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Ready News: January 17, 2013

Ready News
January 17, 2013

Stories about Change, Congress Acts for Foster Youth


Report Celebrates Efforts to Help Young People
Whether you work on community collaborations, youth programs or youth policies, your efforts are represented in the Forum for Youth Investment's 2012 Annual Report. The report is built on stories about people throughout the nation working on fundamental changes to improve the odds for children and youth: stories about leaders aligning coalitions and sharing data in Atlanta, Ga.; breaking down barriers between government agencies in Clark County, Nev.; using data to expand and improve youth programs in Richmond, Va., and Northern Kentucky; building a youth cabinet in Minnesota; building youths' assets in Asheville, N.C.; and more.

In addition, Forum Co-founders Karen Pittman and Merita Irby write about the challenge of carrying out effective collective impact initiatives for children and youth, and provide a glimpse of new services and supports that the Forum will provide in 2013.

The Ready by 21 National Meeting
March 11 - 13, 2013
The Ready by 21 National Meeting will bring together hundreds of leaders from around the country who are working toward the same goal: Getting all young people ready by 21 for college, work and life.

The National Meeting will include a variety of session types and formats, from keynote speakers and plenary panels to small group discussions and peer learning circles. You will be able to connect with other leaders from around the country, as well as from similar professions and sectors, to strengthen your networks, apply learning and create solutions.

Dick Gephardt explains why the Ready by 21 approach "really works - not just in theory, but in practice."


Law Eases Path to Diplomas for Foster Youth
Many foster youth are one step closer to a high school diploma thanks to a new federal law that eases the way for collaboration between government agencies. The Uninterrupted Scholars Act, signed by President Obama on Jan. 14, lets child welfare caseworkers access the academic records of the youth with whom they work. The bill does that by amending the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), which many state officials cite as a major barrier when trying to serve disconnected youth.
Historically, caseworkers have had to go through the onerous process of getting a court order to access youths' academic records (often because the youths don't reside with their legal guardians, who do have access). This component of FERPA, intended to protect students' privacy, often resulted in young people losing academic credit and repeating courses because they could not produce their school records.
One champion of the new law was the Florida Children and Youth Cabinet, a member of the Children's Cabinet Network; its members met last year with U.S. Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.), who led the charge for the act. "This new law represents a victory for all who seek to improve outcomes for disconnected youth," said Elizabeth Gaines, policy director at the Forum. See this Washington Post story about the legislation.

Youth Inaugural Address - Video
With the presidential inauguration days away, what issues do young people think the president and Congress should focus on for the next four years? A new video project provides answers from children and youth across the country, coupled with ways to take action and add your voice to the mix (no matter how old you are).

The project was created by the Children's Leadership Council, the nation's largest coalition of child and youth advocacy organizations, with youth engagement and production spearheaded by SparkAction, the Forum's online journalism and advocacy website. See the videos, then use the tools to track how well the government responds to the concerns, at

Vote for Youth-Serving Nonprofits
There's a new way for youth service providers to get something from their supporters besides money: votes. The Microsoft Give For Youth Challenge asks people to nominate and vote for nonprofits that support young people around the United States. The top 20 vote-getters will have their projects featured on Microsoft's YouthSpark Give For Youth micro-giving site.

School/Community Partnerships that Work
What makes for a successful partnership between schools, families and communities? The Harvard Family Research Project provides some answers in its new report, Partnerships for Learning: Community Support for Youth Success. The report draws on the experiences of national organizations and selected community schools that have built these learning partnerships, and examines seven essential elements for success.

2012-2013 Christopher Columbus Awards
The Christopher Columbus Awards is a national, community-based STEM competition for middle school students and teachers looking to make a difference in their community. Working in teams, students identify a problem in the community and apply the scientific method to create an innovative solution. Maximum award: $25,000 grant. Eligibility: schools (grades 6-8) and community groups. Deadline: Feb. 4. Find out more here.
AmeriCorps State and National Grant Competitions
AmeriCorps grants, funded by the U.S. Corporation for National and Community Service, are awarded to eligible organizations engaged in evidence-based or evidence-informed (e.g., performance data, research, theory of change) interventions that use AmeriCorps members to strengthen communities. Deadline: Feb. 6. Find out more here.

Better Together: Building Local Systems to Improve Afterschool
This conference will share a growing body of ideas, experiences and lessons from cities across the nation about building local afterschool systems. The conference is sponsored by the Wallace Foundation in collaboration with the Forum for Youth Investment, the American Youth Policy Forum, the Collaborative for Building After-School Sys­tems and the National League of Cities.

Forum staff will facilitate several plenary sessions and workshops, including: Charles Smith, executive director of the Forum's Weikart Center for Youth Program Quality; Nicole Yohalem, director of special projects at the Forum; and Joe Bertoletti, director of field services at the Weikart Center. One key resource will be a guide recently produced by the Forum in partnership with the Wallace Foundation: Building Citywide Systems for Quality: A Guide and Case Studies for Afterschool Leaders.

When & Where: Feb. 21-22, Baltimore, Md.
For more information contact Jennifer Lerner at

National Conference on Education
The annual conference by the American Association of School Administrators (a Ready by 21 National Partner) focuses on four themes: Common Core and its assessments, teacher and principal evaluations, getting students college and career ready, and social media in schools. Jean Walker, co-chair of the Ready by 21 Leadership Council, and Bryan Joffe, director for education and youth development at AASA, will facilitate a workshop about Ready by 21.

When & Where: Feb. 21-23, Los Angeles, Calif.
Find out more here.

Grad Nation Summit
Hundreds of educators, policymakers, business leaders, young people and staff from community organizations will meet at the third annual summit, sponsored by America's Promise (a Ready by 21 National Partner), to combat the dropout crisis.

When & Where: Feb. 24-26, Washington, D.C.
Find out more here.
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