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Ready News: March 1, 2012

Ready News
March 2, 2012

Improving Program Quality, Setting Goals and Coordinating Data


What Does it Take to Measure Program Quality?
One of the largest youth-serving organizations in Washington state recently took on a comprehensive, organization-wide evaluation of quality at all points where staff and youth interact - and the results are enlightening. A case study details the experience of the YMCA of Greater Seattle in carrying out the Youth Program Quality Intervention (YPQI), an evidence-based continuous improvement model designed to strengthen the skills of staff and the quality of services in afterschool and youth development programs.
A new summary of that study looks at the goals, successes and challenges of the five-step YPQI process - lessons that can be applied to out-of-school time programs everywhere.

Ready by 21 Webinar
Establishing a Balanced Set of Goals: Guiding the Way

March 27, 2012, 3 PM ET 

Conceiving goals and indicators is easy. The challenge is getting community leaders to agree on goals and indicators that cover all young people of all age groups, in all aspects of their lives - from education and health to interpersonal skills and job readiness. You'll get introduced to activities for building agreement and hear about potential indicators for goals across developmental years and the range of outcomes, as developed by the Forum and Child Trends. 

Austin, Texas: Coordinating Data about Services to Drive Change

This is a story about how a community built a state-of-the-art online tool to map and track youth services. Community leaders in Austin are using this tool to improve services and make them more accessible to families in need. The Ready by 21 set of strategies, tools and technical assistance helped Austin leaders create and use the tool to enable all youth to be ready for college, work and life.



Search Institute has unveiled a new resource for parents and for organizations that want to engage parents with positive advice and resources. Starting this month,, Search Institute's parenting site, will host free monthly webinars on a range of issues facing parents.
Experts such as professors, authors and youth workers will address topics like bullying and body image. Attendees can ask questions, and recorded versions of the webinars will be archived for later use.

The first topic: Good Girls Don't Get Fat: How Parents Can Help Daughters Thrive in Superficial World. Search Institute is a Ready by 21 National Partner.

College Students Boost Fellow Students' Success
The concept of using peer leaders to help struggling students is gaining popularity - and now that concept has more research to back it up. In Leading by Example, the research firm MDRC describes lessons learned from a case study of two community colleges that employed academically successful students to serve as peer leaders for students in need of extra support.

Remember Who Attends Community College
Will the growing popularity of community colleges crowd out needy students? This issue brief from the American Association of Community Colleges - Why Access Matters: The Community College Student Body - reviews the variety of students who are drawn to and served by community colleges, stressing that "it is important to remember just whom community colleges serve."

More Kids in High-Poverty Communities
The number of children living in areas of "concentrated poverty" has grown 25 percent since 2000, according to newly available national, state and city data from the Annie E. Casey Foundation's KIDSCOUNT project. The KIDSCOUNT Data Snapshot on Children Living in High-Poverty Communities shows how high-poverty communities harm children, outlines where concentrated poverty has grown the most and offers recommendations to address these issues.

Afterschool Meals
With support from the Walmart Foundation, the National League of City's Institute for Youth, Education and Families will partner with the Food Research and Action Center to help cities reduce child hunger and supplement funding for out-of-school time programs by increasing participation in the federal Afterschool Meal Program. See details and the application here.

Biennial Meeting - March 8-10, Vancouver, Canada.  
Nicole Yohalem, the Forum for Youth Investment's director of special projects, serves on a panel about Linking Research with the Practice of Youth Development. 
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Are you doing great work in your community? Have you used the Ready by 21 Tools to achieve success? Let us know by sharing your story on the Leader Network. It could be featured on the website and this newsletter!



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