Tuesday, March 31, 2020

We Need to Save Afterschool and Our Non-profits

By Sam Piha

We can't stop educating the public and policy makers on the value of afterschool and our non-profit providers.

SAVE OUR NON-PROFITS: Congress has ignored the non-profit sector as they consider the COVID-19 Stimulus Package. Read more.
Source: Council of Non-profits

FEDERAL FUNDING FOR AFTERSCHOOL: Once again, the current Presidential administration is proposing a federal budget calling for the elimination of funds for afterschool and summer learning programs for 1.7 million young people. Policymakers in the House and Senate have the power to decide whether local afterschool and summer learning programs will receive the funds they need to remain open.

Tell your members of Congress to protect the programs America's children and families rely on, and invite a policy maker to visit an afterschool program. Also, participate in the next Lights On Afterschool event.
Source: www.afterschoolnetwork.org

Below are some resources to learn more:
Below are some resources for California programs:

Thursday, March 26, 2020

SURVEY: Afterschool Program Responses to COVID-19 Prevention Efforts

By Sam Piha

Due to the COVID-19 crisis, afterschool and youth programs are having to quickly adjust. This survey was developed to gather information and share the results back with providers, afterschool leaders, advocates and funders. We estimate that this survey will take about 8 minutes to complete. We greatly appreciate you taking the time to complete this survey. Please complete before April 9, 2020.
Source: www.marketingland.com

FEEL FREE TO FORWARD THIS TO YOUR COLLEAGUES AND AFTERSCHOOL NETWORKS. (Note: Since things are very fluid, we may send out another survey later in the year.)


Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Online Resources for Remote Staff Development

By Sam Piha

With the COVID-19 prevention efforts, afterschool programs may be looking for resources and ideas that staff could use online and remotely. Below are some no cost resources that we have developed that may be useful.

History of Afterschool in America Documentary:
This 60- minute documentary can be streamed online. We also have related resources, such as a learning guide, that can be used to support staff development.

Learning in Afterschool & Summer Learning Principles:
This short video offers interviews with national afterschool researchers and leaders on the LIAS Learning Principles. It can be streamed online.

Brief Presentations by Afterschool Leaders:
These brief video presentations from prior How Kids Learn conferences (including Shawn Ginwright, Gil Noam, Karen Pittman, Jodi Grant and more) can be streamed online.

Temescal Websites:
We have several websites in which viewers can review and download resources (articles, reports, videos, etc.) These websites include:

For more information contact us at info@temescalassociates.com.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Coronavirus and Afterschool

By Sam Piha

We began tracking the spread of the Coronavirus several weeks ago. After seeing discussions in educational literature we grew increasingly concerned about the implications for afterschool. We had an exchange with national afterschool advocates, and decided that we would wait for schools, districts and public health officials to share their thoughts. We chose to follow their lead because it is imperative that we all speak with consistency.

Nobody really knows how much the Coronavirus will spread in the U.S. Below are some thoughts and resources that may be useful for afterschool providers. Please note that new information and resources are appearing daily.

Source: Exploring The New Coronavirus: A Comic Just For Kids

Know the Facts & Follow Developments: It is important that everyone understands the real facts about COVID-19, and not be influenced by rumors on the internet. It is also important that program staff are knowledgeable about prevention strategies which can be employed in the program. We recommend the following resources:

Coordination: For school-based afterschool programs, it is important to coordinate with schools and school districts on plans for responding to COVID-19. We recommend that program leaders are involved in these plans by meeting with principals and following developments on district websites. This includes any plans for school closures. Program leaders should also be aware of any efforts of the janitorial staff regarding cleaning and disinfecting the program space, especially those areas that are more likely to spread the virus.

For community-based afterschool programs, it is important for organizational leaders to ensure that staff are properly trained and informed, that the space is being cleaned properly, and they are in contact and coordinating with local health departments.
Source: Exploring The New Coronavirus: A Comic Just For Kids
How to Talk With Kids: It is best when programs have a regularly scheduled “Check-in Circle” where participants can bring up things on their minds, such as a fear of the COVID-19 virus. If programs do not have a regular check-in, they can call a “circle meeting” to discuss.

First, it is important that the adult staff know the facts. It is good to answer any questions truthfully, while communicating reassurances that adults are doing everything to keep children safe. We suggest that adult staff need not to offer detailed information that goes beyond young people’s questions- especially for young children. Second, empower participants with strategies to prevent infection, like staying home when ill and washing hands frequently. It may be helpful to demonstrate effective hand washing (20 seconds or 2 verses of “Happy Birthday”) and include hand washing as part of the program, especially before snacks.
“Youth workers should bring up that there is currently a heightened awareness of the importance of good hygiene to support everyone's health. For example: ‘It's flu season, and cold season anyway, plus a new virus going around which has prompted health officials and doctors to ask people in communities to do better about keeping themselves and everyone else healthy.  Your school and this program are each a community and we're making that effort here too.’ Then teach hygiene. Beyond that, my sense is that youth workers should only talk further about it in response to questions or concerns that kids raise. 
In the case of older youth, you can offer more content about the contribution that individuals in a community can make to the benefit of all. Research has shown that adolescents are more motivated to incorporate personal prevention efforts if it is framed as an example of other ways community members support each other. -Sheri Glucoft Wong, LCSW

Here is one useful resource- How to Talk to Kids About CoronavirusYou may also find this comic book format useful.

