Advisory Committee on Before and After School Programs Meeting Minutes
December 3, 2008
Kathie Scott, California Department of Education (CDE) representative
John L. White
Sandra McBrayer, Committee Chair (The Chair), called the meeting to order at 9:35 a.m.
Approval of Minutes from the September 23, 2008 Meeting – Action
Renee Newton mentioned that a correction was needed on Page 6, under the Outcomes and Evaluation Subcommittee section. Renee pointed out that Deborah Vandell’s last name was spelled incorrectly in the minutes. There were no other changes to the minutes, and it was motioned by Renee Newton, seconded by Ana Campos, and unanimously passed to accept the minutes with one change.
Introduction of Members
The members and the CDE representative introduced themselves.
The Chair congratulated Kathie Scott on her new position as Co-Administrator of the CDE After School Programs Office (ASPO).
The Chair informed the Committee that the California Department of Finance and the Legislature are still using the approximately $200 million figure of unspent After School Education and Safety (ASES) funds. This is incorrect. The notes from Advisory Committee meeting held on September 23, 2008, show that John Malloy stated that the correct amount is closer to $40 million. For 2006-07 the unspent ASES fund balance was approximately $20 million.
The Chair also informed the Committee that Gordon Jackson and she will do work to educate elected officials and agencies about the actual amount of unspent ASES funds and the huge need for after school programs throughout the state.
The Chair stated that there is not a legislative update because the Legislature is currently focused on the budget deficit situation and there is no new legislation regarding after school programs.
Carla Sanger asked what was going on with the bill to allow ASES programs to operate on weekends. The Chair stated that Senator Torlakson said he is interested in putting this in legislation again. It was discussed that the rural piece most likely will not be included because there is a cost associated with this.
The members discussed the need to have a legislative bill that would include federal funds to allow after school programs to use core grant funding on the weekend. Right now programs must have a supplemental grant to operate 21st Century Community Learning Center (CCLC) programs on a weekend. The Chair stated that she will check with John Malloy to determine what bill established this in the first place. The Committee recommended that Saturday programs be in a separate bill from other issues.
The Chair explained that the Governor’s original veto language stated that he would not approve Senate Bill 1674, the Torlakson bill, because the intent of Proposition 49 was that funds only be used before and after school, and operating after school programs on the weekend would broaden the scope of the ASES program.
Members also wanted to include a clarification of after school program site supervisor salaries. Currently, site administrator salaries are considered within the 15 percent indirect and administrative costs. The Committee would like to see these salaries considered direct services to students.
Loren Tarantino mentioned that school districts have reported problems with auditors currently auditing the ASES program. These problems concern California Education Code (EC) language and definitions of program requirements. One issue appears to be the nine hour requirement for ASES middle school programs. She reported that auditors misunderstand the intent of the program. She reported that there also appears to be problems with auditor interpretation of the early release policy.
Members asked about the audit process. Kathie Scott explained that once the auditor makes an ASES program finding, they forward the finding to the State Controller’s Office (SCO). The SCO then forwards the finding to the CDE Audits and Investigations Office (AIO). The AIO then works with the After School Programs Office (ASPO) to determine if the finding should result in a billing to the ASES grantee. Local auditors are encouraged to contact the ASPO regional consultant for clarification of program requirements.
Ana Campos asked if it would be feasible for the CDE to develop some consistent definitions for auditors especially in the areas of direct services versus administrative costs, hours of operation, and the early-release policy. This could minimize the confusion about how auditors are looking at the program.
Kathie explained that auditors can refer to the EC, and there are frequently asked questions (FAQs) available on the CDE Web site to help provide guidance. The CDE is limited in the written guidance it can offer to auditors since guidance could be considered underground regulations. Some state programs have regulations to clarify the EC, but there are no regulations for the ASES program.
Amy Christianson asked if the CDE can look at the possibility of creating regulations or developing training for auditors.
The Chair recommended that commonalities of audit findings and comparisons of findings for large and small districts be included on the next meeting agenda. This way we can see where the similarities are and the possibility of working on FAQs for auditors and consistent ways to handle these findings.
The Committee discussed variances in how after school programs administer the early release policy and how the policies could be more consistent.
California Department of Education Report
Gordon Jackson addressed the Committee and welcomed Kathie to her new position. He informed the Committee that the Learning Support and Partnerships Division is working quickly trying to replace Kathie. Gordon wanted to share with the Committee the Division’s thinking about the after school program. He informed the Committee that he commissioned several ASPO consultants, an ASPO analyst, and an outside strategist to focus on the renaissance of after school. The after school program allows for customization to meet local needs but there are also some core values. This is why Gordon is spending the time to embark on a process to set forth a common vision. To set forth a common vision, we do not have to do anything differently, but there should be a focus.
