David P. Weikart Center for Youth Program Quality

empowers youth development leaders to adapt, implement and scale best-in-class, research validated quality improvement systems to advance child and youth development.

Who we are
Communities across the country are building out-of-school-time (OST) systems to respond to public demand for increased access to programs for children and youth afterschool and during the summer. We support communities and networks to build quality improvement systems to ensure that these programs are places where children and youth thrive.

Our training and technical assistance in quality improvement system design, effective performance data and right-stakes accountability have helped OST networks across the country to be successful, scale-able and sustainable. The Weikart Center is a critical part of the Forum for Youth Investment’s overall effort to build leadership capacity to advance readiness and equity.

Our approach

Using an approach grounded in positive youth development research and practice, we support out-of-school time (OST) networks and youth programs to create safe, supportive and productive learning environments for young people. We believe that it must be a youth worker’s job to foster an environment for youth where needs are met, learning is encouraged and young people can thrive.

The Weikart Center assists programs in enhancing the experiences of participating youth in three ways:

  • Establishing quality improvement systems to help youth programs set meaningful improvement goals based on data and enact new practices to achieve these goals.
  • Strengthening intermediary organizations that serve youth program networks to be able to provide ongoing support, training and technical assistance.
  • Designing, piloting and increasing capacity of quality improvement systems to meet  needs using local resources.

Our History

Both the Forum’s overall approach to youth development and the Weikart Center’s approach to quality improvement are grounded in work that began in 1963 at the HighScope Summer Camp, later called the Institute for IDEAS. Karen Pittman, The Forum’s CEO, was one of the original camp counselors trained by David Weikart and later became a board member. Charles Smith was the Director of Youth Development at High Scope and became the Weikart Center’s first director. Many other current and former Forum staff, including Joe Bertoletti, Dave Martineau, Laenne Thompson, Alicia Wilson-Ahlstrom, and Nicole Yohalem began their youth development careers at HighScope.

The Weikart Center launched in January 2008 as a joint venture of the Forum for Youth Investment and the HighScope Educational Research Foundation. The Weikart Center formally became a unit of the Forum for Youth Investment in 2010.

Now in its second decade, the Weikart Center is proud to support over 140 networks across North America and the United Kingdom.

Learn more about Dave Weikart and how the Forum carries on his legacy.

Weikart Center Services

  • Leveraging our expertise in youth development research and practice and commitment to continuous improvement, we offer a range of services to support leaders at multiple levels in improving the quality of learning environments for young people. In particular, our services are focused on:

  • Enhancing Youth Programs.

    Lasting quality improvement requires more than just training. That’s why the Weikart Center helps youth programs establish quality improvement systems to support staff. This improvement approach is based on the assess-plan-improve sequence. It begins with assessment in order to build on youth workers’ existing strengths and identify areas to address. Those areas then go into an improvement plan as goals, with clear steps and benchmarks for success. That is followed up with powerful supports for youth leaders to manage improvement, and the high quality Youth Work Methods series of workshops for staff. As a whole, the assess-plan-improve sequence establishes a supportive system for continuous improvement.

  • Strengthening Intermediaries.

    The Weikart Center has partnered with numerous intermediary organizations that serve networks of youth programs, ranging from a handful of local sites to full statewide networks. Intermediaries provide a variety of training and technical assistance services and often are involved in accountability messages, policies, and funding decisions. By providing evidence-based tools, training, and expert consulting, the Weikart Center helps enhance the supports these critical organizations can provide.

  • Taking Quality Improvement to Scale.

    The Weikart Center’s Youth Program Quality Intervention (YPQI) is specifically designed to be effective in large-scale deployments. This is achieved through ramping up stages that enable a network to build local intermediary capacity. The Weikart Center provides comprehensive services for building local capacities—in data collection, training, system building consulting, and technical assistance—to support large-scale systems that operate with fidelity.

Joe Bertoletti
Ph: 734.714.2522
Email: joe@cypq.org

Knowledge Center

SEL PQA: An Overview of Items & Scales
Issue Brief/Policy Paper
Summer Learning Program Quality Intervention: Implications for Policy and Practice
Preparing Children to Thrive: Standards for Social and Emotional Learning Practices in School-Age Settings
Building Citywide Systems For Quality: A Guide and Case Studies For Afterschool Leaders
Quality-Outcomes Study for Seattle Public Schools Summer Programs, 2016 Program Cycle

Changing the odds for young people has never been more important