Great Opportunity to learn how Common Core Standards Relate to Afterschool and Summer

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School’s Out Washington’s partner Equity in Education Coalition is hosting their second Common Core Training, happening on Thursday, May 28, 2015 from 9 am – 12:30 pm in Tacoma. The purpose of the event is to better understand the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), provide opportunities to practice CCSS skills, and much more.

The Equity in Education Coalition (EEC) is a state wide coalition that is looking at a more targeted and comprehensive approach to improve educational achievement and growth as well as closing the opportunity and achievement gap throughout the State of Washington. As a coalition representative of communities of color and low-income communities, the EEC is taking a strategic approach to closing the opportunity and achievement gap that takes into account the effects of race, homelessness, racial and institutional discrimination, children and parents whose first language is not English, poverty, and family instability.

The EEC is offering this training in an effort to create a network of community based organizations (CBOs) working with communities of color, low-income and special education, connect the CBOs with local teachers and educational professionals already working on Common Core within the school building and training community based organization staff on Common Core so that they, in turn, pass the information on to the students, families and communities they serve.

Peoples Community Center
1602 Martin Luther King Jr. Way
Tacoma, WA 98405

Light breakfast and lunch will be provided.

This is a Focus Group exclusively for community based organizations (CBOs), and will be a FREE training, but limited seating is available with priority given to staff in CBOs. Please RSVP to First come first served.

Please forward to any other individuals from CBOs and CBOs that you will feel will benefit from this training.

Summer learning matters!

Summer is a time for adventure, experiential educational opportunities, exploring nature and creating lasting memories with family and friends.  However, summer camps and other learning experiences are often expensive and out of reach for many families.  Cost or other barriers to access for many children mean missing out on fun, engaging camps and activities, while also missing out on continuing to learn and keep up with reading and math in order to enter school on track in the fall.

A growing body of research demonstrates that students without appropriately enriching summer learning opportunities lose 2-3 months’ of what they have learned during the school year in reading and math. For the hundreds of thousands of students in Washington State who experience significant summer learning loss each year, the fall semester can mean substantial time invested in relearning the previous year’s curriculum. The cumulative impact of summer learning loss is the single greatest contributor to the achievement gap for ninth-graders, when we see the highest rates of drop-out.

In addition to the impact of summer learning on academic and social/emotional outcomes, many young people experience hunger during the summer months without access to free/reduced price school meals. The Summer Feeding Service Program fills this gap by providing free summer meals to any youth ages 0-18. Several organizations across the state are working to increase awareness and availability of meal sites as a key strategy to end childhood hunger.

While research tells us summer learning loss is a real contributor to the achievement gap, we also know that summer learning opportunities can make a difference in positive youth outcomes. For example, 95% of participants in summer literacy programs funded by SOWA last year as part of our Feed Your Brain program maintained or improved their reading level over the course of the summer.

The good news – many resources exist to help inform and provide tips on how to best support children and youth during the summer (Check out School’s Out Washington’s Summer Learning Resources webpage for more information).

Here are some highlights of what we’re working on this summer:

National Summer Learning Day

Summer Learning Day is a national advocacy day to spread awareness about the importance of summer learning to help close the achievement gap and support healthy development for youth all across the country.  School’s Out Washington will partner with local King County organizations to host a summer learning celebration this summer. Stay tuned for the date and more event details.  You can plan an event too!  Check out resources to help you plan an amazing summer learning day in your community through the National Summer Learning Association.

Summer Learning Program Quality Intervention

For the second year, School’s Out Washington will be supporting a continuous quality improvement process for summer programs in King and Pierce counties. The Summer Learning Program Quality Intervention tool was developed in partnership with the David P. Weikart Center for Youth Program Quality and the National Summer Learning Association. The SLPQI includes components that measure quality of management and instructional practices, provide training and technical assistance and lay the groundwork for studying the connections of summer learning programs to child and youth outcomes.

Let’s Read! & Summer Meals Partnership

This summer, School’s Out is excited to partner with Let’s Read!, a campaign led by Community Center for Education Results to get more youth reading during the summer,. School’s Out Washington will be providing United Way’s incoming summer meal AmeriCorps volunteers with practical training to ensure quality educational programming at United Way-staffed meal sites. The team is also working on providing summer learning kits to each United Way AmeriCorps member to help them incorporate fun literacy and STEM activities into their sites.

