Vision: all Kalamazoo County youth are college or career ready by 21.
Mission Statement: Ensure that all Kalamazoo County youth have access to high quality, youth-driven, diverse, inclusive, and equitable out-of-school time (OST) programs that are part of a well coordinated system that uses data and best practice strategies.
Brief Organizational History
The Kalamazoo Youth Development Network (KYD Network) was created fifteen years ago through a collaborative effort among the city of Kalamazoo, the Irving S. Gilmore Foundation, and the Hispanic American Council to provide networking opportunities for youth-serving organizations. Today, KYD Network serves as the intermediary organization to a growing out-of-school time (OST) sector whose vision is that all Kalamazoo County youth are college or career ready by age 21. We seek to accomplish this vision by ensuring that all Kalamazoo County youth have access to high quality, youth-driven, diverse, inclusive, and equitable out-of-school time (OST) programs that are part of a well coordinated system that uses data and best practice strategies.
Organizations that serve youth work in the out-of-school time, or “second shift.” While youth spend seven hours a day in school during the “first shift,” many youth spend as much, or more, time with us during the second shift. We believe we offer a powerful and unique opportunity to improve outcomes for youth by giving young people time and space to identify their interests and assets and by providing them with opportunities to explore and learn new skills they can use in school, at home, and to better their community.
In order to achieve our vision and fully implement our mission, KYD Network, serving as the intermediary for the OST sector, is building a sustainable OST system. Over the past year and a half, KYD Network has learned what elements are necessary for our sustainable OST system, or second shift. We are creating a movement with the second shift to create a sustainable system that consists of:
- A shared vision for our youth, that they are college and career ready by age 21;
- A common definition of quality OST programming that uses the Youth Program Quality Intervention (YPQI), a research-based model created by the David Weikart Center for Youth Program Quality (YPQI) and the Michigan OST quality standards;
- County-wide coordination of the OST sector through KYD Network;
- Engaged leadership from the OST sector and youth to build and sustain the sector through Affinity Groups, Youth Advisory Councils, and the Kalamazoo County Youth Cabinet;
- Shared accountability for performance targets such as youth achieving social emotional learning milestones that are set forth in a Youth Master Plan;
- A commitment to continuous quality improvement through the YPQI;
- Sustainable resources from local, state, and national sources; and
- Coordinated advocacy for the Second Shift that results in more and sustained funding and supportive policies.
KYD Network realizes that this system will take the next three to five years to fully build with our members and stakeholders. Over the past eighteen months, we have conducted a listening campaign and have convened our sector through a quality cohort of fifteen organizations and four Affinity Groups in the areas of Youth Leadership, Social Emotional Learning, Parent Engagement, and Advocacy. This process led to the creation of a Theory of Change that presents a roadmap of the longer-term outcomes we believe must be achieved to reach our vision for Kalamazoo County youth (see enclosed document).
Several needs exist with regard to building a high quality OST sector so that all youth are ready by 21. The needs revolve around: (a) the OST sector’s capacity to serve a critical mass of youth; (b) quality of OST programming; (c) quality of professionals working in the OST sector; (d) organizational capacity to sustain improvements; (e) youth’s social emotional learning skills; (f) youth leadership opportunities and skills; and (g) parent engagement.
First, with regard to capacity to serve a critical mass of youth, approximately 50,000 school-age youth live in Kalamazoo County, almost half of whom live in households that are eligible for free or reduce price lunch.1 The overall graduation rate for county youth is 73% and ranges from a low of 48% to a high of 95%. We also know that in the state of Michigan, 210,386 (13%) of school-age youth participate in OST programming while 625,026 (44%) would participate if opportunities were available.2
Historically, KYD Network has estimated that 45 OST organizations served roughly 3,000 youth in the County…a far cry from the 50,000 youth who could be participating in, and benefitting from, after-school and summer programming. If we were serving the state average of 13% this would mean that the Kalamazoo County OST sector should be serving 6,500 youth; almost double what we currently serve. In addition, if the state average of 44% “would participate if opportunities were available” held true in Kalamazoo County, our sector should be serving 22,000 youth. Thus, the data confirm that we must continue to build the capacity to serve MORE youth in the out-of-school time over the next three years.
KYD Network is currently conducting a scan of the OST sector to determine: how many OST organizations exist; how many youth they serve; where they serve youth; where these youth live; the types of opportunities available to youth; and the structure of these organizations. The results of this scan will help KYD Network tailor its outreach throughout the county.
