Tuesday, January 19, 2021

When There are Disturbing Events that Fill the Airwaves...


By Sam Piha

Source: cnn.com

When there are disturbing events that fill the airwaves, it is important that caregivers have resources to guide them on how to talk to young people about these events, and how to turn to self- care. Below are some resources that caregivers, including teachers, afterschool workers and parents, may find helpful.

COVID-19

Brooke Anderson is a Bay Area organizer and photojournalist. In the interest of self-care, she developed 6 Daily Quarantine Questions, which she expands on in detail in her article from Greater Good Magazine.  

Source: Greater Good Magazine

Source: samanthasbell.com

Temescal Associates and The How Kids Learn Foundation launched the My Pal, Luke project. My Pal, Luke features a virtual, talking comfort dog who promotes social emotional learning through his words and questions, including a “feelings” check-in with young children. Luke reads his favorite books with kids and educates them on how to make sense of current events. 

I am a clinical child psychologist and I've watched how Covid-19 has presented so many challenges for children and their parents. What children never forget how to do is play, even in the toughest of circumstances. And My Pal, Luke helps them do exactly that, with the added benefit of soothing and educating our children who are now pandemic on-line learners. What a great gift to all of us." - Dr. Diane Ehrensaft, Ph.D., Developmental and Clinical                                          Psychologist

INSURRECTION IN THE CAPITOL

Source: theconversation.com
Caregivers are struggling on how to best talk to young people about the historical significance of the violence that erupted in Washington D.C. on January 6th, 2021, when supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol building and disrupted the Congressional certification of Joe Biden's presidential victory. Below are some resources. The first is one that offers questions for different age groups and is available in English and Spanish.
More resources provided by EdSource are cited below:

  • Dr. Alyssa Hadley-Dunn, associate professor of Teacher Education at Michigan State University and founder of Teaching on the Days After: Dialogue & Resources for Educating Toward Justice offers resources to help educators teach about the attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.
  • The American Historical Association has launched "The Assault on the Capitol in Historical Perspective: Resources for Educators." The site offers historical knowledge to help understand the current crisis.
  • Teachers on Twitter at #sschat are sharing lessons about the lessons they are teaching on the attack. Teacher Brianna Davis from Camarillo offers this lesson. Sam Mandeville of New Hampshire is sharing this @PearDeck lesson.
  • PBS NewsHour Extra is offering three ways to teach the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
  • The American Federation of Teachers' Share My Lesson website has been updated with information to help teachers facilitate meaningful discussions about the attack on the Capitol with their students.
  • Larry Ferlazzo, a Sacramento City Unified teacher with a popular blog on teaching, has posted "Ways to teach about today's insurrection."

Below are resources provided by the California Afterschool Network (CAN):

RACIAL JUSTICE

The 4-H Organization writes, “Being able to help young people understand topics such as racism, implicit biases, and discrimination requires facilitating difficult conversations and providing youth with information that will help them to learn and grow… Both adults and youth must challenge themselves to learn and grow through these conversations to be better prepared for a more culturally, racially, and ethnically diverse world.” 

To this end, 4-H’s Program Leaders Working Group developed Just in Time Equity Dialogues for Youth: Lessons Designed to Foster Honest Conversations with Youth About Social Justice Issues. They also published Supplemental Resources which offers resources, readings and other relevant content to support guide use. 

MEDIA LITERACY

It is important to note that there continues to be a proliferation of partisan news sources peddling deeply skewed or even inaccurate information that has helped fuel conspiracy theories and other harmful perceptions of the integrity of U.S. elections. Below is a resource to help educators prepare their youth for deciphering fake news:



Brooke Anderson 
is a Bay Area-based organizer and photojournalist. She has spent 20 years building movements for social, economic, racial, and ecological justice. She is a proud union member of the Pacific Media Workers Guild, CWA 39521, and AFL-CIO. She’s on Twitter and Instagram at @movementphotographer.
Dr. Diane Ehrensaft
is a developmental and clinical psychologist, Director of Mental Health at the Child and Adolescent Gender Center and Associate Professor of Pediatrics, University of California San Francisco. She has been a frequent contributor to our LIAS blog and the How Kids Learn conference. You can review her blog responses here and view a video presentation here.

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Best of 2020

By Sam Piha

This last year (2020) has been a difficult one, due to in part the needed calls for racial justice, a divisive election and the COVID-19 pandemic. You can click here to see how we worked to respond to these issues. Throughout 2020 Temescal Associates and The How Kids Learn Foundation have posted over 50 blogs, some featuring the words of guest bloggers and interviews with afterschool leaders. We also released a number of papers and new initiatives. Below are some of our favorites from 2020.


Blogs


Blog Interviews

Guest Blogs


Papers


Speaker’s Forums/ Webinars- In partnership with the EduCare Foundation


Projects

  • My Pal, Luke: This project is designed to promote  social- emotional learning through his words and questions, including a check-in with kids. Luke also reads his favorite books and educates kids on how to make sense of current events and the COVID-19 pandemic. It can be easily embedded in distance learning efforts or used with in- person programming. To watch episodes of My Pal, Luke, click here.

