Share This Post

Program Design, Development, and Quality

From My Sofa: Quality Programming

magnifying glass-assessing quality

If you’re like me, you are NOT reading this at breakfast but from your sofa at night with an IPA or cup of chamomile tea in hand …

Which means you might not make it to the end.  So, I’m starting with a plug for input to the Standards in Action being developed by CAN’s Work Group on Quality Standards.  Just go to the CAN website.  You don’t even have to review all of them, just click on the two or three that interest you most and give us your thoughts.  You’ll be done in a few sips.  Or you can do the whole thing, which would be really fabulous.

Wow!  You’re still reading?

Here’s what I’ve been thinking about – besides the Standards in Action.  As you’ve probably noticed, these are crazy times for California’s education system.  And, these crazy times are creating great opportunities for our expanded learning field.  The Common Core State Standards (CCSS), the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) and the CORE districts’ waiver all focus attention on how kids learn and the importance of learning beyond what is strictly academic.

These changes fit perfectly with the way quality after school and summer programs have been running for years – as documented in Temescal Associates’ Learning in Afterschool and Summer principles (and not surprisingly in the newly adopted California Quality Standards).  Good after school and summer programs excel at learning that is active, meaningful, collaborative, builds mastery and broadens horizons – all skills and approaches to learning embedded in the CCSS.

And, we’re great at engaging students, improving school climates and expanding the range of courses available, as required by the LCFF.  All of these strategies and activities are consistent with building young people’s social-emotional skills – including learning strategies, social skills, growth mindsets, perseverance –that the CORE districts have signed up to monitor, and that will, therefore, become increasingly interesting to school leaders across the state.

But, while we know high quality programs are doing these things well, we also know that poor quality programs are not.

If we are going to seize this opportunity, we need to message clearly about the contributions that expanded learning programs can make and then we have to deliver on that promise.  That means being intentional about assessing our quality, planning and making improvements, and continually reflecting on our progress.

And so, if you are still reading, and haven’t yet given input to the Standards in Action, please grab what you need – a bowl of ice cream, a cup of tea, an IPA – and give us your 15 minutes of input (here).

Breakfast?  Coffee, of course, and oatmeal. 

Author Profile: @katiebrackenridge

Share This Post

Leave a Reply