Thursday, March 30, 2017

Strategies for Promoting Social-Emotional and Character Skills

By Sam Piha
Sam Piha
There is a growing consensus among school day and expanded learning educators that young people need social-emotional and character skills to be successful in school, work, and life.
The 360°/365 Project and Temescal Associates are offering a number of educational and training events for expanded learning program staff:
JOIN US AT BOOST
DAY I, Workshop 1: April 19th, 2017; 10:30-12:15 - Let’s Zoom in on Trust: The Role of Trusting Relationships in Expanded Learning
DAY I, Workshop 2: April 19th, 2017; 2:45 – 4:45 - Screening of Finding the Gold Within and Discussion

Day II, Workshop 1: April 20th, 2017; 10:00 – 12:00 - Social and Emotional Learning: Feedback and Communications Insights from the Field

Day II, Workshop 2: April 20th, 2017; 1:15 – 2:30 - Transforming Schools Through Restorative Practices and Engaging Youth Voice and Leadership

Day II, Workshop 3: April 20th, 2017; 3:45 – 5:15 - Promoting Success in School, Work, and Life!
Day III, Workshop 1: April 21st, 2017; 9:15 – 11:15 - I Belong
SPEAKER’S FORUMS
These Forums offer access to national thinkers and researchers, innovative practitioners, and networking opportunities.
Dr. Dale Blyth
April 6, 2017 (Los Angeles); 9:00am-12:00pm 
Getting Intentional about Social and Emotional Learning: Promise, Progress, and Priorities with Dr. Dale Blyth
April 10, 2017 (Oakland); 9:00am-12:30pm 
Getting Intentional about Social and Emotional Learning: Promise, Progress, and Priorities with Dr. Dale Blyth

April 28th, 2017 (Fresno); 9:00am-12:00pm
Ignite Learning with a Growth Mindset! with Emily Diehl (Mindset Works). Click here to request more information.


May 3rd, 2017 (Oakland); 9:00am-12:00pm
"Growth Heartset": Establishing a Culture of Caring with Stu Semigran

REQUESTS FOR ON-SITE TRAINING
The 360°/365 Project offers a number of no-cost and low-cost professional development training for expanded learning programs. These trainings are offered by CalSAC, Temescal Associates, and ASAPconnect. You can use this link to request more information.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Advocacy in the Era of Trump, Part 2

By Sam Piha


Sam Piha
Throughout its history, afterschool has always had to promote its value and identity around the issues of the day. With each change in the presidential administration, there are risks and opportunities that we should be aware of, and adjust our advocacy accordingly.

President Trump communicated his ideas using very specific language during his campaign and transition. Is there anything we can learn about how best to advocate for afterschool funding? In this new era of Trump, we asked Betsy Brand, Executive Director of the American Youth Policy Forum, and Jodi Grant, Executive Director of the Afterschool Alliance, about this. Below is part 2 of their responses. See part 1 here.

Q: President Trump also talks a lot about jobs. Do you think it will be important to stress "workforce development" and "workforce skills" that are part of afterschool?
Betsy Brand, AYPF

Betsy Brand: Afterschool programs are natural venues for helping older youth develop knowledge, skills, and abilities that lead to success in the workplace, life, and community. Skills like teamwork, problem-solving, communication, and critical thinking are all highly valued by employers. Afterschool and summer school programs can help develop those skills. We should not be shy in telling that story.



Jodi Grant,
Afterschool Alliance
Jodi Grant: Absolutely. Many of the character education, social emotional learning and youth development skills that afterschool programs focus on are just as essential to workforce preparation. Making that connection for people — framing those skills and this learning as workforce development — makes a lot of sense. The same is true for all the opportunities provided to our youth to learn about, intern, apprentice in the community, and even work as part of their afterschool programs. That’s why the National Afterschool Summit, to be held at the University of Southern California on April 5th, will focus on making sure our students are ready to work. 


Photo Credit: Youth Institute, Long Beach 

Q: The "red" rural counties were strong supporters of President Trump. Do you think that promoting access to afterschool in rural areas is important, given the new political climate? 

Betsy Brand: Promoting access to high quality afterschool in rural communities is not a red or blue issue – it’s an issue of fairness and accessibility. The challenge is that many rural communities don’t have lots of afterschool providers like suburbs and cities, so it is hard to provide engaging, high quality afterschool programs. State afterschool, education, and youth leaders can work with rural communities to help develop their capacity to better serve youth and ensure they have opportunities for meaningful participation in the non-school hours.


