Tuesday, July 26, 2022

The Effects of the COVID Pandemic According to a Survey of School Counselors

Source: Photo by Manny Becerra via Unsplash

By Sam Piha

During the last year we have posted many LIAS blogs on the impact of the COVID pandemic on afterschool programs but we have not written about how young people’s behaviors have revealed the impacts of the pandemic.

We want to call your attention to a survey published by the New York Times in April that polled 362 school counselors nationwide who described many students as “frozen, socially and emotionally, at the age they were when the pandemic started.” 

“American schoolchildren’s learning loss in the pandemic isn’t just in reading and math. It’s also in social and emotional skills — those needed to make and keep friends; participate in group projects; and cope with frustration and other emotions. Nearly all the counselors, 94 percent, said their students were showing more signs of anxiety and depression than before the pandemic. Eighty-eight percent said students were having more trouble regulating their emotions. And almost three-quarters said they were having more difficulty solving conflicts with friends.” – authors, Claire Cain Miller and Bianca Pallaro, New York Times

Below we share quotes from the survey. We invite you to share your comments on what you are seeing in the afterschool setting. Send your comments to info@temescalassociates.com.

        “The number of students with chronic attendance issues is much higher than pre-pandemic.” - Jess Firestone, Buckman Elementary School, Portland, Or. 

        “Cyberbullying behaviors are through the roof! We deal with this almost on a daily basis.” - Amy Riley, Mercer County Intermediate School, Harrodsburg, Ky.

        “So much self-harm and suicide ideation.” - Briana Smith, Everett High School, Everett, Wash. 

Source: Photo by Callum Skelton via Unsplash

        “Kids are struggling to make friends, and when there is a conflict, they aren’t sure how to work through it.” - Jennifer Schlatter, Southeast Elementary, Brighton, Colo. 

        “Teamwork skills are almost nonexistent.” - Emily Fain-Lynch, Green Magnet Academy, Knoxville, Tenn. 

        “Students are less bought in to school, less excited about life after high school.” - Ria Ferich, Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Austin, Texas 

        “Kids are more impulsive, less controlled, and struggle with emotional regulation.” - Joy Sparrey, Gilbert Intermediate School, Gilbert, Iowa

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

A Shout Out to PCY Founder, Jennifer Peck

By Sam Piha

“After 21 years of incredible service, Jennifer Peck, Partnership for Children & Youth (PCY) founding CEO, will step down from her leadership role in the organization on June 30th. Jennifer will assume the role of Senior Advisor during the transition to support the organization and its new leadership.” 
- Partnership for Children & Youth

I've had the pleasure of working with Jennifer on promoting access to quality afterschool programs for over 20 years. She has partnered with Temescal Associates on several projects throughout the years and has proved to be an incredible leader and innovator. I interviewed Jennifer recently about her career and accomplishments and we will share her responses in a future blog post. Below we hear from afterschool leaders who share their thoughts on Jennifer's impact on the field of afterschool. 

Michael Funk
The creation of a new Division at CDE in 2011 can be entirely credited to Jennifer. The After School Division was created then under the newly elected SSPI Tom Torlakson and Jennifer co-led his Transition Team. I would have never considered serving as the Director of this new division if Jennifer had not twisted both of my arms off to do so! (Thank you, Jennifer.) I have now been in this position for over 10 years and Jennifer (and countless others, have been with me for every step of this amazing journey.) California's communities, schools, families and students owe an incalculable debt of gratitude to Jennifer Peck. Her vision, leadership and tenacity are "hall-of-fame" caliber.” – Michael Funk, Director, Expanded Learning Division, California Department of Education

Jodi Grant
“Jennifer Peck did remarkable work to create, build and strengthen the federal 21st Century Community Learning Centers initiative, which is today a major success that has improved the lives of millions of children and families. After leaving Washington, D.C., Jennifer remained a passionate advocate, working at the local, state and national levels to create after school and summer learning opportunities for students across the country. She had a powerful, holistic vision for out-of-school-time programs that engaged not only with schools, but also with local community organizations. It was a privilege to work with Jennifer for almost two decades. The entire afterschool community will miss her, and her legacy will carry on.” - Jodi Grant, Executive Director, Afterschool Alliance

