- Quality youth programming
- Continuous quality improvement
- Developing quality staff
Quality Youth ProgrammingResearch over the past 20 years has provided insight into the characteristics of quality programming . Critical to quality are a focus on positive youth outcomes and purposeful, well-supported youth engagement. The best youth programming also promotes positive relationships and positive environments that foster belonging and inclusion.
Focus on Positive Youth Outcomes
Effective programs have a clear and intentional focus on positive youth outcomes, incorporating new and challenging skill-building opportunities into program design. To ensure that positive outcomes are achieved, a good practice is to create a program model that links program activities to the desired outcomes.
Positive Youth Outcomes Framework: 6 Cs
This handout describes the 6 Cs framework for positive outcomes: competence, character, caring, confidence, connection, and contribution. ACT for Youth.
Program Planning: Build a Logic Model
Using youth development programming examples, this presentation describes how to develop a logic model. The Logic Model Tool can be used in the program planning process. ACT for Youth.
Quality programming incorporates youth engagement strategies that promote active participation and build young people's sense of agency and self-efficacy. Youth engagement involves identifying and building on young people's strengths, talents, and interests. And it means providing young people with opportunities for meaningful roles and responsibilities. It's possible to take a strengths-based approach from the very start by identifying strengths in the enrollment process. Supervisors can also encourage staff to regularly seek youth input on programming.
Youth Strengths Survey
This survey can be included in the registration/enrollment process. ACT for Youth.
Meaningful Roles for Young People
This slide outlines the many different opportunities in which young people can be actively involved in organizations, such as opportunities to provide input on program evaluation and planning. ACT for Youth.
Youth Satisfaction Survey
Use this brief survey to gather feedback from program participants partway through a program cycle and again at the end. ACT for Youth.
Youth Feedback Questions
Staff can ask youth these questions to foster reflection and gather feedback after a program session. Program leaders may want to select just one or two questions. ACT for Youth.
Engaging Youth: Reflection Activities
This is a listing of fun activities that can be included as a reflection exercise after programming. ACT for Youth.
Continuous Quality ImprovementIt is considered best practice to evaluate youth development programming on a regular basis and use evaluation findings for continuous quality improvement (CQI). There are many tools available for youth program evaluation.
Youth Program Quality Assessment
The Youth Program Quality Assessment, School-Age Program Quality Assessment, Social Emotional Learning Program Quality Assessment, and several extensions (STEM, Arts, Academic Skill-Building, Health and Wellness) were designed to assess the quality of learning environments and to identify staff training needs. The full package includes assessment of organizational supports (see Form B). Core resources are available in English and Spanish. David P. Weikart Center for Youth Program Quality.
Quality Self-Assessment Tool
The Quality Self-Assessment Tool is meant to help your organization grow, and it is designed to be tailored to your needs. NYS Network for Youth Success.
From Soft Skills to Hard Data: Measuring Youth Program Outcomes
This report describes, compares, and analyzes available program quality assessment tools. Forum for Youth Investment.
Evaluation and Assessment: Resources
Find more resources and tools focused on quality program assessment here. Youth Today OST Hub.
Supervisors can stay informed about programming successes and challenges through observations of program activities.
Informal Observation Form
This is a simple tool to support informal program observations. ACT for Youth.
Youth Participation in Quality Improvement
Supervisors can involve young people and staff in evaluation and quality improvement processes. This will require allocating staff time and other resources to support and prepare young people for meaningful engagement. Involve staff and young people in interpreting evaluation findings and identifying improvement strategies.
The Youth and Adult Leaders for Program Excellence (YALPE) Workbook
This resource kit is designed for groups that are seeking to promote positive youth development through strategies of youth participation, youth activism, youth voice, and youth-adult partnership. University of Wisconsin-Extension and ACT for Youth.
Youth Participatory Evaluation
Youth participatory evaluation (YPE) is an approach that engages young people in evaluating the programs, organizations, and systems designed to serve them. In this section of the ACT for Youth website, find information and resources on YPE. ACT for Youth.
Dabbling in the Data
Dabbling in the Data provides step-by-step guidance on 15 different approaches to participatory data analysis, organized into five sections: distribution, change over time, contribution, categories, and communicating findings. Public Profit.
Developing Quality StaffProgram staff will be more successful in providing quality youth programs when they are knowledgeable about positive youth development, adolescent development, and the challenging environmental circumstances young people experience. Effective supervisors are committed to staff support, advocate for staff needs, and allocate funding for hiring qualified staff and professional development.
- Establish best practice youth-to-adult ratio for youth programs. The Center for Youth Program Quality, developer of the Youth Program Quality Assessment, suggests a youth-to-staff ratio of 15-to-1 for young people ages 10 and older .
- Establish a schedule that builds in time for staff to prepare and reflect on programming and participate in regular team and supervisory meetings.
- Hire staff who are knowledgeable about the positive youth development approach and experienced working with youth.
- Offer professional development that builds core competencies and positive relationships.
Competencies in Youth Work
What does it take to be a good youth work professional? We consider that question here. ACT for Youth.
Youth Work Core Competencies
Core competencies articulate what it is that adults working with youth need to know and do in order to deliver high quality, developmental programming. This report reviews core competency frameworks. School's Out Washington.
Staff Development Resources from ACT for Youth
Positive Youth Development 101
The Positive Youth Development 101 curriculum offers an orientation to the youth development approach for professionals new to the field of youth work. Use this free curriculum to provide professional development to new youth workers, supervisors, administrators, funders, and community volunteers. ACT for Youth.
PYD 101 Online Courses
Positive Youth Development 101 Online is a series of free, short, self-paced courses intended to introduce PYD to new youth work professionals, volunteers, and advocates. ACT for Youth.
Creating Inclusive Program Environments for Young People with Different Abilities
Young people with learning disabilities, ADHD, autism spectrum disorder, or trauma do not always disclose these conditions in program settings. Fortunately, even when facilitators lack this personal information about participants, there are ways to make programs more inclusive. Many of the strategies and resources included in this training can be used to create inclusive program spaces in general. ACT for Youth.
Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) Toolkit
The SEL Toolkit offers web-based resources to help youth work professionals provide opportunities for social and emotional learning. Resources include manuals, activities, fact sheets, videos, and websites. ACT for Youth.
|||Catalano, R. F., Berglund, M. L., Ryan, J. A. M., Lonczak, H. S., and Hawkins, J. D. (2004). Positive youth development in the United States: Research findings on evaluations of positive youth development programs. The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 591(1), 98-124. doi.org/10.1177/0002716203260102
|||Youth Program Quality Assessment. David P. Weikart Center for Youth Program Quality. cypq.org/assessment|