Tuesday, November 29, 2022

More On Learning Loss and Afterschool

Source: Fab Youth Philly

By Sam Piha

There is a lot of concern that the COVID disruption resulted in significant learning loss and mental health issues (anxiety, depression, etc.). Should afterschool shift their focus to learning loss and academic support and move away from promoting a sense of safety, belonging and offering learning in non- academic areas?

Rebecca Fabiano
We asked Rebecca Fabiano, who is a respected afterschool leader and founder of FAB Youth Philly, to share her thoughts on these questions. Fab Youth Philly focuses three things: support youth-serving organizations through a variety of consulting services; connect youth development professionals to training and networking, and innovate summer and afterschool programming for children & teens. Rebecca has over 25 years of experience working in the afterschool field.

"I think afterschool should lean into its tradition of supporting Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) and promoting a sense of safety & belonging as a primary goal and supporting academics as a secondary goal. The afterschool field has a long history of creating spaces that encourage and promote physical and emotional safety and center relationship building as a key tool in this effort. 

Source: Fab Youth Philly

Afterschool staff often serve as critical supports and advocates for youths’ social and mental well-being and should continue to do so. They can also serve as a bridge between the school day and non-school day activities, such as academic support, including things like SAT test prep. They can partner with other organizations that provide tutoring or special academic supports to offer that either during the day or afterschool, as afterschool programs often have flexibility in terms of partnerships, hiring, funding, etc. that school systems do not have.   

Afterschool programs should respond to learning loss and mental health concerns by continuing to center positive, trusting relationships between young people and their peers and with caring adults. They should also include youth in conversations about their own mental health needs and wishes. From there, they may offer, depending on their expertise and comfort, workshops or counseling services to meet these requests. Afterschool programs can also do some additional leg work to identify resources for youth that include multilingual resources, supports for LGBTQ, undocumented and other particularly and traditionally vulnerable youth. This might include resources for the whole family."

To learn more about Rebecca Fabiano and Fab Youth Philly, click here.

For nearly 25 years, Rebecca Fabiano (She/Her/Hers) has worked in various capacities across nonprofit and youth-serving organizations, served on boards and helped to build solid youth programs that engage, encourage, and create spaces for positive development. As a program leader, she has successfully raised funds and managed program budgets; hired and supervised staff; developed and sustained strong community partnerships and designed award-winning programming. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

The Holidays, Gratitude and the Youth Vote

All of us at Temescal Associates, the How Kids Learn Foundation, and the Learning in Afterschool & Summer Project wish you a peaceful and restful holiday! We are most grateful to all of you who work hard to support our youth in out of school time and the youth who voted in the 2022 mid-term elections. 

On Gratitude
“When you feel gratitude, you feel a sense of abundance. When you express gratitude—especially when it’s heartfelt—you strengthen your relationships with others. Grateful people are happier and more fulfilled. And gratitude leads you to be nicer to other people: more cooperative, patient, and trusting.

Think about how your day is going. How many of these things are true?

  • I said “thank you” to someone.
  • I did something nice to show my appreciation.
  • I can list lots of people and things that I’m lucky to have in my life.
  • I noticed when someone helped me.
  • I felt a sense of thankfulness.”- Character Lab

Gratitude Activities
Below are some resources for gratitude activities.

“When you feel grateful, your moral compass becomes stronger. When you see other people commit transgressions, you hold them to higher moral standards. Your expectations rise.”David DeSteno, ED Week

“Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude.”- A.A. Milne, author of Winnie the Pooh

Youth in the 2022 Mid-Term Election
“Elections are a valuable opportunity for young people across the country to make their voices heard, support action on issues they care about, and grow as active voters and leaders in our democracy. It’s clear that young people had a major impact on the 2022 midterms.”
Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE)

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

3 New Books to Check Out

By Sam Piha

A number of colleagues have recently released books that we think are very valuable to the afterschool field. We discuss them below.

Raising Kids: Your Essential Guide to Everyday Parenting

While this book is targeting parents, we believe that it is also valuable for afterschool leaders. We have been working with co-author Sheri Glucoft Wong, LCSW for many years. She has provided in-person workshops on managing behavior for afterschool staff, has led online webinars and has contributed to several LIAS Blogs.

Publisher's Synopsis: “In Raising Kids, family therapist and parent educator Sheri Glucoft Wong and Silicon Valley private school head Olaf Jorgenson team up to deliver a down-to-earth guide to parenting that is as encouraging as it is illuminating. With its easy-to-grasp language and tools, Raising Kids is there for you, from managing family routines, screen time, and homework, to supporting friendships, self-esteem, and resilience. You'll find out how being "on your spot" leads to fewer conflicts and replaces threats, nagging, and punishment with clear, effective messages that make sense to your kids.”  

