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November 6, 2013

It’s impressive what can happen when great minds come together! On October 10, 2013, about two dozen afterschool practitioners and leaders collaborated during the Y4Y Coffee Break webinar to share their ideas and co-develop a template for a family guidebook. The starting point was a Y4Y resource, the Creating a Family Guidebook tool. This tool guides programs in creating a guidebook to share with their students’ families.

The group worked with the Y4Y team, right there on the webinar screen, to customize this tool and develop a more complete outline for the final document. Now, the product of their hard work is available to everyone! Download the new Family Guidebook Template today from Y4Y’s Promising Practices Gallery and customize it further to fit the exact needs of your program. You can add, delete, and change anything you want in the template , then fill it in with your program policies, program characteristics, family involvement practices, etc.

If you missed the Coffee Break webinar and want to see how this template was created, check out the recording in the Webinar Archive to see the process in action. 



November 6, 2013

At Y4Y, we consider your experience to be one of the most valuable resources for the afterschool field— as you can see from how we developed the Family Guidebook template! You are on the ground, facing the ups and the downs while honing your craft and making a real difference in children’s lives. You are doing amazing work! However, we also know that everyone — experts and beginners alike — can use a little support at times.

That’s where the Y4Y Discussion Boards come in. On the Discussion Boards, Y4Y users – like you – from all over the United States can post ideas, information, and questions for their peers in the 21st Century Community Learning Centers community and across the afterschool field.

Take a moment now to share your expertise in response to two of your peers who recently posted these questions:

1) Rita is looking for ideas for establishing a Facebook page for her program. What kinds of policies do you have? What creative ways have you used Facebook? Help Rita out by responding to her post.

2) Christina and Jenell are looking for ideas for a volunteer handbook. Share your thoughts about what to include, or you can even upload a sample for them to see.

Thanks in advance for supporting the efforts of these programs and, in reality, many more Y4Y users who will see your helpful advice on the Discussion Boards!

Do you need some help? Post your own question for others to answer.

Note: To post to the Discussion Boards, you must be registered on Y4Y. Click here to register!  



November 6, 2013

As we travel around the country at the request of States and grantees (and under the guidance of the U.S. Department of Education of course!), the Y4Y team often hears exciting recommendations from the field. Recently we were at the Fall Meeting of Delaware 21st CCLC grantees in Newark, DE, and heard a great idea from Rob.

He facilitated a project that presented small teams of students with a challenge: you are stranded on a desert island and must overcome various obstacles to survive. The goal of the project is to help students develop various skills, from problem-solving to collaboration. Rob also used this project to help students work on their writing skills. He presented the teams with challenges and asked them to create journal entries addressing how they would solve the problem. Rob then read their entries and responded each week with new hypothetical disasters for the individual teams to overcome.

Rob shared this idea with other grantees who loved the concept and added suggestions for extensions. For example, ask students to create artwork or comics narrating their survival. Or ask students to solve puzzles as part of their plan for survival (e.g., if students say they will fish for food, ask them to create a fishing pole from specific limited materials) and create written instructions.

Thank you to Rob and all the Delaware grantees for sharing your excellent ideas! We hope everyone will continue sharing their experiences and seeking advice from peers on the Y4Y Discussion Boards.  



October 7, 2013

Do you find yourself frequently landing on an inspiring idea or an insightful tip on Y4Y? Of course! The portal is full of useful information that you can use to strengthen your afterschool program. There is even a built-in feature that helps you keep track of your favorite ideas from Y4Y: the Notebook. 

On each page in the Learn and Teach sections of Y4Y (for example take a look in the Project-Based Learning Introduction), a small box on the right side of the page contains the Notebook. You can type notes into the Notebook, right on the screen next to the information you are viewing. Then, your notes are saved for you to access again whenever you may want to add to them or print them in the future. The Notebook is divided into the five content areas, so it’s almost like having a virtual binder of notes for each topic.

The key to using the Notebook is to be registered for Y4Y. Registration allows you access to this convenient feature, among others on the portal such as the ability to post to the Discussion Boards. If you aren’t registered yet, stop by the Join the Y4Y Community page for the quick and easy registration form.