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Afterschool Partnership For Greater New Orleans November 2008 Provider Meeting

2008 SUMMER PROGRAM RESEARCH Expanding Capacity, Improving Quality: Meeting the Needs of Programs, Youth, Families, and Communities

Lauren J. Bierbaum, Ph.D.


Agenda • What is “quality”? • Why research? • Methods of our 2008 Research • Findings • Next steps


What Is “QUALITY”? Quality means… •

Making efforts to praise successes….

…While not being afraid to examine, learn from, and rectify challenges. •

Constantly adapting to the current landscape and the changing needs of our youth, their families, and our communities •

Not just “doing,” but “doing WELL.” And, we don’t have to re-invent the wheel!


What Is “QUALITY”?

“Proven” or “Best” Practices The techniques, methods, processes, and activities that are known to be effective at achieving particular outcomes.

What’s come before, what’s been tried and tested, what we have learned will work.


What Is “QUALITY”? “Proven” or “Best” Practices Seasonal Learning • Summer achievement gap • Disparities in OST opportunities “Children in all socioeconomic groups are learning at the same rate during the school year, and nearly all the differences in achievement between poor and middle-class children are rooted in the inequities that young people experience outside the schoolhouse door.” - Beth Miller, “The Learning Season”


What Is “QUALITY”? “Proven” or “Best” Practices Benefits of OST Programming (summer and school-year) • Academic outcomes • Socio-behavioral outcomes • Emotional outcomes “Research suggests that youth who participate in afterschool programs improve significantly in 3 major areas: (1) feelings and attitudes; (2) increased indicators of behavior adjustment; and (3) increased school and achievement test scores.” - NIOST, “Making the Case: 2008 Fact Sheet”


What Is “QUALITY”? “Proven” or “Best” Practices Program Operations • Logistics management and communications • Curriculum • Fund-raising and budgeting • Staffing “Staff costs [are] the primary cost driver for OST programs.” - Grossman et al., “Cost of Quality OST Programs” Programs that pay staff more, and employ highly qualified staff, have better youth outcomes. - Pearson et al., “Evaluation of OST Programs” for NYDYCD


What Is “QUALITY”? “Proven” or “Best” Practices Municipal Support • Afterschool Partnership Funding Map •

Community Development Block Grant Funds

• Cities such as NYC, Denver, Philadelphia, Providence, Kansas City with citywide OST organizations, municipal OST entities, and/or publicly funded quality assessments


What Is “QUALITY”? “Proven” or “Best” Practices Data-Driven Decision-Making “New and existing research reveals that two-thirds of the achievement gap between lower- and higherincome youth can be explained by unequal access to summer learning opportunities.” - National Center for Summer Learning There is “a growing investment in research, for purposes ranging from continuous improvement to accountability” in the OST field. - Harvard Family Research Project


So…Why RESEARCH? To find out what we HAVE Current capacity – How many programs? Serving how many kids? Providing what services? To find out what we NEED Current barriers to quality To find out what we WANT How do we build our programs to succeed beyond imagination?


SUMMER 2008 RESEARCH: Methods


Summer 2008 Research Our Research Goals Explore QUALITY and CAPACITY of existing programs: • Subset of 16 programs • Range of missions, program operations • Needs assessments • Quality assessments • Vision for growth


Summer 2008 Research Our Research Goals Explore CONSUMER thoughts and feelings about: • OST (summer and afterschool) landscape • Range of options • Likes and dislikes • Barriers to access • Vision for change


Summer 2008 Research Participating Sites: •Boys/Girls Club NFL-YET Center

•Marine Missionary Baptist Church

•Catholic Charities-NORD Behrman •Nehemiah 20/20 All That for Kids Gym •New Orleans Outreach-KIPP McDonogh •Cops For Kids 15 •Desire Street Ministries

•Pentecost Baptist Church

•Dryades YMCA

•Urban League College Track

•Jefferson Youth Foundation

•Volunteers of America-Capdau

•Kedila Family Learning Center

•YMCA-GNO (Metairie)

•Kingsley House

•YOUTHanasia Teen Non-Violence Center


Summer 2008 Research Site Observations Quality Advisor Rating Tool Modified from SACERS, National Afterschool Association’s Advancing School-Age Care Quality Self-Study Process; High Scope’s Youth Program Quality Assessment (PQA) Validated, widely used scales to assess holistically the quality of youth environments


Summer 2008 Research

Site Observations: Quality Advisor Rating Tool

Allows for observations of youth “in situ” as they interact with both the PHYSICAL and SOCIAL environments of their summer programs


Summer 2008 Research Focus Groups • Explore motivations, opinions behind opinions • Help inform the planning and design of new programs or program elements • Evaluate existing programs/program elements • Produce insights for next steps (program design, outreach, education, advocacy platforms)


FINDINGS: What do PROGRAMS have to say?