One example is enhancing communication within the system so everyone is clear as to our communication and message. At a recent Regional Lead meeting the leads expressed a real interest in having a clear mission. Gordon further explained that he would like to enhance our collaborations with other partners both inside the CDE and with outside agencies. He would like all to understand the whole array of services offered by after school programs and how these programs can help close the academic achievement gap. He wants to educate, leverage, and build resources to have a solid base to build on. Gordon concluded that he would like to use data for continuous improvement and to align after school programs with the regular school day.
Gordon will keep the Committee in the loop. He informed the Committee that he has done presentations to several regions and met with various groups. The commitment to after school is phenomenal.
The members asked if Gordon could disclose what the shared vision is. Gordon informed the Committee that the mission and vision are still in the development process. Gordon felt that soon there will be an articulated vision.
After School Programs Update
21st Century Community Learning Center Requests For Applications
Kathie provided the Committee with an update on the 21st CCLC Center Request for Application (RFA) process. The high school After School Safety and Enrichment for Teens (ASSETs) RFA is due to the CDE December 19, 2008. Applicants were allowed eight weeks to complete their application, which is two weeks longer than allowed in the past. The elementary/middle school RFA has also been released and is due to the CDE January 30, 2009. Applicants completing the elementary/middle school RFA were allowed ten weeks to complete their application. The CDE allowed two additional weeks to accommodate for the two holiday weeks.
The Chair asked why the RFAs were released so much later than the projected October release date and why the high school and elementary/middle school applications release was staggered. Kathie responded that the late passage of the state budget and a longer than anticipated CDE management approval process delayed the RFA release. Kathie further explained that the staggered release of the RFAs was done on a trial basis, This was based on input from agencies not wanting to work on both applications at the same time.
There is an anticipated $40 million available for both the high school and elementary/middle school RFA. This provides $20 million for ASSETs, $16 million for elementary/middle, and $4 million for the optional access and family literacy grants.
The Readers’ Conference will be combined for both ASSETs and elementary/middle and will take place next spring from March 16 -20, 2009 in Sacramento. The CDE is looking at several hotels for the conference. An application for readers is on the CDE Web site and may also be available at AfterSchool Network (Outside Source) and California After School Resource Center (CASRC) (Outside Source).
ASES RFA Update
Kathie informed the Committee that the ASPO may have adequate staffing to prepare an ASES RFA, but that the CDE fiscal offices felt that due to the budget situation the CDE should hold off on funding new grants when regular day programs could possibly take funding reductions.
The Chair clarified that although regular day funding may be reduced, ASES funding (Proposition 49) could not be reduced without another proposition being approved by the voters.
The Committee commented that they want to be proactive and put out an RFA that would redirect 2008-09 funding from agencies not meeting their attendance goals or voluntarily giving up their funding to other programs that need additional funding. There was a conversation about the best start date for the RFA and new grants. The Committee wants to make sure that the Legislature understands that there is a greater need for after school programs than available funding. A discussion followed about attendance data, when the data will be available, and the best date for new ASES grants to be issued.
The Chair commented that some grantees don’t want to voluntarily reduce their grants even though it is not realistic for them to maintain their funding by increasing their attendance.
Gordon commented that there may be miscommunication among various CDE offices and that the ASPO will work further with the CDE fiscal offices to provide more information to the Committee.
Kathie let the Committee know that forms for the voluntary reduction process would be available in the next couple of weeks.
California After School Demonstration Programs Update
Kathie provided the Committee with an update on the California After School Demonstration Programs (CASDP). This presentation builds on the information provided by ASPO staff to the Committee earlier this year. There are nine programs in the state. The CASDP are in all regions except 6, 8, and 10. The current CASDP sites are as follows: Region 1, Roseland Elementary; Region 2, Tehama County Office of Education; Region 3, Wheatland Elementary School District; Region 4, San Francisco Unified School District and Mt. Diablo Unified School District; Region 5, Monterey Peninsula Unified School District; Region 7, Fresno County Office of Education; Region 9, San Diego State University Research Foundation; and Region 11, Long Beach Unified School District.
So far, the CASDP have held three meetings. In addition, the CASDP were on panels at the two 21st CCLC orientations in November 2008. At these meetings the CASDP worked on materials development, and how to develop a documented and reproducible system. There has also been discussion on how new programs differ from the old Regional Learning Center program, and how to use technology to share materials. The CASDP are currently developing a workplan.
