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Ready News: July 26, 2012

Ready News
July 26, 2012

State Leaders Focus on Improving Youth Services

State Leaders Focus on Improving Youth Services 
State officials from around the country gathered in Washington last week to discuss ways to improve services for young people back home. The two-day Children's Cabinet Symposium brought together officials from 13 states and territories to talk about such issues as evaluating state-funded programs, working across agencies to achieve collective impact, managing data across agencies and getting more flexibility with federal dollars.

"The symposium gave us a unique opportunity to have small-group, substantive discussions with states tackling similar challenges," said Cecile de Jongh, first lady of the U.S. Virgin Islands. She left with "ideas and tools that I will bring home and use to improve the lives of children and youth."

Among the issues discussed:
  • The increasing use of evaluation and evidence to decide what programs to fund, including "pay for performance" strategies and the Results First initiative, which helps states assess the costs and benefits of policy options.
  • Efforts by state agencies to improve their collective impact. One example: Joint budget planning across agencies.
  • How to improve programs through a continuous quality improvement cycle, rather than simply "monitoring" contractors to fulfill basic requirements. (Read about the quality improvement model discussed at the symposium.)
Children's Cabinets are typically made up of the heads of all state government agencies with child- and youth-serving programs. They meet regularly to coordinate services, develop a common set of outcomes and implement plans to foster the well-being of young people in their states. The Children's Cabinet Network, which sponsored the symposium, is managed by the Forum for Youth Investment. Find out more about children's cabinets and the Children's Cabinet Network here.

July 31, 2012, 3 p.m. ET 

Ready by 21 is a set of innovative strategies developed by the Forum for Youth Investment that helps communities improve the odds that all children and youth will be ready for college, work and life. This webinar will guide participants through the essential components of Ready by 21 - the rationale behind Ready by 21, tools and services available to communities and leaders, and the Ready by 21 National Partnership - an unprecedented coalition of organizations representing the government, education, nonprofit, business, research and philanthropy sectors.


Register for this webinar >>    

Opportunities in the Workforce Readiness Pipeline: A Community Engagement Toolkit for Business

This toolkit is designed to assist business and local leaders in developing successful, sustainable partnerships to ensure that more young people in their communities have the highest-quality education and supports they need to be successful today and to build the workforce we will depend on tomorrow.

The toolkit reflects the expertise of United Way Worldwide and the Workforce Strategy Center, content partners in the publication. It offers practical advice and hands-on steps to investing in community improvement. 


Call for Strategies to Improve Outcomes for Disconnected Youth  
The clock is ticking on the latest opportunity to inform the federal government about ways to better serve disconnected youth. As part of the Obama administration's initiative to increase administrative flexibility, the U.S. Department of Education released its "Request for Information on Strategies for Improving Outcomes for Disconnected Youth." The agency is looking for effective practices and strategies to improve outcomes for disconnected youth, and for specific legislative and regulatory barriers that inhibit states and localities as they seek to meet the needs of this population. Submissions are due July 31.

Input through this process will help inform the use of fiscal 2013 funding to support performance pilots to serve disconnected youth. The Forum will submit a response on behalf of the Children's Cabinet Network. In particular, the Forum has worked closely with four states - Colorado, Florida, Iowa, and Nevada - and their respective localities to identify policy barriers and to develop performance pilots.

For more information regarding the Forum's comments or more detailed guidance on how to submit your own, contact Jennifer Ouellette, senior policy associate, at

Promoting 21st Century Skills
What does it mean to promote 21st Century skills among young people? The Partnership for 21st Century Skills - a coalition of education, nonprofit and business leaders - has recognized five states for exemplary efforts to integrate 21st Century skills into their policies, practices and professional development. The 21st Century Education Best Practice Recognition awards go to Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina, Vermont and Wisconsin. Find out more about their activities here.

The Impact of Increased Learning Time
The Center on Education Policy examines the experiences of states, school districts and schools that increased student learning time as part of the federal School Improvement Grant (SIG) program. Increased Learning Time Under Stimulus-Funded School Improvement Grants: High Hopes, Varied Implementation, is part of a series of reports on the implementation of the SIG. Among the findings: Most states repot that increasing learning time is "a key element in improving achievement" in SIG schools.

Health Impact for Communities
The Health Impact Project: Advancing Smarter Policies for Healthier Communities, a collaboration of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The Pew Charitable Trusts, encourages the use of health impact assessments to help decisionmakers identify the potential health effects of proposed policies, projects and programs, and to make recommendations that enhance their health benefits and minimize their adverse effects.

The deadline is Sept. 14. Find out more here.

Strengthening Citywide After-School Opportunities: New Insights, New Tools
The Forum for Youth Investment is partnering with the Wallace Foundation, the National League of Cities and Collaborative for Building After-School Systems to host a free, three-part webinar series to share a new suite of tools commissioned by the foundation. In the first webinar, participants will learn about the importance of intermediaries in Out-of-School Time (OST) systems, and what makes intermediaries effective. It will feature findings from and reactions to the first national survey of OST intermediaries and will offer advice to cities on how to be most effective. The next two sessions in the series will run in September and October.

When: Aug. 16, 1 p.m. ET
Find out more here.

Children's Defense Fund national conference - July 22-25, Cincinnati, Ohio. Bryan Joffe of  the American Association of School Administrators facilitates a Ready by 21-related workshop, joined by leaders carrying out Ready by 21 strategies in Atlanta, Louisville and Northern Kentucky.
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