What’s a Quality Summer Program?

Parent Map’s After-School Special Series May edition focuses on what to look for in a quality summer program.  This is a great resource to promote the importance of high-quality programs and to help parents understand what to look for in a program.  Thanks to Parent Map and the Raikes Foundation for partnering with School’s Out Washington on this informative series highlighting quality afterschool programming across our region and connecting to the Washington State Quality Standards for Afterschool and Youth Development Programs.

Read the whole article here.

Celebrate Our Coaches and Trainers for GiveBIG 2015

GiveBIG, the Seattle Foundation’s annual online celebration of nonprofits and philanthropy is back! This year, GiveBIG is celebrating the people behind the nonprofits that are creating positive change in Seattle. These people are champions, and deserve to be recognized!

Who are School’s Out’s Champions? They’re the coaches and trainers who assess programs, provide training, and guide afterschool program staff towards improving how they work with children and youth.

School’s Out works with more than twenty different trainers and coaches across Washington state.

How to honor and celebrate your coach or trainer

There are two ways to honor your coach–your champion!–for this GiveBIG. First is to make a donation to School’s Out Washington on our Seattle Foundation profile on May 5th. Each donation we receive will support the work SOWA and our coaches and trainers do, strengthening afterschool programs and empowering the youth they serve. All donations to SOWA also qualify us to get a slice of the GiveBIG stretch pool, magnifying your support.

You can also leave a comment below telling us about your coach or trainer. How did they affect your program or career? They deserve recognition, and there’s no one better to give it than the afterschool and youth development professionals who have benefited from their wisdom and experience.

How Our Coaches See Their Impact

We sat down with three of our coaches and trainers and asked them: What’s important to them about your work? What do you see as your impact?

Glen Osborn

Glen has worked for SOWA since 1989. He sees his role as supporting individual professionals understand what it is they want out of their work.

He remembers a student he taught eight years ago. She was brand new to the afterschool field, fresh out of college, and unsure if this was what she wanted to do with her life. But one module in the course was on professionalism. Glen told his students that training can prepare them for a wide variety of different positions and roles, and encouraged them about their own professional path. That student came to speak to Glen when the class was over to thank him and tell him how that module reframed the way she thought about her work. She realized she had a profession, not just a job. Today, that student is a program director.

Sheely Mauck

As both one of SOWA’s coaches and a staff member responsible for analyzing program assessment data that we collect, Sheely Mauck sees clearly how the presence of trainers and coaches can strengthen programs. She knows that getting hands-on with a program allows coaches to see opportunities for change, insights that impact how children and youth experience a program. The data shows that even though a program’s quality can fluctuate, a program undergoing coaching always finds themselves improving in some way.

Sheely recently started working with an afterschool program in rural Washington. They’re experiencing similar results as many programs when they first start working with SOWA. They’re scoring well in many of the basic measures of program quality, such as good relationships between youth with staff and physical safety, but not so well on the high-level metrics that research shows truly matter, such as having structured and engaging content guided by youth input.

With input from Sheely, the program staff got their students together to brainstorm. What did they actually want to do with their out-of-school time? They found that their students really loved Team Scrabble, a game where each person on a team is assigned a letter and teams have to form words. So they changed their focus to spend more time on that game and literacy. Having only just started working with a coach, they’d already found a way to engage their youth in guiding their program.

Karen Summers

Ask Karen how her work as a coach impacts children and youth, she’ll tell you it’s not her work, but the work of the afterschool program staff—who are often working against the odds with limited resources and support—that has an impact. She sees coaches like her as observers, someone who provides guidance and tools, and asks the challenging questions programs can’t ask themselves, but the hard work of actually strengthening programs belongs to program staff themselves.

“Change is not easy,” Karen says. “It takes effort to change behavior, but having support, guidance, and a cheerleader really helps people move through.”

Karen believes programs have to own the changes they undergo, rather than have those changes handed to them. Many years ago, she was coaching a program when her assessments revealed that they had a problem: they needed a better way to resolve conflicts between children. With Karen’s guidance, that program spent two years developing a way of resolving conflicts that worked for them. All their staff were trained in the methodology. The method even survived staff turnover, even leadership turnover, because staff had owned this change. Karen and other School’s Out staff didn’t make it for them, only provided guidance.

