Methods Series Workshops Announced for Winter and Spring

The Youth Work Methods series is a series of ten workshops designed by the David P. Weikart Center for Youth Program Quality to empower direct-staff with tools that will increase the quality of their work with youth. School’s Out offers these workshops every fall and winter/spring, and we’re proud to finally announce our winter/spring schedule!

You can see the dates and times on a convenient calendar here along with our other workshop offerings.

Active Learning

Do you know the difference between active learning and “hands-on” learning? Giving youth materials is just the beginning. This interactive workshop introduces the “ingredients” of active learning, explains the role that active learning plays in the experiential learning cycle, and helps participants create more powerful learning opportunities for youth.

Coming to Seattle January 23 and Gig Harbor March 17

Ask Listen Encourage

Do you communicate with youth in a way that makes them feel supported and heard? This interactive workshop introduces various communication techniques that help you build more supportive, youth-centered relationships. Participants will learn how to ask more effective questions, to listen actively to youth, and offer youth encouragement rather than praise.

Coming to South Hill, Pierce County, February 19 and Seattle March 20

Building Community

Do you know what it takes to build an emotionally and physically safe space for youth? Building an emotionally safe community of peers and adults is essential for youth to learn and develop as individuals. This interactive workshop will introduce participants to a variety of activities designed to support the community building process.

Coming to Seattle April 23 and Tacoma May 14

Cooperative Learning

Do the youth in your program have opportunities to work together in groups, teaching and learning from each other? Cooperative learning is an excellent way to nurture youth leadership, build community, and keep things fun. This interactive workshop will equip participants with grouping strategies and ways to think about building cooperative learning into any program offering.

Coming to Seattle, February 20

Planning and Reflection

Are you engaging youth in the critical life skills of planning and reflection? Are you ready to be more intentional about including planning and reflection strategies into your daily routine and activities but not sure where to start? This workshop will introduce participants to powerful methods that promote youth engagement in planning, implementing, and evaluating activities and projects.

Coming to Seattle May 28

Youth Voice

Are you providing young people with authentic, meaningful choices throughout your program? Does your program reflect the input of youth involved? Research shows that quality programs incorporate youth input at both activity and organizational levels. This workshop is focused on providing meaningful choice within activities and opportunities for youth input within the youth program itself.

Coming to Seattle June 4

State Expanded Learning Opportunities Council Releases First Report and Adopts Standards

Last legislative session, School’s Out and our partners in the Expanded Learning Coalition helped pass a bill to create the Washington State Expanded Learning Opportunities Council. This Council includes School’s Out, Expanded Learning Providers, higher education, career and technical schools, as well as representation from other education stakeholders like the PTA, teachers, school board members, and superintendents. The Council’s purpose is to create recommendations to increase Expanded Learning as well as options for extending the traditional school day and year and implementing the Summer Knowledge Improvement Program (SKIP) that passed last year.

Quality Standards

The Quality Standards were officially adopted by the ELO council. Click to read standards

The Council will be releasing several reports over the next few years. The first report (PDF link) released this month outlines the data gathering and work plan of the Council. The report also outlines the Council’s adoption of the Washington State Quality Standards for Afterschool and Youth Development Programs. School’s Out Washington developed these standards in conjunction with the national David P. Weikart Center for Youth Program Quality and afterschool and summer programs across the state in order to create stronger programs for kids. School’s Out looks forward to working with the Council to develop robust recommendations in 2015.

You can learn more about the council and view all meeting agendas, minutes and council updates on OSPI’s website.

Two Ways the State Legislature Can Support Expanded Learning in 2015

The 2015 Legislative Session, which begins in January, is going to have a major impact on education for years to come. Due to the McCleary Decision, the state will need to make major changes to how education is funded, affecting everything from teachers’ pay, to activities in the classroom and expanded learning.

Afterschool, summer and Expanded Learning Opportunities (PDF link) need to be a part of these important decisions. Expanded learning programs close the loop on learning, providing children an opportunity to apply what they learn during the school day in activities they care about. Expanded learning programs provide youth with the space to discover their passions and develop 21st century skills through creative approaches to learning, building relationships with caring adults, and having fun. They are shown to not only improve academic results, but also decrease discipline referrals and increase attendance and positive behavior.

School’s Out is asking our state legislature to support Expanded Learning, afterschool, and summer programs this session, and we’ve identified two potential ways they could make huge impact:

Increasing Expanded Learning for Youth in Communities of Color and Rural Areas

Children in communities of color and rural areas can be served by a variety of quality Expanded Learning programs, both large and small. In order to serve more children in these priority areas, School’s Out is championing efforts to refocus the existing (and unfunded) Washington Community Learning Center (PDF link) program to provide additional resources for both large and small afterschool and summer programs in communities of color as well as low-income and rural areas.

