NAA Quality Conversations

Each day, over 10 million children participate in afterschool programs. Working parents rely on these programs to keep their children learning, growing and safe during the gap hours—after the school day ends, but before parents come home from work.

Parents also rely on these afterschool programs to be staffed and run by professionals who have training and expertise in working with children and youth.

In a series of podcasts, NAA Executive Director Gina Warner will speak to researchers, experts, practitioners and funders about afterschool quality—what it is, how to achieve it and why its imperative.

SERIES TITLE: NAA Quality Conversations

EPISODE 1:
Partnering with Community Colleges to Improve Afterschool Quality
In this episode we discuss the implications President Obama's Building American Skills Through Community Colleges proposal has for the afterschool community. Like the President, we also believe community colleges are a critical resource to ensure America's economic strength and vitality. These institutions offer Americans a flexible, affordable option to gain new skills, work towards a degree or obtain training relevant to the local labor market. Community colleges may be a key to advancing the professionalism of the afterschool field.

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DF Headshot 2014EPISODE 2:
Starting with the End in Mind—Using School and Community Needs Assessments to Design High-Impact Afterschool Programs
In this episode, we talk with Derryck Fletcher of the Y of Central Maryland—the state's largest provider of youth development programs. During our conversation we discuss the importance of cultivating strong partnerships with schools and families to develop high-quality afterschool programs that meet children where they are.

Derryck Fletcher is the Executive Director of Youth Development for the Y of Central Maryland where he leads their school and community based youth development programming. With over a decade of youth development leadership experience, he has obtained the Advancing Youth Development and Supervising Youth Development Practice certifications from the Academy for Educational Development. Derryck is endorsed by the David P. Weikart Center for Youth Program Quality as a program quality assessor. He is a Certified Public Manager and resides in Baltimore, Maryland with his wife and daughters.

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10668936 10154732369900788 8988452805336591525 oEPISODE 3:
Implementing a Quality Improvement System: Changing Process, Changing Mindset, Changing Outcomes
Adopting a continuous program quality improvement model is challenging; change can be uncomfortable, and system implementation can be a long process. Monica Marie Jones believes in the power of afterschool professionals to change a young person's life by an intentional focus on quality interactions and activities. In this podcast, Monica shares lessons learned through the implementation of the Youth Program Quality Assessment (YPQA).

Monica Marie Jones is a youth development expert that does training and consultation for the David P. Weikart Center for Youth Program Quality. Monica received her Bachelor's Degree and teaching certificate in Elementary Education from Eastern Michigan University, and her Masters of Social Work from the University of Michigan.

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jennifer-headshotEPISODE 4:
What's Going on with Federal Funding for Afterschool?
In this Quality Conversation, Jen Rinehart from the Afterschool Alliance shares the latest in afterschool policy and funding news. She gives an update on the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, and shares what that means for 21st Century Community Learning Centers across the country. Jen also discusses the implementation of last fall's reauthorized Child Care and Development Fund.

Jen Rinehart joined the Afterschool Alliance in September 2002 and established the Afterschool Alliance's Washington D.C. office. Jen takes a primary role in the Afterschool Alliance's coalition building, policy and research efforts, and serves as a spokesperson for the organization. Recent projects include Uncertain Times and planning for the third round of America After 3PM research and related reports. Jen also served as Interim Executive Director of the Afterschool Alliance from December 2004 through June 2005. Prior to joining the Afterschool Alliance, Jen served for more than five years on the staff of the U.S. Department of Education; primarily as a Project Officer for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers Program, the principal federal program supporting afterschool.

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IMG 10631EPISODE 5:
Evaluation IS a Quality Improvement Process and Strategy
All too often, and perhaps especially in the afterschool field, staff see evaluation as a reporting duty they must fulfill rather than a useful tool. "Program quality" and "evaluation" do not have to be seen as two separate strands of work. Christina Russell, of Policy Studies Associates, leads studies focused on expanded learning opportunities and their role in promoting positive social and emotional outcomes for youth in grades K-12.

Christina Russell, Managing Director of Policy Studies Associates, has extensive experience designing and managing studies that employ both qualitative and quantitative research methods to assess the implementation and impact of education and youth development initiatives. She is currently leading evaluation projects for The Afterschool Corporation, the New York City Department of Youth and Community Development and the Asia Society.

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