Photo Credit: Brilliant Maps

Jodi Grant: Promoting access to rural areas has always been vital and, in fact, the Afterschool Alliance has issued several reports, including one just last year, America After 3PM Special Report: The Growing Importance of Afterschool in Rural Communities, highlighting the unique challenges students and parents in rural America face in their pursuit of high quality afterschool programs.  We hope that the President and Secretary DeVos will embrace afterschool as a way to enhance education in rural America.  


--------------
URGENT UPDATE FROM THE AFTERSCHOOL ALLIANCE
"President Trump has just unveiled his budget priorities—and his plan singles out afterschool funding for elimination." To learn more, click here


LIAS will also be posting a blog on these developments.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Advocacy in the Era of Trump, Part 1

By Sam Piha

Sam  Piha
Throughout its history, afterschool has always had to promote its value and identity around the issues of the day. With each change in the Presidential administration, there are risks and opportunities that we should be aware of, and adjust our advocacy accordingly.

President Trump communicated his ideas using very specific language during his campaign and transition. Is there anything we can learn about how best to advocate for afterschool funding? In this new era of Trump, we asked Betsy Brand, Executive Director of the American Youth Policy Forum, and Jodi Grant, Executive Director of the Afterschool Alliance, about this. Below is part 1 of their responses. 

Q: The new President appears to have a high regard for law enforcement. Law enforcement officials were strong advocates at the federal and state level for afterschool. Do you envision that we will again engage law enforcement organizations in the effort to preserve the federal 21st CCLC funding?
Betsy Brand, AYPF

Betsy Brand: As the new Administration focuses on improving safety in our communities, it seems a natural step to talk about how afterschool programs involve youth in positive and engaging activities, in the non-school hours. Law enforcement can be an important advocate for 21st CCLC funding and effective partners that bring valuable skills and resources to the table, not just in this political climate but anytime.


Jodi Grant,
Afterschool Alliance
Jodi Grant: Law enforcement officials have been strong partners for afterschool all along because they recognize how important it is for youth to engage constructively with their peers and with adults. Across the country a lot of afterschool programs have strong relationships with law enforcement agencies, ranging from Police Athletic League programs to partnerships with local police. One great thing about bringing police officers into programs, often as volunteers, is that it fosters powerful personal relationships that can not only change lives, but change the discourse between police, youth and parents. It’s an example of community policing at its best. 

For more than a year the Afterschool Alliance’s blog has been featuring stories of afterschool programs working with local law enforcement. (The most recent story can be found here.) We value the partnerships not just because of the terrific work that police are doing with kids in afterschool programs, but because it’s so important for the public to understand the reach of afterschool programs. The messenger can be as important as the message, and law enforcement voices are going to be more essential than ever in helping us preserve federal afterschool funding.  


Photo Credit: http://www.stlasap.org/
Q: President Trump talks a lot about crime, safety, and drug abuse. Do you predict that we will need to return to a "deficit" or prevention model to capture his attention to preserve afterschool funding?

Betsy Brand: We should not return to a deficit model, but rather focus on the benefits of afterschool in terms of helping young people find engaging, satisfying, and meaningful activities in which they can participate during the non-school hours and that help them develop skills that lead to success. The deficit model language should be retired once and for all.

Jodi Grant: Afterschool programs are effective and popular because they keep kids safe, help working parents and inspire students to learn. While today, a lot of policymakers think about afterschool in terms of the third prong of that message, it was actually the first two prongs that generated the political will to create a federal funding stream for afterschool. Students spend 80 percent of their waking hours outside school and they are always learning – every minute. So the question is: What will we teach them? They can learn skills at an afterschool program that will help them succeed in school, at work and in life or, if we leave them unsupervised, they can engage in activities that are inappropriate, dangerous or even illegal, and learn a very different set of lessons. As the President focuses on crime, drug abuse and other ills in our society, it is important for us to highlight the impact that afterschool has in teaching the right lessons and in preventing inappropriate behavior in our students.  

From a communications standpoint, if highlighting negative consequences can help us build support to provide resources to the 11.3 million children who go home alone each day and are unsupervised when they get there, then it is worth making that argument. 

Once we have our students in a safe place, we can do so much more to inspire them to get out of their comfort zones and achieve dreams that might not have been possible before. 

--------------
URGENT UPDATE FROM THE AFTERSCHOOL ALLIANCE
"President Trump has just unveiled his budget priorities—and his plan singles out afterschool funding for elimination." To learn more, click here

LIAS will also be posting a blog on these developments.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Global Competency, Part 2: Resources for Expanded Learning Programs

By Sam Piha
Sam Piha
If young people are going to be prepared for work and citizenship in our global community, it is important that they develop global competency. 

