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Ready News: March 21, 2013

Ready News
March 21, 2013

Connecting Research to Practice; Measuring Afterschool Quality


The Research/Practice Connection: A Two-Way Street
Policymakers and practitioners know that understanding the latest research in their fields helps them do their jobs better - but does the same benefit hold true for researchers who understand the policy and practice realities of their fields? Nicole Yohalem says yes. In this new blog for the Society for Research on Adolescence, the Forum's senior director of special projects explains how, "by learning more about the roles, needs, interests and realities of those working in policy and practice, researchers will be better positioned to produce useful research and to work more effectively with practitioners."

From Quality to Outcomes

Tuesday, March 26, 1 p.m. ET
Afterschool providers have long believed that their programs make a difference in the lives of young people. This free webinar uses the QuEST framework for thinking about how individual youths change as a result of OST experiences. Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh, the American Institutes for Research, Public Profit and the Weikart Center will present evidence from several evaluation studies that measure quality and outcomes.  

Register here.

Measuring Youth Program Quality: A Guide to Assessment Tools
This guide compares the purpose, history, structure, methodology, content and technical properties of different program observation tools for afterschool and other youth programs.
It includes descriptions of each tool, along with charts and tables that compare the instruments. Find out more here.
Leaders Build Excitement about Child and Youth Master Plan
Getting community input is a vital element of building a child and youth master plan - and the city of Alexandria, Va., is getting lots. See this short summary of how the city engaged young people and adults in three community meetings about its master plan.

Alternatives Needed for Pathways to Success
More than 400 education, higher education, business, government and workforce development leaders gathered last week for the Creating Pathways to Prosperity Conference at Harvard University.  The conference focused on the urgent need to reposition career and technical pathways as respectable and lucrative alternatives to the traditional four-year college degree, and on the equally urgent need to align academic training with business needs.
Forum CEO Karen Pittman joined Gerald Chertavian, founder and CEO of YearUp, and William "Bill" Green, former chairman and CEO of Accenture, in a spirited discussion about the pathways challenge and how we might scale up efforts. The panel was moderated by David Gergen, former presidential advisor and director of the Kennedy School's Center for Public Leadership.

New Journal Explores Expanded Learning
A new online journal is looking for submissions about expanded learning. The Journal of Expanded Learning Opportunities (JELO) is a peer-reviewed, online, open access publication of the Central Valley Afterschool Foundation. The journal seeks "to promote scholarship and consciousness of the ways in which students' engagement in afterschool and expanded learning activities contributes to their learning and development by publishing original empirical, practical and theoretical manuscripts." Find out more here.
Can Kindergarten Readiness Predict Drop-Outs?
When it comes to making sure every child has the core competencies to succeed in school and later in life, Larry Aber and his colleagues at the Brookings Institution acknowledge the importance of early learning programs - but also argue that it's not too late to help middle school students catch up. Their paper concludes with a discussion of how middle childhood interventions, such as a social emotional learning program or a whole school reform program, might improve short- and long-term outcomes for low-income children.

Program Quality Assessment Supplements
Join this webinar to hear specifics about the Youth Program Quality Assessment - a validated instrument designed to evaluate the quality of youth programs and identify staff training needs - and about how it has been adapted for different settings, including STEM, health and wellness, camp and art.

When: April 4, 1 p.m. ET
Find out more here.

Achieving Collective Impact: How Partnerships Change Community Outcomes
Here's a great opportunity for people working to create lasting, community-wide change: The Forum for Youth Investment and United Way Worldwide will present a three-day learning program designed to accelerate the work of collaborative partnerships.
Achieving Collective Impact: How Partnerships Change Community Outcomes is built around the 10 key steps to achieving measureable outcomes, such as problem analysis, intervention design, implementation, evaluation and improvement. Participants will learn how to take a big picture approach to tackle underlying issues in their communities. See what action planning looks like when many organizations share responsibility for results.
When & Where: May 7-9, United Way Worldwide, Alexandria, Va.
Find out more here.

National AfterSchool Association Annual Convention
Join this comprehensive program of professional development opportunities in April.
The Forum staff especially hope to see you in these sessions in which they are speaking:
Youth Program Quality Scorecard: Leading Indicators for Youth Engagement
Joe Bertoletti, senior manager of field services, David P. Weikart Center for Youth Program Quality
After-School Systems and Collective Impact
Nicole Yohalem, senior director of special projects, The Forum for Youth Investment
Measuring Our Success: Reflections on Choosing Outcomes, Learning to Assess Them, and Understanding Why We Must
Nicole Yohalem and Charles Smith, executive director of the David P. Weikart Center on Youth Program Quality
Boost Program Quality by Connecting to a Community-Wide System
Nicole Yohalem
High Quality STEM Programs: A Framework for Measuring Success
Charles Smith
Closing Plenary
CEO Karen Pittman

When & Where: April 7-10, Indianapolis, Ind.
Find out more here.
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