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Ready News: March 15, 2012

Ready News
March 15, 2012

Improve Quality, Achieve Collective Impact, Create Balanced Goals


Quality Improvement Comes in Smaller Packages
One of the most trusted names in improving the quality of youth programs is making it easier for providers to assess and improve their youth development work. The David P. Weikart Center for Youth Program Quality (a division of the Forum for Youth Investment) has divided its Youth Program Quality Intervention into packages for providers to carry out in stages, either on their own or with assistance. The system is implemented by dozens of programs in 27 states, including YMCAs, Camp Fire councils and school districts. Find out more.

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

March 27, 2012, 3 p.m. 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 be 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. 

Dashboards for Youth


This classic Ready by 21 publication outlines a variety of ways that 'dashboards'-simple two- dimensional visuals - can illustrate the width and breadth of goals for children and youth, including the ability to assess whether they cover the range of ages, outcomes and approaches (prevention, intervention, promotion, etc.).

These dashboards offer a starting point for states, localities and organizations as they improve their policies and programs to better prepare young people for adulthood.

(Registration Required)



New Tools Gauge Social Service Quality
Social service providers have a new way to help make their programs more effective. Urban Institute, Child Trends and Social Solutions have teamed up to create PerformWell, which provides information and tools to measure program quality and outcomes. The collaborators say the site "leverages research-based findings that have been synthesized and simplified by experts in the field."

Job Training for Disconnected Youth
Looking for examples of how businesses can lead disconnected youth to careers? Look at Expeditors, a Fortune 500 company whose Opportunity Knocks program recruits and supports disconnected youth so they can get training in a professional environment - training they can leverage for future success. The program has helped 25 disconnected youth at sites around the country and plans to add 75 positions this year. Corporate Voices for Working Families, a Ready by 21 National Partner, explains the approach in in this two-page case study. 

A Common Quality Rating System Explained 
Anyone who runs a child care program is more and more likely to be subject to a Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS), which more and more states are using to assess and improve the quality of child care programs. How do those systems work? For this report, the National Women's Law Center and the Center for Law and Social Policy interviewed 48 child care center directors from nine states about their experiences with QRIS, getting perspectives on what works and what can be improved.

The Youth Program Quality Assessment tool, developed by the Forum's David P. Weikart Center for Youth Program Quality, is used as part of the QRIS in Arkansas and will be used in Vermont's system as well.  

Saving Money for College Access 
While financial aid helps many students attend college, many others don't even apply because they think that paying for college is out of their reach. In Overcoming Obstacles to College Attendance and Degree Completion, the New America Foundation looks at the role of savings in increasing postsecondary access and completion, presents a framework for developing a pro-college savings agenda and recommends policy changes.

Community Schools: A Strategy, Not a Program 
The Children's Aid Society will present this one-hour online discussion about the role of community schools in promoting equity and excellence in education. Vice President Jane Quinn will talk about the society's community schools model and results.
When: March 20, 1 p.m. ET 
Register here.

Use Ready by 21 to Guide Youth Master Plans
The National League of Cities (NLC) invites municipal leaders, city staff and community partners to a free one-hour webinar, "Using Ready by 21 Tools to Guide Youth Master Planning." The webinar will feature officials from two cities that have used Ready by 21 to guide their planning processes - Nashville, Tenn., and Charlottesville, Va. - as well as staff from the Forum for Youth Investment and NLC's Institute for Youth, Education and Families.  

When: March 21, 2:30 p.m. ET

Register at: (Account creation required.) 
Building a College-Going Culture: Lessons from School Leader
The American Association of School Administrators helps school leaders build a college-going culture, use post-secondary outcomes data to drive K-12 school improvement, and disseminate on-the-ground strategies to enhance college and career readiness. In this one-hour webinar, you'll hear from a superintendent about the challenges of building a system that perpetuates college access and success, and from a principal and a curriculum coordinator about how district and school-level leaders are working together and using data to enhance college and career readiness.

When: March 28, 2 p.m. ET
Register here.

Afterschool Conference Wants Your Ideas
What should be discussed at a national conference on out-of-school time? That's what School's Out Washington wants to know, issuing a "Call for Suggestions" for its 10th annual Bridge Conference, to be held in Seattle Oct. 8-9. The organization is looking for ideas from the fields of education, afterschool and youth development. The deadline is March 20.

Explore Family-School-Community Partnerships
The National Education Association will host a webinar to explore its recent study, Family-School-Community Partnerships 2.0, which profiles 16 collaborative programs in 14 states.  The leader of the study will explore the 10 strategies for effective partnerships, and will be joined by leaders and participants in two of the programs.

When: March 29, 4 p.m.
Register here.

Skills for Managing Human Services
"Human Services in Transition: Sustaining Impact in a Changed Economy," provides an opportunity to learn essential skills to be an effective nonprofit human services manager. This institute is run by the National Network for Social Work Managers and is co-sponsored by the National Human Services Assembly, a Ready by 21 National Partner.
When: April 26-27, San Diego

How Research Affects Policy and Practice
The William T. Grant Foundation has issued a Request for Proposals on Understanding the Acquisition, Interpretation, and Use of Research Evidence in Policy and Practice. The grant is designed to increase the understanding of how research evidence is acquired, interpreted and used in policies and practices that affect youth. The awards will range from $100,000 to $600,000 over two to three years. The foundation will consider new studies and add-on studies to existing projects. Go here for more information.

Nutrition in Schools
Action for Healthy Kids has released its School Grants for Healthy Kids opportunities for the 2012-2013 school year. Over 500 schools will be awarded funds that will range from $1,000 to $5,000 (average $2,000), along with in-kind contributions such as nutrition and management expertise. Go here to apply and to register for webinars about the grants.

Building a Grad Nation Summit - March 18-21, Washington, D.C. CEO Karen Pittman appears on a panel about "Collective Impact: Creating and Sustaining Successful Partnerships"; Policy Director Elizabeth Gaines appears on a panel about "Sustaining Youth Initiatives in Tough Economic Times." The summit is hosted by America's Promise Alliance.
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