their families, and their communities.

These resources reflect the responsiveness of Every Hour Counts’ network and other national organizations and demonstrate how afterschool systems are primed to support young people and their persistence amidst missed learning and enrichment opportunities.

The guide showcases 45 resources, including three from the Forum for Youth Investment, and will continue to grow as more resources are collected that can help afterschool intermediaries, providers, educators, families, and community leaders ensure that young people are set up to thrive this school year and beyond—in spite of the shared trauma experienced in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and escalated racial violence and reckoning.

Review the guide.

School’s Out Washington Presents the 19th Annual Bridge Conference

Virtual Convening
October 26-29, 2021 

School’s Out Washington’s annual Bridge Conference brings together school-age care providers, youth development professionals, leaders, community organizers, funders, and policy makers from across the country.

Attendees hear from thought-provoking presenters and learn new strategies to build strong programs and equitable systems for young people, in and out of school. Reflected in all aspects of the Bridge Conference are the values of equity, belonging, leadership, nourishment, change, innovation, and community. Attendees and presenters represent the diverse communities of Washington state and beyond. The event is designed to celebrate, influence, and learn in community with the expanded learning field.

Learn more.

A Deeper Look at the Partnerships for Social Emotional Learning Initiative

The Wallace Foundation’s Partnerships for Social Emotional Learning Initiative (PSELI) is a comprehensive, multiyear initiative exploring whether and how children can benefit from intentional partnerships between schools and out-of-school time programs focused on building social and emotional skills – and what it takes to do the work. Research has found these competencies promote success in school, career, and life.

Early in 2021, the Wallace Foundation conducted a podcast series to share findings and early lessons from a RAND Corporation study of the PSELI initiative. The series featured in-depth conversations with practitioners in schools and afterschool programs, and leaders in districts and out-of-school time intermediary organizations, about their experiences working together to help children develop social and emotional skills.

To continue this rich conversation, Forum Co-founder and Senior Fellow Karen Pittman spoke with representatives from four of the communities featured in the podcast – Dallas, Denver, Palm Beach County and Tulsa – at the Ready by 21 National Meeting this spring. These district and out-of-school-time leaders shared what they have learned about partnering across school and out-of-school time settings and how all adults can be engaged in supporting young people’s social and emotional learning and development.

Read the discussion.

Partnering with Families on SEL

This fall, schools are not just welcoming back students—they are also welcoming families and caregivers. Families are critical partners for SEL. As students’ first teachers, they bring expertise about young people’s strengths, needs, and cultural backgrounds, and what they’ve experienced during the pandemic. Now, more than ever, schools and families will need to work together to make sure all students have opportunities to learn and thrive.

Schools and families both agree on the importance of students’ social, emotional, and academic learning—but they might use different language to talk about SEL. To help with that communication, CASEL and The Allstate Foundation have launched a new campaign, Our Children Are Leaders. The free resources can help families learn more about SEL and start conversations with their children to reflect on their sense of purpose and social and emotional strengths.

Explore the campaign resources.