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Pre-COVID Resources Taking on a New Value

By Sam Piha

Before the COVID-19 pandemic Temescal Associates and The How Kids Learn Foundation created several resources and initiatives that have taken on a new value to the field given the emphasis on distance learning and the lack of opportunities for youth to gain employment. Some of these resources and initiatives are reviewed below. Check them out!

VIRTUAL VACATION: Because afterschool programs are looking for inspiring approaches for virtual/ distance learning, our program guide introducing Virtual Vacation may be just the thing. Virtual Vacation is an academic, cultural, and creativity-based program. It was developed specifically for an afterschool setting and can be utilized through distance learning as well. During a Virtual Vacation, participants virtually travel to a destination or period in history and learn about it through academic and creative components. Participants are enveloped by the culture of the chosen destination through a multitude of activities that also promote positive youth development. Take a look at our Virtual Vacation Guide to inspire your virtual learning planning.


DIGITAL BADGES: Afterschool programs that are offering distance learning are faced with a number of questions. One question is, "how do you incentivize young people's participation?" A second question is, "how do we best acknowledge young people who have completed participation in assignments related to distance learning 'classes'?" The answer may be the awarding of digital badges that can be stored in a digital backpack.

Temescal Associates developed the Center for Digital Badges (CDB) to serve as a clearinghouse for information and research on digital badges. It also offers a number of case studies on the use of digital badges by expanded learning programs and implementation support.


EMPLOYING YOUTH IN AFTERSCHOOL PROGRAMS: We know that many Summer youth employment programs were closed due to COVID-19, as well as many small businesses that traditionally employ young people. Can afterschool programs fill some of this gap by hiring older, school-age youth? 

We developed a briefing paper on employing youth in afterschool programs. The purpose of this brief is two fold: the first is to inform high school afterschool program leaders and stakeholders on policies and guidelines related to employing high school age youth and the use of 21st CCLC funds for compensation. The second purpose of this paper is to document strategies currently being used by California programs to engage high school age youth through work within their afterschool programs. 


Temescal Associates is dedicated to building the capacity of leaders and organizations in education and youth development who are serious about improving the lives of young people. Our clients include leaders of youth serving institutions and organizations, school and youth program practitioners, public and private funders, intermediary organizations, and policy makers. Their work ranges from building large scale youth and community initiatives to providing services to young people on a day-to-day basis. To accomplish this, Temescal Associates draws on a pool of gifted and highly experienced consultants who excel at eliciting the internal knowledge and wisdom of those we work with while introducing new knowledge and strategies that can transform the day-to-day practices that lead to improved youth outcomes.

The How Kids Learn (HKL) Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization. It is dedicated to improving the effectiveness of settings that support the education and healthy development of youth. This includes schools and out-of-school time programs. It provides educational and training activities that promote the capacity of organizations that support the education and healthy development of youth. Examples of activities include conferences, speaker forums, screenings of relevant films, training sessions, coaching sessions, the awarding of digital badges to acknowledge exemplar programs and the learning that happens within these settings. Activities also include the development and distribution of educational materials (papers, self-assessment tools, videos, program guides, etc.).

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

What Changes in Washington D.C. Could Mean for Afterschool

Source: www.theconversation.com

By Sam Piha

The Afterschool Alliance is working to ensure that all children, regardless of income or geographic area, have access to quality afterschool programs. Their efforts are aimed at securing resources to expand programming and help programs be the best they can be. They focus foremost on underserved and disadvantaged children and communities. Every year the Afterschool Alliance releases an afterschool report entitled, America After 3pm. You can read the full report here and the executive summary here.  

We asked Erik Peterson, Senior Vice President of Policy of Afterschool Alliance, what changes in Washington in the new year could mean for the afterschool field. Jodi Grant, Executive Director, added her thoughts on the final question. Below are their answers.

Erik Peterson, Sr. Vice 
President of Policy
Q: We have a new presidential administration coming in 2021. What can we expect in terms of support for afterschool at the federal level?

A: While it is always hard to predict the future, the Biden campaign platform included a number of education priorities that would directly affect and support access to and quality of afterschool programs if they come to fruition, including:

