Safety, Health, & Nutrition

National Survey on LGBTQ+ Youth

A report created by the Trevor Project offers critical insights into the top barriers to mental health care for LGBTQ+ youth, the prevalence of anti-LGBTQ+ victimization, and the negative impacts of recent politics. This research also points to ways to support the LGBTQ+ youth.

Afterschool in the Time of COVID-19: A Look at Rural, Suburban, and Urban Communities The Afterschool Alliance shared a new report on the state of afterschool across different community environments, titled “Access to Afterschool Programs Remains a Challenge for Many Families.” The data was taken from a national survey of almost 1,500 familes in the United States and highlights the continued need to expand access to out-of-school time (OST) programming.
ICMHP Annual Report 2019 The Illinois Children’s Mental Health Partnership (ICMHP) is pleased to announce the release of the 2019 ICMHP Annual Report. Under the Children’s Mental Health Act of 2003, the Partnership submits an annual report to the Governor on the state of children’s mental health in Illinois. This year’s report looks at current estimated needs, reviews the current children’s mental health system, including highlighting innovative public and private programs, and identifies three current issues for the state to focus on in the next year.
Children’s Health Is Connected to Parents’ Health Parents’ overall health can impact their ability to give their child the necessary care needed for optimal growth and development. This study’s authors recommend that communities work to ensure better access to two-generation (parent and child) health care practices where the entire family can be treated for health issues (e.g. school-based health centers).
School, Family, & Community as Protective Factors
Past experiences of childhood maltreatment are common for youth involved in the juvenile justice system. This research paper identifies factors that educators, juvenile corrections officers, policymakers and others can intervene on to prevent youth who have experienced maltreatment from engaging in delinquency.
Promoting a Comprehensive Model to Reduce Violence

The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention’s (OJJDP) Comprehensive Gang Prevention, Intervention, and Suppression Model identifies strategies that have been effective in addressing street violence in multiple cities.


Staff Investment and Student Success

The National Summer Learning Association details how investing in a well-trained staff translates to student outcomes.

2017 Salary and Staffing Survey of Licensed Child Care Facilities Provides a summary of the qualifications and wages of caregivers in licensed child care centers and day care homes in Illinois. 
Education Alignment for 21st Century Skills

In recent years, education professionals have focused much of their energy on the need for education systems to equip learners with competencies such as problem-solving, collaboration, critical thinking, and communication. The focus on these “21st century goals” is visible in education and curricular reform, and has been promoted by global discussion of changing work and societal needs. This report describes global, regional, and national examples of this shift, and then focuses on implementation challenges.

Nation at Hope

The Aspen Institute’s National Commission on Social Emotional and Academic Development (NCSEAD)’s final report, “Nation At Hope,” lists afterschool as a key recommendation! The report indicates that expanding access to afterschool and summer learning programs are critical pathways for developing the whole child. ACT Now is firm in our support of the report’s conclusions and recommendations to improve the social, emotional, and academic well-being of each and every child. Together we can reshape learning and change lives in America’s classrooms, schools, and communities.



Family & Community Partnerships

Voters Agree, We Need Afterschool Programs

The Afterschool Alliance published a report  last month that discussed a new poll that finds that voters nationwide, across all political affiliations, races, ethnicities, and ages, value afterschool programs and want more funding invested in these opportunities for youth.

America After 3PM for Native American Families

The new Afterschool Alliance’s America After 3PM survey provides a look at the afterschool experiences of Native American youth. The new brief, “America After 3PM for Native American Families,” explores unmet demand and availability of afterschool and summer programs, how programs support Native students and families, potential areas of growth for the afterschool field to reach more Native American young people, and more.

Engaging Families to Transform Education

This report identifies five promising, high-leverage areas that can serve as “building blocks” for the next generation of family engagement strategies: reducing chronic absenteeism, data sharing about student and school climate indicators, the academic and social development of youth in and out of school, digital media, and the critical transition periods in children’s learning pathways.

Afterschool Public Value Poll 

An overwhelming majority of adults recognize the benefits of afterschool and summer learning programs according to a new national public opinion survey. It finds that the public values these programs more than ever and wants elected officials to invest in afterschool and summer learning. 

Damage Done: The Impact of the Illinois Budget Stalemate on Women and Children Recently released report prepared by Voices for Illinois Children and Loyola University Chicago’s Center for Urban Research and Learning documents the impact the Illinois budget impasse has had on women and children.
Illinois Test Guide for Parents Free, online tool organized by grade and subject to help parents use their state test scores to support learning at home.

