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Ready News: April 5, 2012

Ready News
April 5, 2012

OST quality Improvement, Sharing Data, Landscape Mapping


The Quest to Improve OST Quality
Education Week takes an intriguing look at the challenge among out-of-school providers "to identify the kind of training staff members need" to meet rising expectations. The story surveys quality improvement efforts around the country, noting that because programs typically have tight budgets, young staff and high staff turnover, "questions remain over how to provide professional development in a cost-effective way."
Among the efforts examined is a Ready by 21 assessment and improvement model: the Youth Program Quality Intervention (YPQI), developed by the Forum's David P. Weikart Center for Youth Program Quality. The article cites Prime Time Palm Beach County, which worked with the Weikart Center to tailor that model for OST providers in Florida, and a new study which found that the YPQI increases quality in afterschool systems. Read a summary of the study and a link to the full report.

Ready by 21 Webinar
Connecting the Dots: Data Sharing in States and Communities to Better Connect Youth Services

April 24, 2012, 3 p.m. ET 

Data sharing: It's an important topic, given the myriad systems that house information about our communities. Whether you are a teacher, service provider, parent or policymaker, aligned and connected data can have a powerful impact on how you work with young people individually and how you help all youth in your community achieve their best outcomes. In this webinar, you'll learn about efforts to align community and state data, and about tools to improve your effectiveness.

Program Landscape Mapping Packet  


Program landscape mapping, comprised of data gathered through a survey or online database, can help your community get a picture of services, supports and opportunities that are available to children and youth in your community. The data can help determine whether access to services differs based on a variety of factors, such as neighborhood or targeted age range, or whether there are disparities among different youth populations (e.g., by race, ethnicity, family income, citizenship status). The program landscape mapping process is an opportunity to re-frame how we look at programming for children and youth.
(Registration Required)



 Measure Youth Outcomes at Camp
How do you show stakeholders and parents that your program boosts skills like independence, responsibility and teamwork? With summer camp season approaching, the American Camp Association (ACA) reminds programs about its Youth Outcomes Battery, which measures such outcomes as affinity for nature, friendship skills and problem-solving.

The ACA also helps to improve the quality of summer camp staff. The Forum's David P. Weikart Center for Youth Program Quality worked with the association to develop a special Camp Program Quality Assessment, which provides "a robust assessment process that can be used under a range of conditions and for a range of purposes." Find out more in this short description.

National Summer Jobs Clearing House Opens
The U.S. Department of Labor recently opened the Summer Jobs Plus Bank: an online resource for young people to find jobs, internships, mentorships and training opportunities. Companies can list summer job opportunities through a three-step process.

The bank is part of the federal Summer Jobs Plus Initiative, which asks businesses, nonprofits and government leaders to come together to provide 250,000 employment opportunities for low-income and disconnected youth this summer. The initiative has been supported by the Forum for Youth Investment along with Ready by 21 National Partners, such as SparkAction, Corporate Voice for Working Families and America's Promise Alliance.

Using Data in Multi-Agency Collaborations
This new report taps Public/Private Ventures' extensive experience evaluating and managing collaborative initiatives to offer practical advice about collecting and using data in a multi-agency environment. Using Data in Multi-Agency Collaborations: Guiding Performance to Ensure Accountability and Improve Programs provides a step-by-step guide to launching a multi-agency data system, making that system work by ensuring that partners collect accurate and complete information, analyzing and acting on data to strengthen programming, and sustaining the data collection system over time.

The report was written in collaboration with Child Trends and was funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation as part of P/PV's evaluation of the Children's Futures initiative.

Special Schools Boost Grad Rates, College Readiness
Small public schools in New York City are closing gaps, increasing graduation rates and improving college readiness for virtually every subgroup, according to an evaluation by the research firm MDRC. See Sustained Positive Effects on Graduation Rates Produced by New York City's Small Public High Schools of Choice.
Dropping Out: Why Students Drop Out of High School and What Can Be Done About It
Webinar hosted by the Alliance for Excellent Education. Featured guests are Russell W. Rumberger, who has researched the dropout problem for 25 years and directs the California Dropout Research Project, and Alliance Vice President Phillip Lovell, who will talk about actions that the federal government can take.

When: April 9, 2-3 p.m. ET
Register here.

2012 United Way Worldwide Community Leaders Conference
The biennial convening of United Way staff and volunteer leaders dedicated to professional development and network building. Details to come.
Workshops include presentations by Forum staff and Ready by 21 practitioners: Embracing Readiness - 20 Questions from Gallup that Spark Community Action; and After the Big Meeting: Managing Collective Actions for Collective Impacts.
Where: Nashville, Tenn.
When: May 2-4

Corporate Voices for Working Families Annual Meeting
This year's theme: Turning the Corner at Full Speed: Exploring the Challenges of the American Workplace.
Where: Washington, D.C.
When: May 9-11
Go here for more information
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