  • Tripling support for Title I programs under ESEA: The Biden campaign notes a $23 billion funding gap between white and non-white districts as well as gaps between high-income and low-income communities across the United States. Title I programs are provided to schools based on their population of low-income students to help school improvement and student achievement. Afterschool programs are an allowable use and have an evidence base on moving the needle on indicators of student success. A number of districts and schools use some of these funds to support afterschool and summer programs, addressing needs such as transportation, staffing, and more. The platform mentions that Title I funds should allow communities to direct funding resources to meet the specific local needs of their area.
  • Increased support for Community Schools: This section begins, “When parents are working hard to make ends meet, it can be difficult, if not impossible, for them to navigate various family needs like after-school care.” It goes on to envision increased access to community schools serving as community hubs created with broad stakeholder input and wraparound services for 300,000 additional students.
President-elect Biden also has a “caregiving” platform focusing on the needs of parents trying to balance their jobs and their families, especially in light of the COVID crisis, but extending before the pandemic as well. This plan includes:
  • Improved access to afterschool, weekend, and summer care for school-aged children: Importantly, this section mentions “expanding the 21st Century Community Learning Centers that provide critical enrichment to school age children.” In addition, this section of the caregiving platform loops back to other listed priorities and initiatives and includes a combination of increased investments in the child care and development block grant (CCDBG), the child care tax credit mentioned below for youth, birth to age 13, and investments in community schools.
  • Increased Child Care Tax Credits: The plan outlines a refundable credit of up to $8,000 for one child and $16,000 for multiple children which would pay for as much as half (depending on income levels) of a family’s child care expenditures for low-income and middle class families making $400,000 and under.
  • Other areas: Early childhood, universal pre-kindergarten, military family care and family care for college students, child care staff compensation, benefits, professional development, and infrastructure.

Source: www.eenews.net

Vice President Harris also comes to her historic position with a history of supporting certain education goals in her role as a U.S. Senator. Last year Harris introduced the Family Friendly Schools Act. The Act had a number of education-related components but most importantly proposed to “authorize an additional $1.3 billion for 21st Century Community Learning Centers to allow up to 1.8 million more children to access summer programming.

It is encouraging to see both Biden and Harris explicitly recognizing the importance of increased funding for 21st Century Community Learning Centers.

Q: Should we be thinking about how we all can be involved in advocacy in 2021? 

A: Absolutely, advocacy was critical to keeping federal support for afterschool from being eliminated under the Trump Administration and it will continue to be critical moving forward. There will be much work to do and many priorities for the new Administration and the new 117th Congress, therefore it will be vital to tell the story of out of school time, and the important role programs play in communities nationwide – both during and after the pandemic. In particular we need to share the innovations we have seen this year around community learning hubs and centers made possible by robust community-local government- school partnerships which present an opportunity even after the pandemic to provide new learning opportunities to young people. 

Q: If we have a republican controlled Senate in 2021, what can we expect and should we be thinking about expanding our advocacy efforts?

A: Based on what we have seen in the past several years, a Republican controlled Senate will likely focus on reigning in spending on domestic programs and priorities like education and afterschool. That combined with a closer margin in the House means we must double our efforts at outreach to elected officials and their staff – inviting them to virtual (or eventually in-person) site visits; reaching out as parents, students, and programs providers; and communicating why investments in quality afterschool and summer learning programs are so important for children, young people, families, and communities.

Q: If we have a democratic- led Senate in 2021, what can we expect and should we be thinking about expanding our advocacy efforts?

A: While a Democratic led Senate could be more willing to make investments in education, advocacy will still be important. A narrow margin of control, constraints around the federal deficit, and a wide range of priorities coming out of the pandemic will combine to make telling the out of school time story just as important in this scenario as well.

Jodi Grant, ED, 
Afterschool Alliance
"Our strategy shouldn’t change regardless of who wins the Senate – the strength of afterschool programs remains in the fact that they make a difference in all communities, for all kids whether they be red, blue, or purple. Our goal will be to keep shining a light on the extraordinary difference these programs are making so that we can continue to build support – especially during the pandemic and recovery when afterschool allies are needed more than ever to support our children and families." - Jodi Grant, Executive Director


Erik Peterson joined the Afterschool Alliance in July 2009 and coordinates and advances the Afterschool Alliance’s policy efforts at the federal level by helping develop policy goals and implementing strategies that advance access to quality afterschool programs for all. Erik works to build and strengthen relationships with policy makers and allied organizations to increase public support and funding for quality before-school, afterschool and summer learning programs. 

Jodi Grant has been Executive Director of the Afterschool Alliance since 2005. She oversees all aspects of the Afterschool Alliance’s work – setting its goals and strategies for reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, working with the field to help programs tap into federal funding streams, and supervising research to help national, state and local afterschool advocates and providers support, create and expand quality afterschool programs.

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Remembering Gratitude During the Winter Holidays

By Sam Piha

We all know that 2020 has been a difficult year. We also know that all religious traditions remind us to be thankful for what we have. All of us at Temescal Associates and the How Kids Learn Foundation wish you a peaceful and restful holiday! On our part, we are most grateful to all of you who work hard to support our youth in out of school time. 



Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Youth Voice and Self- Expression in Afterschool: Sharing Circles

By Sam Piha

Source: www.acacamps.org
Providing opportunities for youth to reflect on and express their thoughts and feelings are a critical strategy for any afterschool program. These opportunities are essential to promoting youth voice, healthy youth development, social emotional skills and resiliency, especially those who have experienced trauma. Strategies and activities include sharing circles, poetry and spoken word, journaling, videography, art and the theater arts.

We interviewed Johanna Masis (Program Director, Oakland Leaf) on the importance of using sharing circles to promote youth voice and self- expression in afterschool programs. Below are some of her responses.

