By Sam Piha
We recently issued an online survey of those that have attended our conferences and Speaker’s Forums. The purpose of the survey was to assist us with planning for 2017-18, especially as it relates to our promotion of SEL and character building. We received 59 survey responses.
We were surprised by some of the responses. Below we share this data with our comments beneath.
|Photo credit: focusforhealth.org
• Most of the survey respondents were either technical assistance providers or oversee one or more afterschool or summer programs.
While it is important to reach line staff, it may be more important to reach program leaders who can then direct appropriate training for line staff.
• A vast majority of respondents have been working in the field of afterschool
for many years (55% – more than 10 years; 26% - 5-10 years).
While there is high turnover among line staff, there is a large number of people who have made afterschool a career.
• Nearly 45% of respondents replied that educational events or activities to build awareness and gain buy-in from parents are strongly needed. Nearly 43% replied that it is somewhat needed.
We believe that activities that target parents are important. However, this population has been largely ignored. We can learn more about the challenges of engaging parents of afterschool participants and what is needed.
• Over 65% of respondents replied that educational events or activities to build awareness and buy-in from educators are strongly needed. Nearly 29% replied that it is somewhat needed.
It is clear that because many afterschool programs are housed in schools and receive funds from the Department of Education, we need to do a better job of reaching out to and targeting educators. This is reflected in our current support of the CORE Districts to integrate social emotional learning and the promoting of mindfulness to counselors and SAP staff.
• When asked to rank five challenges for programs that seek to integrate strategies that promote character building and SEL, two issues were ranked the highest: “lack of training dollars” and “lack of time for professional development”.
The issue of lack of time is partially due to the high prevalence of part-time staff and volunteers and budget restrictions. Thus, it is important that we reach full-time program coordinators and other technical assistance providers with low-cost and convenient learning opportunities.
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