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Ready News: March 22, 2012

Ready News
March 22, 2012

Improve afterschool quality, create balanced goals, support high school success


Cycle of Assessments and Improvements Boosts Afterschool Quality
Afterschool programs get better the more they assess themselves and make changes based on those assessments, a new study says. At a time when quality improvement is a priority for the afterschool field, the report says that a cycle of assessing staff practices, planning based on the assessment and targeted training improves the quality of services delivered to young people.
Researchers found that the Youth Program Quality Intervention - a scalable, evidence-based continuous improvement model - increases quality among a wide range of afterschool systems, is sustainable and cost-effective, and might boost staff retention. Read a summary of the study, funded by the William T. Grant Foundation, and a link to the full report. 

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. 

New Mexico Children's Cabinet 2011 Report Card & Budget Report

The New Mexico Children's Cabinet 2011 Report Card & Budget Report has garnered national recognition for its innovation. In addition to annually tracking progress on child and youth indicators that correspond to the Children's Cabinet's five result areas (healthy, educated, safe, supported and involved), the report quantifies public spending for each area. When funds are organized this way, as compared to being listed department by department, leaders can hold informed discussions about public spending on programs and services for young people.

(Registration Required)


Nation Makes Progress in Boosting Graduation
A new report says that more than half the states are increasing their graduation rates, while the number of "dropout factory" high schools (those graduating 60 percent or fewer students on time) is going down. Building a Grad Nation: Progress and Challenge in Ending the High School Dropout Epidemic, was released by the Alliance for Excellent Education, America's Promise Alliance, Civic Enterprises and the Everyone Graduates Center at Johns Hopkins University. Read a summary by the America's Promise Alliance.

New Toolkit Supports Family Engagement for High School Success
There's a new toolkit to help schools, educators, community organizations and PTAs develop and execute effective strategies to engage families in helping at-risk high school students get back on track. The Family Engagement for High School Success Toolkit - created by United Way Worldwide (a Ready by 21 National Partner), AT&T and Harvard Family Research Project - can help nonprofits develop strong parent-school-community partnerships and provide networks of support to keep students on the path to high school graduation. The toolkit is available here.

National Council Seeks Youth Voices
generationOn seeks new members for its National Youth Advisory Council. The council offers 12 middle and high school students from diverse backgrounds the opportunity to participate in a service-learning and leadership development program. generationOn equips and mobilizes youth to take action through service clubs, schools, youth organizations, campaigns and youth leadership initiatives. The deadline is April 10. Visit to learn more.

Building a College-Going Culture: Lessons from School Leaders
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 and sustaining 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.

Explore Family-School-Community Partnerships
The National Education Association will host a webinar on March 29 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 10 strategies for effective partnerships, and will be joined by leaders and participants in two of the programs.

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

Corporate Voices for Working Families Annual Meeting
This year's theme: Turning the Corner at Full Speed: Exploring the Challenges of the American Workplace.
Where: Washington, D.C.
When: May 9-11
Go here for more information.

AT&T's Aspire Local High School Impact Initiative
The 2012 AT&T Aspire Local High School Impact Initiative is accepting proposals from existing high school retention programs that consist of elements aligned to the What Works Clearinghouse Dropout Prevention Practice Guide. AT&T is looking to support organizations that are delivering results that reduce the dropout rate in their communities, and are ready to expand their programs to serve additional students or locations, or to add components to strengthen successful programs.

Amounts range from $100,000 to $300,000 for 24 months. The deadline is April 27.  For more information go to
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