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April 18, 2017

We've all experienced it, whether personally or on the job: that sinking feeling that there will never be enough money to do everything you want, no matter how you juggle the numbers. Fortunately, Y4Y can help take the pain out of financial planning for afterschool programs. Start here:

•    Getting a Jump Start on Summer: Budgeting. This two-part blog from a former director of the Providence After School Alliance offers practical planning advice for summer and school year programming. Read part 1 for budgeting tips, and part 2 for program planning advice.

As you tally funding and expenses for the coming summer or school year program, consider doing more to recruit and retain volunteers. Volunteers can help stretch your budget so you can offer more and better services. Try these Y4Y tools to recruit the help you need and to make volunteering a rewarding experience for everyone:

•    Recruiting Volunteers. Consider which program areas could benefit most from extra help, and match volunteers to needs with Y4Y’s Sample Volunteer Skills Grid. Then work with school and program staff to select a variety of targeted in-person and online recruitment strategies. Get the campaign started with our Volunteer Job Description template, which will help you craft a posting that appeals to potential volunteers. 

•    Retaining Volunteers. Because volunteers often don’t have experience in education, expect them to learn as they go, and help them along the way. Consider Y4Y’s Volunteer Coaching Scenarios, and think about how you would react in each situation. To get staff onboard with supporting volunteers, use our Working With Partner Volunteers Training to Go.



April 18, 2017

Effective out-of-school time programs partner with families, students and schools to achieve the best possible educational outcomes. As you plan your programming for this summer and beyond, make sure to get the input you need to keep those partnerships healthy. Here are some ways to get input: 

•    Informal “hallway conversations”
•    Formal meetings with individuals or groups
•    Structured small-group discussions
•    Suggestion boxes
•    Surveys

Not sure where to start? Check out our ready-to-use Y4Y stakeholder surveys!

If you’re planning a summer program, use the Family Survey and Student Survey from our new Summer Learning course. By administering these surveys at the start and end of your program, you can demonstrate your program’s impact, and find what you’re doing right and where you can improve. 

Y4Y’s new STEM surveys for grades K-1, 2-3, 4-6 and 7-12 can help you design STEM programming that engages students’ minds by focusing on subjects that already interest them. 

You can align your program with school-day learning by using the Survey of Teacher Programming Needs to find out where students are struggling and could use extra support.

Finding out what families, students and schools think about your program (and ways they can contribute) can make it more effective. Y4Y stakeholder surveys can do some of the work for you. It’s the perfect place to start!



September 19, 2016

With the new school year about to swing into high gear, this summer already seems like a distant memory, and next summer feels ages away. But June always comes faster than you expect, so begin laying the groundwork for next year’s summer program today.

Start with the archived Summer Planning With Y4Y webinar, which outlines the importance of summer learning, helps you set program goals and highlights Y4Y resources that can support your summer planning. Next, check out the Y4Y Summer Learning page for ideas to engage students, parents and communities in summer learning. And at the National Summer Learning Association, you’ll find ideas to help you increase access to summer learning in your community and secure funding for your program. To really get ahead, start planning a community event for next year’s Summer Learning Day!



September 15, 2016

The 2016 Summer Institute (July 19-21) offered participants the chance to learn about the U.S. Department of Education’s current focus areas for 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) programs. Practitioners found plenty of sessions to help them develop important skills and ideas to take home to colleagues and students.

If you couldn’t make it, it’s not too late to attend some sessions virtually. Y4Y’s Summer Institute page has video recordings of the plenary sessions that you can view anytime.

In the Opening Plenary, you’ll hear about the Every Student Succeeds Act and what it means for 21st CCLC programs in 2016 and beyond. Plenary 2 focuses on expanding learning beyond the classroom, with stories of successful strategic community partnerships from schools and state departments of education around the nation.

If you’re looking for information on innovative and ongoing professional learning opportunities for 21st CCLC practitioners, head over to Plenary 3. And, in Plenary 4, you’ll hear about how and why using data can help you plan and implement programming that aligns with the school day.

For more information from the Summer Institute, including PowerPoint slides and handouts from breakout sessions, visit the 2016 Summer Institute website.



June 14, 2016

Help students hold on to their literacy skills by trying some or all of these easy tips:

During a summer program:

- Build literacy into your summer program. For example, if your curriculum has a STEM focus, use the Y4Y STEM Vocabulary Builder. It can help students learn math and science language and reinforce understanding of the concepts. Get other ideas from the Literacy Everywhere tool.

- During one day of the program, hold a “book swap.” Invite everyone to bring used books and take different ones home.

Outside a summer program:

- Hold a family literacy event. Use this Y4Y checklist to help you organize.

- Enlist family members to lead read-alouds several times a week. One way to structure this is with a “family book review” activity. Learn about it on the Reaching Out to Families tool. 

- Partner with your local public library to help students sign up for library cards. Families get free access to books (including digital ones that download to a tablet or computer) and a professional librarian to help readers select ones they’ll enjoy.

- Find a local partner to help you send books home to your students and their family members.

For more ideas, visit Read Where You Are and keep learning alive all summer long!