Below is part 2 of our interview with Heather Loewecke, Senior Program Manager of Afterschool and Youth Leadership Initiatives at Asia Society. It is important to note that the effort to promote global competency is not a "pile on" to the California Quality Standards for Expanded Learning Programs. Instead, global learning and global competency are intertwined with the existing standards for quality programs.

In Heather's response to our question about resources, she listed a great list with links. We urge any program leader who wants to explore global competency further, to check out these resources. To view her PowerPoint presentation that she offered at our recent How Kids Learn VI conference in Los Angeles, click here

Q: What would be examples of how an afterschool program might
Heather Loewecke
promote global competence? 

A: Here are several ways programs can start integrating global content into programs:

Create a Culturally Sensitive Environment
Staff and youth can work together to create a set of group guidelines that outline expected behaviors. Include strategies for asking respectful questions about people, cultures, or ideas that are unfamiliar. Introduce youth to new countries and cultures, including those of students in your program and of people in the community at large. Present balanced viewpoints during learning activities and remind participants that everyone’s ideas are valid. If possible, include decorations and snacks from different cultures around the world and set up space to promote collaboration.

Make Community Connections
Take stock of existing partners and stakeholders or conduct a community assessment to identify additional potential assets and partners in the community. Invite partners to events and festivals or to be guest speakers in the program to share their global connections and resources. Take youth on field trips to museums, nearby neighborhoods, and local businesses to enhance and deepen learning. Coordinate with local schools or nonprofit organizations to set up service learning efforts that promote youth’s civic participation to address local issues while increasing their leadership skills. Develop partnerships with programs in other cities or countries to provide participants with virtual exchange opportunities with peers. 


Photo Credit: Asia Society

Integrate Global Learning into Existing Activities
Go beyond flags, food, and festivals. It’s not necessary to overhaul all activities or create new programming to get started doing global learning in afterschool, but it is important to provide sustained and regular global learning activities in order to develop youth's global competencies. Start by focusing on one programming component or learning unit:

  • Is there an example or a piece of content in an activity that could be replaced with one from another country or culture?
  • Could an activity be augmented through the addition of a globally oriented extension project or field trip?
  • Or, perhaps an activity could be transformed by aligning an existing goal or outcome with one of the global competencies listed above.

For example, read folktales and poems from other countries during literacy time. Or, include games from other cultures in your health and fitness component. During cooking club, teach students to prepare healthy foods from other cultures.

Design Thematic and Project-Based Learning Units
Once staff are comfortable infusing global content into existing activities, they can go deeper by using globally significant topics when planning new activities. Topics such as water access, human rights, health care, and education are relevant both globally and locally and increase youth’s academic knowledge and social-emotional skills such as empathy and compassion. Teaching about these issues across program areas helps young people to become informed, global citizens through integrated and interdisciplinary study.

Develop these topics further into project-based learning units that begin with an essential question or problem that interests participants and guides them through research toward an action project.


Photo Credit: Asia Society
Q: Does Asia Society have any resources on global learning for the expanded learning community?
A: Yes! Here are a few resources to support the suggestions noted above:
  • Global leadership performance outcomes and rubrics benchmarked at grades 3, 5, 8, 10, and 12. Use these when planning learning units and giving feedback to youth on their projects.
  • Global learning “quick sheets”: One‐page examples of developmentally appropriate unit plan outlines in typical afterschool content areas. Each activity in the unit builds upon the last, connects across the four domains of global competence, and leads to sample program outcomes. We developed these with the support of the Statewide Afterschool Networks, and we are creating more. 
  • “Global Learning in Afterschool Self‐Assessment Tool”: Programs can use this tool to reflect upon their practice and guide the development of quality improvement measures. It can be used in conjunction with other quality improvement processes and self‐assessment tools.
  • Expanding Horizons: Building Global Literacy in Afterschool Programs: This guidebook lists strategies and resources for the afterschool field on how to integrate international knowledge, skills, and experiences into its program activities.
Take a look at our global learning blog on national newspaper Education Week, follow us on Twitter, and join in to our weekly Twitter chat (#globaledchat) Thursdays at 8pm ET / 5pm PT for more ideas from practitioners and education leaders. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me at HLoewecke@asiasociety.org.

____________
Heather began her career as an English teacher at a high school in New York City where she implemented interdisciplinary curricula utilizing a workshop format for developing students’ literacy skills. Then she managed capacity building projects and coached educators in various topics such as conflict resolution, lesson planning, social-emotional learning, behavior management, among others. Heather was a member of the Children’s Studies faculty at Brooklyn College and taught an undergraduate course called Perspectives on Childhood. She joined Asia Society in 2012.