Q: Why is it important to provide youth with opportunities to reflect on and/or express themselves and their feelings?
Johanna Masis
Program Director, Oakland Leaf
A: There is a misconception that the majority of youth have an adult in their life that sits down with them and gives them uninterrupted, dedicated time to converse about what is going on in their daily lives. Families are stretched thin...even more so with the stress of the current COVID-19 era. Youth's feelings can be minimized given the increased stressors of current life. Having a platform for 20-30 minutes* to reflect on or express themselves is self-care. It's free. It's crucial. It creates connections.
*Regarding the 20-30 minutes: As an organization, we were unable to find hard data about the ideal dosage and duration for a circle. This 20 minute increment is what we do at all of our programs daily solely based on being able to give each youth participant an opportunity to speak/share once the prompt has been provided.

Q: Do you think that sharing circles are a good way to provide these opportunities? Why?
A: Out-of-school time (OST) venues allow for these opportunities to happen; it's embedded in our everyday practice. Youth learn to wait their turn to speak. They learn to empathize with their peers. Many of them end up sharing similar experiences that cut across race, religion, gender, etc. Dedicated time to engage in reflection also creates opportunities to connect their learning from the day and builds critical thinking.

Q: Do staff need special training? 
A: Staff needs training first with regards to managing their own bias and assumptions about youth and their circumstances. So often, adults default to how "THEY" grew up. Talking about your feelings may not have been culturally appropriate or even a concept. Secondly, staff needs to know how to hold space and sit in discomfort. We don't always have the answers and that is okay. However, it's important to seek out what continued support may look like on a case by case basis. At the forefront of these pieces of training is the reminder that staff are mandated reporters. There is a legal obligation to report any harm a young person is experiencing.

Source: Oakland Leaf

Q: Can you provide one example of a sharing circle you conducted that resulted in a meaningful opportunity for self- expression? What age were the kids?
A: I supported a 2nd-grade afterschool instructor with a circle after we observed a carjacking across the street from the soccer field on which our youth were playing. Because some of the youth heard the screaming from the victim and saw the weapons the carjackers had, the instructor quickly brought them indoors and circled up while I was on the phone with the police. We let them express what they saw, let them ask questions, asked what questions they had, and reassured them that we would ensure there was a follow up with their families.

Q: Can you recommend any good resources/ websites for afterschool programs that want to learn more?
A: I pulled some resources we used to create our Oakland Leaf Restorative Justice curriculum:

  • Riestenberg, N. (2012). Circle in the Square: Building Community and Repairing Harm in School. St Paul, MN: Living Justice Press.
  • Charney, R. (2002). Teaching Children to Care: Classroom Management for Ethical and Academic Growth, K-8. (Revised ed.). Turner Falls, MA: Northwest Foundation for Children.
  • Wadhwa, A. (2016). Restorative Justice in Urban Schools: Disrupting the School-to-Prison Pipeline. New York, NY: Routledge
  • [Online Resource] Center for Non-Violent Communication (n.d.). 

______________________
Johanna C. Masis is currently the Program Director at Oakland Leaf. She started her career as a high school teacher and later joined AmeriCorps. She taught abroad in Japan and has, since then, dedicated herself to promoting creative ways for youth to learn in different capacities. She has directed youth programs in San Francisco’s Chinatown, Bladium in Alameda and Denver, as well as language programs in Alameda and San Francisco. Johanna first joined Oakland Leaf in 2013 as the Site Manager for International Community School Afterschool Program. For the Fall 2014, she assumed a new role as the Site Manager for Oakland Leaf’s afterschool programs at both the International Community School and Think College Now campus. In December 2015, Johanna Masis become Oakland Leaf’s Program Director. As part of the Oakland Leaf community, you can expect to see her energy, compassion, responsibility, work ethic and natural leadership skills in full swing.

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Gratitude in Evaluation: Asset-Based Program Evaluation During COVID-19

By Guest Blogger Jason Spector, Policy Studies Associates

Jason Spector 
Policy Studies Associates

We are entering a holiday season unlike any other, with limited gatherings and far too many empty seats at the table. Out-of-school-time (OST) staff, youth, and families face deep grief, challenge and uncertainty. It is not a time where program evaluation is at the forefront of our minds, and when evaluation does come to the fore in the OST field, it is often in the context of service gaps, disparities, and young people’s learning losses. These are all too real and point to the deep challenges of this era, from the disparate educational and health impacts of COVID-19 on communities of color to the mounting academic learning loss that is inextricably connected to race and class across the country. 2020 is a year of intersecting health, economic, education, and racial justice crises; it is also the year where resilience has shone through and there is much to express gratitude for and celebrate in the OST field and beyond. 

Asset-based evaluation can be a helpful, and hopeful, approach during this time and into the future.