The Committee asked for information on the CASDP scope of work, the selection criteria, and the RFA process. The Chair pointed out that this information was provided to the Committee at an earlier meeting by Jane Ross and Norma Munroe of the ASPO.
Gordon commented that the CASDP are one part of technical assistance, but there is also the California After School Technical Assistance (CASTA) Project, the Regional Leads, and other assistance. He commented that travel is not happening due to the state deficit so the state support process is fluid.
Ana Campos commented that she is trying to connect the dots between the California AfterSchool Network (Network) mentor-mentee project, CASTA, and CASDP.
The Chair commented that these are all tools that are available to after school programs. Carla Sanger expressed the fear that we will have some sites that are heavily impacted, with anecdotal reports of huge success. She wants to be sure the program is scalable and based on data. Gordon responded that he has the same concerns.
Outcomes and Evaluation Subcommittee Report
Renee Newton informed the Committee that work has begun on the outcome tools. She introduced Terry Westover from the University of California, Davis (UCD) who is heading up the outcome tool development and implementation.
Terry Westover is the director of the Center for Research and Evaluation Services at UCD. She will be working with Dr. Deborah Vandell of the University of California, Irvine, to assist in the process. So far there is a verbal commitment from the Packard Foundation that they will be funding phase one of this work.
Terry reminded the Committee that the EC requires four different outcome measures:
- California Standards Test;
- homework completion;
- positive behavior changes; and
- skill development.
There has been preliminary work done on homework completion, but no work has been done on behavior improvement or skill development. She discussed other issues related to data reliability, validity, and usefulness in the field. It is important that the tools be easily implemented by after school site staff and not be too complicated. Terry also discussed a concern about tool reliability across sites and about their robustness in that they can not be manipulated or accused of being manipulated.
Terry further discussed that the first phase of tool development will be to look at available literature to see if there are tools that already exist that could be used as they are. Tools already in the public domain could reduce costs. Dr. Vandell will take the lead on identifying individual tools and Terry will report back to the Committee on her findings. Terry mentioned that she is looking for additional funding to do field testing. UC staff would be on site to assist with implementation of the tools. The field testing will help make sure tools are valid and reliable.
Terry is planning to meet with the Regional Leads in February. The CDE has produced a draft homework completion tool. Terry indicated that this would be field tested in the spring with the other tools.
The Chair asked why, since the CDE has the homework tool in draft form, are you waiting until spring to test homework completion tool. Terry wants to test all three tools at the same time to reduce costs and work for the field.
The Chair made a formal recommendation that the homework tool be released as soon as possible ahead of the other tools. Loren Tarantino asked if the outcome measures were in addition to reports due at the end of the year for attendance. She also asked if the tools will be developmentally correct for elementary, middle, or high schools. Terry responded that they will be developmentally appropriate. The Chair indicated that the outcome measures were in addition to the CDE attendance reports.
Carla commented that the Outcomes and Evaluation Subcommittee (OES) did extensive work on the homework completion tool. She expressed a concern that we may be using work that has already been developed. Terry commented that we will be building on the work of the OES. Renee added that we will also try to use these tools for a wide range of data collection, and we want something that is developed specific for students in California.
Terry added that for the homework completion tool to be a serious tool it must have rigorous pilot testing. There will be stipends associated with field testing the tools.
There was a general discussion among members about piloting and field testing the tools, the timing of the testing, the costs associated with testing the tools, and support that will be provided. The group also considered the field’s perspective about testing these tools. The Committee discussed the difference between the outcome measure tools and the quality self assessment tool. The group added that valuable information can be learned from both of these tools.
Andee Press-Dawson commented that there have been problems in the after school field because of the lack of a tool. She commented that it would be helpful if the CDE could provide something in writing to the field as to what the process is and what grantees will be required to do this year.
The Chair made a formal recommendation that the CDE send something to the field about the evaluation process.
Workforce Development Subcommittee Report
Sandra McBrayer, Chair of the Workforce Development Subcommittee (WDS), gave an update on the work of the subcommittee. The WDS reached out to the Employment Development Department (EDD) to include Dennis Petrie, a Deputy Director of the EDD, to join the WDS. This is important because of the partnership of after school with workforce pipeline projects. We now have a partnership with the California Community Colleges and now we are partnering with the workforce investment arena. There are additional dollars for youth employment internships and externships and job channeling. Dennis is in charge of one-stops, the Workforce Investment Act (WIA), and the Mature Worker program. Dennis and Sandra are scheduled to talk to the Workforce Directors in January 2009. This meeting will help tie after school programs with the WIA. Sandra and Dennis will be doing two joint presentations at a January 2009 conference. Sandra will provide the WIA directors with a list of the after school programs and program contacts for their area.
