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Quality Improvement Now Comes in Smaller Packages

System Helps Managers Boost Positive Youth Development

One of the most trusted names in improving the quality of youth programs is making it easier for providers to assess and improve their work.
Information Update
March 13, 2012
 

The David P. Weikart Center for Youth Program Quality has divided its comprehensive assessment and improvement system – which is implemented by scores of programs in 27 states – into packages for providers to carry out in stages, either on their own or with assistance.

The packages are built on the Weikart Center’s Youth Program Quality Intervention (YPQI), a research-based improvement system that covers everything from physical settings to staff training to youth activities. The YPQI is implemented by YMCAs, school districts and afterschool agencies around the country, and has been adapted for nationwide use by Camp Fire USA. Said one Camp Fire director, “This was the very thing I needed to help me gain a deeper appreciation for the work we do, for where and how improvements can be made, and a better understanding of our potential impact on the lives of our youth.”

Now this system is available in stand-alone steps, from a self-assessment starter kit to a full intervention – fulfilling a need expressed by program providers around the country.

“Youth programs need to conduct assessments and improve quality, but finding the right tools and implementing them correctly can be daunting and expensive,” said Weikart Center Director Dr. Charles Smith, Ph.D. “Now providers can choose the tools that meet their immediate needs, and move to the next stage when they’re ready.”

The packages – offered in both boxed sets and a-la-carte – include materials, training guides, access to online training and technology supports, and access to live technical assistance. They can be found at the Weikart Center’s new online store at www.cypq.org.
 
The Weikart Center organized the packages along its Assess-Plan-Improve sequence:

  • ASSESS: The Youth Program Quality Assessment (PQA) tool is a validated instrument designed to evaluate the quality of youth programs and identify staff training needs.  The products under the ASSESS section include the assessment instruments, trainings on how to use the assessment tool, and additional supporting materials.
     
  • PLAN: Data from program self-assessment can be used to set improvement goals tied to the observable measures in the Youth or School-Age PQA. The products under the PLAN section include training on how to use data for improvement and additional supporting materials.IMPROVE: Staff training can provide the support needed for an effective improvement process. The products under the PLAN section include training on how to use data for improvement and additional supporting materials.
     
  • IMPROVE section include training for managers and instructional staff. Live trainings are also available.

To further support the YPQ process, the Weikart Center offers comprehensive technical assistance and coaching services. For more information, contact Joe Bertoletti at 734-714-2522.


The David P. Weikart Center for Youth Program Quality is a division of the Forum for Youth Investment, a nonprofit, nonpartisan action tank dedicated to helping communities and the nation make sure all young people are ready by 21 – ready for college, work and life. 202-207-3333, www.forumfyi.org.

The David P. Weikart Center for Youth Program Quality is dedicated to improving youth experiences in the places where they spend time, particularly in afterschool and other out-of-school environments. It offers training, technical assistance and research services that empower managers to give program quality high priority. 734-961-6900, www.cypq.org.

About the Youth Program Quality Intervention
The Youth Program Quality Intervention is a comprehensive system for improving the quality of youth programs. It begins with training on the use of the Youth Program Quality Assessment (PQA) tool, a validated instrument designed to evaluate the quality of youth programs and identify staff training needs. Programs use the Youth PQA to conduct a self-assessment. Data from the self assessment is used to set improvement goals tied to the observable measures in the PQA. Programs then are supported in reaching those goals and increasing program quality. This ASSESS-PLAN-IMPROVE sequence establishes a supportive system for continuous improvement.

 

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