Regarding quality of OST programming, we know that when youth participate in high quality OST programming they are more likely to engage in school and gradate. We also know that quality can be measured through the Youth Program Quality Assessment (YPQA), the tool that KYD Network uses. In addition, our local trends mirror national data, with scores for Safe and Supportive Environments near 4.0, Interaction at 3.0, and Engagement near 2.5 (out of a 5.0 scale). Over the next year, KYD Network will work with these organizations so that their programs continue to improve and so that they create systems to sustain these improvements.
With respect to social emotional learning, we know that when youth participate in an intentional SEL strategy over a sustained period of time (one year), they:
- Have grade point averages that are 11% higher than their peers3;
- Score higher on standardized tests4; and
- Are less likely to engage in high-risk behaviors that interfere with learning such as violence and drug and alcohol use5.
The Kalamazoo County Second Shift identified social emotional learning as its “wheelhouse,” our unique contribution to young people’s growth and development. Ten members of the OST sector use a standardized assessment to understand youth’s strengths and areas of need, the Devereux Student Strengths Assessment, or DESSA. Through this assessment, our baseline data indicated that the youth who participate in our SEL cohort score relatively low on the DESSA as 30% of our youth score “in need” as compared to 16% of the national cohort.
Results (Outcomes Sought)
For the next three years (2015-18), KYD Network will pursue the following outcomes so that youth are college and career ready. Outcomes are divided into initial and intermediate outcomes along with longer-term outcomes.
- Improved program quality: OST programs will continue to engage in the Youth Program Quality Intervention (internally observe using the Youth Program Quality Assessment, enter data into the on-line Scores Reporter system for tracking, participate in improvement planning sessions and training provided by KYD Network).
- SEL assessment and intervention
- Improved staff functioning: Staff members of OST programs will use developmentally appropriate, high quality youth development and SEL practices. Two organizations participate in staff credential process.
- System of authentic parent engagement created by OST network: OST organizations will authentically engage parents as partners in helping youth be ready by 21.
- Professionalization process created: The OST network will participate in the Youth Development Professional Certificate and Credential process offered through the Michigan Afterschool Partnership and the Michigan Afterschool Association.
- Summer Learning System created: Given that the summer is THE out-of-school time, Kalamazoo County will build an intentional summer learning system, using the framework developed by the Summer Learning Association.
- Improved organizational quality: as measured by Form B of the YPQA and number of staff who receive credential through state process.
- Improved SEL skills of participating youth: 80% of youth who participate is OST programming affiliated with KYD Network will improve their SEL skills as measured by the DESSA.
- Improved leadership skills of youth: vulnerable youth will improve their leadership skills, as measured by tools created by The Neutral Zone, by participating on organizational Youth Advisory Councils and the Kalamazoo County Youth Cabinet.
- Summer Learning System: that intentionally addresses the “summer slide” by providing high quality, academically-aligned, engaging experiences for a critical mass of youth during the summer months.
Means (Strategies, Activities, Resources and Personnel to Achieve Outcomes)
We will achieve the outcomes stated in this proposal by working at the sector and organizational level.
Sector Level Work
KYD Network utilizes four major strategies to reach the Second Shift in Kalamazoo County, including:
- Action Fridays that occur on the second Friday of every month and provide time for OST and other organizations to network and discuss an identified topic such as youth master planning, summer learning, what we’re learning about SEL;
- Affinity Groups in four existing areas (Youth Leadership, SEL, Parent Engagement, and Advocacy) are open to any interested person. All groups have created charters and meet monthly to advance their agendas. Two additional groups will be created (Youth Development Professional Credentialing and Summer Learning); and
- Kalamazoo County Youth Cabinet that consists of 25 youth, ages 14 to 20, who will be trained in the Youth Driven Spaces (YDS) model so that they can identify issues of importance to them and create solutions to address these issues. The Cabinet has been populated, the Advisor hired, and it will hold its retreat, facilitated by John Weiss from The Neutral Zone in June.
- Staff credentialing process using the State of Michigan system that is based on the Michigan OST standards and the National Afterschool Association’s recommendations.
Organizational Level Work
KYD Network utilizes three major strategies to improve the quality of OST programming at individual organizations:
- The Youth Program Quality Intervention, including training and technical assistance;
- Helping to create and sustain Youth Advisory Councils; and
- Implementing Affinity Groups, particularly the SEL Affinity Group.
