February 22, 2013

Some big news was revealed at BSH XVI in Jacksonville, Florida, on February 21 – a new design for the Y4Y web portal!

We’ve been collecting lots of feedback over the past couple of years from users like you all over the country. Dr. Lyles and the Department of Education heard you when you said you needed more from the Y4Y portal. The new Y4Y is designed specifically to address those needs.

You said you needed easier access to the portal from your tablets and smart phones. The portal has always been accessible from mobile web devices, but now it uses responsive web design standards to take advantage of mobile technology like never before.

Sound confusing? It’s not! See for yourself and access the portal from a smart phone or tablet today. The site now detects smaller screens and rearranges itself into a layout that’s easier to use than ever before.

You said you needed access to videos from places that don’t always have access to YouTube. From now on all videos will be hosted directly from the portal, making them available virtually everywhere.

You said you needed improved navigation to access everything quicker and more easily. The portal is now divided into four main sections: Learn, Teach, Tools, and Network.

“Learn” contains Introductions (formerly called “Courses”), Implementation Strategies and tips for Coaching your Staff (both formerly found in the Coaching Modules) for each of the five content areas.

“Teach” contains training materials that you can use as is or customize to your particular needs (all formerly found in the Design Studio).

“Tools” is where you’ll find a list of every resource on the portal, and “Network” is where you can participate in online discussions and post pictures and success stories from your program (features formerly found in The Exchange).

It’s all your favorite Y4Y features and content in a brand new layout that we hope you’ll find easier to use and more accessible than ever!


February 22, 2013

Send your new staff here for them to get an idea of the purpose, scope, and impact of the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program. They can learn about the history of the program they are proudly part of and gain an understanding of how Y4Y has been made possible through the U.S. Department of Education’s partnerships and the Department’s commitment to improving program quality.

A narrated slideshow explains how the vision of the 21st CCLC program comes to life in programs across the country.


February 22, 2013

The five content modules (Aligning With the School Day, STEM, Strengthening Partnerships, Involving Families, and Project-Based Learning) were carefully selected with you and your new staff members in mind. As Dr. Sylvia Lyles of the U.S. Department of Education expresses on the homepage, the portal is based on your needs in the field.

As your new staff takes each Introduction on the Y4Y portal, they’ll come to the realization that these content areas were chosen because of the quality they lend to out-of-school time programming when they’re done right. They’re also topics that help 21st CCLC programs truly prepare youth for what’s ahead.

For example, the STEM Introduction squarely states that students need STEM to be successful in today’s world. It doesn’t just stop there, luckily. The Introduction goes on to provide background and strategies that equip staff with what they need to get kids exploring the world through STEM and gaining those exact skills that they’ll need in the future.


February 22, 2013

For anyone new to a job, there is comfort in knowing that there is a support network in place – a source of ideas, inspiration, and opportunity. The Network section on Y4Y provides multiple avenues to learn from others in the 21st CCLC community, including Discussion Boards where they can post their questions and get feedback from across the country.

Anyone who registers for Y4Y can use the discussion boards to ask questions and offer answers. Try it out; have your new hires pick an area of expertise they are still mastering and ask them to post a question on the Discussion Boards. As responses come in, they will gain knowledge and confidence that will benefit your program’s youth, plus they will strengthen their connection to the 21st CCLC community at large.


February 22, 2013

Before they know it, new staff will get caught up in the exciting, but admittedly hectic, flow of your program. Get them off to a good start with a planning tool that offers ideas for connecting their activities and projects with school-day lessons.

The Alignment Strategies Worksheet lists a variety of strategies that an individual or a program can rate as readily doable, somewhat complex, or challenging. You may want to help your new staff members set goals to tackle some of the readily doable strategies such as setting up communications strategies for talking to parents about homework or talking with school-day teachers about academic goals.

A quick win with one of these strategies will set the tone for a positive and productive semester, fueling the drive to accomplish even more.