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February 10, 2022

Maintaining a healthy 21st CCLC program starts and ends with dedicated staff. But where would you be without funding and the right choices around that funding? Y4Y’s course on fiscal management offers new perspectives on managing your program funds, and what you can do to ensure your program’s resilience matches your students’ resilience. Though every state is different, with its own set of funding structures and rules, the Y4Y course offers help navigating the universal federal guidance. By increasing your knowledge, you’ll be in a better position to ask the right questions of your state 21st CCLC program leaders. Here are just a few starter tips to ensure your fiscal brilliance.

Know what your program said it would do when your grant proposal was written. All financial accounting comes back to your stated goals and assets at the outset. Keep your RFP (request for proposal, or more accurately, your grant application) at the ready. Example of why this is important: Your 21st CCLC program can’t supplant stated assets. So, if you noted that you receive supply donations every year from a local office supply store, your program cannot, then, use grant dollars to pay for supplies that were stated as an existing donation in that application.

Know the lingo. If you’re new to program management, access the glossary on the course home page before, during, and after engaging with the fiscal management course to set yourself up for success. Example of why this is important: Many of the legal requirements placed on 21st CCLC grantees center on financial reporting. Although your frontline staff may not be preparing reports, if your whole program doesn’t “speak the language,” important information about spending could be miscommunicated.

Leave it to the pros but don’t leave it to the pros. Be sure to work with the accounting department of your host organization to assign budget codes and track expenditures but keep your own accounting for both monthly spending reports and a drawdown report. Example of why this is important: Cross-checking is critical for accuracy, especially if there are multiple funding streams for your program. You can also stay ahead of unspent monies by tracking spending together.

Spell out your fiscal management policies and procedures in an accessible guidebook. Y4Y offers a sample of what this guidebook might contain. The one for your program will need to reflect the structures of your host district, your program, and your state. Example of why a guidebook is important: One of the key takeaways of the Y4Y Fiscal Management course is that there are complex restrictions around 21st CCLC grant funds. The pandemic has shed a light on how often we must step into new roles with little or no advance notice. A guidebook that your whole staff can refer to means that no matter what your staffing issues might be, budgeting rules can be followed seamlessly.

Keep an eye on the future. Your RFP asks you to talk about the future of your program, so you should always be thinking about the future of your program. Y4Y offers a tool for creating your sustainability plan to get this process — and it is a living process — going. Example of why this is important: Your initiatives in equitable STEM access, career exploration, social and emotional learning, and more lose power today if you can’t keep them going tomorrow.

You may feel that navigating your 21st CCLC budget demands your own personal resilience. And you may be right about that! But Y4Y’s new course on fiscal management further breaks down difficult concepts into simple explanations. It’s designed to ensure that every 21st CCLC leader can feel confident about their fiscal brilliance and their program’s resilience.

 



February 3, 2022

The data are in: “Adaptation of children in disasters depends on the resilience of interconnected systems, including families, schools, communities, and policy sectors.” Throughout the U.S., in the past two months alone, communities have faced unprecedented fires, tornados, flooding, and freezing temperatures with loss of power. The entire country is facing surges in COVID-19, and with them, more school closings and virtual learning, illness and loss, and economic impacts. Who are your partners in critical efforts to buoy students through recovery? The school district? Parents? Reflections on an invited paper in the International Journal of Psychology suggest you can use Y4Y professional development resources to arrive at common language and align practices with these partners to build student resilience as a group effort.

Safety Planning and Implementation

A Y4Y Click & Go offers a mini-lesson to bring you up to speed on the basics of safety preparedness missions, alignment with your host organization, and the roles of each staff member. The Click & Go includes podcasts that further explain safety planning, host organization plans, developing and implementing a program-specific plan, and how to practice safety with appropriate sensitivity to the emotional needs of students. There are tools to help you put it all in place. If your program is already implementing a safety plan, you can use the Click & Go to ensure common language, alignment, and clear roles among partners. These steps can strengthen what the paper cited above calls “the resilience of interconnected systems.”

Partnership and Communication

Many Y4Y resources can be tapped to reinforce the strength of your community and family partnerships, both from a structural perspective — like aligned policies and practices — and from a social perspective — like shared culture and climate. Check out these partnership- and communication-building tools:

Cross-organizational trainings and regular reminders can help you keep everyone on the same page. Program leaders can review the Y4Y trainings listed below and pull out the most relevant information to share with staff and partners:

Student Well-Being

With all your adult-to-adult group efforts strengthened, you’ll be ready to decide together what student well-being looks like and how priorities are set. Remember to assign those priorities according to school- and student-level data in your district. At this moment in history, those data may well include the number of homes destroyed, loved ones lost, or students living with food insecurity. Revisit the vast collection of Y4Y data collection tools if you’re unsure how to carry out this critical step. Then, use the tools below to shape the priorities of your group effort in ways that are developmentally appropriate, honor social and emotional growth, and acknowledge the likely presence and impact of trauma:

As with building communication among partners, consider cross-organizational training on student well-being with Y4Y resources like these:

The proverb It takes a village to raise a child has evidence behind it today. The question your community needs to ask itself is: What does “raise” mean? One thing you’re sure to agree on is this: You can’t put children in a bubble. You can’t protect them from tough times. What you can do is prepare them for tough times with supports that build their resilience — their ability to learn and grow from those tough times. A look at the data confirms that when you do this as a community, you’ll have the greatest chance for success.

