This article is written by a member of our expert blogging community.
The best time to think about the end of the year is at its beginning. Stephen Covey advises that we “begin with the end in mind”. So ask yourself, at the end of this program year what is it that I want to hear? You need to ask yourself that question while thinking about the youth in your program, your staff, your parents, your school day partners, and any other stakeholders that are important to you. If you think about this end, the one thing you most want to accomplish, it will be easier for you to set your plan for how you are going to achieve that end.
"The best time to think about the end of the year is at its beginning."
Let’s say that you would like for the youth to share with you that they really appreciated the opportunities for leadership that the program offered them. Then it will be important that you plan for a Youth Advisory Group, clubs that will allow youth to “own” different aspects of the program--perhaps you create a DJ Club and they are responsible for the Openings, and you have a physical activity Club that explores how youth can lead the warm up, activity, and cool down during health living. Perhaps you will create a group that will preview clubs, activities, or curriculum and help you implement in a way that is relevant to youth. All of these will help you to reach your goal of students having the opportunity to lead in the afterschool program.
Or perhaps you would like for your school day partners to share with you that they really appreciated how you had aligned with them in helping students memorize math facts. If that is the case then you would want to begin early working just 10 minutes a day on math facts and then schedule Math Olympics or other whole group activities that would celebrate student success in memorizing the facts. You would set goals around 1st graders memorizing addition facts, 2nd graders memorizing subtraction, 3rd graders learning multiplication facts, 4th graders division and 5th graders would be expected to zip back and forth, showing true automaticity with all of the facts. In addition to the basics perhaps the middle schoolers would certainly know all of this, plus the squares to 25 and the prime numbers to 100.
Once you know where you are going, it is much easier to decide what is important and what will help you get there.
What would be some things that you would like to achieve by the end of the year? How do you see moving forward in this?