Resources for the OST Field

Afterschool Alliance: COVID-19 Survey Wave 5 Data Released

The Afterschool Alliance has released survey data from Wave 5 of its COVID-19 survey, which highlights key insights from the second summer during the ongoing pandemic. This information was collected before the rise of the delta variant. Thank you to all those that participated in this survey as we gain a better understanding of what programming looks like throughout summer 2021. 

Learning Policy Institute: Resources for Reopening Schools

The Learning Policy Institute has developed and compiled several resources for afterschool and child care providers on reopening schools. Resources surround research and data, guidance, webinars, and more. To review this information, click here.

eSchool NewsArticle: Five Tools to Amplify Youth Voice

eSchool News has published an article highlighting five tools for engaging youth in virtual and hybrid programming, while simultaneously fostering youth voice. These tools include free and easy-to-use applications. To review the tools, click here.

Afterschool Alliance: New Website for Providers Looking to Access American Rescue Plan Dollars Live

The Afterschool Alliance launched a new website called Help Kids Recover in order to serve as a resource for local and state education agencies, as well as out-of-school time (OST) providers looking to access funding from the American Rescue Plan (ARP).To access a variety of materials and information regarding partnerships for afterschool and summer learning, click here. To read the blog post on the website, click here.

The Learning Accelerator Article: Strategies for Engaging Youth in Virtual/Hybrid Instruction

The Learning Accelerator has written an article for educators and afterschool providers which highlights several strategies for engaging youth in both virtual and hybrid instruction. There are videos, lesson plans, and activities for providers interested in supporting young people in diverse programmatic environments. To read the article, click here.

U.S. Department of Education: COVID-19 Handbook, Volume 2 Released

On April 9, 2021, the U.S. Department of Education released the COVID-19 Handbook, Volume 2: Roadmap to Reopening Safely and Meeting All Students’ Needs to provide educators, child care and afterschool program providers with additional strategies for safely reopening. Another goal of this handbook is to promote educational equity by addressing opportunity gaps that have been exacerbated by the pandemic. This handbook also specifies ways American Rescue Plan (ESSER III) funds can be used. Allowable uses include:

  • Addressing the impact of lost instructional time by supporting the implementation of evidence-based interventions that respond to students’ social, emotional, and academic needs
  • Providing afterschool, or other out-of-school time, programs that address students’ social, emotional, and academic needs
  • Addressing the mental health needs of students, including through using funds to hire counselors and support staff
  • Providing integrated student supports, including through the use of full-service community schools
  • Providing students with evidence-based summer learning and enrichment programs, including through partnerships with community-based organizations.

To access the handbook, click here.

ACT Now Webinar: Digging Into The Design of Virtual Engagement

ACT Now and Northwestern University’s Office of Community Education Partnerships hosted a webinar on best practices in virtual engagement. This work was also part of MyChiMyFuture’s Professional Development initiative to help out-of-school time and community-based organizations effectively engage and serve youth during the summer. Watch the webinar here for an in-depth walkthrough of topics including:

  • Intentionally choosing platforms based on purpose and key features
  • Engaging audiences with graphics
  • Gathering analytics and engagement information from your virtual events

To watch the first part of the virtual series, an interview with our Network Lead Susan Stanton, and to learn about our mission and the various free materials we offer afterschool providers, click here.

The Learning Policy Institute (LPI) has created a website that hosts a collection of curated health and safety resources relating to reopening schools and programs. Resources include public health research, guidance documents, news articles, and profiles of counties and districts that have opened for in-person learning. To access these materials, click here.

National Partnership for New Americans: The National Partnership for New Americans released a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loan Forgiveness FAQ with guidelines specific to nonprofits. To access the FAQ, click here. To watch the organization’s webinar recording with more information for nonprofits, click here.

Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation: On June 23, 2020, the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) released two webinar recordings to the public in order to help businesses and lenders understand the federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loan Forgiveness Application process. The first webinar focused on businesses and the steps they need to take to complete their loan forgiveness applications. To watch it, click here. The second webinar, for lenders, detailed the process in how those loan forgiveness applications should be reviewed. To access it, click here. To review the entire press release, click here. 

Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE): In August, ISBE shared an FAQ, developed by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), with some supplementary information to respond to questions the agency has received since the release of the Joint Transition Guidance for Starting the 2020-21 School Year. This week, ISBE is sharing with educators, community-based organizations (CBOs), afterschool providers, families and youth some resources in the case that communities see a spike in COVID-19 cases:

  • Supportive guidance for local public health departments regarding how to use an “adaptive pause” for local schools and additional mitigation strategies based on local public health metrics.

