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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.  

July 22, 2013

In case you missed it, the U.S. Department of Education has officially unveiled an exciting new guide to Civic Learning and Engagement on the Y4Y portal! Civic learning and engagement affords students the opportunity to make a real difference in the world through collaborative projects that address real-life issues that concern them. Empower your students to be engaged members of their community, and to know that their opinions and ideas matter. Get started with a civic learning project now, and the youth in your program will be learning by doing, while gaining 21st Century skills and becoming good citizens.

You’ll find the new Civic Learning and Engagement content integrated into the Project-Based Learning module, because when it comes to hands-on learning one of the best examples is civic engagement. Come visit the Learn section of the Project-Based Learning module to see how your program can incorporate practical strategies that draw students into becoming more active and involved in their communities, all while gaining academic and 21st century skills.

Get staff on board with the new content by checking out the Trainings To Go and Training Starters related to Civic Learning and Engagement, and get started with Civic Learning and Engagement activities and projects using the specially designed planning and implementation documents in Tools.

Stay tuned for more guidance from the Y4Y team on this exciting topic! In the meantime, if you have any Civic Learning and Engagement examples or ideas you’d like to share, you can post them to the Discussion Boards.  

June 14, 2013

The Identifying Partners tool on Y4Y can help you take stock of the valuable resources – individuals, organizations, and groups – that have great potential for partnership with your program.

As you look down the list of partners on the tool, think about who else in your local area serves the same population of young people or follows a similar mission as your program’s. By partnering and pooling together resources, you can deepen your impact and provide more of the support that your students need.  

June 14, 2013

Y4Y offers many strategies for strengthening partnerships, plus a wealth of practical tools that programs can use to implement those strategies. One set of tools guides you in creating a Memorandum of Understanding, also known as an MOU, an agreement that two organizations sign to formalize their partnership. The MOU presents the reason and the goals for the partnership, the perspectives and the roles of both organizations, and how to measure the success of the partnership. Y4Y makes MOUs easy by providing the following tools:

Sample Memorandum of Understanding - See an MOU that another program has created.

Developing an Effective Memorandum of Understanding - Check out this document for examples of language and partnership roles appropriate for an MOU.

Memorandum of Understanding Tool - Fill in the blanks to create your own MOU.

Memorandum of Understanding Template - Use this for more detailed guidance in creating your MOU.  

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?