Strengthening Academic Supports through Afterschool and Summer Programs

Only one of the state’s education funding streams currently has the ability to support Expanded Learning Opportunities. It’s called the Learning Assistance Program (LAP), and it is aimed at improving academic success for underachieving youth. Unfortunately, most districts are not working with their out-of-school time providers, or other community-based organizations, to improve academic outcomes. School’s Out is supporting legislation to increase school-afterschool partnerships by creating a process for community-based organizations and school districts to work together to effectively utilize LAP dollars for children and youth that are underachieving. It is time for school districts and community-based organizations to work together to find more opportunities to keep kids engaged in learning both in and out-of-school time.

Learn more about Schools Out Washington’s 2015 Legislative Agenda here.

Feel free to contact David Beard, School’s Out’s Education Policy & Advocacy Director, with any questions about the upcoming legislative session and to find out more about how you can get involved.

Help Us Petition for More Afterschool, Summer, and Expanded Learning!

petition2The 2015 Washington State Legislative Session is almost upon us. Our Governor and Legislators will be making important decisions about education funding that will impact our schools and kids for years to come. We are kicking off the New Year with a petition of Washington State residents asking the legislature and our congressional representatives to support and provide funding for Expanded Learning Opportunities. These programs not only provide safe and supportive places for children and youth during non-school hours, but provide academic and social-emotional benefits that help close the achievement gap and improve student outcomes.

CLICK HERE to Sign This Petition!

The more voices we have, the better chance we’ll have to increase support for Afterschool, Summer, and Expanded Learning Opportunities. Please sign this petition, send it to friends, and post on social media such as Facebook and Twitter. With your help, we can make this happen for kids!

Yes, you only need 20 hours!

Lost and Confused SignpostMy oh my, has this been confusing! We have had many providers contact us because they are confused about whether or not their directors and lead teachers need to take 20 or 30 hours of initial training.

DEL has confirmed that School-Age only sites’ staff are required to do 20 hours of basic training. The licensors have received an email from the head of licensing to clarify the issue because both program staff and licensors have differing understandings. As long as your school-age teachers are only interacting with school-age youth, then they only need 20 hours of initial training. There is currently no school-age 30 hour curriculum.

Keep an eye on our workshop calendar for the in-person MERIT approved School-Age Initial Training Requirement or contact Glen Osborn (gosborn [at] for an onsite 20 (or 30 for those working with early learning and school-age) hour training.

Our Online School-Age Initial Training Requirement is also listed in STARS/MERIT and facilitated by an approved STARS/MERIT trainer and fulfills the 20 credits required.

If you have questions regarding licensing requirements, please contact MERIT Support Services or call toll free: 1.866.482.4325 .

What about this email I received from DEL entitled “Proposed rules filed re 30 hours STARS training in school age rules”?

This email if referring to the opportunity to give public comment on a change to the Washington Administrative Code (WACs). DEL has proposed to take out “20 hours” to allow for the possibility of a 30 hour training requirement in the future.

THIS DOES NOT require Directors or Lead Teachers to take 30 hours of initial training. It is only a request for public comment.

I want to comment!

We recommend the following for the School-Age field public comment:

  1. Please clarify on the Department of Early Learning(DEL) website and with all DEL licensers that any new staff who are required to take a STARS Basics course and working with school-age children only are required to take the initial BASIC training which currently is 20 hours in duration.
  2. Support the removal of a designated number of hours within this WAC to allow for greater flexibility in the future as it relates to BASIC training requirements.
  3. Encourage DEL to designate additional resources to develop an appropriate BASIC training curriculum that is current and relevant to the age group served.

You can submit your public comment:

In person: Attend a public hearing (PDF link).

Online: DEL Rules Comment webpage. Click “Add Comment” to give your input, or “View Comments” to read what others have said.

By Email:

By Postal mail:

DEL Rules Coordinator
Washington State Department of Early Learning
P.O. Box 40970
Olympia, WA 98504-0970

2014 Lights On Afterschool A Huge Success

On October 23, 2014, over 8,000 communities across the nation celebrated Lights On Afterschool! Included in that count were almost 50 in Washington State. We’ve highlighted two celebrations, including one co-sponsored by School’s Out Washington.

Schmitz Park Students Have “Best Day EVER!”

This girl had a hair-raising experience with Pacific Science Center's Van de Graaff generator.