KYD Network contracts with the David Weikart Center for Youth Program Quality to implement the Youth Program Quality Intervention with fidelity. This evidence-based and research proven intervention consists of three phases: (1) assess; (2) plan; and (3) improve. KYD Network staff train youth development professionals to conduct internal observations using a standardized tool (Youth Program Quality Assessment or YPQA) and we conduct external observations. KYD Network staff facilitate a “planning with data” session that uses the ratings/data to create an improvement plan. KYD Network provides training based on the improvement plan using the eight training modules created by the Weikart Center. The process is repeated two to three times during the school year and twice during the summer. Local data demonstrate the impact of this process as the quality of programs participating in the YPQI has increased.
Youth voice is the foundation of the second shift and KYD Network employs two strategies to increase youth voice: (1) organizational Youth Advisory Councils (YACs); and the newly formed Kalamazoo County Youth Cabinet. KYD Network coaches OST organizations in the formation and sustainment of YACs so that youth can help plan, implement, and assess OST programming. The Cabinet consists of 25 youth, ages 14 to 20, who reside in Kalamazoo County. The Cabinet will identify issues of importance to them (youth violence, health, drop-out rate) and work with the community to address them.
Over the past fourteen months, KYD Network has convened its Social Emotional Learning Affinity Group for the purposes of creating and communicating a local definition of social emotional learning and carving out the role of the Second Shift in supporting every youth’s mastery of SEL skills. Affinity Group members adopted the use of the Devereux Student Strengths Assessment, a strength-based observational rating system that has been studied and found to be a valid and reliable measure of social emotional learning in kindergarten through 8th grade. KYD Network has received nothing but positive feedback from participating organizations regarding the utility of having a common definition of SEL, a common assessment tool, data to guide their work with youth, and strategies that focus on each of the eight SEL skills measured by the DESSA.
Table 1 presents the major strategies KYD Network will implement with fidelity over the next three years to achieve its stated goals.
|15 (10 in current cohort and 5 new) OST programs in YPQI Cohort implement YPQI with full fidelity (assess, plan, improve)||15 (10 new) OST programs in YPQI Cohort implement YPQI with full fidelity (assess, plan, improve)||15 (5 new) OST programs in YPQI Cohort implement YPQI with full fidelity (assess, plan, improve).
30 organizations will be served over the three years.
|Ten (10) organizations in SEL cohort||Twelve (12) organizations in SEL cohort||Fifteen (15) organizations in SEL cohort|
|Four (4) organizations have Youth Advisory Councils||Six (6) organizations have Youth Advisory Councils||Ten (10) organizations have Youth Advisory Councils|
|Full implementation of four existing Affinity Groups||Addition of Youth Development Professional Credential and Summer Learning Affinity Groups||Full implementation of six Affinity Groups|
|Five (5) organizations participate in Youth Development Professional Certificate process||Ten (10) organizations participate in Youth Development Professional Certificate process||Fifteen (15) organizations participate in Youth Development Professional Certificate process|
|Two (2) organizations participate in Youth Development Credential process||Four (4) organizations participate in Youth Development Credential process||Eight (8) organizations participate in Youth Development Credential process|
KYD Network staff, particularly our Data Coordinator, have created internal data systems so that we can monitor and evaluate our work and the work of our members. Table 2 describes each element to be evaluated, measures, and a description of data collection and analysis.
|Element||Measures||Data Collection, Analysis|
Staff, student, and parent surveys
# of staff certified and credentialed
|Multiple internal and external observations using YPQA. Program staff interpret data and create improvement plans, KYD Network trains, and observations are conducted to determine if progress is being made on selected items in improvement plans.
Surveys conducted annually. Data are shared with each program and the network to identify strengths and tailor training and technical support.
Monitor certification and credential process.
|Organizational quality||YPQA, Form B.
Staff, student, and parent surveys
|YPQA form B (organizational) completed annually.
Surveys administered annually. Data are shared with each program and the network to identify strengths and tailor training and technical support.
|SEL skills||DESSA||DESSA administered four times a year. Program and KYD Network staff interpret data. Strategies selected and implemented to improve youth SEL skills.|
|Leadership skills||Pre/post surveys||Surveys created by Neutral Zone are administered twice per year to YAC and Cabinet members.|
|Summer Learning System||Framework criteria
|Each element of summer learning system framework is assessed using rubric. Analysis done annually.
Summer PQA used annually, starting in 2016 when it becomes publically available. See YPQA for “assess, plan, improve.”
|Access to OST programing||# of youth served in OST||Scan of OST sector in 2015 and 2018|
2 America After 3 pm, 2014.
3 Zins, Weissber, Wang and Walberg, 2004)
4 Payton et al, 2008.
5 Hawkins et al, 1997.