Findings: What Programs Have to Say Greatest Needs Across Sites: Facilities

•Dedicated spaces •Classroom •Recreation – Pools!

Transportation

•Dedicated transportation •Better drop-off/pick-up •Better signage •Lower-cost options

Equipment, supplies, and food

•Academic •Recreation •Support for healthful breakfast, lunch, snacks


Findings: What Programs Have to Say Greatest Needs Across Sites: Curricular Support

•Academic rigor •Training •Alignment with grant requirements

Staff Support

•Hiring •Training •Continuity of care

Sustainability

•Grant-writing •Resource identification and allocation •Budget management


Findings: What Programs Have to Say Greatest Needs Across Sites:

“Proven” or “Best” Practices • Access to resources • Curricular support • Access to cutting-edge research • Program evaluation support


Findings: What Programs Have to Say Now what? Real-time Quality Advising and Program Adaptations • Age appropriateness • Scheduling • Communication (internal and external) • Professional mentorship for program directors, site coordinators, and staff • Building upon current practices to foster BEST PRACTICES


FINDINGS: What do YOUTH and FAMILIES have to say?


Findings: What Youth and Families Have to Say Barriers to Access • Transportation • Cost • Registration processes • Availability • Continuity of participation (from school to summer, and across summers)


Findings: What Youth and Families Have to Say Athletics and Recreation • Wider variety of options Soccer, volleyball, horseback riding, more swimming • More equipment • Better facilities • Sometimes health related, but mostly EXPERIENTIAL • Skate park


Findings: What Youth and Families Have to Say Arts and Culture More of everything! • Art supplies and instruments • Direct instruction (voice, instrumental, dance, fine arts) and participation in creating original works • Field trips (to attend performances, visit museums, meet working artists) • Professional development


Findings: What Youth and Families Have to Say Workforce Development • Field trips to places of business: courts, juvenile justice, media, law firms, medical practices, alternatives to “tennis shoes on the wire.” • Internships and job placement support • Information about careers in the military •

Technological education and training

• Training in entrepreneurship


Findings: What Youth and Families Have to Say Academics • Kids want to learn…. …but not at desks, not in classrooms, not like school • Parents AND youth want applied and alternative approaches to learning: creative, hands on, youthdriven, project-based “If school could be like this, I’d come every day, even if I were sick!”


Findings: What Youth and Families Have to Say Prosocial Development • Social aspects of programming – social skill building, conflict resolution, socializing with new and old friends • Identity development, exploration of self • Broadened horizons – new neighborhoods, new experiences, travel to “places we’ve studied in social studies,” because “not every place is like New Orleans” and “we ain’t never been out of the Southern states!”


Findings: What Youth and Families Have to Say Prosocial Development • Parents report their children are less shy, more confident,

and more likely to engage in verbal conflict resolution thanks to summer programs • Parents also appreciate the geographic, racial/ethnic, and economic diversity to which summer programs expose their children • Parents are grateful for programs that provide their children with “more balanced preparation for the future,” that “give kids a broader spectrum of options,” that keep kids “on the straight and narrow” so that they “keep the mind off crime, keep them focused.”


“Our children grow up so fast, I wish we could find a way to give them true childhoods - flying kites, going fishing, let the sun beat them up. Because when they hit a certain age, you can’t go back.” - BGC/NFL-YET Father


Now what? •Real-time program changes • Quality Advising and Program Evaluation Support Building Afterschool Partnership’s capacity to provide ongoing, targeted, high-quality support to programs • Trainings in Development (2009) • Communications infrastructure • Staff orientation • Health and safety • Best practices for fostering positive youth development


Now what? • Building adjacencies to school year programming • Exploring feasibility of implementing youth and family suggestions for program changes • Relationship-building

with funders

Special thanks to the Wallace Foundation for recognizing the amazing work y’all do, and for caring about our kids as much as we do.

Compiling and disseminating resources (informational, financial, in-kind) •


Resources and References: Afterschool Partnership for Greater New Orleans www.gnoafterschool.org 504.304.9591 Grossman, J.B. et al. (forthcoming) The Cost of Quality Out-of-School-Time Programs. Harvard Family Research Project’s Out of School Time Database and Bibliography http://www.hfrp.org/out-of-school-time Miller, B. (2007) The Learning Season: The Untapped Power of Summer to Advance Student Achievement. National Institute for Out of School Time (NIOST) http://www.niost.org/ National Center for Summer Learning http://www.summerlearning.org/ Pearson et al. (2007) Evaluation of OST Programs for Youth. Prepared for New York City Department of Youth and Community Development.


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