As many of you have heard, the Partnership for Children & Youth (PCY) is putting together state legislation to make improvements to the 21st Century Community Learning Center program. The proposed changes are based on aspects of the current law that we’ve heard for many years create barriers or are difficult to administer in the field. Our goal is to make the funding easier to apply for and implement, and to be strategic about how we use federal funding in concert with our state after school resources. To date we have received input from over 150 expanded learning practitioners and experts across the state, and have already made significant changes to our first proposal based on this input. . To best serve students and programs, we’d love to hear more of your thoughts, which you can give through this link at the California Afterschool Network.
Here are the basic concepts in the current proposal:
1. Make 21st CCLC complementary to ASES by targeting needs not covered by ASES including year-round, summer, and high school programs. Specifically:
• Priority points would be given to applicants that demonstrate the proposed program provides year-round learning opportunities. Applicants could either apply for both after school and summer programming to access priority points, or they could demonstrate that the proposed program was filling a gap, and complementing an existing program, to create a year-round system.
• Applicants for summer (or “supplemental”) grants would no longer have to be the same entity that holds the existing “base,” or after school, ASES or 21st CCLC grant.
• Clarify that 21st CCLC programs should “coordinate” with the school day programming as opposed to “align”.
• Provide statutory definitions:
• A year-round expanded learning program applicant is defined as one of the following: an applicant that operates both after school and summer programs; an applicant that offers summer programming to complement existing locally operated and funded after school programs; an applicant that offers after school programs to complement existing locally operated and funded summer programs.
• The term expanded learning refers to before and after school programs, intersession and summer programs that complement school day and school year learning, and that are operated in partnership between schools and local community partners.
2. Update ASES and 21st CCLC reporting requirements:
• Remove the requirements for programs to submit student level data on academic performance (test scores), skill development, homework completion, and positive behavioral changes. Programs may choose to submit skill development and positive behavior change data, if relevant to their program goals and design.
• Require programs to continue submitting participating pupil data by their student identifiers including school day attendance on an annual basis and program attendance on a semi-annual basis.
• Require programs to submit evidence of the use of program quality improvement assessment tools and processes, based on the Department’s guidance on program quality standards, on an annual basis.
• Require that CDE submit an annual report to the Legislature related to the pupils attending and the program quality of funded expanded learning programs. These data will be derived by matching statewide student identifiers with data in the CALPADS system and may include:(1) Number, geographical distribution and type of sites and grantees participating in the program, (2) Pupil program attendance, as reported semi-annually, and pupil school day attendance, as reported annually, (3) Statewide tests and assessment scores, (4) Pupil demographics and characteristics, (5) programmatic use of quality assessment tools, (5) skill development and positive behavioral changes assessments, (7) Other pupil and program data as available as determined by the Department.
3. Eliminate Family Literacy grants and simplify Equitable Access grant application:
• 5% of total funding would be available for Equitable Access grants.
• Applicants would request equitable access funding within the main body of their application, including a brief justification of their request. They would no longer have to complete a separate application.
• Family literacy activities would continue to be an allowable use of funds, but not a required program element (based on clarification from federal law).
PCY is working closely with the California Department of Education on this bill to make sure the proposed changes are in line with the After School Division’s vision, strategic plan, and capacity. And with your input, we can make sure the changes are directly and immediately helpful to your work to provide high quality programs in your community. The best way to provide input is through the CAN website link. If you have questions, you can also reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or Jessica at email@example.com.
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