Monday, June 27, 2016

Preparing Youth for Work and Career Success

By Sam Piha

Sam Piha
I first met Bill Fennessy when he innovated a new high school afterschool program in Pasadena, CA. Bill was part of the first run of ASSETs programs - before people knew what high school afterschool was. He subsequently joined THINK Together as their Director of Community Engagement. 

At THINK Together, Bill continued his work as an innovator when he introduced a comprehensive approach to workforce preparation within their high school afterschool programs. We invited him to present at our last How Kids Learn Conference and write a paper on the topic of preparing youth for work and career success. Below is an excerpt from his paper and a link to the entire paper

By Bill Fennessy

Preparing youth for work and career is now rapidly becoming an integral part in
Bill Fennessy
preparing youth with the skills they will need in school and life.  This is clearly supported by the most current research such as RTI International’s “Employability Skills Framework”, as well as the “Foundations For Young Adult Success, A Developmental Framework” from the University of Chicago.  In addition and very importantly to the Expanded Learning Field, preparing youth for work and career clearly aligns with what should now be the very familiar “LIAS Learning Principles”, “Youth Development Framework”, and the “California Standards for Expanded Learning Programs”.

All youth regardless of their age can begin expanding their ideas of what they might do as adults. Coupling those ideas with the experience of related work in the real world brings the important relevance which results in greater engagement in their work at school.  This is clearly embodied by California’s Linked Learning approach to education, which has now demonstrated clear evidence of effectiveness as students in Linked Learning pathways have shown substantially positive shifts in credits accumulated, attendance, A-G completion, and reduced drop-out rates.   The result of this data has spawned an exponential growth in the numbers of schools and school districts that are now offering or planning to use the Linked Learning approach.

Recent and intentional changes made by the CDE Afterschool Division has made allowable work-based learning as a potential ASES and ASSETs grant foci.  These changes well position the Expanded Learning field to do more than just put work-based learning components into their programs, it actually encourages the field to collaborate in building work-based learning platforms from which to support many new programming opportunities and engage many other partners in this important work.  

About the Author
Bill Fennessy is Director of Community Engagement and Work-Based Learning at THINK Together. Bill began his career as the PasadenaLEARNs Site Coordinator for Blair International Baccalaureate Magnet School, serving grades 7 – 12. Bill was the leader of BlairLEARNs, a middle school afterschool program. He was a pioneer in the high school afterschool movement and was part of the first cohort of ASSETs programs.

Bill is also a Temescal Associate. He has conducted a number of training sessions on high school afterschool and was a presenter at one of the recent How Kids Learn Conferences focused on Preparing Youth For Work And Career Success.

Monday, June 13, 2016

The Battle Over Bathroom Access

By Guest Blogger, Rozel Cruz of Temescal Associates

Rozel Cruz,
Temescal Associates
The topic of transgender youth continues to be one of discussion for educators and youth program professionals. To educate people on this topic, we issued a briefing paper entitled Understanding Gender Identity in Young People. It includes an interview with Dr. Diane Ehrensaft. Click here to download the paper. 

We also offer this video from PBS Newshour.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Master of Mindfulness

By Sam Piha

Sam Piha
We have seen through research and practice that mindfulness can be a very effective tool for schools and afterschool programs to promote social emotional learning (SEL) skills and "grit". 

In a previous post, we have described "Master of Mindfulness" - a book created by youth from Reach Academy in East Oakland, CA and our Mindfulness in Afterschool partner, Laurie Grossman. The book is in its third printing and is available on AmazonThe majority of royalties from the sales of this book will be donated to a fund to support the post high-school educational or vocational endeavors of the twenty five authors who co-wrote the book. 

These young authors, their book, and the power of mindfulness was featured in a recent piece aired on KTVU TV. You can check it out by clicking on the images below. 

Part 1
Part 2

For more information on how to bring mindfulness into your afterschool program, contact us by writing to

Reed Larson’s Research on Youth Development

Source: Reed Larson, The Youth Development Experience Kate Walker By Guest Blogger Kate Walker, Extension Specialist, Youth Development, Uni...