Eric Gurna
“Jennifer is an amazing leader for our field, and an inspiring colleague for so many of us. I learn so much from working with her. I don't think it is an exaggeration to say that without Jennifer's leadership and vision, the field of expanded learning in California would not have the depth, quality and scale that we see today - that means that she has had a profound impact on so, so many children and families and an entire workforce. And she made that long-term impact with a joyful spirit and great humor! Jennifer you will forever have our gratitude and appreciation.” - Eric Gurna, former Director of LA’s BEST

Margaret Brodkin
“Jennifer understood the combined importance of practice, policy and politics. She created an organization that excelled at all three, and each enhanced the other.  Her leadership particularly lifted the quality, visibility and progressive policies in youth development, summer learning, afterschool and community schools. She has been one of the most influential people in California’s children and youth arena. Her legacy is alive and well at the organization she founded.”Margaret Brodkin, Nationally recognized children’s advocate and policy pioneer

Rebecca Goldberg
“Jennifer Peck has left an indelible mark on the California education landscape. Because of her perseverance, foresight, strategy, and leadership, California continues to lead the nation in its investments in kids and serves as a model for all other states that aspire to dedicate significant, ongoing funding for expanded learning and summer learning opportunities. While she will be missed in her role at PCY, I know she will continue to advocate for kids in new and great ways. With California poised to once again realize the largest expansion of publicly funded expanded learning programs in the country, Jennifer should feel nothing but pride in all that she has done to help get the field to where it is to be ready for this type of unprecedented expansion. Thank you, Jennifer!”
– Rebecca Goldberg, Non-profit & philanthropy consultant; Board Member at Forum for Youth Investment, MENTOR California, and Playworks Northern California

Aaron Dworkin
Thank you, Jennifer, for your partnership, leadership and tireless efforts on behalf of young people, families and communities across California and the country. You set a high bar for what is possible, and our field and leaders and partner programs are all stronger for your efforts, passion and wisdom. I personally thank you for helping me grow and learn over so many years. You will be missed but your organization will continue on your legacy.” – Aaron Dworkin, CEO, National Summer Learning Association

Brian Lee
“Jennifer has been an impactful leader in the after school and summer field. With her vision and dedication, she has helped transform California into the national leader on after school and summer, through both her (and her stellar staff’s) close collaboration with California policymakers and her empowerment of voices from the field.”Brian Lee, Policy Advocate previously with Fight Crime: Invest in Kids California

"Millions of professionals and volunteers work with young people every day in the many settings where youth play, learn, and grow outside of the school day. Yet, we have little collective information about this essential workforce. You can help change this!"- California Afterschool Network

Take the survey today, click here.

Tuesday, July 5, 2022

A "Hybrid" Model for Professional Development

By Sam Piha

During the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic afterschool programs were hit hard. Many had to close their youth programs and transition to serving their communities during the COVID shutdown. Many programs lost staff, and later suffered from a staffing shortage. They saw their budgets and attendance shrink and professional development efforts disrupted. 

The silver lining in all of this was the abundance of new distance/online professional development resources. According to many program leaders they are now seeking to hire many new staff that will need training on “youth work basics” - trainings that are foundational to youth work.

Program leaders are now thinking about using a “hybrid” model for professional development - a mixture of recorded/online training offerings and written briefing papers that can be shared with local staff. This is followed by on-site discussions facilitated by in-person leaders. This hybrid model can be tailored to the needs of the local program, be more relevant, intimate, inexpensive and COVID safe. 

Source: Spotlight: Girls

To support a hybrid approach we are developing a guide which identifies “youth work basics” training and other resources (recorded webinars, video presentations, briefing papers, blogs, etc.) with links for easy access. Topics include history of afterschool in America, youth development guide 2.0, learning in afterschool & summer learning principles, youth work fundamentals & literature reviews, social emotional learning and others. These were developed by Temescal Associates and The How Kids Learn Foundation. Also to be included are worksheets, discussion guides and other resources to support programs in leading their own professional development and reflection activities. We will release this new guide shortly.

Youth Vote 2024: Benefits of Youth Civic Engagement

Source: www.urge.org By Sam Piha The 2024 election offers a number of opportunities to engage older youth. But these opportunities require i...