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High School Field Resources

Engaging Youth as Workers Within High School Afterschool Programs: A Briefing Paper, Sam Piha and Laura Karosic. Many 21st Century Community Learning Center (CCLC) high school afterschool programs in California strive to engage high school age youth as responsible workers and helpers within the program. However, because afterschool programs for older youth are relatively new, there is confusion in the field regarding the use of 21st CCLC funds for youth employment and compensation and there is a lack of knowledge about practices which have found to be effective. The purpose of this paper is to clarify guidelines regarding the employment of youth and to share strategies that are currently being used by After School Safety and Enrichment for Teens (ASSETs) programs to engage high school age youth through work within their afterschool programs.

I Feel Like I'm Somebody: Older Youth and High School Afterschool Programs in a Rural California Town, by Logan Robertson, PhD, Cutler-Orosi School District; Edited by Sam Piha, Temescal Associates. The term "urban" is often conflated with "youth," a practice that tends to diminish or even make invisible the distinct experiences of youth who do not live in "the inner-city." The urban context is understood as standard, while the rural context is usually conceptualized in terms of myths of the idealized countryside and the idyllic childhood (Nairn et al., 2003; Tucker & Matthews, 2001).

Much has been written about the need to design and improve afterschool programs to increase the participation, engagement, and retention of older youth. However, little is discussed about how to initiate a successful program improvement effort. The two articles below, entitled, The Beacon Young Adolescent Initiative: Strategies to Increase Participation Within the San Francisco Beacons and The ASSETs Learning Lab Project: A Look at the First Year, chronicle two program improvement projects in the Bay Area. These programs serving older youth formed learning communities and utilized a rigorous program improvement process. The Beacon Project article discusses how the Beacon Centers used data-based evidence to identify those strategies that were most effective.

Learning Around the Clock: Benefits of Expanded Learning Opportunities for Older Youth, by Anne Bowles and Betsy Brand, American Youth Policy Forum. Identifies and describes Expanded Learning Opportunities (ELOs) that improve academic performance, college and career preparation, social and emotional development, and health and wellness outcomes for underserved youth. The term “expanded learning opportunity” is used to describe the range of programs and activities available to young people that occur beyond regular school hours. ELOs include traditional afterschool activities with an academic focus, but also incorporate activities such as internships with employers, independent study in alternative settings, classes on college campuses for high school students, and wraparound support services. Expanded learning opportunities are an effective use of resources to prepare youth for the complexities that face them as adults. The underlying message drawn from our review of the evaluations is that expanded learning opportunities (ELOs) work. ELOs deserve ongoing and expanded support and to be fully viewed as a major contributor in the preparation of youth for postsecondary education, careers, and civic engagement.

seligsonBringing Yourself to Work: A Guide to Successful Staff Development in After-School Programs by Michelle Seligson, Ed.M: this groundbreaking professional-development book helps directors and staff create healthier learning environments for children and youth in after-school programs. The authors outline the support and skills staff need to increase selfawareness, sustain healthy relationships, and improve group dynamics.

Rethinking the High School Experience, The Forum on Yoth Investment. Few U.S. communities, even those deeply in the throes of the after-school movement, have fully taken on the challenge of creating a system of after-school opportunities for high school students, often citing greater demand, need and impact at younger ages. But with high school reform now a front burner issue, districts and communities cannot afford to have high school after-school on the back burner.

High School After-School Success Stories, Fight Crime Invest in Kids California. Several examples of positive outcomes from after-school programs for high school students across California, including several 21st Century High School After School Safety and Education for Teens (ASSETs) programs.

Promising Practices in Citywide Afterschool Initiatives: Promoting Caring and Supportive Relationships Between Adults and High School Age Youth, City Works. The goals of The After School Program in Lincoln Square are to improve the social, academic, and vocational competencies of schoolaged youth; prevent out of wedlock pregnancies; reduce negative behaviors; and provide parents with a safe space for their children after school.

High School Afterschool, What Is It, What Might it Be, and Why Is It Important?, The Forum for Youth Investment. The idea of high school after-school programming is an oxymoron if one’s image involves 11-year-olds having snacks, getting help with their homework and finding creative outlets for their energy until their parents come at 6:00 P.M. But high schools are eligible to apply for after-school program funding under the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (CLC) program and, as elementary school programs are coming into their own and middle school programs are on the rise, high school is becoming the next frontier for afterschool advocates. This is certainly the case in California, where state legislation set aside funds especially for programs proposing to serve high school students.

Fight Crime SummaryCalifornia’s Next After-School Challenge: Keeping High School Teens Off the Street and On the Right Track, Report highlights from Fight Crime: Invenst in Kids California. After the enactment of Proposition 49 to expand afterschool programs for elementary and middle school students, California faces a new afterschool challenge in the years ahead—providing after-school opportunities for high school students. Teenagers are far more likely than younger students to be involved in crime or engaged in other risky behavior during the after-school hours. Four of every five juvenile crimes in California are committed by high schoolage kids.

Boosting High School Graduation Rates Would Save U.S. $127,000 Per New Graduate, Researchers Find, Center for Benefit-Cost Studies of Education at Teachers College, Columbia University. The U.S. taxpayer could reap $45 billion annually if the number of high school dropouts were cut in half, according to a new study conducted by a group of the nation’s leading researchers in education and economics.

Tips for Working with Teens as Partners, Marianne Bird, M.S., 4-H Youth Development Advisor. When asked the benefit of involving teenagers in program planning and delivery, adults often respond that the teens gain valuable skills from the experience, or that it provides a meaningful way for youth to be involved in their community. Adults perceive youth leadership as primarily benefiting young people. Yet research tells us that youth-adult partnerships (bringing together the strengths of young people and adults in shared work projects) benefit organizations and adults as well, creating stronger, more vibrant programs.

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