What do we mean when we say asset-based evaluation? Consider the definition from the Glasgow Centre for Population Health: “Asset-based approaches emphasize the need to redress the balance between meeting needs and nurturing the strengths and resources of people and communities. They are ways of valuing and building on the skills, successes and strengths of individuals and communities, which focus on the positive capacity of individuals and communities rather than solely on their needs, deficits and problems. These assets can act as the foundation from which to build a positive future.” In short, assets do not diminish problems and needs, but they do serve as a broadened foundation upon which to build an evaluation strategy.

Source: California Afterschool Network (CAN)

How can an asset-based evaluation approach help address your organizational needs during COVID-19? Here are some helpful tips to get started:

  • Reexamine how you frame continuous improvement. Continuous improvement often involves developing and adapting strategies to meet problems or challenges. This is necessary, but incomplete. An asset-based approach can reframe continuous improvement as both addressing challenges and intentionally identifying program, community, and individual strengths—and then developing strategies to amplify those strengths. For example, a strength of the virtual program structure is it can attract a broader range of staff and volunteers across geographic boundaries. An asset-based continuous improvement question asks when virtual programming makes sense to continue in the future to broaden the staff and volunteer talent pool.
  • Broaden your measures of success. OST youth, families, and staff are benefitting from new services (e.g. food support and IT connectedness) and developing new socio-emotional strengths as they collectively face down adversities. At the organization level, providers are learning to rapidly adapt and develop new systems for virtual and blended learning that will increase organizational capacity for years to come. These are worthy indicators of success.
  • Use qualitative data collection to bring in more voices. Inclusivity is critical to an asset-based evaluation. Voices from students, families, and staff can rise to the fore through interviews and focus groups, as well as through open-ended survey questions. Who better to speak to the assets of the community than community members? 
  • Use an analytic lens that seeks out the positives. Both qualitatively and quantitatively, it is critical to analyze where are things working well and for whom. Whether these are individual case studies or examples of successful mass mobilization efforts (e.g., increasing student access to devices), there is much to learn from individual, program, and community strengths that can be both celebrated and scaled.
  • Celebrate the wins through positive feedback loops. When a staff member is called out by a student or family member for excelling in their role, how do you ensure that that information not only makes it into a grant report, but directly back to that staff member in a timely manner? Building positive feedback loops where information flows to all stakeholders to celebrate wins—not just address challenges—builds buy-in for evaluation and bolsters staff and community morale. Let evaluation be a source of inspiration!

As you consider taking one or more steps toward an asset-based evaluation approach, be mindful of evaluation overload. It may be preferable to do fewer things and do them well during this time. Accordingly, be cognizant of matching your evaluation strategy to your organizational needs and capacity, so that asset-based evaluation doesn’t become ‘just one more thing.’ And as you dive in, please share your examples of how you practice gratitude and/or asset-based evaluation—I am grateful for, and look forward to, learning alongside you.


Jason Spector is a Senior Research Associate at Policy Studies Associates. He formerly served as the Senior Director of Strategy and Evaluation at After-School All-Stars. Jason recently authored a chapter in the new book Measure, Use, Improve! Data Use in OST! titled “What’s Your Why? Matching Evaluation Approach to Organizational Need.” He can be reached at jspector@policystudies.com or on LinkedIn.    

 

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

A Time to Give Thanks

By Sam Piha



We all know that 2020 has been a very difficult year. As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, all of us at Temescal Associates and the How Kids Learn Foundation want to thank all of you who work with our young people to promote their positive development. We are grateful to be part of this community.



Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Multiple Reflections: Comparison of Frameworks for Promoting Youth Learning and Healthy Development

By Sam Piha

Every year researchers and experts on youth learning and development issue reports with new concepts and frameworks. They are developed to guide the design and implementation of community initiatives, schools and youth programs. 

While many of these frameworks and their critical features are not “new” or surprising, they do offer a more granular examination or focus on a specific issue. These frameworks include (not an exhaustive list):


  • Youth Development
  • Foundations for Young Adult Success
  • The Learning in Afterschool & Summer Learning Principles (LIAS Principles)
  • Social Emotional Learning (SEL) 
  • Trauma-Informed Practices
  • The Science of Learning and Development (SoLD) and Whole Child Development
  • Program Quality Standards

“In the past several years, a large number of frameworks and standards have been created to provide guidance on what young people need to learn.”- UChicago Consortium on School Research


It is important for youth program leaders to closely follow the release of new frameworks and to be literate in and able to integrate the language and concepts they offer.  Many of these frameworks have critical features in common with and are born out of earlier youth development frameworks.

In our most recent paper, Multiple Reflections, we compare recent frameworks and note their commonalities. We offer a summary or overview of many of these frameworks as well as resources to learn more. We also provide a crosswalk chart to learn where their critical features overlap. (Note: Harvard’s Explore SEL has catalogued a large number of program frameworks and allows the reader to explore and compare frameworks to others in the field.) 

All of the frameworks named above offer critical features (some use other terms like experiences, components, non-negotiables, principles, factors, or competencies) that are deemed essential. They are all useful in guiding the design and implementation of youth programs, their values and intentions; along with program practices, activities, and assessment tools to gauge fidelity and effectiveness.

