Providing Systems of Support for Expanded Learning Programs
Liza Flowers, Lead Coordinator
Liza has worked in education for 17 years. She began in an after-school program for the city of Chula Vista when she was in her teacher credential program. She continued to work with after-school programs as a middle school teacher and eventually moved on to oversee all expanded learning programs (ELP) at Sweetwater Union High School District. Liza knows firsthand the hard work and time it takes to create a quality ELP. She believes ELPs can impact education in positive ways if they are truly valued and accessed as a resource to support all students in becoming college and career ready.
Fun fact about Liza: She loves to ride motorcycles, including dirt, street, and track, in her free time.
Christine Carrera, Project Specialist
Christine is an accomplished trainer and coach with an extensive background in adult learning theories and experience in planning and facilitating professional development workshops, conferences, and professional learning communities that support ELPs. As both a former classroom teacher and expanded learning site coordinator, Christine understands the enduring impact that ELPs can have when they partner with schools to increase opportunities for youth.
Fun fact about Christine: She loves to sing in her church choir, is afraid of heights, and answers to the name "Steve" whenever it's called out across a room.
Shelby Arnett, Program Secretary
Shelby came to the RTAC team after many years working in educational technology, as well as the legal and medical fields. She has a keen eye for detail, impeccable spelling, and a weird sense of humor.
Fun fact about Shelby: In her spare time she skates with and is production head for the San Diego Derby Dolls roller derby league.
The California AfterSchool Network's annual State of the State of Expanded Learning in California report provides an overview of the public investment in expanded learning opportunities in California. This year's report states that ELPs provide after-school and summer learning opportunities to nearly 500,000 of California's students with the greatest needs through nearly 4,500 expanded learning programs. While California is ranked No. 1 nationally in after-school programs, there are significant fiscal challenges and unmet needs for expanded learning programs, according to the report. Without relief to meet funding challenges, programs must reduce enrichment activities and academic supports, professional development, staff hours, and access as programs decrease the number of students served and risk closing their doors altogether, the report stated.
According to the report, students who fully participate in an ASES or a 21st Century Learning Centers (CCLC) after-school program gain the equivalent of up to an extra 90 days of school. Regular attendance in ELPs increases student achievement, attendance, and positive behaviors, and narrows the achievement gap, the report found. Expanded learning programs in California also increase health and nutrition and offer innovative learning opportunities year-round.
The Partnership for Children and Youth recently released an alert regarding the passage of the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). California is now in the process of transitioning from the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law to the new law. Like all states, California is required to implement a Transition Plan to provide districts guidance on how to utilize federal dollars and programs during this interim phase (the 2016-17 school year) until ESSA is fully implemented later in 2017. ASES and 21st CCLC program administrators and partners have the opportunity to review this guidance and reach out to the appropriate school district staff to ensure that district transition plans for former supplemental education services (SES) dollars and activities include leveraging existing after-school and summer learning programs.
Check out this video by Diego Arancibia, which outlines the challenges and extols the accomplishments of ELP site coordinators.
QUALITY STANDARDS, PROMISING PRACTICES
Active and Engaged Learning Through RTAC's Power of Discovery: STEM Hub Initiative
High-quality programs are defined in the Quality Standards as those that are designed to reflect active, meaningful, and engaging learning methods that promote collaboration and expand student horizons. What better way to engage youth in active learning than through STEM?
Science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) learning experiences are a natural platform for active and engaged learning. Using an inquiry-based approach to learning, like the 5E Model, encourages students to Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, and Evaluate as active learners.
ELPs should authentically partner with youth to build their leadership skills, including giving them meaningful opportunities to plan, implement, and evaluate program activities. Young people are more likely to stay engaged in the program when their ideas and contributions are included.
Summer is a terrific time to delve into your data to guide your plans for the coming year. Here are a few resources to get you started:
Dabbling in the Data is a free guide from Public Profit that can be used to keep your team engaged and energized while reviewing data. The guide has many fun activities that will help team members think differently about how to use data to improve practice.
ASAPConnect offers the Quick CASP. The Quick CASP is a quality assessment tool to help summer learning programs continuously improve their program quality, and the Quick CASP Crosswalk outlines connections between the Quick CASP and the Quality Standards.
This professional learning opportunity is intended to build the capacity of local leaders to plan and co-facilitate the monthly ASES/ASSETs Community of Practice meetings. Learning will cover the social learning theory of peer-driven learning and focus on the practical application of the theory to plan and facilitate effective Community of Practice meetings.
RTAC invites you to join a community of your peers to increase student interest in STEM and provide students with opportunities to develop skills, support mastery, and expand their horizons. Be on the leading edge of innovative STEM learning for ELPs by joining the Power of Discovery: STEM Community of Practice the first Thursday of each month.
Be part of an innovative community for learning and transformation! We invite you to join RTAC and a network of peer practitioners to build relationships within and across districts to support students in expanded learning programs, gain a deeper understanding of the Quality Standards, develop strategies to bring the standards to life, and engage with a network of peer leaders throughout region to support program improvement. Expanded Learning Community of Practice meetings occur monthly throughout the year.
The purpose of this professional learning is to build the capacity of site coordinators to develop an internal Community of Practice within their own site team and to develop a Community of Practice with other site coordinators from local agencies and districts. Participants will gain knowledge about what a peer-driven learning community looks like, as well as its value and structure, and learn practical strategies for initiating their own local networks with colleagues across districts and agencies.