NPR, Just For Kids: A Comic Exploring The New Coronavirus

Stigma/Bullying Reduction: It is important that afterschool staff take measures to ensure that youth do not stigmatize or bully other youth. COVID-19 is not a “Chinese” virus.

“I request your careful attention to recent challenges that have been reported in light of the coronavirus (COVID-19). There has been an increasing number of news reports regarding stereotyping, harassment, and bullying directed at persons perceived to be of Chinese American or, more generally, Asian descent.”- Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Kenneth L. Marcus

Communication With Parents: It is normal for parents to be concerned about the health of their children. Reassure parents that afterschool staff are well-informed and working closely with their host school. Similar to afterschool staff, it is important that parents have the right facts about the COVID-19 virus and that they and their child stay home if they feel ill. (For school-based afterschool programs, check with your school to see if they already have “communication with parents” literature.)
In communicating with parents, afterschool staff could say something like: “The coronavirus and issues surrounding it is in the news and on the minds of many; we are leaving it to parents and classroom teachers to address it in detail; as a community, our afterschool programs will take on the relevant health/hygiene aspects of the issue in an effort to raise  students' awareness and provide training about staying healthy; youth workers are being informed and trained to respond to any questions or issues that the kids bring up; we will, of course, notify parents of any issues that arise that affect the health or social-emotional well-being of your individual child or the group.”-Sheri Glucoft Wong, LCSW

For more information on this topic, we recommend this resource- What Parents Need to Know About Coronavirus.

Afterschool Program Finances: Many afterschool programs receive payments based on average daily attendance. If attendance is down or schools are closed, how will this affect afterschool programs? Will they have to permanently shut down? Will staff have to be laid off? Ask funders (state, federal, city, or philanthropic) if there are provisions for this. For instance, in California, the Department of Education has a process by which programs can apply for Attendance Relief funding. Additionally, it is important that afterschool staff do not come to work if they feel ill. This works best if the provider organization provides staff with sick time benefits, which may have financial implications.

"I do think it reminds us that we should all stay home when sick, adults, kids etc – and that requires support financially; paid sick days for staff and paid sick days for parents/guardians to care for sick kids." – Jodi Grant, Afterschool Alliance

Sheri Glucoft Wong, LCSW is a family therapist, parent educator and consultant. In addition to her clinical practice, she has led workshops and seminars for public and private schools and childcare centers, medical centers, and private industry for over 30 years. 

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

A Look Ahead to Afterschool in the Next Decade

As we head into a new decade, we thought it would be appropriate to hear from afterschool leaders regarding how they viewed the opportunities and the challenges to afterschool moving forward.

EMERGING TRENDS/ OPPORTUNITIES: There are more and more options for expanded learning programs to specialize in certain kinds of practices, whether STEM, arts, CTE, culturally sustaining practice, and so on. How they navigate among these choices is an open question for me, and possibly an opportunity for additional support and guidance.

CHALLENGES: Challenges include a strong economy that creates more competition for talent, minimum wage laws in many cities and states, plus AB 5 in California. The cost pressures on programs continue to increase, and philanthropies are lessening their support for expanded learning rather than increasing it. Also, the distinction between social and emotional learning and positive youth development practices can use more clarification, especially from a practice perspective.

EMERGING TRENDS/ OPPORTUNITIES: The vision described here is THE FUTURE. In 2020 and beyond, the Expanded Learning field will leverage the Science of Learning and Development to strengthen the case and strengthen our practice that we create the conditions necessary for youth to thrive. Expanded Learning programs are also serving communities that have a lot of needs. In 2020 and beyond Expanded Learning programs will partner better with health, mental health, and social service sectors to offer relevant interventions when kids and families are in need of support beyond what we can provide in our programs.

CHALLENGES: The rates that support Expanded Learning programs are still woefully insufficient and decision-makers such as legislators are becoming fatigued with the message that Expanded Learning programs need more investment to meet baseline operational costs, let alone live up to their true potential. 2020 will be another critical year to rally our staff, families, and communities to communicate clearly and with large numbers that Expanded Learning programs are worthy of investment.

EMERGING TRENDS/ OPPORTUNITIES: I see the emerging trends include the issues of mental health and well-being (both for our students and our staff), school safety (anti-bullying / positive school climate), equity & inclusion, and student voice.  Some of the focus areas that address these emerging issues and trends include:  SEL, Trauma-informed practices Restorative Justice, Mindfulness, and Growth Heartset.

CHALLENGES: Adequate funding and developing and retaining quality staff.


EMERGING TRENDS/ OPPORTUNITIES: I see and hope for a rising priority in the shape and value of programs for older youth, and youth action and voice in society.

CHALLENGES: We need to rise to the challenge to systemically support the adults in the field with meaningful career pathways and preparation to support their critical role in youth learning and development.