Although they do not use these terms, they are essentially about love, acceptance, respect for self and others, mentorship, agency, and preparing youth for success in school, work and life. 

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Latino Health Disparities and its Implications in the COVID-19 Era

Guest blog from the American Institutes for Research (AIR)

Longstanding systemic health and social inequities have put Americans categorized as racial and ethnic minorities at greater risk of getting sick and dying from COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. At the same time, Latinos have a history of good health outcomes, some of which contradict the prevailing narrative that race and ethnicity alone largely determine disparities in health outcomes.

David E. Hayes-Bautista
For more than three decades, AIR Institute Fellow David E. Hayes-Bautista  has researched Latino health outcomes. Using longitudinal data, he has reframed the narrative about diversity, race and ethnicity, and health, he found that Latinos are actually healthier than other groups. The exception exists when we factor in the COVID-19 era. In this partial Q & A, Hayes-Bautista, distinguished professor of medicine and director of the Center for the Study of Latino Health and Culture at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, shares some of his findings and their implications for health care policy and practice. Read the complete Q & A with David E. Hayes- Bautista here.  

Q: In California, Latinos make up about 60% of COVID-19 cases and 39% of the population. Does that surprise you at all? How do these data points fit into the overall picture of your research findings?

A: COVID-19, which is a communicable disease, has different patterns than the chronic diseases I’ve mentioned. I cannot sneeze on you and give you a heart attack. I can just breathe on you and give you the coronavirus.

Initially, some attempted to connect higher COVID-19 case and death rates among Latinos to comorbidities, such as obesity and diabetes. Latinos do have higher rates of obesity and diabetes than some other populations, but comorbidities only come into play at the end of a very long trajectory of COVID-19.

The higher COVID-19 rates are connected to the very high work ethic of Latinos and the nature of work that many Latinos do. Latinos are essential workers. For the first two to three months of the pandemic, we took great pains to make sure that nurses and physicians had access to personal protective equipment (PPE). We didn’t even think about farmworkers, construction workers, or food industry workers. The average grocery store checkout clerk probably has 200 to 300 clients pass within arm’s length on an average shift. With no PPE, a person in that occupation is hundreds of times more likely to be exposed to the coronavirus than someone who can stay at home.

Source: Business Insider

The communicable disease pattern also has a lot to do with the lack of connection between Latino communities and the formal public health structure. Latinos are still twice as likely as others to be uninsured. They have less ability to seek health care services. For instance, a COVID-19 test can cost anywhere from a hundred dollars to $2,000. If you’re a farmer making $18,000 a year, that means one COVID test might cost up to two months of your income.

With much more exposure and much less likelihood of knowing they’ve been exposed, it’s not too surprising that Latinos have much higher case and death rates. 

Q: What racial and ethnic health disparities should policy and decision makers pay attention to in the next few years, particularly as COVID-19 could have long-term health consequences?

A: Making the connection between Latino communities and the formal medical care system more robust would help. The United States is the only advanced industrial country that does not offer universal access to health care services to all people within its borders. Every other developed country has managed to do so—and they spend less in terms of GDP and per person than we do on health care.

We also have a tremendous physician shortage in the U.S. We have such a lack of Latino physicians in California that it will take all the current medical schools at the current rate of graduation 500 years to make up the shortage for 2015, much less Spanish-speaking physicians. Yet Latino physicians are far more likely to practice in heavily Latino areas and to speak Spanish. This needs to be addressed. 

Q: What suggestions do you have for future research on racial and ethnic health disparities?

A: My advice for researchers is to pay attention to the basics—theory, method, and data. The theoretical models we use do not work for a diverse population. They have no predictive power for Latino, Asian, and American Indian populations. We need different theoretical models that can handle the epidemiology of diversity. We don’t know how to handle racial ambiguity because for so long our “science” has been based on the notion of separate, distinct biological races. We need to blow up all of our concepts and start almost de novo.

 


MORE ABOUT

The mission of the American Institutes for Research (AIR) is to generate and use rigorous evidence in the areas of education, health, international issues and the workforce that contributes to a better, more equitable world. 

David E. Hayes-Bautista is an AIR Institute Fellow and Distinguished Professor of Medicine and Director of the Center for the Study of Latino Health and Culture at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, in the Division of General Internal Medicine. For over three decades he has researched the Latino Epidemiological Paradox and its implications for populations (infants, maternal, adolescents, immigrants, elderly, farmworkers, undocumented,) chronic diseases (heart, cancer, diabetes, etc.) communicable diseases (HIV-AIDS, Hepatitis A, tuberculosis, etc.) and health behaviors (tobacco use, diet, physical activity, etc.) His research in health services delivery currently focuses on developing metrics for population health that have predictive power with Latino populations, and on developing measures of health disparities that do not rely on the current race/ethnic categories. His earlier work in health services research focused on Latino provider shortages (physician, nurses, dentists,) access to health insurance and access to primary care.

...........................

