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September 9, 2013

Along with opportunity, aligning with the school day presents many challenges to staff. However, research has boiled it down to just six core elements that, when implemented, result in effective alignment. Y4Y’s Practitioner Tips is like a cheat-sheet for achieving alignment. Some kernels of wisdom include:

• Use attendance data as an indicator of student interest in program activities

• Schedule time for program staff to plan and prepare for activities

• Create an ongoing process for sharing data with the school

• Staff can learn a lot about students’ interests, learning styles, and needs by talking with family members when they come to pick up their children

Check it out for yourself and decide on some next steps your program can take in achieving improved alignment.  



May 16, 2013

Did you miss the Coffee Break webinar in April when we highlighted several great resources on Y4Y for summer planning? Don’t worry – all of the tips and tools we talked about are still right at your fingertips. A recording of the webinar is available on Y4Y along with a list of the resources we discussed right in the Webinar Archive section. So if you weren’t able to attend or if you just want to watch it again and share it with your team, Y4Y has you covered. You can access recordings of all our webinars any time on demand at your convenience.

If you want to start using some of the tools we showcased, just click, print, and implement.

1) Zero in on the six core elements of alignment

2) Train staff with this ready-made PowerPoint about making content count

3) Get going with exciting projects using this planner

4) Exploring and playing go surprisingly well with some serious STEM skill-building

5) Fill summer days with fun and eye-opening STEM activities

6) In the pool, on the courts, at the zoo – help staff see that STEM is everywhere  



May 16, 2013

Some of your front line staff may be continuing as summer staff, and others may be brand new. With a mixed group of team members and a transition from one kind of program to another, there’s always a need for additional preparation and training. For one thing, the whole lineup should be committed to aligning programming with school-year standards from the very start. This alignment perspective begins with the program leader, who sets the tone and provides guidance and resources.

Y4Y has plenty of resources to help with your alignment efforts and your alignment trainings. A good way to start thinking about summer program training is to take a look at these possible needs for building staff skills in alignment. Which of these are priorities in your program? How will you incorporate them into your summer-prep training?  



May 16, 2013

Y4Y knows that you’re busy planning for summer programs (and maybe even a vacation!) but it’s never too early to start thinking about the 2013-14 academic year. Now is an especially good time to plan for aligning next year’s program with school-day learning, since school administrators, teachers, and staff are still in the building and available to meet, plan, and reflect with you and your team.

As you consider how to connect with the school next year, try out the self-assessment in this Y4Y Coaching Moment. You’ll get a sense of what areas need improvement, and be pointed to specific resources on Y4Y that can help you work on those areas. Then you can take your new ideas to the main office and collaborate on some new plans for a new year.  



May 3, 2013

In the summer it is even more important than during the school year to “complement, not replicate” school-day learning. What does that look like? Take a look at the Complementing vs. Replicating tool for some ideas to spark your creativity as you plan for summer. Then think about how those strategies for engaging youth interest can be beneficial to your program, to the youth you serve, and to your community.

While you’re thinking about how to most effectively “complement, not replicate,” try one of the challenges on Y4Y. What would you say to encourage a staff member to try a dynamic, motivating activity instead of a worksheet? How could the math, literacy, science, and history concepts typed out on a worksheet be transformed into fun summer activities?