We have a new look!

Today, we are truly excited to share with all of you the next step in our organizational journey.

Strengthening Programs. Empowering Youth.

Strengthening Programs. Empowering Youth.

Thanks to a positive partnership with local branding and design firm, United Creations, we have a new logo, messaging and identity system that bring the focus and energy we had long been seeking to better communicate what we stand for. As a “creative change agency” inspired by our commitment to making a positive impact on Washington’s children and youth, United Creations provided their services on a pro-bono basis after selecting SOWA as the winner of their THIS BRAND IS YOUR BRAND contest. Receiving $30,000 worth of donated brand power has enabled us to apply 100% of our resources toward expanding access to high-quality afterschool and youth development programs.

Over the past few years, School’s Out Washington (SOWA) has undergone many organizational transitions, becoming a stand-alone non-profit organization and forming our first governing Board of Directors. With nearly three decades of active leadership in providing a rich foundation of quality standards, professional development, advocacy and support to bring empowering learning opportunities within reach of every young person, the time was ripe to launch on this new path.

SOWA may be referred to as an “intermediary,” but we truly see ourselves as a “bridge” that connects schools, government agencies and the public with the afterschool youth development field to create greater impact on the lives of more young people. Guided by the core values of quality, equity, connection and innovation, the SOWA mission is to foster productive partnerships that create inspiring opportunities for Washington’s youth to learn, grow and thrive, because what’s good for our youth is good for our future.

SOWA continues with our mission-focused work to:

  • Promote & Support Programs in Implementing Quality Improvement Processes and Accessing Professional Development Opportunities.
  • Advocate for Policies to Elevate Afterschool & Expanded Learning Opportunities as a Key Strategy to Close the Opportunity Gap.
  • Champion policies and strategies to address structural racism through trainings, curriculum and incorporating a racial equity lens into our programming and initiatives.
  • Disseminate Grants to Programs Along with Technical Assistance to Support High-Quality Programming.

What happens after school has a tremendous impact on what happens during school. It is one of our best early opportunities to identify and nurture unique talents and interests that can open the door to productive, prosperous lives. As we launch a new SOWA brand, we celebrate all our collective efforts to support children and youth across Washington State and look forward to many more years of continuing to build and strengthen our field to continue working toward our vision of a state where all kids have opportunities to reach their full potential.

STEM Updates and Announcements for April

Apply for Women’s Funding Alliance Grant for Girls’ STEM Programming

These grants will fund out of school STEM programming for middle and high school-aged girls. For more details on this grant, please refer to the Girls in STEM RFP. Funding requests will be considered for both female-only and coed programs operating through a strong gender lens. Grant amounts range from $5,000 to $20,000. Applications are due on May 1, 2015.

Apply Now

Nature Explore Hosting Two Workshops on Reconnecting Children with Nature

Using Your Outdoor Classroom and Choosing Effective Indoor and Outdoor Materials

When:  Wednesday, April 8, 2015
12:30 – 3:30 p.m. and 4:30 – 7:30 p.m.
Where:  Bright Horizons at Center Point, Kent, WA

Learn More and Register

Connecting with Community Partners Webinar

When: April 23, 2015; 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM EST

The National Girls Collaborative Project is partnering with Click2SciencePD for the “Connecting with Community Partners” webinar. This webinar will introduce Click2SciencePD’s collection of training resources that support educators with building community partnerships. Attendees will also learn how to use The Connectory, a new online collaboration tool, to find and connect with local STEM partners easily.


Engaging Youth in STEM with SciGirls! A PNWGCP Professional Development Forum

When: April 25, 2015, 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Where: Seattle, WA

Participants will learn the latest research for exciting and engaging girls (and boys) in STEM; experience hands-on STEM activities; and gain access to free materials for hands-on, video-enhanced activities that put a creative twist on teaching STEM.


50 Green Activities for Earth Day

Earth Day is April 22! If you are looking for Earth Day activities that won’t actually increase your carbon footprint, check out the 50 Earth Day Activities for Kids. The activities use recycled and natural materials!

New Student Assessments Set to Begin – Helpful Information for Afterschool Programs

Last year, Washington State implemented new state learning standards in Math and English Language Arts known as the Common Core State Standards. This year, Washington schools are rolling out a new student achievement assessment aligned to these standards. The goal of the new assessment is to provide an accurate measure of growth for all students and improve assessments for students with disabilities and English language learners.