MY PAL LUKE 


Check out My Pal, Luke! My Pal, Luke is designed to address many social emotional elements through his words and questions, including a check-in with kids. Luke also reads his favorite books and educates kids on how to make sense of current events and the COVID-19 pandemic. It can be easily embedded in distance learning efforts or used with in- person programming. To watch episodes of My Pal, Luke, click HERE.

 

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Building Youth-Adult Partnerships in Out-of-School Time Settings

By Sam Piha


Helen Janc Malone is the series editor of Current Issues in Out-of-School Time. The Series promotes and disseminates original, theoretical and empirical research and promising practices from practitioners to further grow and strengthen the OST field.

The latest book in this series is entitled At Our Best: Building Youth-Adult Partnerships in Out-of-School Time Settings edited by Gretchen Brion-Meisels, Deepa Sriya Vasudevan and Jessica Tseming Fei. Because the formation of positive youth-adult partnerships is such an important issue in the out-of-school time field, we approached the editors with a few interview questions. Their responses are below.


There is nothing more powerful in our efforts to improve our society than understanding how to cultivate deep and meaningful partnerships with young people. “At Our Best” offers key insights about the power of youth-adult partnerships in out-of-school time settings. Brion-Meisels, Fei & Vasudevan have compiled a powerful and comprehensive collection of voices of people who are blazing a new path in partnering with youth. This book is a must read for researchers and practitioners searching for fresh analysis and innovative insights into building youth-adult partnerships. 
-Shawn Ginwright, Ph.D, Associate Professor of Education & Africana Studies, San Francisco State University
, Chief Executive Officer, Flourish Agenda, Oakland CA

Q: Why did you choose to focus on the topic of youth-adult partnerships?
A: All three of us have a research and practice-based background in youth development work and/or out-of-school time (OST) settings. As readers of this blog may agree, when you work in OST settings, you witness and engage in a lot of forms of youth participation; these can range from more tokenized and performative youth participation (for example, inviting a youth participant to share their program experience at a funders’ event) to youth facilitating and deciding the kind of activities happening in their programs and communities.

Something that the three of us talked about in our shared teaching and research is how centering youth voice and decision-making is oftentimes an intentional approach to OST program design for older youth, and yet, there aren’t many written resources that focus on this contribution of the OST field and the complexities of these collaborations from educator and youth perspectives. We wanted to gather a chorus of voices that considered what the ideals of partnership work might look like in practice. We invited a variety of people–– youth workers, scholars, educators, and young people –– to reflect and theorize their experiences with intergenerational partnerships both within and beyond OST programs. The response was incredible; we really appreciate how honest our authors have been about both the rewarding and messy parts of intergenerational collaboration, both in theory and in practice.

Q: Can you define what you mean by “youth-adult partnerships”?
A: Theoretically, our work draws on Roger Hart’s “ladder of child participation,” which defines participation as “the process of sharing decisions which affect one’s life and the life of the community in which one lives” (Hart, 1992, p.5). Thinking about the essential role of positive youth-adult relationships in supporting youth participation in educational settings, we build upon Shepherd Zeldin, Brian Christens, and Jane Powers, who define youth-adult partnership as the practice of, “(a) multiple youth and multiple adults deliberating and acting together; (b) in a collective fashion; (c) over a sustained period of time; (d) through shared work; (e) intended to promote social justice, strengthen an organization and/or affirmatively address a community issue” (Zeldin, Christens, & Powers, 2012, p.388). This definition resonates with our experiences working in and studying OST programs, as well as the perspectives of many contributors to our volume.

Much like schools, in OST settings, youth-adult partnerships require everyone to push against hierarchical relationships and pervasive, negative constructions of youth as “at risk” or “in need of control.” They necessitate a full interrogation of the meanings, purposes, and processes of youth development. Our definition of youth-adult partnerships holds that in order to be authentic, intergenerational relationships in OST settings must focus on community and societal goals. In other words, settings must focus on nurturing collective development and outcomes rather than individual development and outcomes. Indeed, as we can see in abundance during this time of global pandemic and global uprising for racial justice, adults and youth become better able to address pressing needs for transformative change when we tap into the power of community care, social solidarity, and collective action.

Intergenerational collaboration and learning are not new; the authors in our book draw on a legacy of intergenerational solidarity in the United States. The partnerships that they describe highlight practices in which youth participate and engage in mutual and reciprocal teaching, learning, and creating with adults. In this paradigm, youth are involved in decision-making that meets both their individual needs and priorities as well as their communities.’ A partnership model still includes mentorship and wisdom from adults, but it requires adults to honor and center the knowledge and perspectives of young people. It necessitates quite a bit of rethinking and ongoing reflection among adults, which is what we emphasize in this book. Our authors share examples of what it means to challenge adults’ instincts to control a situation, and to fundamentally reassess the nature and the goals of our work in OST settings.