This girl had a hair-raising experience with Pacific Science Center’s Van de Graaff generator.

School’s Out had a great time celebrating Lights On Afterschool with Pacific Science Center and the Associated Recreation Council at Schmitz Park Elementary school (the Hiawatha program). Site Director Kevin Robinson, with around 100 kids, family members, and staff, enjoyed a Science on Wheels presentation that included liquid nitrogen, frozen balloons, and some hair-raising fun with a Van de Graaff Generator. We read the official proclamation from the governor, declaring October 23rd, 2014 as Lights On Afterschool Day in Washington. The kids and families then explored a number of astronomy-related games and activities (did you know there was a partial solar eclipse on Lights On day this year? Even the sun and the moon wanted to celebrate!). We rounded out the day with cake and snacks.

We heard one of the kids, as she picked up her piece of cake, exclaim, “I love this place. This is the BEST DAY EVER!”

Thanks, Pacific Science Center, and ARC, for one fantastic afternoon, and for all that you do for kids afterschool!

Walla Walla Youth Touch the Sky

Youth in Walla Walla launched weather balloons to the edge of space.

On a blustery and rainy Thursday afternoon, Walla Walla Public Schools’ five 21st CCLC centers came together to celebrate Lights On Afterschool 2014 with a simultaneous weather balloon launch. Led by Walla Walla High School’s 21st CCLC “balloon ambassadors,” 75 after school students from Blue Ridge Elementary, Garrison Middle School, Pioneer Middle School, and Lincoln High School successful launched 4 weather balloons into the stratosphere in front of an audience of parents, community members, city officials, and state and federal legislative aides. Each balloon carried a time-capsule payload with unique items from each center. Based on student projections using mathematic algorithms factoring in launch day weather data and ascent rate, the time-capsules were expected to crest 100,000ft in altitude and eventually land in the mountains of Idaho and Montana (approx. 400 miles away). View the video of the launch.

Would you like to replicate the weather balloon launch in your program. Keep your eyes open for news about a training in the winter to find out how you can do this in your program.

What Do the Election Results Mean for Afterschool?

By David Beard, School’s Out Washington Education Policy & Advocacy Director

The 2014 election was a landslide election for Republicans at the national level and was a good election for Republicans at the state level. Both the U.S. House and the U.S. Senate will be controlled by Republicans. Republicans in the Washington State Senate will now have outright control of that chamber. At the moment the Washington State House of Representatives looks to be controlled by Democrats, however, many races remain too close to call. We should know final results later this month.

For afterschool, summer, and expanded learning programs, the new Republican majorities could spell changes for federal funding and policy. The President will retain veto power, however, the federal budget will be created by Congress and lots of negotiating will take place. In areas of disagreement, neither side will get what they want exclusively. If recent iterations of the Elementary and Secondary Reauthorization Act (ESEA, aka No Child Left Behind) are any indication, Congress may propose to decrease and block grant federal education dollars to states. This could eliminate funding for programs like 21st Century Learning Centers and funding streams like Title I, but could allow states to determine how all their federal dollars are used which has the potential to benefit out-of-school time with strong advocacy. For more in-depth analysis of how Congress could affect afterschool, check out this post from the Afterschool Alliance.

In Washington State, the new make of up the legislature will impact the state two-year budget including the nearly $2 billion needed to fund the McCleary education mandate from the state Supreme Court. Legislators and the Governor will need to decide what is considered ‘education’ and how it gets funded through measures like spending cuts, closing tax loop holes, raising revenues, or some mix. This will be a critical year not only for education, but also for ensuring that the state budget supports out-of-school time programs and all the other services children and families need.

Stay tuned for our Schools Out Washington’s Action Alerts that will put you in the front seat, driving federal and state policy and funding to afterschool, summer, and expanded learning programs. Your voice and the voice of your staff, schools, parents, and youth will be critical now more than ever!

How to get Action Alerts

If you already get our newsletter or other emails, sign up here.

If you don’t get our emails, you can sign up for Action Alerts and all of our other emails here.

Bridge 2014 Showed Us Real Personalized Learning

Dennis Littky

Dennis Littky

This year’s Bridge Conference was once again a great success! More than 400 participants took part in four plenary sessions emphasizing the importance of making learning personal.

The University of Washington’s HUB facility provided a light and energizing environment for two days of diving deep into the theme of making learning personal. Workshops ranged in topics from STEM/STEAM, to social emotional learning (SEL), to Common Core, to quality programming, and much more. The vast majority of attendees enjoyed the opening plenary of Dennis Littky as he invited students from some of his local Big Picture Learning schools to share about their journey from disengagement to engagement in school when they found Big Picture Learning.

