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May 6, 2022

Organizing Accounting, Financial, Banking Data. Tiny Accountant Characters around of Huge Clip Board Filling Bookkeeping Graphs and Charts Counting Debit and Credit. Cartoon People Vector IllustrationY4Y’s course on fiscal management is at your fingertips for those last-minute worries around annual reporting. Check out quick links to frequent questions asked and answered! Y4Y has new tools for guidance specific to the financial aspects of program management, such as the Fiscal Management for 21st CCLC Planning Checklist and Inventory Worksheet and Sample Tracking Form, but don’t forget to consult the Managing Your 21st CCLC course and its list of tools as well.

At this reporting stage of your grant year, your fiscal planning should all be in place and almost fully implemented. If you haven’t been reconciling your budget records with those of your accounting department each month, make catching up on this critical step your first priority. Review and correct any discrepancies with your accounting department.

You may have been submitting financial reports — likely quarterly — throughout the year, depending on your state’s requirements. One lesson you may have taken from this practice is to make drawdowns at least quarterly, if not monthly, so you can gauge your expenditures and encumbered funds in as close to real time as possible. Do one last check against those cost principles — were all expenses allowable, allocable, reasonable, and consistently applied? Be sure that any other funding stream was accounted for separately, as each probably has different restrictions.

Were amendments made to your budget? Make sure you have easy access to all relevant documentation and communication around those amendments. Remember: anything above a 10% change between line items requires approval (but check with your state — the threshold may be even smaller). Stay on top of this step in advance of final accounting. Last-minute budget amendments may be interpreted by your state leadership as poor planning, but it’s still better to seek approval than to be out of compliance with your expenditures.

How might you spend down any remaining funds? Supplies, such as those needed for your summer programming, are an excellent option. Y4Y’s Sample Procurement Packet may be a useful tool. But be sure goods and services are delivered to your program site before the close of the grant year. Excess funds in your personnel line item? Y4Y’s Sample Time and Effort Report is a key tool for documenting in this area. Check in with your program team about best options for boosting staff morale with meaningful trainings to show your investment in them before the year closes out.

Final reporting in your state may include a continuation grant application. Especially if your state decreased funding in later years, be sure your program team has a sustainability plan. This plan not only helps you fulfill your state’s requirements; it also provides a seamless bridge to the future of your program, not just to the next fiscal year, but beyond.

Communication with your state coordinator is key at this time of year. Be sure to check in with them along the way for reassurance, tips, and any modifications to the reporting process. It’s not just their job to make sure you’re “doing it right,” — it’s their job to make sure you succeed. Your 21st CCLC program played an essential role in student reengagement and academic recovery this year, and you’re making a positive difference. Make sure the numbers tell that story!



March 8, 2022

This year, your Nita M. Lowey 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) Program will be reporting on new Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) measures that were published on July 1, 2021. If you’re a program leader, it’s important to consult with your state coordinator to ensure you understand the new measures and how your state wants data presented. Also, you might want to catch the upcoming LIVE With Y4Y webinar: Knowledge Is Power: Leveraging Data to Improve Program Quality. Webinar guests will offer research- and experience-based tips on your data’s importance, collection, and use. Meanwhile, review the comprehensive Y4Y resources discussed below to ensure that your program’s collection, reporting, and use of this year’s data ultimately wins the top prize: grant renewal!

Understand What You Need: Data for Design

Y4Y’s update of the Introduction to 21st CCLC course could not have come at a better time! If you’re looking for information about the new GPRA measures and the legislative background, check out the course’s Learn More Library. At this point in your program year, you should be implementing activities based on needs assessments you performed at the beginning of the year — congratulations on that successful initial collection of data for design! But if a review of the measures reveals that a data point was overlooked, you can reach out to partners immediately. If you're not sure you got this step right, then do the following:

Work With Your Prized Partners

Our culture seems to be waking up to the fact that everything comes back to relationships. If your program needs a little advice in strengthening those school-day partnerships to ensure efficient data sharing, check out these Y4Y resources:

Talk About Data Types

It isn’t just leadership that needs to understand types of data. Your frontline staff will be critical in answering some data questions before and after activities, and when it’s time to report at the end of your program year. Make the most of these Y4Y resources to ensure staff understand data types and why each type is so important:

Train on Collection

Different types of data mean different types of data collection. Y4Y offers resources to address this important step in the full data picture:

Analyze and Organize Your Data

Again, you’ll want to check with your state coordinator to understand exactly how your data are analyzed and presented at the end of your program year. Your state may have a database you are directly uploading information into, so be sure to clarify those procedures and deadlines. Y4Y offers tips on this step, including how to responsibly handle your data:

Keep Your Eyes on the Prize

Your goal this spring is to keep your eyes on the prize of grant renewal by demonstrating how effective you’ve been at serving the students in your program. Keep in mind that this year’s end data might be used as next year’s beginning data: in some cases, for students who are continuing with you, and in other cases to inform activity and program design decisions as part of your continuous improvement cycle. Your state coordinator is your partner in this, so remember: Nobody wants you to win more than they do!



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.



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.



January 4, 2022

Accelerated learning rules all during this academic year. Place your students on their right-sized thrones with tips from Y4Y’s new Click & Go on homework and tutoring sessions and Human Resources course. But partnering with the school day doesn’t end with academics! Your program also has agency to address student health and wellness as their school days are jam-packed with other duties. Ensure that your palace of learning is perfectly appointed for whole child support for the rest of the program year with help from Y4Y’s crown jewels.

The Data in Your Kingdom

Updated Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) measures for 21st CCLC have you keenly aware of the importance of data in your community. You can glimpse those updated measures in Chapter 2 of the Introduction Section of Y4Y’s updated course, Introduction to 21st CCLCs. The data you captured at the outset of this program year should be informing how you structure your homework and tutoring time to be sure you support the school day with accelerated learning. But some midyear checks might have you considering a little restructuring. Go back to the Y4Y Five Key Strategies tool and Homework Help vs. Tutoring tool for the basics, beginning with what your staffing should look like.

The Right Hand of the Throne

If you’re going to place each student on their right-sized throne of learning, the staff member who sits by their side will make all the difference. Taking tips from the mini-lesson on what your staff numbers and qualifications need to be, consult the Y4Y Human Resources Planning Checklist for guidance on possible midyear hires, or better still, your summer program planning. If you have new leaders who have their own learning curves to accelerate, the staff training on conducting an effective interview is a great place to start. In 21st CCLC programs, you can never lower those shields against turnover! Also train leaders on employee retention to ensure continuity for student learning.

A Royal Wedding

The school-day partnership your 21st CCLC program enjoys is always going to be at the heart of your program’s success. You’ll need to satisfy those student data needs, communicate about homework, and access school-day staff and academic resources when you consider that program success is measured, in part, by students’ school-day success. Y4Y offers many more tools to build and strengthen this relationship, whether you’re part of the fabric of your school district or a community-based organization still proving your worth. Remember: In out-of-school time, you have the unique opportunity to support other aspects of student success. But it can’t be done alone. Partner on student health and wellness and understand everyone’s roles and responsibilities as you align social and emotional learning goals with school-day initiatives.

Her/His Royal Highness

The students in your program may not have many opportunities in life to feel special. At the end of the day, if your 21st CCLC program accomplishes nothing else, building self-esteem, contributing to healthy growth and development, and helping students see that you will always treat them with the dignity of royalty can still make or break the long-term outcomes for these children you cherish. Y4Y offers many resources to help you implement these less tangible goals, including a new course on stages of child and adolescent development, which includes training on understanding development and connecting with children. Plus, the course on creating a positive learning environment includes quick tips for implementing basic strategies.

Beloved Princess Diana said of her role in the royal family, “Nothing brings me more happiness than to help the most vulnerable people in society.” Never forget that you are royalty, too. Your place in your 21st CCLC program may carry great duty, but it also offers great rewards.