In recent decades, the demand for a highly-skilled, globally competitive workforce has resulted in the need for all students to graduate high school prepared for college, careers, and beyond. High schools cannot do this work alone; contributions to a student’s postsecondary success come from a range of people, programs, and experiences both inside and outside of the traditional school day.
Outside of the classroom, high quality afterschool providers, for example, are one of the other entities that help contribute to student’s college and career readiness through college and career exploration, social and emotional learning, soft skills development, various enrichment activities, and more. Inside of the classroom, competency-based education (CBE) is an increasingly popular approach that helps students become college and career ready. This model stresses specific skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, and teamwork, and transitions away from the reliance on seat-time by allowing students to advance upon mastery of explicit competencies.
Given that students learn and develop valuable skills both in and out of school, understanding the intersection of afterschool and CBE seems like a natural step to furthering our goal of college and career readiness for all students. In looking at the intersection of afterschool and CBE, this discussion aimed to provide clarity on what we know, what we need to explore further, and what role policy plays. More specifically, this discussion aimed to:
- Facilitate dialogue between organizations focused on afterschool and/or CBE in order to inform both about relevant policy and practice
- Share promising practices and emerging trends at the intersection of afterschool and CBE
- Discuss policy considerations for better aligning afterschool and CBE
Joe DiMartino is founder and president of the Center for Secondary School Redesign (CSSR). In this role, Joe provides leadership for a network of over twenty school change coaches directly impacting transformational school change initiatives across the United States. Under his leadership, CSSR bas become recognized as a leading provider of ground breaking technical assistance to support both policy change and change leadership at the school and district level—leading to a richer more personalized school experience for all youth.
Marcia Dvorak, Ph.D., is the Director of the Kansas Enrichment Network, an organization that seeks to create a sustainable structure of statewide, regional, and local partnerships, focused on policy, sustainability, and quality expanded learning opportunities. In her role as Director, Dr. Dvorak is responsible for managing the statewide afterschool coalition. Recent efforts have concentrated on creating a statewide STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) system, connecting likely and unlikely partners to increase STEM opportunities for children and youth. Dr. Dvorak has an extensive background in public education, both as a classroom teacher and principal. In addition to her role with the Network, Dr. Dvorak serves as an Assistant Director for the Center for Public Partnerships and Research at the University of Kansas.
Caitlin Johnson. A writer and journalist, Caitlin specializes in child and youth issues and the impact of public policy on families and communities. She is a strong believer in the power of creative technologies to engage and move audiences, and to create an authentic platform for youth voice and youth-led movement building. This passion led her to co-found SparkAction.org, a journalism and advocacy platform to mobilize action for and by young people; she serves as its director. Caitlin has written for City Limits, Yahoo News, Nation’s Cities Weekly, KidsHealth and numerous other outlets, and has been a Casey Journalism Fellow. Caitlin has worked as a technical writer and editor in the areas of social policy, the environment, and sustainable development; assisted the Center for Law and Social Policy with its communications strategy and materials as interim director; and written for Sen. Leahy’s Displaced Children & Orphans Fund and War Victims Fund.
Lynn Stanley, LICSW is the Lead for the New Hampshire Afterschool Network coordinating advocacy and policy efforts that promote high-quality afterschool programming. She is also a consultant providing services and technical assistance to schools, after-school programs, and nonprofit organizations. Lynn serves as adjunct faculty for Rivier University’s Social Work Program. She provides on-going training to afterschool professionals through ACROSS NH and to foster and adoptive parents through Granite State College’s Education and Training Partnership. She has 20 years of experience in social services including overseeing a school-based family resource center and 21st CCLC in New Hampshire.
Dan Tsin joined Urban Alliance in July 2012. As Director of Data & Accountability, he oversees all internal and external program evaluation, performance management, and strategic planning for the organization. Previously, Dan worked as a data analyst for DC Public Schools and as a consultant at IBM. Dan graduated from the College of William and Mary in 2006 with a degree in finance and holds a Master of Public Policy degree from the George Washington University, with a focus on Program Evaluation and Education Policy.
Beth A. Unverzagt, Director of OregonASK has a long history of work with both public and private schools. She has developed childcare centers, afterschool programs, and high school youth mentoring programs. In 2005 Beth Unverzagt became the first Director of the Oregon Afterschool Network, OregonASK. The network is a collaboration of 38 public and private partners that work together to improve the quality, sustainability and provide system support for all out-of- school time programs in Oregon. Now in 2015 the Expanded Learning Partnership – OregonASK, is improving the quality of afterschool & summer programs, through training and technical assistance, public policy and leading the charge for a statewide vision for high quality afterschool and summer programs.