The closing plenary speaker Belma Michael Johnson inspired the audience to recognize the importance of their work with young people in closing the achievement gap. He recruited participants to share how they take learning outside the four walls of a classroom, encouraging them to use as few words as possible as practice for communicating what we do with those not in our field.

We appreciate of those who joined us this year and shared your feedback with us—we are always trying to improve our conference. If you have any additional feedback about Bridge, please contact Shannon Robinson.

15 King, Pierce & Spokane Youth Organizations Honored for Quality Programs

Congratulations to the 15 organizations that received an award from the Raikes Foundation for their high-quality youth programs. Many of the organizations attended the Bridge Conference and were honored at a special reception.  All of the organizations participate in the Youth Program Quality Initiative focused on improving program quality utilizing an assess, plan, improve model focused on impacting positive youth outcomes.

Read the full press release below announcing the awardees.  In addition, the International Examiner posted an article highlighting the Interim CDA program in Seattle.


SEATTLE, WA – October 28, 2014 – The Raikes Foundation today recognized 15 organizations in King, Pierce and Spokane counties for providing high quality out of school time programs to young people as part of its Youth Program Quality Initiative (YPQI).

The Youth Program Quality Initiative supports programs serving young people ages 10-18. It helps organizations and their staffs improve youth engagement, which in turn helps kids improve academic performance, develop social skills and avoid risky behaviors.

“Thousands of kids in Washington state participate in out of school time programs every day, but the quality of the programs and their staffs varies widely,” said Erin Kahn, director of the Raikes Foundation. “The Youth Program Quality Initiative raises the caliber of after school programs by improving the capacity of staff through data-driven professional development. When organizations understand what good looks like and have the tools to get there, quality rises and kids reap the benefits.”

Fourteen of the organizations were honored with a High Flier award for their programs reaching the highest bar of quality:

King County:

  • Community for Youth
  • InterIm
  • Reel Grrls
  • Renton Area Youth & Family Services
  • Seattle Art Museum
  • The Center for Wooden Boats
  • Woodland Park Zoo

Pierce County:

  • Children’s Home Society
  • Oasis Youth Center
  • Safe Streets

Spokane County

  • City of Cheney Parks & Recreation
  • Communities in Schools of Spokane County
  • Odyssey Youth Board
  • YMCA of the Inland Northwest

“The Youth Program Quality Initiative provides thorough training that helps the Community for Youth staff do its job better,” said Peter Retzlaff, executive director of Community for Youth. “It teaches us how to make our interactions with young people more constructive and enjoyable and helps young people get more out of our program.”

The Youth Program Quality Initiative provides up to three years of support for organizations selected through a competitive manner. Grants of $5,000 are awarded to selected organizations for participation in the YPQI process that includes: participation in a peer learning community/cohort; completion of a program quality assessment using both a self-assessment and external assessors; staff training in youth development best practices; and onsite coaching and technical assistance.

The initiative also provides an important avenue for programs to meet the Washington State Quality Standards for Afterschool & Youth Development Programs, which were recently established as the common definition of quality statewide and are fully aligned to the initiative’s focus areas.

Three of the 15 organizations were given Pinnacle awards for their commitment to the continuous quality improvement of their after-school programs, and will receive $500 grants to support ongoing staff professional development. These organizations are:

  • Seattle Art Museum (King County)
  • Safe Streets (Pierce County)
  • Gonzaga University’s Center for Community Action & Service Learning (Spokane)

“When our program’s quality goes up, kids benefit,” said Sherry Barrett, executive director of Communities in Schools of Spokane County. “Substantial research confirms that high quality youth development programs can make a positive difference in student achievement, social and civic skills and risk reduction. The key is how to improve quality. YPQI helps us do just that.”


Karen Waters


Washington in Bottom 10 States in Nation for Afterschool Participation


Washington, DC — Washington state has made progress since 2009, but still lags behind the rest of nation on afterschool participation, according to a new household survey commissioned by the Afterschool Alliance. The 2014 edition of America After 3PM found that demand for afterschool programs still far exceeds supply; the number of children in Washington who would be enrolled in an afterschool program if one were available surpasses the number of children enrolled in afterschool programs in the state. The household survey also found that the vast majority of parents of children in afterschool programs in Washington report significant benefitsfrom their children’s participation.

