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Ready News: June 28, 2012

Ready News
June 28, 2012

Afterschool Quality Creates Community Change, Helping Disconnected Youth


Focus on Afterschool Quality Ignites a Youth Assets Movement
Things just aren't the same anymore for kids in afterschool programs around Buncombe County, N.C., where providers have embraced a movement to build the developmental assets that young people need for success. Staffers now enlist youth in choosing and designing activities, and go through training on such things as small group activities and helping kids manage frustration. The kids are trying new things: from designing jewelry and campaigning for a new basketball court to creating skits about bullying and building a greenhouse.

It's all part of a commitment to a continuous improvement model, through which program directors "are seeing an impact on their projects," says Gina Gallo of the United Way of Asheville and Buncombe County. This case study explores the changes.

Read the case study here>>

August 28, 2012, 3 p.m. ET 

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 or community has an overarching leadership council.


In this webinar, you'll hear from a community and a state that recently established a council, and we'll explore best practices in forming and sustaining your leadership council using a hands-on self-assessment tool.


Register for this webinar >>    

Northern Kentucky: Building a Leadership Council

This story shows how community leaders built an overarching leadership council to coordinate and improve youth services. Those leaders used Ready by 21 Strategies to expand the council's scope to include organizations and agencies covering the full range of youth supports, and to get them working toward the same goals.




Speak Up on How to Improve Outcomes for Disconnected Youth
The time to advise the federal government about ways to better serve disconnected youth is drawing to a close. 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 by July 5.

This input 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.

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

Youth Success and Expanded Learning Opportunities
What does the growing interest in expanded learning opportunities mean for the concept of youth success? Nicole Yohalem, the Forum's special projects director, ponders that in a blog where she observes, "As a youth development professional by training and a parent of school-age children, the narrow definition of success that currently drives schooling (grades and standardized test scores) has me worried in a more acute and personal way than ever before."

Nicole's blog is part of the latest episode of Please Speak Freely, a podcast series by Development Without Limits. The podcast features Jane Quinn, vice president and director of the National Center for Community Schools at the Children's Aid Society, discussing the community schools movement and her diverse career in youth work and education. The podcast and blog are here.

Program Quality Center Welcomes New Director
The Forum's nationally renowned center for improving the quality of youth programs has a new managing director. Terri D. Slaughter joins the David P. Weikart Center for Youth Program Quality to carry out her belief that "youth-serving and education-focused organizations must effectively assess and evaluate their programs against their mission in order to best serve their communities."
Slaughter enjoyed five years at the United Negro College Fund, where she served as interim director and senior relationship manager of both Academic Empowerment and Alumni within the Leadership Development Programs team for the Gates Millennium Scholars Program division. Most recently, she founded the Metro Achievement Connection, an education support model that combines experiential out-of-class learning opportunities with proven mentoring strategies. Slaughter also served for more than 10 years in higher education administration.

Search Names CEO
While no one can replace Peter Benson, Search Institute has found a new CEO.

Kent Pekel takes the helm at the Minneapolis-based nonprofit on Aug. 1, succeeding founder Benson, who passed away last year. Pekel is the founding executive director of the University of Minnesota's College Readiness Consortium. He previously served in the Saint Paul Public Schools as chief of staff to the superintendent and executive director of research and development; held several senior staff-level positions in the Clinton administration; and taught at the high school level in Minnesota and at the college level in China. See a brief biography of Pekel here.

How to Communicate about the Dropout Crisis
How can you get more people involved in helping to increase high school graduation rates? Good communication is essential, and this recorded webinar from America's Promise Alliance highlights new research about how to inspire more participation from key audiences.

Creating Authentic School/Community Partnerships 
People working with schools in low-income urban areas know that improving educational outcomes requires strengthening community partnerships. But how? This 14-page discussion paper from Chapin Hall examines the authentic engagement of communities in school and community partnerships. It presents three key ideas for considering authentic engagement: place-based policy, community-based versus institution-based partnerships, and community capacity.

Service-Learning Grants
The State Farm Good Neighbor Student Achievement Grant offers up to $1,500 each for programs that enhance student achievement through service-learning in K-12 public schools. Each grant engages participating teachers and students in a service and learning program that promotes academic achievement, 21st Century student outcomes, and stronger communities. The deadline is July 2.

Promote Youth Engagement to Fight Hunger
The Sodexo Foundation Lead Organizer grant program will select 12 organizations to work with partners to engage at least 600 youth volunteers in learning about and addressing the issue of childhood hunger in their communities. Each lead organization will receive $2,000 as well as travel and lodging expenses for the foundation's Youth Service Institute. The deadline is July 15.

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
Where: Seattle
Registration: Early bird rates apply through July 16. Find details here.
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