To learn more and order Raising Kids: Your Essential Guide to Everyday Parenting, click here.

“The authors successfully blend their experience with anecdotes and practical lessons on how to raise resilient children while maintaining one’s perspective—or sanity, in some cases—leaving the reader hopeful rather than powerless in striking balance and setting limits. As an educator, I plan to disseminate the lessons learned from the book. As a parent, I will rethink and re-shape some of the misconceptions and fears that I brought to parenting my two children. Raising Kids is an essential read for parents who want to parent with purpose, integrity, and equanimity.” — Percy L. Abram, PhD, head of school at The Bush School (WA) 

Heartset Education: A Way of Living and Learning

Stu Semigran
Author Stu Semigran is an important partner of Temescal Associates and The How Kids Learn Foundation. Stu, founder of EduCare Foundation, has led several online webinars and contributed to many LIAS Blogs.

Amazon’s Synopsis: “For our children to be active learners, they not only need a new growth mindset… they also need a growth heartset. Stu Semigran provides a new way to educate our children in Heartset® Education: A Way of Living and Learning. In this book, you will:

  • Discover How to Listen from Your Heart
  • Get Tools to Turn Challenges into Learning Opportunities
  • Learn How to Resolve Conflict from a Different Perspective
  • Gain Knowledge to Build a Sense of Connection with Your Children
  • Realize the Magnitude of the Power of Choice as a Personal Responsibility”

To learn more and order Heartset Education: A Way of Living and Learning, click here.

“Heartset Education brings to light the need for educating every child with greater love and understanding. It should be at the core for all our schools!” — Michael Funk, Director, Expanded Learning Division for the California Department of Education 

“Heartset Education is a MUST for bringing the best out of both educators and parents!”— Gloria Halley, Region 2 Lead for Learning Support, Expanded Learning Service, Office of Education, Butte County (CA)

The Heartbeat of the Youth Development Field

Georgia Hall, NIOST
We have been working with co-author Georgia Hall for many years and her latest release, The Heartbeat of the Youth Development Field, provides a window into the lives of youth workers and experiences that led to their work with young people. It beautifully illustrates the importance of building positive relationships with youth, and details the practices and strategies successfully employed by youth workers. While this book will be immeasurably valuable to researchers, funders, and policymakers, it is also an important resource for program leaders to promote reflection and discussion among youth worker staff as part of staff development.

Publisher’s Synopsis: “Youth work is a sacred opportunity to make a significant difference in the lives of children and youth. Through research and personal essay narrative, The Heartbeat of the Youth Development Field: Professional Journeys of Growth, Connection, and Transformation shines a light on the intricate connections between research and practice, touching upon both the vulnerability and triumph of youth development work. The passionate voices of youth workers in this volume lead to the inescapable conclusion that programs and policies for youth must be informed by these same voices and the values they express.”

To learn more and order The Heartbeat of the Youth Development Field, click here.

Wednesday, November 9, 2022

How Afterschool Programs Should Address COVID Learning Loss? Staying In Their Lane

Source: Photo by Ketut Subiyanto: https://www.pexels.com

By Sam Piha

Much has been discussed and written recently about learning loss during the pandemic. Headlines like those below raise alarms among educators and parents.

“These are some of the largest declines we have observed in a single assessment cycle in 50 years of the NAEP program,” said Daniel McGrath, the acting associate commissioner of NCES. “Students in 2022 are performing at a level last seen two decades ago.” - Associated Press, Reading and math scores fell sharply during pandemic, data show

But children and youth suffered more than academic learning loss. They experienced trauma due to family death/illness, fear, and isolation. Two years of upheaval as schools and community-based afterschool youth programs, including those offering sports, the arts and music activities were shut down. Young people spent this time learning, playing and socializing from home. Virus outbreaks among adult staff and youth continued the disruption even after kids returned to school and afterschool programs. In addition to academic learning loss in math and reading, we also saw social learning loss, increased absences and behavior problems.