 



January 20, 2022

The students in your program are not likely to be “spoiled” at home, though you might find they’re occasionally “indulged” by parents wishing they could make their lives just a little easier. With a quick review of the milestone matrix prepared by Y4Y to accompany the new Stages of Child and Adolescent Development course, you’ll gain some basic ideas of what students need most from the adults in their lives at various stages of development. Use these tips and additional Y4Y tools to explore those areas where your program can offer students the royal treatment by supporting healthy growth and development for the best possible life outcomes.

Students ages 4-6 are improving their fine motor skills, are beginning to understand cause and effect, and want to show off their skills. Ways to support these areas of development include

  • Establishing a program space rich with materials that “grow with” young peoples’ motor development, like crayons and paint brushes in different sizes.
  • Asking many leading questions, even ones that are not lesson-oriented, like “What could happen if I don’t tie this long shoelace of mine?”
  • Creating opportunities to show off talents great and small, reminding students to encourage one another and not always take a competitive position. For example: a hopping-on-one-foot “break” (not contest) could be a nice way to take a breather from academics. You can call out different students for how creatively or slowly they hop as well as the student who hops the longest.

Check out Y4Y’s Facilitating Positive Youth Development in Summer Learning Training to Go.

Students ages 6-9 may become more physical in their games, are beginning to read to learn once they’ve learned to read, and are beginning to identify their own personality traits in comparison with others. Ways to support these areas of development include

  • Offering a variety of options during outdoor playtime with established safety ground rules and the opportunity to play contact sports to the degree all participants are comfortable.
  • Coordinating with school partners like the librarian to offer interesting reading material that supports academics. Offer “fact treasure hunt” activities.
  • Providing daily reflection opportunities. Choose an adjective each day like “confident,” “strong,” or “smart,” and ask students to remember a moment in their day when they saw this trait in themselves.

Check out Y4Y’s Effective Questioning literacy tool and Best Practices for Mindfulness tool.

Students ages 9-12 are developing faster reaction times, experiencing a rise in self-esteem as interest-based peer groups emerge, and are increasingly able to monitor and direct their own progress toward a long-term goal. Ways to support these areas of development include

  • Interspersing “rapid-fire” quizzing as a study strategy for students who enjoy that activity and are not stressed by it.
  • Offering icebreaker activities throughout the year to help students continually look for things in common with all their peers. Challenge them to make “unexpected” connections.
  • Allowing long-term group projects to be centered on student voice and choice and student-driven goal setting.

Check out Y4Y’s Icebreaker Activities and Student Goal Setting and Reflection – Middle School.

Students ages 12-15 are completing puberty, growing critical of adults and siblings, may thrive on conflict ranging from intellectual debate to serious rebellion, and becoming anxious for the future. Ways to support these areas of development include

  • Firmly establishing your program as a safe space for different opinions and life experiences while fostering constructive debates about society and the world around your students.
  • Forging deeper trust and connections with students while maintaining healthy boundaries between adults and teens.
  • Offering a wide variety of career pathway activities to broaden students’ horizons and help them to envision themselves as successful adults.

Check out Y4Y’s Incorporating Multiple Viewpoints Checklist and Career Pathways Activity Design Guidebook.

Students ages 15-18 are physically mature or nearly so, likely to be feeling strong emotions like anger or loneliness even if those emotions aren’t always obvious, and are increasingly able to take everything they’ve learned to make decisions about their future. Ways to support these areas of development include

  • Encouraging initiative and leadership skills in your program and beyond.
  • Continuing to educate students on all aspects of lifelong health and wellness, centered on better understanding themselves and their own needs, and making good choices in much more “adult” arenas.
  • Offering guidance through the practical aspects of career pathway choices such as test prep, college or apprenticeship applications, or speaking with military recruiters.

Check out Y4Y’s Youth Leadership Roles tool and Student Self-Assessment: Late Adolescence.

No Such Thing as a Spoiled Child

It may be decades before we can successfully remove the term “spoiled” from the long list of adjectives we might use for children. But as a youth worker, you understand better than most that term simply means that expectations on a child do not match what is developmentally appropriate for them. Often you are aware of why this might be the case for the students in your program. But raising these princes and princesses to be their best selves is an honor you share with their parents, so remember to team up with tools like Y4Y’s Sample Caregiver Survey and Partnering With Families for Healthy Child Development Training to Go.

One day your students will rule the world. We’ll all benefit from them ruling wisely.

