Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Looking Back: Some of Our Favorite Interviews

By Sam Piha

Sam Piha
The Learning in Afterschool & Summer project posted our first blog post on October 6, 2010. Since then, we had attracted 142,000 views. The purpose of the blog is to interview thought leaders in the field of afterschool and summer, alert readers to important developments, and provide commentary and an exchange between readers. 

Some of our colleagues have expressed a concern that because so many afterschool workers are young, underpaid, and have a short tenure, they “can’t handle” so much information. We are mindful of this concern, but are convinced that many of the youth worker professionals have made this work a vocation and deserve to have access to leading thinkers and researchers. 

Below (in no particular order) are some of our favorite interviews that we have published on our blog. We urge readers to click on these to go back and view these interviews. (There are many other great blog posts that are not included in this list.)

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

What Does ESSA Mean For Expanded Learning?

By Guest Blogger, Jennifer Peck, Executive Director at the Partnership for Children and Youth

Jennifer Peck
We at the Partnership for Children & Youth are very pleased that Congress and the President reached agreement to move past the era of No Child Left Behind, and approve the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) last month. We are particularly pleased that the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) program has remained a focused funding stream for expanded learning programs, and has received a small funding increase. This program certainly needs to grow to meet the enormous demand, and this is an important step in the right direction.

In addition to the funding news, there are several policy changes to the 21st CCLC program that California will have to implement in Federal Fiscal Year 2017, one of the most significant being new flexibility for 21st CCLC funds to be used to support longer school days. Under this new provision, the law makes clear that the funds cannot supplant regular school day activities, that students receive at least 300 hours of additional program hours beyond the regular school day, and that the additional time be carried out with one or more partner entities.  

We are still analyzing all the changes to 21st CCLC, including some adjustments to how grants are prioritized, which students should be prioritized for enrollment, and potential resources available for technical assistance. We will post more updates as we gather information and clarify the new law’s intent for the various changes. We will also be closely communicating with the California Department of Education as we digest these changes and work collaboratively with our partners and the state to implement new provisions of the law so that we maintain our strong focus on community partnerships and program quality.  

Please see our recent ESSA Huffington Post blog co-authored with Every Hour Counts, which represents expanded learning intermediaries around the country, and stay tuned for more information in the coming months.

Thank you to all of you who took the time in recent months to communicate with Congress about the importance of maintaining the 21st CCLC program, which is a critical resource for children and families across the state of California.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

What Is the Connection Between Social and Emotional Learning and Employability?

By Sam Piha

Sam Piha
Recently, the Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE) developed an employability skills framework and created a website to assist educators and youth workers with tools to promote these skills in their settings.

Laura Rasmussen Foster (RTI International), a leader in developing this framework, shared it with participants at the recent How Kids Learn V conference in Berkeley. Below is a 15-minute video of her presentation.

Beyond the Bell at AIR published a paper discussing how the skills cited in the Employability Skills Framework relate to social emotional learning. They gave us permission to cite a portion of this paper. See below. 

"Although some researchers argue that schools are not doing enough to support the development of the necessary skills for workforce readiness, evidence suggests that we already know a lot about how to develop some of the employability skills outlined in the OCTAE framework—we may just be calling them something else. School-day and afterschool programs across the country have been implementing what are called social and emotional learning (SEL) programs for years. These programs support the development of social and emotional competencies such as problem solving, critical thinking, interpersonal and intrapersonal skills, and social awareness through both explicit SEL instruction (this is more common in school-day settings) and broader SEL strategies and practices (this is more common in afterschool settings). Although not termed as such, the social and emotional skills that these programs target are also key employability skills. In fact, the framework developed by the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) bears a strong resemblance to OCTAE’s Employability Skills Framework.

As these two frameworks illustrate, there is a great deal of connection between social and emotional competencies and employability skills. Although not identical, when you dig deeper into the two frameworks, the alignment is clear. For example:

  • Interpersonal skills (OCTAE) and social awareness (CASEL) both require the ability to understand social norms and work with others from diverse backgrounds. 
  • Personal qualities (OCTAE) and self-awareness (CASEL) both require the ability to recognize one’s emotions and have a sense of confidence. 
  • Communication skills (OCTAE) and relationship skills (CASEL) both require the ability to communicate clearly, listen well, and resolve conflicts. 

Given these similarities, it makes sense that SEL programs that explicitly target the development of social and emotional competencies could also be considered workforce readiness programs or programs targeting the development of employability skills." 

You will note that these employability skills and SEL skills (above) are well aligned to the California Quality Standards for Expanded Learning Programs. You can review Beyond the Bell's entire paper by clicking here

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Dr. Pedro Noguera: PBS News Hour and HKL V in Los Angeles

By Sam Piha

Sam Piha
Pedro Noguera is a Distinguished Professor of Education at the Graduate School of Education and Information Sciences at UCLA. Dr. Noguera has been a long time supporter of the LIAS project and the How Kids Learn conferences. He will also be a featured speaker at our upcoming How Kids Learn V conference in Los Angeles on January 21, 2016. 

Dr. Noguera was recently interviewed by PBS correspondent, Charlayne Hunter-Gault, on the PBS News Hour. The interview was part of their ongoing series entitled “Race Matters”. Dr. Noguera addressed the question, “How do we solve stubborn segregation in schools?” Click below to view the interview (8 minutes). 

Dr. Pedro Noguera

You can view an interview that we did with Dr. Noguera on the LIAS learning principles by clicking hereYou can also view his last presentation at the How Kids Learn II conference by clicking here. To register for the HKL V conference in Los Angeles, click here