Youth Development, Programming, & Activities




Social Emotional Learning
Evidence for Social and Emotional Learning in School

This report from the Learning Policy Institute presents evidence on the effects of social and emotional learning programs in PreK–12 schools, provides suggestions for effective implementation of SEL in schools, and considers the next steps for research in SEL.

Building Protective & Promotive Factors in Afterschool

Research shows that high-quality afterschool programs can both support positive youth outcomes—including enhanced academic, social, and emotional skills—and prevent poor youth outcomes. This white paper provides  program leaders, policymakers, and other afterschool stakeholders with a common approach for addressing three important developmental outcomes in childhood and adolescence: substance misuse and abuse, problem behaviors, and academic performance. 

Adverse Childhood Experiences and School-Aged Youth OST programs can play a role in mitigating and preventing Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), which are disruptive to a school-age child’s academic and social development. This report is published by the National Center on Afterschool and Summer Enrichment (NCASE) to build awareness of research and promising practices in the field of school-age child care.
in Schools

What is the responsibility of schools to teach about the history of anti-semitism and the Holocaust? Every state sets its own content standards for history and social studies, and there is no one repository that spells out what each of them requires. In this article, you can find information for yourself on each state’s Jewish population and any laws it has on teaching the Holocaust. 

Learning Outcomes
Research Study Finds Evidence to Support Universal Pre-K

The 74 posted an article that outlined the latest results of a study of state-funded pre-Kindergarten services (pre-K). The study ultimately strengthened the case for universal programs open to all young children.

Science of Adolescent Learning

This report examines how body and brain development affect student learning and recommends ways education practitioners and policymakers can support adolescent learning for all students, including historically underserved populations.

How Young People Learn

Explains why out-of-school time programs are ideal for youth to develop skills to be successful in college, a career, and life, regardless of income or background.

Improving Learning Outcomes in STEM for English Learners A shift is needed in how science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) subjects are taught to students in grades K-12 who are learning English, says a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Educators should recognize the assets that English learners (ELs) bring to the classroom and understand that student performance is affected significantly by access to adequate program models and instruction. Opening avenues to success in STEM for the nation’s ELs offers opportunities to students and their families, and confers benefits to society, the report says.
Using Behavioral Science to Encourage Postsecondary Summer Enrollment This brief presents findings from The Encouraging Additional Summer Enrollment (EASE) Phase 1, a project that uses insights from behavioral science to encourage more students to enroll in summer courses.
Summer Learning Literacy Assessments  Resource explores the need for strong cross-sector summer learning systems and provides best practices for building collaboration around data.
Snapshot of STEM Education A group of experts in STEM and education gathered to launch a “landscape analysis” resulting from information gathered from interviews with formal and informal educators, industry leaders, policy leaders, funders, and others to determine what is being done, and what still needs to be in done, in STEM education today. 
Building Success

The State of Afterschool Programs Report Takeaways

The EdWeek Research Center recently produced The State of After-School Programs: Programming Results of a National Survey On Programming During a Pandemic. The report shares the results of the survey, which asked principals and afterschool employees about the types of activities that programs provide, effects of pandemic-related changes, and staffing challenges. The National Afterschool Association laid out the key takeaways from the report. The key points were that access to afterschool programs is not universal, there needs to be more focus on social and emotional learning, and challenges with staffing could impact access to afterschool programs.  

New Illinois Report Card 

The Illinois Report Card is an annual report released by the Illinois State Board of Education that shows how the state–and each school and district–are progressing on a wide range of educational goals. The Report Card offers a complete picture of student and school performance to inform and empower families and communities as they support their local schools. All versions of the 2019 Report Card can be accessed via All data can be accessed via ISBE’s Report Card Data Library

Building Community Schools Systems

This report details the evolution of community schools initiatives, which are increasing in number and are being led by school districts. It first explains how concentrated poverty affects the student populations of high-poverty schools in very low-income neighborhoods. The report then describes the community schools strategy, before looking at the examples of three case studies.

Redefining Student Success: Profile of a Graduate: The International Association for K-12 Online Learning’s issue brief explores the importance of creating a shared vision for student success in order to improve student outcomes. 


Rural Informal STEM Education The 2018 Rural Informal STEM Conference (RISC) was the first of its kind to bring together key innovators and experts in rural STEM learning outside of school. The conference addressed questions about the overall status of informal STEM learning in rural places, including the following: How do we define rural places? What are promising practices in diversity, equity, and inclusion in these places? How can STEM programs build community support for their work? How can such programs assess their impacts appropriately? To read the subsequent report, click here.