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Ready News: May 3, 2012

Ready News
May 3, 2012

Achieve Collective Impact, Align Policies, Engage Parents


Collective Impact Guru Inspires Ready by 21 Leaders
A consultant who helped make "collective impact" a household phrase in the youth field delivered a message of inspiration along with on-the-ground lessons at the Ready by 21® National Meeting last month - and now you can hear that message online.

In his keynote speech, John Kania of FSG talked about why working through collective impact structures is essential for success, the keys to achieving that success, the essential role of backbone organizations and the importance of including all stakeholders. "There is no other way that we are going to achieve large-scale change ... unless we all wrap our minds around how we do this collectively," he told an audience of 200 leaders who have dedicated themselves to improving conditions for young people in programs, communities and states around the country.

Go here for links to video highlights of the speech (six minutes), slides from the speech and articles about collective impact.

Should Out-of-School-Time Staff Be Trained Like Teachers?

May 14, 3-4 p.m. ET
Providing high-quality, cost-effective professional development can be a challenge for out-of-school time programs, because many of them face limited funding and their staff members tend to be young, part-time workers who rarely commit to the job for long. Debate is stirring over what core competencies these workers should possess. How can OST programs provide professional development that increases staff effectiveness while maintaining staffers' distinctiveness from the traditional teacher? Join two OST experts as they discuss the latest ideas on providing professional development for staff members.

Presenters: Charles Smith, executive director, David P. Weikart Center for Youth Program Quality, and vice president for research, Forum for Youth Investment; Nancy Peter, director, Out-of-School Time Resource Center, Philadelphia.
Host: Education Week
Register here

Parent Engagement Toolkit    


Parents and caregivers are arguably the most important stakeholders in a child's educational success. With nearly 1.3 million students dropping out of high school each year, the Annie E. Casey Foundation and America's Promise Alliance developed this toolkit to engage parents in dropout prevention and development strategies to ensure the success of all children. This toolkit is a resource for Dropout Summit conveners and community leaders bringing the parent voice into the planning process and for the development of local and state action plans addressing the dropout crisis.

The Impact of College Success Agendas in K-12
As more schools seek to instill a culture focused on college access and success, the American Association of School Administrators (AASA) offers a look at how such an agenda can drive K-12 improvement. This recently recorded webinar examines lessons on building a college-going culture and using college-going data to drive reform, based on meetings that AASA (a Ready by 21 National Partner) and College Summit held around the country.

Among the lessons: Drop-out rates decrease and academic performance increases when school leaders emphasize post-secondary preparation and matriculation. When high schools dedicate themselves to getting all students career- and college-ready, students enjoy meaningful connections that help them set goals and persevere through obstacles. Speakers: Bryan Joffe and Robert McCord of AASA and Keith Frome of College Summit.

College Success: Hard Lessons from a Student
In this new first-person account for Represent magazine, a young man tells what he learned the hard way about making a success of yourself in college - like turning off your phone when studying, making sure your financial aid comes in time to buy your books and not scheduling classes for times you're usually sleepy.
Related reading: See "College Success" under Research & Reports

College Success Boosts the Economy
Here's more evidence about the societal benefits of improving college success rates: If states don't improve their college graduation rates, it could cost the country hundreds of billions of dollars, according to findings released recently by the Center for Law and Social Policy and the Center for Higher Education Management Systems. SparkAction summarizes and links to the report here.

Related reading: This research study, Community Supports Boost College Success, shines a light on an underused set of resources for increasing postsecondary attainment: formal and informal supports provided by community organizations.

Recess Produces Real Benefits
Looking for research about the value of non-academic activities during the school day?  A new study from Mathematica Policy Research and Stanford University indicates that Playworks, a recess- and play-based program, can improve student behavior and increase readiness for class. The study, Findings from a Randomized Experiment of Playworks, was sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. 

Related reading: An e-newsletter from the Forum summarizes research on promising programs that connect healthy eating and exercise to a broader set of physical, mental and social/emotional outcomes.

Fight Childhood Obesity
The Safeway Foundation partners with Children's Hospital & Research Center Oakland (CHRCO) in awarding grants to develop community or clinic-based programs to reduce childhood obesity. Preference will be given to proposals that could be implemented and sustained within a community or medical center for little additional cost, and to organizations working in communities where Safeway stores are present.

For information, go here. The deadline is May 15.

Youth Activist Awards
The Mario Sivio Youth Activist Award, which carries a cash prize of $6,000, is presented each year to a young person with a deep commitment to human rights and social justice and a proven ability to transform this commitment into effective action. The recipients must have demonstrated leadership ability, creativity and integrity. The cash award is divided equally between the individual recipient and an organization of his/her choosing. For a summary and links to the application, go here.

Ready by 21 Webinar
Aligning Policies, Increasing Impact

May 29, 2012, 3 p.m. ET  

Do you ever feel like well-intentioned people around you are working hard but, to borrow a cliché, it looks like the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing?

Sometimes, the left hand even holds the right hand down. That's because policies, practices and funding streams that have been instituted over many years by many different people aren't aligned - and young people suffer. This webinar highlights concrete examples and specific policy language at the local, state and federal levels. Learn how you can improve policies and align resources to maximize their positive impact on youth.

Featured Speakers: Danielle Evennou, the Forum for Youth Investment; Maria Worthen, Education Policy Advisor, Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee

Register for this webinar >> 

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