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Ready News: June 19, 2017

Ready News
June 19, 2017

Ready News: Karen Pittman Reflects on the Opportunity Youth Movement with YouthBuild CEO John Valverde

June 19th, 2017
News & resources from the Forum and the field about collaborative work to get young people ready by 21.
In a truly moving conversation, the Forum's CEO and co-founder Karen Pittman recently sat down with newly appointed YouthBuild CEO John Valverde and discussed Valverde's personal journey, the importance of trauma-informed support for opportunity youth, and the critical role of love in the YouthBuild work with young people.
Valverde's personal story is one of overcoming incredible odds. After a difficult childhood, Valverde was sentenced to 30 years in prison for shooting his girlfriend's rapist. While serving 16 years of that sentence, he was able to complete his bachelor's and master's degrees, teach college-level courses, develop workforce and vocational skills, and become the first incarcerated person to take the law school admission test in New York.
Valverde readily shares his story and has found that it resonates with the young people and partners that YouthBuild works with.  "From the first moment, I knew that what I did was wrong, but it was a long journey for me to accept full responsibility without rationalization, justification or excuse or blame," he said. "I felt called to perhaps be a face for second chances and a voice for second chances."
The conversation walked through his interviews for the YouthBuild CEO position, where he beat out 124 other candidates in a multi-month, multi-city process. Pittman serves as a board member for YouthBuild and was involved in the selection.
Improving Youth Outcomesyouthsuccess
Ensuring Youth Success in Fairfax County, Virginia
How can a community make sure all its young people are safe, healthy and high achieving? By breaking down traditional boundaries and siloes, and pulling together to plan and deliver high-quality services. Fairfax County school, government and community leaders meet regularly as the Successful Children and Youth Policy Team (SCYPT) to set county-wide goals and priorities.
The SCYPT met in early June, with guidance from the Forum's Elizabeth Gaines, to study several critical issues for children and youth. The group reviewed the most up-to-date county data available. At the conclusion of the retreat, the group selected five issues areas - prenatal health, school readiness, resiliency and mental health, safety and access to services - as priorities for future discussions.
Selecting areas to focus on is important for any coalition or group, and the process should be guided by objective standards, not just the whims and "pet" issues of whoever happens to be in the room. The SCYPT uses the following five criteria, which can easily be adapted to your coalition's work:
  • Alignment with SCYPT's level of influence and scope of work
  • Urgency to address issue
  • Collaboration across partners required
  • Strong political will
  • Potential for positive impact on equity
Social and Emotional LearningSEL
Social and Emotional Learning 'At a Crossroads'
The field of social and emotional learning (SEL) "is at a crossroads," according to the editors of a new issue of the journal The Future of Children. The issue reviews the evidence base for SEL and explores policy questions that educators and out-of-school time leaders are facing.
The authors find that teachers and OST staff need professional development to help children acquire SEL skills. They also urge a greater focus on outcomes at the teacher and classroom level; a focus on skills appropriate to each grade and age; and that measurement should narrow in focus but be broader in context and depth. The issue was funded in part by the Wallace Foundation.
Visit the Wallace Foundation's Knowledge Center for a wealth of additional resources.
Evidence Based Frameworksevidence
The Annie E. Casey Foundation Announces Evidence2Success Request for Proposals
The Annie E. Casey Foundation is seeking proposals from communities interested in implementing Evidence2Success, a framework that brings public system and resident leaders together to improve child well-being. The Foundation will select up to three new sites to join Providence, Rhode Island; Mobile and Selma, Alabama; and Kearns Township in Salt Lake County, Utah, which are already carrying out the framework. Among other eligibility requirements, communities must have a population of at least 100,000 and secure commitments to participate from a wide group of local stakeholders, including residents, elected officials and the school superintendent. 
Collective Impact Policy Alignmentpolicy
Aligning Systems and Policies to Support Multiple Postsecondary Pathways

Monday, June 26, 2017
12:00 - 1:30 p.m. EST
Washington, D.C.
A lack of coordination across policies and insufficient cross-sector alignment has resulted in a disconnect between the education and workforce systems in the United States. This disconnect contributes to gaps in the workforce, as well as a "completion crisis" in postsecondary education, in which a large number of students enter postsecondary education but leave before obtaining a degree or credential.
The American Youth Policy Forum and Jobs for the Future are hosting a forum on Capitol Hill to explore how to align policies and to encourage coordination across systems and sectors to facilitate the creation of multiple pathways to success for all students. Presenters will share evidence-based strategies for aligning systems and policies around student and workforce needs, as well as opportunities within policy at various levels to promote structured and supportive pathways to postsecondary and workforce credential attainment.
The Forum for Youth Investment, The Cady-Lee House, 7064 Eastern Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20012
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