EMERGING TRENDS/ OPPORTUNITIES: The emerging trend in Expanded Learning that continues to grow, and I believe is on the verge of doing so exponentially, is "Workforce Readiness", or the "Career" part of the new "College and Career" focus.  There is now a proliferation of Industry Pathways and Academies in high schools, which to produce great outcomes really requires important foundational work at both the middle and elementary school level.  The opportunities to create, develop, and innovate effective programming models in Expanded Learning Programs to support this Workforce Readiness movement are currently boundless.  This is truly an incredible opportunity for Expanded Learning Programs to provide more than multiple modalities of learning that directly support the Instructional Day.

CHALLENGES: The biggest challenge I see facing the field is the ability to find and retain program level staff.  With the dramatic increases in minimum wage, it is almost impossible for programs to financially compete for quality program level staff.  There is work now beginning which hopes to make work experience/internships in Expanded Learning Programs as a part of a course of study for post-secondary students on a Teaching Pathway.  Teachers that have Youth Development experience have better student engagement skills that directly result in excellent classroom management.

I’m thinking about:
  • The Census and its impact on Youth Programs/OST; also thinking about voter registration (of staff and participants/families). 
  • Equity and professional development (PD)- who gets to go to conferences for example, where do we invest our PD dollars in our organizations and in the field? 
  • The role of extended learning programs in addressing poverty (e.g, living wages, skills for 21st century employment, entrepreneurship).

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

For Effective SEL, Staff Need To Learn New Skills, Too

By Guest Bloggers Heather Daly, Courageous Hearts and Normandie Nigh, A World Fit for Kids (Note: This blog was originally developed for The Afterschool Alliance.)

Heather Daly and Normandie Nigh
So… you want to bring social emotional learning (SEL) to your afterschool program? Great! Before you decide which curriculum you’ll teach your students, it’s important to ask yourself if your staff are trained on how to deliver SEL content. Conveying SEL skills and modeling them to young people requires specific competencies in addition to an educator’s existing skill set. In a previous blog, we talked about the importance of teaching our young people methods to navigate stress and uncomfortable emotions. Today we will discuss why educators need training to deliver this type of content, and also share some common pitfalls when incorporating SEL content.

The etymological origin of “educate” comes from the Latin root “educaré,” which means “to draw out from within.” Many teachers are trained with an “outside-in” approach to education. The theory is that there is information out there that we as a society have decided young people should know. A teacher’s role is to get that information into them, like filling a bucket. However, the core of all SEL curricula is empowering young people and honoring their inner wisdom — an “inside-out” approach. Because of this, SEL curriculum must be facilitated, not taught. Traditionally, scholastic subjects like math, science, and English are taught using an outside-in approach; using the same method to deliver SEL content is doomed to fail.

“Whoever our students may be, whatever subject we teach, ultimately we teach who we are.”
- Author, Educator and Activist Parker Palmer 
Source: Afterschool Alliance

Additionally, for the population of students who need a trauma-informed approach, their social and emotional needs must be addressed before academics. Trying to get information into the mind of a young person while they are engaged in a stress response is futile. This can be frustrating for educators who don’t have the facilitation tools to address social emotional needs. Ideally, educators would become adept at learning when to teach and when to facilitate.

Another challenge for successful delivery of SEL content has to do with the need to model it to the students to effectively teach it. SEL is necessarily responsive and works moment-to-moment over time; because it’s all about behaving and interacting, a “do as I say, not as I do” approach doesn’t work. Students learn and emulate self-awareness from someone who is demonstrating it. For this reason, educators must continue to develop their own social emotional skills so they can set the example — working on their personal development, becoming more self- and socially aware, learning how to manage their own stress, and walking the talk.

Also, delivering SEL blocks once or twice a week is not nearly as effective as being immersed in an SEL-based culture in which all adults that interact with students are participating in continued social and emotional growth. It requires lots of buy-in from other adults in the community, but principals, afterschool staff, teachers, security guards, and janitorial staff all must be trained to support this SEL framework. (We recognize this can be a tall order! But the payoff is enormous.)

“With SEL-focused training that helps providers better understand and develop their own SEL skills, they can intentionally model SEL for kids, find teachable moments in everyday activities, and simply be the supportive and caring adult that all kids need.”- National AfterSchool Association 

Educators across the country are being asked to deliver SEL curriculum and attend to the social and emotional needs of their students. Training on how to facilitate this type of content is essential, as is supporting educators with developing their own social emotional prowess.

To be successful in creating an SEL-competent culture, educators must learn the art of facilitation to deliver this unique content and must model it to all students. By honoring our young people’s hearts, emotions and the inner wisdom that guides them on their own path, we will strengthen them from the inside out to stand forward as tomorrow’s leaders.

Heather E. Daly, Ph.D. is the Director of Courageous Hearts, an organization committed to educating afterschool staff with drug education and prevention content. Normandie Nigh is the Chief Executive Officer of A World Fit for Kids, whose mission is to prepare young people for fit and fulfilling lives. To learn more about the training opportunities available for afterschool staff and program providers, visit Courageous Hearts and Fit For Success, a project of A World Fit For Kids.

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