Washington is a part of the Smarter Balanced Student Assessment Consortium. This consortium of states worked together to create an assessment that is aligned to individual state learning standards and can more accurately pinpoint a student’s ability in a given subject area. This assessment is taken on a computer and can adjust the difficultly of questions based on student’s response. A student who answers a question correctly will receive a more challenging question, while an incorrect answer generates an easier question. This goal of this method is to produce more accurate results than previous assessments.

Student assessments have been controversial over the years and this one is no different. Challenges remain, such as ensuring appropriate technology to administer the assessment is available. Additionally, first year scores are expected to be lower than normal, which is common for a new test. The goal of Smarter Balanced Student Assessment is to understand a student’s progress versus their ability to memorize facts. Having a standardized student assessment is one component of knowing the progress of an individual student as well as a cohort of students on a given subject. Assessments, however, should by no means be the only tool used to measure progress and areas for improvement.

Afterschool programs may get many questions from parents about the new assessment process. While no provider should feel the need to be an expert, we should all know some of the basics. The Washington State Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) has a host of information on the new assessments including this Parent Info Sheet (PDF) as well as this overview (PDF) from the PTA. We also recommend asking your partners in the district offices you work with on their strategy and messaging of the new assessments and where parents can access more information locally.  For more information about the new state learning standards (PDF) and its significance to afterschool programs, take moment to read School’s Out’s Issue Brief (PDF) on this subject.

Please feel free to contact SOWA’s Education Policy and Advocacy Director David Beard at if you have any questions about the assessments. He will be able to answer your question or guide you to the right answers.

Legislature Moves into the Budget Battle


Democratic and Republican proposed budgets differ in how they pay for McCleary and 1351

The 2015 Washington State Legislative Session is slated to end April 26th. However, the state budget is about to take center stage in negotiations that could mean an extended special session into the summer if agreement is not reached. The House of Representatives, controlled by Democrats, and the Senate, controlled by Republicans, have released their budget proposals which include different plans to fund educational items such as the Supreme Court McCleary ruling and some components of Initiative 1351 passed by Washington voters to reduce class size. Negotiations will center on how to fund all of the state’s needs with either program cuts, new revenue, closing of tax loopholes, or a mix of all of these approaches.

While we had several opportunities to raise awareness around the importance of Expanded Learning, with a focus on K-12 education funding, it was a tough year to move forward legislation in support of ELOs at the state level. Only two bills remain that would positively impact afterschool and summer programs, although we are carefully watching the budget process for other opportunities. Two identical bills, known as the Early Start Act (House Bill 1491/Senate Bill 5452) aim to enhance the state’s early learning quality rating improvement system known as Early Achievers. There is language in the bill that calls on the Department of Early Learning to develop an Early Achievers pilot for school-age programs. The pilot will require funding, so we are paying close attention to budget negotiations.

Watch out for action alerts regarding state issues over the next few weeks.

STEM Updates and Announcements for March

Complete STEM Survey, You Could Win Bridge Conference Registration

Do you bring STEM into everything you do with youth, or avoid all things STEM? Maybe you love the “T”, but fear the “M”? We want to hear from you about current practices, future hopes, and / or persistent challenges around Science, Technology, Engineering and Math in your program. Please take a few minutes to complete our STEM survey. Complete the survey by March 31 to be entered into a drawing for a FREE REGISTRATION to the Bridge Conference.

Take Survey

Pi Day – How are you celebrating?


Pi Day is celebrated on March 14th (3/14) around the world. Pi (Greek letter “π”) is the symbol used in mathematics to represent a constant — the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter — which is approximately 3.14159. This year’s Pi Day will be EπC  (EPIC) because the date will be 3/14/15. Celebrate at 9:26:53 for bonus points! Traditional celebrations include fun math games with circles, eating all kinds of pies (including pizza pie), and Einstein lookalike contests (Einstein’s birthday also happens to be March 14th).

