California has identified 8 priority areas in public education: student achievement (not to be confused with) student engagement, other student outcomes, school climate, parental involvement, basic services, implementation of Common Core State Standards, and course access. After school programs, can and do support these priority areas. Let’s look at several of these priorities beginning with parental involvement. How many afterschool programs have access to parents on a daily basis? How many afterschool programs showcase youth and invite parents and caregivers to attend the event? How many afterschool programs invite parents to participate with their child at the end of the day? How many afterschool programs have tough conversations with parents about their student? The answer to these questions is certainly “most of them.
And of course as an afterschool program you are most likely grounded in youth development principles which include developing youth leadership, providing youth with opportunities to share their voice and make a choice, all of which help youth develop 21st Century work place skills and stick with school even when they struggle. Not only is youth engagement supported by a youth development mind set, as we implement the LIAS (Learning in Afterschool and Summer) principles: learning that is active, meaningful, collaborative, and that supports mastery and broadens horizons, we engage youth in hands-on, minds-on activities throughout the afternoon—which supports other positive outcomes for youth.
As afterschool providers we are also supporting the implementation of the Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards by implementing strategies that support student learning across all content areas. Developing activities with clear learning goals which are assessed at the end of the session, debriefing the learning not just the activity, and using strategies to support collaboration, are all part of this effort to support Common Core implementation.
One of the best ways to make sure that we can support these eight buckets effectively is to be sure that our existing and new staff have the basic, foundational training they need so they can create a viable space for learning. At C4K we have online training available 24/7/365 for both Program Leaders and Site Coordinators. For Program Leaders we have the Nifty 9 which focuses on professionalism, safety, managing the environment, guiding behavior, discipline, holistic instruction, debriefing, transitions, and moving from direct and tell to questioning techniques. To learn more about how you can access this for your staff, be they rookie, seasoned, or veteran, for pennies a day, contact us. Check us out at www.consultfourkids.com or by contacting as at firstname.lastname@example.org.