Figure 1: Adaptation of Hart's Ladder of Child Participation

Q: Can you provide an example of practices that promote positive youth-adult partnerships?
A: Yes! We were inspired by many practices shared by the contributors to At Our Best. One example is the development of group rituals that foster humanizing spaces for adults and youth. This can involve: a) holding regular check-ins where group members can talk honestly about their emotions; b) playing icebreaker games that highlight the importance of team building and fun; c) creating community agreements that uphold shared values and goals; and d) engaging in debrief discussions where people can share feedback to support individual and collective growth. These activities support ongoing processes of trust-building and relationship-building between adults and youth. Combined with structures for democratic decision-making, they also contribute to balancing power and participation within the group.

Q: What are some of the dilemmas that adults may face in their efforts to promote positive youth-adult partnerships?
A: Adults often face dilemmas around how to use their own power to support the work of the group, while still centering the voices and the leadership of youth. It can be challenging to figure out when to step up and when to step back, and there are no easy answers. Within youth-adult partnerships, adults must frequently reflect upon how dynamics of power, positionality, and privilege are operating within the group. Importantly, a major part of youth-adult partnership is dialogue about the impact of these dynamics, and about ways to transform any harmful dynamics that exist. Many of our practitioner authors recommend practices of transparency –– as well as cultures of accountability –– to help counter the adultism that we have to work to unlearn. Importantly, decisions about how and when an individual should exercise their own power and privilege to help a group accomplish its goals do not have to be made in isolation; this is yet another place where adults can listen to youth and lean on the collective wisdom of the group in navigating what to do.

Q: How can youth take the lead in promoting positive youth-adult partnerships?
A: Young people can take time to explore the thoughts, questions, issues, and phenomena that fascinate and galvanize them. They can take initiative to express themselves to any adult who they trust. This creates an opportunity for young people to be more deeply understood by the people around them, and it is a valuable skill-building experience, too. Through voicing their desires and talking about what’s important to them, young people learn about what it takes to advocate for themselves and others. Ideally, it can also be a confidence-building and hope-generating experience--one that enables young people to access resources and supports that can help them in their next steps, and that demonstrates that they do not have to be alone in their journeys. We have seen so many examples of young people taking the lead in promoting youth-adult partnerships over the last two months - it has been truly powerful to behold.

Q: We know that putting a priority on the formation of positive youth-adult partnerships goes beyond the work of individual youth workers- it has to be supported at the organizational level. Can you comment on this?
A: Absolutely, there has to be organizational leadership and whole-hearted, whole-team and buy-in to partnership efforts and practices. If there isn’t this expressed ongoing commitment and willingness at the organizational management and leadership level, youth workers can become frustrated and exhausted by partnership work that goes unseen and undervalued; youth will probably not trust or believe that their efforts will matter. Something we appreciated about the youth programs represented in this book–– Intergenerational Change Initiative in NYC, Teen Empowerment in Boston & Somerville, Massachusetts, The Center for Youth and Community Leadership in Education, Youth in Action in Providence, Rhode Island, and Humanities Amped in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to name a few –– is that partnership work is embedded in the mission, approach, and philosophy of the whole organization. This means that youth hold leadership positions within the organization and adults have systems for ongoing debriefs and critical reflections at the organizational level to evaluate the processes and outcomes of their partnership work. Partnerships do a good job of holding organizations accountable and transparent about their work, too; when working in partnership, a program doesn’t become about one charismatic leader or “savior” of youth, rather, it becomes about building a caring community.

We do also want to note that partnerships need to be recognized as a promising practice and activity in the eyes of funders as well. Organizational leadership can feel pressure to show individual outcomes vs. community outcomes to keep program doors open and may perpetuate this kind of expectation of youth workers. This can lend itself to more traditional educational practices that position only adults as experts and decision-makers.

Q: Who do you think the audience is that would benefit from this book?
A: With our collective experiences in afterschool programs, classroom teaching, academic research, and community arts, we truly believe that educators both in and out of schools can benefit from this book. Many out-of-school time organizations are already seeking to work in partnership with youth; for them, this book will provide concrete practices and strategies, as well as examples of the challenging tensions that can emerge.

On the other hand, we believe that school-based educators would benefit from engaging the type of pedagogical moves and tools for relationship-building that our authors describe. By building trusting relationships, drawing on problem-posing methodologies, engaging democratic participation and providing opportunities for collective action, schools will become more authentic and engaging sites of learning. Moreover, there are many principles and practices of youth-adult partnership that can deepen and enrich the work of school administrators, educational researchers, community organizers, and community-based artists. This book is intentionally designed to speak to a wide array of people interested in intergenerational work with goals of social justice and collective well-being.

MORE ABOUT...
Jessica Fei is the Director of Programs for the Sadie Nash Leadership Project. As an educational researcher and practitioner, she seeks to center the voices and leadership of youth, and to build relationships and communities grounded in authentic care.

Deepa Vasudevan is a visiting lecturer in education at Wellesley College, whose research focuses on the occupational identities and expertise of community-based youth workers, constructions of care work in education, and youth engagement in out-of-school learning experiences.

Gretchen Brion-Meisels is a lecturer at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, whose work draws on critical participatory action research approaches to understand how schools and communities can become more equitable and loving spaces.


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