  • A memo to medical professionals describing how to determine when a student is medically unable to wear a face covering.

Guidance, Advocacy Efforts, and Tips for Remote Learning

  • Our friends at North Chicago Community Partners (NCCP) have written an article highlighting ten important lessons the organization has learned while supporting students and their families throughout the pandemic. The article offers tips and strategies for program providers that are continuing to facilitate programming in the virtual and hybrid settings, and meeting the basic needs of their communities. To read the article, click here.

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has developed a COVID-19 vaccine toolkit for essential workers, including afterschool and child care providers. This communications toolkit provides resources on vaccine education, information on vaccine availability, and FAQs for employers and employees. The toolkit is regularly updated. To access the toolkit, click here.

  • The American Camp Association (ACA) in partnership with the Environmental Health & Engineering, Inc. (EH&H) has updated and revised the Field Guide for Camps for afterschool and summer learning providers. There is a new chapter on vaccines that offers providers background information on the type of COVID-19 vaccines available in the United States. The document also offers insight into the potential impacts on camp operations. To read the updated guidance, click here.

  • eSchool News has released a variety of articles to support educators and afterschool providers with instruction, specifically in blended and remote environments. The articles include strategies, best practices, resources and curricula, and more:

  • eSchoolNews published an article highlighting the importance of utilizing safety tools and applications to help reach, engage with, and support students that may feel more isolated or uneasy due to virtual programming and the ongoing public health crisis. The article highlights Gaggle, which uses artificial intelligence and trained safety experts to prevent student self-harm, bullying, inappropriate behaviors, school violence, and other situations. To read the full article, click here.
  • Illinois State Board of Education held a webinar on May 15, 2020, in collaboration with the Director of Illinois Virtual School, Kip Pygman, on how to facilitate online discussions with remote learners in grades 6 through 12. To watch the recording of the webinar, click here.
  • Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidance on preventing COVID-19 from spreading more in schools and childcare facilities.
  • Center for Disease Control (CDC) interim guidance for K-12 institutions on how to plan, prepare, and respond to the pandemic amidst state-mandated school closures.
  • Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) 7-page considerations for school closings.
  • Afterschool Alliance’s Contact Congress page advocates for increased spending for out-of-school programs to be included with new legislation regarding this public health crisis. COVID-19 is affecting youth, youth-serving organizations, and our communities.
  • The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) is collecting real-time information regarding school meals, states’ policies in response to COVID-19, and additional educational resources for K-12 levels.
  • The Wallace Foundation has published a blog post to help nonprofits navigate the financial challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. Click here to read about common financial implications and the three steps organizations should be taking to weather the current crisis.
  • KQED has compiled 14 tips for educators to help students with limited internet access continue learning during the remote learning ordinances. Click here to read them.
  • EdSurge has published a list of actions schools and teachers should take for students who do not have access to online learning devices and/or internet.
  • Children’s Home and Aid has reactivated its Start to Finish Coalition in order to support youth, and youth-serving organizations, during the COVID-19 pandemic. The coalition has developed a survey to better understand the impact of COVID-19 on youth and the unexpected challenges facing them. To complete the survey, click here.
  • Girls Who Code is offering ACT Now’s membership the ability to renew their Girls Who Code Clubs for the 2020-2021 year. In the current climate, it is important to reinforce the relationships forged by participants through Girls Who Code Clubs. Click here to do so.
  • Illinois Collaboration on Youth hosted a webinar on April 24, 2020, to help Illinois youth service providers better understand the Federal Paycheck Protection Program as outlined in the CARES Act. To view the webinar recording, click here.
  • The Regional Educational Laboratory Program: In response to COVID-19, the 10 Regional Educational Laboratories (RELs) have collaborated to produce a series of evidence-based resources and guidance about teaching and learning in a remote environment, as well as other considerations related to the pandemic. Click here to access the resources. This series covers a wide range of topics including:
    • Early childhood education 
    • English language learners
    • Engaging students with disabilities

Reports Regarding COVID-19 Impact on Youth

  • The Annie E. Casey Foundation has developed a policy report that examines how households with children are faring during the pandemic. The report’s findings are primarily based on surveys conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau. The document also highlights federal and state responses to support families and children during the pandemic and strategies for meeting the needs of children and families now and following the pandemic. To read the report, click here.

Analytics Platforms

  • UpMetrics is offering FREE access to its analytics platform to support nonprofits during the COVID-19 health crisis. Nonprofits can sign up here, view a quick video for more details, and see an example impact + fundraising profile.  The UpMetrics platform is designed to help nonprofits track key data points, visualize data, and then seamlessly share program impact with key stakeholders.