The Illinois Quality Afterschool team at SEDL has compiled this list of resources to help you and your staff provide high-quality 21st CCLC programming. The Resource Bulletin brings you the latest information on afterschool research, best practices, tools, conference proceedings, policy briefs, professional development tools, and activities. We hope you will share this list of resources with your staff.
The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) provides a tremendous opportunity for the State Afterschool Networks and other statewide afterschool organizations to elevate the importance of afterschool and summer learning programs with key audiences and secure additional out-of-school time resources. This online toolkit and playbook from the Afterschool Alliance is designed to help networks and their allies understand which parts of the new law have the most potential to support afterschool and summer learning programs. It provides guidance and tools to help networks engage with state and local audiences, including information about who to engage, which messages to use, and how to participate in critical discussions.
Safety is a number one priority in afterschool programs. When thinking about safety, providers must think about how safe an environment is when the children are actively engaged and moving toys and equipment from one part of the room to another. This article by the National AfterSchool Association guides afterschool practitioners through critical safety issues and provides a link to the Council on Accreditation that has specific guidelines for creating a safe environment for the students you serve.
Have you considered partnering with other youth-serving systems in your community to better serve the youth population in your afterschool program? This blog post by the American Youth Policy Forum highlights possible partnerships, the benefits to building a community of support, and examples of partnerships that have already been forged. These partnerships help support youth—whether through STEM-related activities, simply getting youth outdoors, or creating opportunities for youth employment—by building on the strengths of each organization.
This study examines an initiative sponsored by the Wallace Foundation aimed at improving the financial management skills and practices of 25 Chicago afterschool providers through training and coaching. The effort provided and tested two models for professional development: intensive customized training and less costly group training and coaching. Both models produced long-lasting improvements. Moreover, organizations receiving the group training improved almost as much as those receiving customized training, albeit over the course of 3 years rather than 2.
Research has proven that children are best supported when communities and schools work together for positive outcomes for youth. This includes conveying a unified message around healthy food and lifestyle choices. The Alliance for a Healthier Generation recently launched the Smart Food Planner, a tool that helps community organizations find ideas for healthy snacks, meals, and beverages for everything from events to everyday afterschool activities. The tool makes it easier for schools and community organizations to quickly find healthy options for a variety of events.
USAGov and Rocky Mountain MIRECC for Suicide Prevention teamed up to share some important tools to help guide those dealing with the challenging crisis of attempted suicide. Resources include links to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, guidance to assure caregivers take care of their own needs, advice on communicating with children during times of crisis, tools on resiliency and moving forward after a crisis.
This Fact Sheet presented by the National Child Traumatic Stress Network provides practical ways in which community support providers can help families in their own community during a major economic crisis. The step-by-step guide shows community organizations how to help create a sense of safety, calm the nerves of citizens who feel angry or hopeless, build up self-efficacy and community efficacy, promote connectedness, and foster hope. Providers can help to build up their struggling community so that everyone benefits.
The American Youth Policy Forum describes here five important ways that foster youth can be supported, practices that were spotlighted in the June release of the U.S. Department of Education’s guidance on the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). This article is a valuable tool to those working with youth within the school system or as outside community support. The collaboration that can be fostered by having a common language around these supports can be invaluable to our youth within the foster care and juvenile justice systems.
Is your program staff intentionally trained to be culturally responsive? It can be difficult for staff to understand how to provide a safe environment for youth if they have no experience or awareness of the different cultures, races, or physical disabilities that may be represented in the program they serve. Several states, including Washington and Arizona, have made cultural responsiveness one of their out-of-school time program quality standards. Read more on the Youth Today website about why leaders from School's Out Washington, and other organizations, are talking about the necessity of culturally competent youth programming.
In children we know it as SEL or social-emotional learning, and in adults we call it emotional intelligence. As community providers, understanding how to help youth develop their SEL skills can also help develop leadership and emotional intelligence skills later in life. This 13-minute video presentation was produced as part of Margo Herman's Leading with Emotional Intelligence Fellowship Project with the National AfterSchool Association to help afterschool practitioners better understand how Emotional Intelligence interfaces with SEL.
The National Afterschool Association presents Talk Tuesday as a resource for afterschool professionals to host relevant discussions with colleagues, staff, and community partners around topics that are engaging and important to your program. This particular discussion guide provides a brief article along with the discussion questions around the topic of how libraries can partner with afterschool providers to support youth in your community.
PBS Education has developed an educational guide for the 2016 elections, with tools, resources, and creative strategies to help students understand the political process in this election year. This interactive tool can turn the news of the political race for president into learning opportunities.
This research brief from ExpandedED Schools reports on the promising findings of their STEM Educators Academy, where classroom teachers and afterschool educators came together to learn at leading science institutions and then returned to their campuses to teach STEM-related projects that would spark interest and curiosity in math and science. The key findings offer both challenges and recommendations for those working to immerse youth in enriching STEM education. These include the need to provide additional support to help teachers and community educators incorporate opportunities for reflection and relevance in STEM learning and support in using planning time effectively.
College and Career Readiness
The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading focuses on an important predictor of school success and high school graduation: grade-level reading by the end of third grade. This collaborative effort by nonprofit, business, government, and community partners strives to ensure more children in low-income families are prepared for college, career, and active citizenship. The Campaign’s website offers recommendations and resources to help mobilize communities to remove barriers, expand opportunities, and assist parents to become full partners in their children's success.
The transition to kindergarten is a time when children begin to take part in an increasing number of learning settings—both in and outside of school. For this reason, connecting families to out-of-school learning settings, such as libraries and afterschool programs, is critical. The video The Transition to Afterschool: One City's Approach to Connecting Young Children and Their Families to Learning and Enrichment Opportunities demonstrates how Cambridge, Massachusetts, is helping to connect families to afterschool learning and enrichment opportunities prior to school entry.
The federal 21st CCLC program provides key funding for afterschool programs. When other sources of funding become necessary, do you know where to look to augment your 21st CCLC grant? This blog post by American Youth Policy Forum provides a list of ways providers may wish to seek additional funding for programing. In using this list as a guide, 21st CCLC grantees will want to make sure that they are supplementing, and not supplanting, programming. Contact your ISBE grant consultant to ensure any additional funds procured are used within the boundaries of your grant.