“Three years into the pandemic, K-12 students continue to face deep social-emotional learning (SEL) challenges. Now is a crucial time for districts and schools to address students’ social-emotional needs to help them be resilient, ready to learn, and able to succeed academically. Before students can recover academically, districts and schools must first address their social-emotional learning needs.” Hanover Research, Program Planning Guide, Social Emotional Learning

Source: Photo by Charlotte May: https://www.pexels.com

“Adolescents coming of age during the pandemic have experienced social “learning loss,” and will need remedial support in social, not just academic, development, suggests new research presented this week at the Society for Neuroscience’s virtual annual conference.” – Sarah D. Sparks, ED Week


Allow schools and educators to do what they do best- teaching reading and math in ways that will impact test scores.

“Even as U.S. school districts return to traditional modes of instruction, K–12 students continue to face deep social-emotional learning (SEL) challenges — a reality that’s seeping into their ability to reach expected academic progress.”Hanover Research, Program Planning Guide, Social Emotional Learning

Instead of diverting resources away from learning that is kid-centered to academic activities, afterschool programs should stay in their lane and do what they do best:

  • re-engage youth with peers and promote the excitement of learning;
  • address social isolation by providing an environment of safety and belonging, and positive peer interaction;
  • provide young people a place where they can be physically active; 
  • build skills associated with social emotional learning. According to CASEL, these skills include:
    • self-awareness (this includes capacities to recognize one’s strengths and limitations with a well-grounded sense of confidence and purpose and understanding your emotions and thoughts and how they influence your behavior).
    • self-management (the abilities to manage one’s emotions, thoughts, and behaviors effectively in different situations and to achieve goals and aspirations. This includes the capacities to delay gratification, manage stress, and feel motivation and agency to accomplish personal and collective goals).  
    • responsible decision-making (the abilities to make caring and constructive choices about personal behavior and social interactions across diverse situations. This includes the capacities to consider ethical standards and safety concerns, and to evaluate the benefits and consequences of various actions for personal, social, and collective well-being).
    • social awareness (the abilities to understand the perspectives of and empathize with others, including those from diverse backgrounds, cultures, and contexts. This includes the capacities to feel compassion for others, understand broader historical and social norms for behavior in different settings, and recognize family, school, and community resources and supports).
    • relationship skills (the abilities to establish and maintain healthy and supportive relationships and to effectively navigate settings with diverse individuals and groups. This includes the capacities to communicate clearly, listen actively, cooperate, work collaboratively to problem solve and negotiate conflict constructively, navigate settings with differing social and cultural demands and opportunities, provide leadership, and seek or offer help when needed).

Source: CASEL.org


Crafting afterschool programs around youth development principles naturally addresses issues of social learning loss and earlier trauma. 

“PYD has been defined as voluntary education outside school hours aiming to promote generalized (not just health) and positive (not just avoiding risk) development of assets such as bonding, resilience, social, emotional, cognitive, behavior or moral competence, self-determination, spirituality, self- efficacy, clear and positive identity, belief in the future, recognition for positive behavior, opportunities for pro-social involvement and/or pro- social norms.”BMC Public Health, What is positive youth development and how might it reduce substance use and violence? 

“Positive youth development (PYD) strategies offer ways to support and respond to mental health needs at different levels: promoting resilience through positive youth development; and adopting trauma-informed practices…” – National Center on Afterschool & Summer Enrichment, Supporting and Promoting Mental Health in Out-of-School Time 

To learn more about positive youth development strategies for afterschool, see Youth Development Guide 2.0. 

The Power of Us Workforce Survey is administered by the American Institutes for Research (AIR), an independent, nonpartisan, not-for-profit organization that conducts behavioral and social science research and delivers technical assistance, both domestically and internationally. This reliable survey will be administered throughout 2022. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2022

School Shootings This Year

Source: Katie Godowski, www.pexels.com

By Sam Piha

School shootings have unfortunately become commonplace but that doesn’t mean we should accept them as normal or acceptable. Over the years we have posted blogs on this topic, which can be accessed here and we will continue to speak out when they happen.

“There have been 40 school shootings this year that resulted in injuries or deaths, the most in a single year since Education Week began tracking such incidents in 2018. There have been 132 such shootings since 2018. Prior to 2022, the highest number of school shootings with injuries or deaths was last year when there were 34. There were 10 in 2020, and 24 each in 2019 and 2018.” - Education Week, School Shootings This Year: How Many and Where

Below we share Education Week's latest School Shooting Tracker, updated October 31, 2022. 


  • 40  School shootings with injuries or deaths
  • 122  People killed or injured in a school shooting 
  • 34  People killed 
  • 28  Students or other children killed 
  • School employees or other adults killed
  • 88 People injured 
Here are a few organizations to help you get involved with to prevent school shootings:

Source: Youth Service America

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...