For lots of activity ideas, links to videos, and to order pi day t-shirts, visit

If you have a celebration planned, we would love to hear about it / see photos! Send those, or any questions about the day to Krista at

Partner Workshops

Using Your Outdoor Classroom and Choosing Effective Indoor and Outdoor Materials workshops

When:  Wednesday, April 8, 2015 | 12:30 – 3:30 p.m. and 4:30 – 7:30 p.m.
Where:  Bright Horizons at Center Point | Kent, WA
How to Register:  Sign up by April 1
STARS: 3 Hours

Space is limited, so we invite you to register today—and, please feel free to forward this email to any friends, colleagues, or family members who would benefit from our workshop! Thank you, The Nature Explore Team

Engaging Youth in STEM with SciGirls! A PNWGCP Professional Development Forum

Seattle, WA; April 25, 2015; 9:00 AM-4:00 PM

Participants will learn the latest research for exciting and engaging girls (and boys) in STEM; experience hands-on STEM activities; and gain access to free materials for hands-on, video-enhanced activities that put a creative twist on teaching STEM.


State Legislative Session Starts to Get Interesting

The 2015 Washington State Legislative Session is past its half way point. Now that many bills have either died or are making their way through the legislative process, the budget will become the major focus. The House should be releasing its budget the week of March 23rd and the Senate shortly thereafter. Negotiations between the House, Senate, and Governor’s Office will then begin with the main debates focusing on how to fund education in light of the Supreme Court McCleary decision, the need for additional revenue, and/or what programs to cut if there is not enough revenue to balance the budget.

While most of the debate will focus on the regular school day, there are some pieces of legislation affecting ELOs at the state level:

  • The first two bills are almost identical and are known as the Early Start Act (House Bill 1491/Senate Bill 5452). While these bills mostly affect the state’s early learning quality rating improvement system known as Early Achievers, there is also language in the bill that calls on the Department of Early Learning to develop an Early Achievers pilot for school-age programs. Should this bill pass, many opportunities and benefits available to early learning (birth to age 5) providers such as consistent funding and professional development will be available for school-age programs as well.
  • The third bill is the Academic, Innovation, and Mentoring Program (AIM) (House Bill 5303). This bill would provide funding to expanded learning programs to help them find mentors in many high-demand professions, such as health care and technology. These mentors can show youth a pathway to a career that they may not have thought was possible for them. We are working on tweaking the language to make sure that both small and large programs can benefit from AIM.

Write your legislators now to let them know you support these bills. Action only happens when you raise your voice to be heard!

One World Now! Get Global Conference Coming April 25

On April 25, 2015, OneWorld Now! is hosting their 10th Annual Get Global Conference for high school youth in Seattle. Student-planned and student-led, Get Global is designed to empower youth to take action on important global issues. Students will present dynamic workshops and inspiring speeches to foster meaningful and intentional dialogue about the intersection of social justice issues, global issues, and the role of youth. For more information, visit

At the heart of international education is the goal of meaningfully engaging students in global issues, a daunting task when faced with the competing interests on high school students’ minds: SATs, college applications, and who to ask to homecoming. For well over a decade, OneWorld Now! has used world languages, experiential leadership workshops, and study abroad to bring the world to Seattle high-school students, draw their attention to global issues, and inspire them to take action for positive change.

How you can engage youth in global issues

Connect with Peers Abroad

Online learning and social media have exponentially increased our ability to connect at a moment’s notice with people around the world. Building online peer-to-peer exchanges with schools and programs around the world is a sure way to peak youths’ interest in global issues.

Tie the Personal to the Global

While OneWorld Now! mentors students for the annual youth-led Get Global Conference, students are asked to consider “what matters to you and why” before settling on a workshop or speech topic. The most compelling workshops and youth speeches are delivered by students who deeply care and are somehow connected to the issue at hand.

Make it Experiential

Experiential learning has a powerful tie to developing empathy. In the context of global issues, the closer a student can be drawn into the reality of a current event, the more compelled they become to seek further understanding and options for action.

Cultivate a Sense of Interdependence

American youth need the support of Chinese youth, just as youth in China need the support of youth in the Middle East. Youth are more inclined to follow global issues and step up to act in favor of their peers around the world when they understand the interconnectedness of our globalized world.

As educators and youth workers, we want young people to establish the knowledge and skills necessary to act responsibly when dealing with complex international issues. Engaging them in global issues today is the first step towards mentoring our youth to become the global leaders of tomorrow.

For more information about the conference, contact Kirstin Rogers by email or at (206) 499-9636.

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