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March 16, 2017

Students need to feel safe, encouraged and welcome to keep their stress levels down and their minds open for learning. But creating a positive, inclusive environment is easier said than done. Fortunately, you don’t have to do it alone! In fact, it’s often best to enlist the help of school-day staff, parents and community members. Here’s how you can start:

Take positive steps to prevent bullying. 
The first step to stopping bullying is knowing how to spot it. Know how bullying is defined and learn about warning signs that can tip you off if a student is being bullied or is bullying others. When you see bullying happening, intervene immediately. Then follow up by finding out what happened and supporting the students involved.

Work with school-day teachers. 
Coordinating bullying prevention efforts is an important part of sharing responsibility with school staff. Align policies with schools to send a consistent message to students that bullying is never okay. Improve your connections to schools with the Communication and Collaboration Checklist.

Engage parents and family.
Including family members in bullying prevention can help students feel safer and more secure, and make parents worry less. Help parents and family develop the skills needed to talk about bullying with youth in productive ways, and share ideas for how family can be part of the solution. These efforts can support your goals for family engagement.

Get the community involved. 
Bullying affects entire communities. Taking the lead on prevention can be a service learning project for students, and a great opportunity to demonstrate the value your program brings to your community. Consider which of your existing partners might help, reach out to new ones and recruit volunteers.

Share knowledge and resources with others. 
Online or in person, bullying causes misery now and can lead to unhealthy behaviors in the future. The website StopBullying.gov offers many free, research-based resources and strategies to help young people and adults stop aggressive behavior and build a positive community climate. For example, learn about the different roles: students who bully, students who are the targets of bullying, students who assist and reinforce, students who defend, and students who want to help but don’t know how. Also see The BULLY Project website for ideas about how to take action.

When students don’t feel safe, you can’t possibly expect their full attention. Don’t let bullying-related stress be an obstacle to their happiness and their ability to learn!



September 24, 2013

Because project-based learning is such a different method than what many of us are used to, it requires staff to wear a new hat: a facilitator’s hat. Facilitation is different from directing or leading and it allows for learning to be more student-centered.

Staff may need practice and support in this new role, though. Use this checklist from the Project-Based Learning Coaching Module to help staff feel at ease in the role of facilitator and to find ideas for getting project-based learning going with students.  



June 14, 2013

With such a busy year coming to a close, you may be looking back and wishing you had done more this year to engage partners. Looking ahead, you can plan for a robust partnership maintenance plan next school year. Signing a partner on board is just the beginning, and sustaining the relationship is critical to long-term success. You can start on this course by thinking through some possibilities for maintaining a good relationship with each of your partners. The Maintaining Partnerships tool on Y4Y provides some suggestions that you can personalize in a way that fits with your partners.

Then, take a look at this Coaching Moment on Y4Y, where these ideas and others are mapped out on a calendar and fleshed out with some details. As you start to set next year’s program calendar with field trips, staff development sessions, and family engagement events, you can also include the activities you’ll do to keep your partnerships strong and long-lasting.  



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

Summer programming is open to many opportunities that we may not have time to explore in afterschool time during the school year. Take advantage of summer’s flexibility and extended hours to expose youth to new experiences. Internships, field trips, gardening, long-term projects, and more can help bring learning to life in the summer.

These kinds of experiences are also perfect for helping youth build skills that prepare them to be successful in school and in life. Work with staff to deliberately plan how they can target these skills, such as organization, communication, and collaboration, during the summer.

Check out this Coaching Moment for some fundamental ideas.