The Chair updated the Committee on the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office partnership with after school and announced that the project is up and running. There are five community college sites approved: San Diego, San Jose, Oakland, Fresno, and Salinas. San Diego is up and running and there are currently 25 students enrolled. During the week students receive mathematics and reading remedial and professional growth classes. Every Friday they receive after school specific training. The classes will help students pass the Instructional Aide Test. The San Diego Unified School District shared the Classroom Assistance Proficiency Examination study guide with instructors so that the class curriculum can be designed to help students pass the test.
The San Jose, Oakland, and Fresno sites will have their first cohort of students in January 2009. They are in the process of recruiting students. The only project that will be a little different will be the Hartnell College site in Salinas. Their students will be employed in the agricultural field learning to repair farm equipment. The five sites are meeting now and coming together to discuss their strengths and challenges.
At the last meeting there was a presentation by the Urban Teaching Fellows of Los Angeles, a partner with the Beyond the Bell after school program. This program represents a partnership with Los Angeles Unified School District, the WIA, and California State College at Dominguez Hills.
California AfterSchool Network Report
Andee Press-Dawson gave an update on the work of the California AfterSchool Network (Network). The Quality Self Assessment Tool (Tool) is now available on the Network’s Web site. The Tool was launched first through the Regional Leads and then the 21st CCLC orientation training on how to use the Tool. This is the trial year for the Tool. As people use the Tool they can provide feedback via a survey which is available along with the Tool. Feedback can be provided online or as a hard copy. There are also demonstration sites to work with Corey Newhouse, an outside consultant. Six school districts have signed up to work with Corey. About 300 people have been trained so far. Andee clarified that the Tool is for program improvement and not compliance.
Loren asked if the Tool was aligned with the Categorical Programs Monitoring (CPM) instruments. Andee said no, because the Tool is for internal use for programs to improve their own program quality. It is not designed for compliance like the CPM instruments. Some items on the CPM instruments overlap with the questions on the Tool, but they are not aligned. Andee announced that the Network has officially started the mentoring project, funded through the Packard Foundation. Currently, there are 35 mentors throughout the state who have gone through intensive training. Each mentor is matched with four mentees who are self-selected with approval of their supervisors. This project includes an online tool. Terry Westover is doing the evaluation of the process.
Andee informed the Committee that the Network has hired Steve Talbot, author of Teach What You Know, to work with the Mentoring Project. Steve is an expert in the mentoring business. Steve met with sites to determine the role of the site director. He is available on an ongoing basis to assist with the project.
The Network also launched a new physical activity and nutrition committee. This committee will have its first meeting in the next couple of weeks. The middle and high school committees are working on best practices guides for site directors.
Items for Next Advisory Committee Meeting – Action
- CDE report on common audit findings for the ASES program including a comparison of large, small, rural, and urban districts. CDE update on guidance to be provided to ASES program auditors.
- CDE update on possible administrative and legislative fixes for ASES program weekend expenditures, use of 21st CCLC core funding on weekends, and funding site supervisor salaries with direct services instead of administrative funding.
- CDE report about why the state evaluation was not done through an open bid process.
- CDE report regarding the CASDP including current data, the statewide impact of these programs, and if the CASDP is scalable.
- The Outcomes and Evaluation Subcommittee should meet and provide the full Committee with an update for Terry Westover on the potential release of the homework tool before the behavior improvement and skill development tools.
- CDE report regarding 2009-10 technical assistance dollars and feedback received from the Committee on possible services to be provided with this funding.
- CDE plans and the feasibility of using unexpended ASES program funds from previous years and voluntary reductions to launch a new ASES RFA. CDE report on the after school mission and vision statement to provide the Committee with an opportunity to review the statement and make comments and recommendations to the CDE.
- The CDE should inform the Committee about recertification (Form 700).
- CDE report regarding notification of grantees about the evaluation process, grantee requirements, and informing grantees that they can change outcome measures. This should include an invitation to grantees to participate in a pilot program for the new outcome measures.
Next Meeting Date, Monday, January 26, 2009 – Action
The next meeting is scheduled for January 26, 2009, from 1:30 to 4:00 p.m., in Sacramento.
There being no public comments, the Chair adjourned the meeting at 11:30 a.m.