 



January 18, 2022

The pandemic may have left program leaders and staff feeling like they were isolated in an ivory tower, removed from their students and peers. But great lessons were learned about connecting virtually around the globe. Check out Y4Y’s new course, which shares both cautions and benefits to ensure that technology continues to serve your program faithfully.

The host, Sky, will guide you through this video game-themed professional development experience that will help you explore ways to use virtual tools and interactions in your program, and use technology to your advantage in achieving both program and professional development goals. After you’ve completed the Implementation Strategies section, you’ll earn an Advanced Level certificate and be able to

  • Demonstrate more comfort and confidence in using virtual tools purposefully.
  • Select technology, equity, relationship and personalization strategies to increase learning and engagement.
  • Make strategic choices about intentional use of technology for in-person, hybrid and fully virtual settings with students, families, staff and partners.
  • Review and revise the program activity schedule to move seamlessly to virtual programming when necessary.

The course begins by establishing important terminology and “basic training” central to becoming a tech-wise 21st CCLC professional. Next, you'll gain tech power, or the ability to select and use virtual tools strategically to achieve a specific goal by evaluating several factors. You’re now ready for your missions of

  • Program management – with attention to budgeting and planning considerations outlined in the course
  • Engaging stakeholders – navigating how to communicate, coordinate, support and strengthen your school-day, family and community partnerships around virtual learning
  • Supporting and developing staff – for technology comfort without overkill
  • Expanding student opportunities and support – to conquer challenges in a hybrid or virtual learning environment
  • Engaging families ­­– collecting virtual strategies to get families involved in their students’ and their own expanded learning
  • Implementing with fidelity – collecting and using data to continuously improve your virtual programming

Program leaders can “level up” with a Leadership Level certificate when you engage with the Coaching My Staff section of the course. In less than an hour, you’ll gain strategies for decision making around the kind of training to provide so staff are ready to use technology to engage students in person, in a hybrid setting or in a fully virtual program.

Technology isn’t just the wave of the future; it’s the wave of the present. Your students and staff will be more flexible and effective in your program with strategies for embracing the virtual edge. So, instead of letting virtual learning lock you in an ivory tower, help everyone to see how it can actually connect you in new and exciting ways, both within your program and around the globe!

 



January 18, 2022

Y4Y is excited to roll out a new course on fiscal management of 21st CCLC programs. The people have spoken: Understanding the nuances of spending and reporting in your kingdom is a challenge. This course will walk you through protocol to ensure that your program performs to the letter of government decree and offer suggestions for a long-sustained reign.

Upon completion of the Implementation Strategies section, faithful servant to the crown, Lewis, assures learners of their earning an Advanced Level certificate and the ability to

  • Describe the regulations and requirements associated with a 21st CCLC program budget.
  • Follow cost principles that need to be applied when managing a budget.
  • Develop a program budget.
  • Monitor and control a program budget.

Just a few examples of further breakdown of the fiscal responsibilities that Lewis addresses throughout this course include these:

  • Consideration of specific staff positions required by your state, or included in your grant
  • The scope of your program, including number of sites, students served and days in operation
  • Materials needed like computers, books, software and makerspace goods
  • Coordinating with, and duplicating efforts of, an accounting department to ensure accuracy of drawing down funds
  • Maintaining consistent internal reporting practices

While the Fiscal Management course is designed with program leaders in mind, straightforward language, colorful images and a logical process help the learner understand even the most complicated aspects of 21st CCLC finances. You’ll dig deep on each of the below steps and budget line items to be able to plan and implement your own kingdom-wide process for fiscal management:

  • Taking charge of oversight
  • Setting your budget (and being specific about it!)
  • Understanding other operating expenses
  • Breaking down supply challenges
  • Contractual expenses such as evaluator, vendors, partners or busing
  • Planning capital outlay for larger-ticket items
  • Understanding indirect costs
  • Reconciling your budget
  • Reporting on and amending your costs and budget
  • Closing out your budget
  • Sustaining your program

Learners wishing to earn a Leadership Level certificate can also engage in the Coaching My Staff section of the course. While a big-picture understanding of 21st CCLC fiscal management is the responsibility of leadership, there are many elements of the budget that all staff need to be brought in for. The Coaching My Staff section will help you parse those out, and offers tools for bringing staff up to speed:

  • Train and support staff to implement fiscal management cost principles. 
  • Select Y4Y trainings that are the most important for your staff.
  • Assess staff readiness to implement fiscal practices and procedures for a 21st CCLC program. 

It’s not slick or cutting edge. You may be asking yourself how training in fiscal management impacts the students in your program. But the truth is, gaining comprehensive knowledge of all the moving parts of your 21st CCLC budget will give your program a more solid and much-needed foundation than many other trainings. While queen Marie Antoinette never actually said “Let them eat cake” as the legend claimed, one lesson from that legend is how you can’t have dessert without dinner first. And you can’t have a rich academic program without reliable fiscal management.