The America After 3PM survey included 30,000 American households and 293 in-depth interviews in Washington. It found that 17 percent of Washington students, 183,099 children in all, are enrolled in afterschool programs, up from 12 percent in 2009, when the survey was last conducted. But 217,293 Washington students are still without adult supervision in the afternoons. The parents of 333,927 Washington children not already in an afterschool program say they would enroll their child if a program were available.

afterschool-partidipation and demand

“Afterschool providers and advocates in the state are working tirelessly to provide quality afterschool programs to as many children and families as resources will allow,” said Afterschool Alliance Executive Director Jodi Grant. “But Washington has a lot of work ahead if it’s to keep up with other states, and even more if it is to provide all children with the afterschool opportunities they need. Most parents in the state who want their child in a program can’t find one, and that needs to change. Every child who is unsupervised after school is a child potentially at risk. Quality afterschool programs keep kids safe, inspire them to learn, and help working families. Every Washington family that needs an afterschool program should have access to one.”

“Since 2009 our state has made significant cuts to funding and other supports for afterschool programs,” said Janet Schmidt, Chief Program and Policy Officer for School’s Out Washington. “$3 million for direct support to communities was cut in June 2009. In June 2013, more than $400,000 that supported quality supports, such as on-site professional development and quality assessments was also cut. Washington’s drop in ranking underscores how critical state investments are to a high quality continuum of services for kids and families to succeed in school and life.”

To determine the state rankings, a composite score was calculated for all 50 states, plus the District of Columbia, and indexed against the national average. Each state’s overall score is based on afterschool program participation, afterschool programs reaching children in need, and parents’ satisfaction with key features of their child’s afterschool program.

In important respects, Washington results mirror the national survey findings, which include:

  • Participation in afterschool programs is up nationally, with 18 percent of the nation’s schoolchildren in programs (10.2 million children), up from 15 percent in 2009 (8.4 million children) and 11 percent in 2004 (6.5 million children).
  • At the same time, unmet demand has increased. The parents of nearly 20 million children (19.4 million) say they would enroll their child in an afterschool program if a program were available to them. That means that the existing supply of afterschool programs is meeting barely one-third of demand.
  • Demand is greatest among African American, Hispanic and low-income families. Both participation in afterschool and unmet demand for afterschool are much higher among children from low-income households than higher-income households, and higher among African American and Hispanic children than white children. The parents of 60 percent of the nation’s African American children would enroll their child in a program if one were available, as would the parents of 57 percent of Latino children. The same is true of 35 percent of white children.
  • Despite increased participation in afterschool, the number of children unsupervised in the hours after school remains high. Across the nation, more than 800,000 elementary students, and 2.2 million middle school students spend time alone and unsupervised during the after school hours. In all, 11.3 million children — one in five — are unsupervised in the afternoons.
  • Parental satisfaction with afterschool remains high. Nine in ten parents (89 percent) say they are satisfied with their child’s afterschool program.
  • Support for public funding of afterschool programs remains strong. More than four in five parents (84 percent) report that they favor public funding for afterschool opportunities in communities that have few opportunities for children and youth. Support is bipartisan, as well, with 91 percent of parents who identify as Democrats, 86 percent Independents and 80 percent of Republicans favoring public funding for programs. Parents across all geographic regions support public funding for afterschool programs.

The national and Washington America After 3PM reports, and accompanying data, are available at A snapshot of national participation and demand for summer learning programs is also available online.

Light’s On Celebrations Happening Now

On October 23, more than 1 million people in communities across the nation and at U.S. military installations worldwide will join the only national rally for afterschool programs. Sponsored by the Afterschool Alliance and now in its 15th year, Lights On Afterschool brings communities together for science fairs, fun runs, community service events, music and dance performances, open houses and other events at schools, community centers, malls, parks and recreation centers,
science museums, state capitols, and other settings. Find a local Lights On Afterschool event here.

Findings from America After 3PM are based on in-depth interviews with 13,709 U.S. households with children, completed by way of an online survey using a blend of national consumer panels. Shugoll Research collected and analyzed the data for America After 3PM. The goal of at least 200 completed interviews was reached in every state and the District of Columbia. In states where this goal could not be reached using online panels, random-digit dialing was used to complete supplementary telephone interviews. In order to participate, respondents had to live in the United States and be the guardians of a school-age child living in their household. All interviews were completed between February 28 and April 17, 2014.

America After 3PM is funded by the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, The Wallace Foundation, the Ford Foundation and the Noyce Foundation, with additional support from the Heinz Endowments, The Robert Bowne Foundation and the Samueli Foundation.


This post was provided by The Afterschool Alliance, a nonprofit public awareness and advocacy organization working to ensure that all children and youth have access to quality afterschool programs. More information is available at

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