Ready News: October 5, 2020

Back to School: How Are Children’s Cabinets Making a Difference in a Challenging Landscape

Even in the best of times, our systems of government and community supports must “Build Forward Together” to provide equitable structures for working families to provide for themselves financially while their kids are safe, cared for, and learning. Amid the current crisis, our collective ability to meet the diverse needs and circumstances of kids and families will determine whether young people have the opportunity to thrive-not just barely survive-through these difficult times and moving forward.

To achieve these outcomes, coordinating capacity plays an essential role. State and local children’s cabinets powerfully show how coordinating bodies can support positive outcomes for children and youth-especially amid dynamic challenges. By leveraging and cohering people, money, and data across systems and sectors, they help to both get a handle on and meet real-life needs.

A recent blog post outlines 5 key takeaways from a joint dialogue across the State and Local Children’s Cabinet Networks featuring Melissa Rooker, Executive Director of the Kansas Children’s Cabinet & Trust Fund, and Poughkeepsie Children’s Cabinet advisors Rob Watson, Kylynn Grier, and James Watson.

Read more about these takeaways.



The National Summer Learning Project Follow-Up Conversation: A Thought Leader Session

Free Webinar
Tuesday, October 13, 2020
1:00-1:45 PM EDT

Can large, urban school districts successfully run high-quality summer learning programs? If so, how? What impact can these programs have on students? How are these programs working in a time of COVID and social distancing?

The Wallace Foundation, the RAND Corporation, and five urban school districts explored the first three questions as part of the National Summer Learning Project, a six-year effort to provide voluntary, district-led summer programs that offer a mix of academic instruction and enrichment and test whether they help boost students’ success in school.

In December, Karen Pittman sat down with Catherine Augustine from the RAND Corporation and Melanie Claxton with Pittsburgh Public Schools, one of the five communities involved in the project, to explore their engagement with the study and the results and lessons learned. Watch a short excerpt from that conversation.

Since then, we’ve experienced a summer like no other, and Karen will once again speak with Catherine and Melanie to explore how districts have adapted to virtual educational engagement, and what lessons may be applied to virtual or hybrid school environments for the 2020-21 school year.

This conversation is the first webinar in the new Build Forward Together series, part of an initiative of the Readiness Projects that will focus on how to bring coherence to local efforts to rebuild and re-imagine a community’s learning ecosystem.

Register now.


Childcare and COVID-19: How States and Children’s Cabinets are Funding Near-Term Capacity and Planning for Long-Term Needs

As summer 2020 came to a close, the Forum for Youth Investment conducted a COVID Listening Tour to hear lessons and insights from the leaders of state children’s cabinets about how cabinets are navigating the pandemic, their most pressing concerns, and how they see the work ahead. This fall, the Forum will release a short series of briefs highlighting themes and findings from across cabinets.

This first brief in the series focuses on a primary concern shared across cabinets: how to meet kids’ and families’ needs for appropriate school-day care for children as so many schools operate virtually. Importantly, the exacerbated need for childcare during the COVID-19 pandemic amplifies longstanding challenges to equitable access to high-quality childcare, which many cabinets have already been working to confront.

Read more.


Promoting Positive Adolescent Health Behaviors and Outcomes

When it comes to adolescent health, adults-including parents, clinicians, and teachers-often focus on how to prevent teens from taking risks. But a recent report from the Board on Children, Youth, and Families at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine found that healthy risk taking is a normal and necessary part of growing up and becoming independent.

Optimal health is a balance achieved through lifelong trial and error, and taking risks is an important component of that. Rather than discouraging all risk taking, adults who live or work with adolescents should listen to them and openly discuss how to navigate the risks they face.

Read the report and accompanying resources.



Building a Grad Nation

New data show that pre-COVID-19, the nation’s high school graduation rate was at an all-time high-driven by substantial gains over the past decade among low-income, Black, and Hispanic students as well as students with disabilities. These, however, are among the very populations most affected by COVID-19, its disruptions to schooling, and the nation’s on-going struggles with systemic racism. Thus, according to a new report from the GradNation campaign, there is a need for the nation to ‘Meet the Moment’ and find ways to build upon the gains of the past decade by focusing on the states, districts, and high schools where the challenges are the most acute.

Building A Grad Nation 2020: Progress and Challenge in Raising High School Graduation Rates is an annual update by Civic and the Everyone Graduates Center at Johns Hopkins University School of Education in partnership with America’s Promise Alliance and the Alliance for Excellent Education.

You can find the report here.