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Ready News: August 16, 2012

Ready News
August 16, 2012

What Expanded Learning Means, Youth Voice in Policy, Race to the Top Funds


Expanded Learning Requires Expanded Thinking
The renewed movement for expanded learning time offers us an opportunity to do things differently in a way that will really help kids.

That is the message that's driven home in a recent interview that the FrameWorks Institute conducted with Karen Pittman, CEO and co-founder of the Forum for Youth Investment. The conversation is part of FrameWorks' efforts to find and shape the answers to an important question: "How do people think about education?" That research pays special attention to issues such as learning, assessment, outcome disparities, the structures of the education system, interventions to improve that system, and the collective benefits of education.

Read portions of that interview, in which Karen stresses that we need to think about learning in its more intrinsic form, not as something that happens primarily in structures such as schools.

Ready by 21 Webinar Series 
Leading the Leaders: What It Takes to Build an Overarching Leadership Council

With various people and organizations playing unique roles in your community - focusing on particular issues, populations and geographic areas - someone needs to keep an eye on the big picture, connect the work of those groups and make sure there are no gaps. That's why every successful Ready by 21 state and community has an overarching leadership council.

In this webinar, you'll hear how the Forum has worked with states and communities to establish effective leadership councils. We'll explore best practices to help you in forming and sustaining your leadership council, including a hands-on self-assessment tool.

Host: The Forum for Youth Investment
When: Aug. 28, 3 p.m. ET
Register here. 

Broader Partnerships Toolkit

Through years of working with all sorts of partnerships at the state and local level, the Ready by 21 National Partnership has seen complications stem from politics, programmatic differences, uneven commitments and geographic boundaries, just to name a few. We've helped partnerships overcome those impediments through the power of their united efforts. Based on those lessons, the Forum for Youth Investment has developed three standards for building and maintaining broader partnerships:
  • Build an overarching leadership council 
  • Align and strengthen coalitions, commissions and intermediaries  
  • Engage key stakeholders in setting priorities and solving problems

(Leader Network Registration Required)


An Expanded Role for Youth in Federal Policy?
It's not often that you hear, "The latest indicators from Washington are looking up," but that's how it appears for those working to create a strong and consistent youth voice in federal policymaking. Forum Vice President Thaddeus Ferber has been among the leaders of that effort for years, and his new blog looks at progress in the campaign to give young people a meaningful voice in government.

Boosting Job Skills and Job Prospects       
Anyone looking to boost the job skills and employment opportunities for young people can learn a lot from a new book about Year Up, the program that offers training, mentoring internships and employment connections to low-income young people.

A Year Up: How a Pioneering Program Teaches Young Adults, by Year Up founder and CEO Gerald Chertavian, is getting lots of media play. Chertavian describes the issue of unemployment among youth ages 16-24 not as an achievement gap, but rather as an opportunity gap. Listen to his recent NPR interview here.

Further reading: Karen Pittman's blog on how we can help all youth be "ready, willing and able."

The Pipeline to Prison, Illustrated
A new infographic by Community Coalition helps to show how inadequate supports in school and foster care can steer young people into the criminal justice system. The coalition contends that the education and foster care systems create a pipeline to prison for many youth by failing to effectively connect them to supports such as continuing education, job training and the labor market. See a short summary and a link to the image here.

Time to Race to the Top
The 2012 Race to the Top-District competition is underway - and communities carrying out Ready by 21 strategies are in strong position, because it gives competitive priority to education improvement efforts that focus on "results, resource alignment and integrated services."

The U.S. Department of Education has finalized and posted the application for the competition, which will provide nearly $400 million to support school districts in implementing local reforms to personalize learning, close achievement gaps and use 21st century tools that prepare each student for college and careers. Ready by 21 sites which operate across district lines take note: Consortia of districts can apply together. See the recommendations the Forum submitted to help inform the Department of Education's approach.

Over the following weeks the Forum will provide tools and information to help you think about how you can fit into the Race to the Top initiative.

Deadline: Aug. 30 for intent to apply, Oct. 30 for applications.

Find more information here.

Achieving Collective Impact: How Partnerships Change Community Outcomes
People working to create lasting, community-wide change have a new opportunity for learning the best strategies: The Forum for Youth Investment and United Way Worldwide are presenting a three-day institute designed to accelerate the work of collaborative partnerships.

Achieving Collective Impact: How Partnerships Change Community Outcomes is built around the 10 key steps to achieving measureable outcomes, such as problem analysis, intervention design, implementation, evaluation and improvement. Participants will learn how to take a big picture approach to tackle underlying issues in their communities. See what action planning looks like when many organizations share responsibility for results.

When: Sept. 11-13
Where: United Way Worldwide, Alexandria, Va.
Find out more and register here.

Strengthening Citywide After-School Opportunities: New Insights, New Tools
Looking to implement a management information system for afterschool or summer but don't know where to begin or what questions to ask? This session introduces National League of Cities' (NLC) new in-depth report comparing major data systems vendors and offers guidance from The Wallace Foundation's recently released data tip sheets. Representatives from leading cities will be on hand to answer questions and advise on how to replicate successful strategies from around the country.

This is the second in a free, three-part webinar series - brought to you by The Forum for Youth Investment in partnership with the Wallace Foundation, the NLC and Collaborative for Building After-School Systems - to share a new suite of tools commissioned by the foundation.

When: Sept. 18, 1 p.m. ET
Register here.

The Bridge From School to Afterschool and Back
The 10th Annual Bridge Conference brings together afterschool and youth development professionals, school leaders, funders, researchers, policymakers, trainers/coaches and business leaders from across the country. The conference focuses on research, cutting-edge resources and strategies for strengthening services. This year's theme is Empower Youth Voices.

The David P. Weikart Center for Youth Program Quality will play a prominent role: Staff will facilitate sessions about improving program quality, and Executive Director Charles Smith will deliver a keynote address.

Host: School's Out Washington
When: Oct. 8-9, Seattle   
Find out more here.

Lights On Afterschool
On Oct. 18, more than 1 million people will gather at some 7,500 sites across the country and at U.S. military bases worldwide to support the afterschool programs that help working families, keep kids safe and inspire them to learn.  Find out more, including how to register and how to plan an event, at Lights On Afterschool.
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