Advisory Committee on Before and After School Programs
Meeting Minutes – March 3, 2009 (Non–quorum)
John D. Malloy, California Department of Education Representative
John L. White
The meeting was called to order at 9:35 p.m.
Review of Meeting Materials
Sandra McBrayer (Chair) gave an overview of meeting materials.
Approval of Minutes from January 26, 2009, Meeting – Action
Because there was not a quorum, approval of the January 26, 2009 meeting minutes was postponed until the next meeting.
Introduction of Members
Each member and the California Department of Education (CDE) representative stated his/her name and agency for the record.
Advisory Committee Chair Report
At the December 3, 2008 meeting, the Chair announced Kathie Scott received a promotion and is now co-administrator of the After School Programs Office (ASPO) with John Malloy. The ASPO currently has a 13 percent vacancy rate. The CDE has a position freeze right now, and therefore, the ASPO is not able to fill the Committee vacancy at this time.
The Chair announced Categorical Programs Monitoring (CPM) visits are on hold until further notice.
The Chair informed the Committee there are currently four bills pending that impact before and after school programs.
Assembly Bill 983 Skinner. This bill would allow after school programs to use After School Education and Safety (ASES) funding on Saturdays. This bill is identical to the bill vetoed by the Governor last year.
Assembly Bill 1349 Torlakson. This is a technical bill related to the maintenance of effort. The Chair is still reviewing this bill, but it appears this bill will ensure school districts with ASES funding does not reduce state money too far and end up supplanting federal funds.
Senate Bill 100 Correa. This bill requires all staff, including those working in after school programs, to receive professional development to enable them to identify gifted and talented students from traditionally under represented populations. Currently, there is no cost included in this bill.
Assembly Bill 434 Block. The author recognizes current economic times are hard and are making it difficult for organizations to provide matching money for ASES programs. This bill would reduce the ASES match requirement for fiscal years 2009-10 and 2010-11 from 33 percent to 15 percent so businesses facing hard financial times can still contribute. In addition, this bill also clarifies if an after school program site coordinator works at least 85 percent of the time at a school site, 100 percent of their time can be charged as a direct services cost. This will help programs to distinguish what costs are direct services and what costs are administrative services.
California Department of Education Staff Report
John Malloy informed members the elementary and middle school 21st Century Community Learning Centers (CCLC) Request for Applications (RFA) have come in. There is $16 million available for new programs; however, the CDE received requests for $140 million. The Readers’ Conference will take place March 16-20, 2009. The CDE received more than twice the number of high school After School Enrichment and Safety for Teens (ASSETs) applications than the $20 million available. From the number of applications received, there is no doubt after school programs are in high demand in California.
At the January 26, 2009 meeting the Committee inquired about the number of after school grantees that are community-based organizations (CBOs). Twenty-six percent of elementary/middle school grantees are CBOs and they make up 19 percent of the funding. Twenty-eight percent of ASSETs grantees are CBOs and they make up 18 percent of funding. All grantees are listed on the CDE Web site. Approximately 25 percent of 21st CCLC grantees are CBOs and no ASES grantees are CBOs because ASES grantees must be public agencies.
Mr. Malloy reported there were just over 500 local educational agencies (LEAs) operating ASES programs scheduled for audit. The State Controller’s Office only audits state-funded programs. Of the 500 audits, about 150 resulted in findings. Therefore, about 30 percent of the audited LEAs operating after school programs had at least one finding.
The number one finding is lack of attendance documentation. The CDE is currently working with the after school Regional Leads to assist after school programs to keep adequate attendance records. Attendance documentation, including how and who to report to, is included on pages one through five in the frequently asked questions (FAQs) posted on the CDE Web site. The second most common finding is that programs are not staying open until 6 p.m. This issue is addressed on pages 15 through 17 of the FAQs. The third most common finding is lack of an early release policy or not making this policy available to parents and other stakeholders in a language or format they can easily understand. The early release policy is included on pages five through seven of the FAQs. The CDE will keep track of LEA findings this year and next to make sure they are not repeating the same findings next year. The CDE is allowing LEAs flexibility this year and will not be billing many. However, the CDE will not be as flexible next year which could result in LEAs being billed for their audit findings.
The Chair asked if the FAQs also provide readers with suggested best practices.
Mr. Malloy stated program issues vary, so the CDE is working with the after school Regional Leads to clarify requirements. The ASPO will redo the FAQs when the office is allowed to hire additional staff. Renee Newton stated information about audits could be dispersed via the California After School Network (CASN), the California School Age Consortium (CalSAC), the California After School Technical Assistance (CASTA) project, and others. She further stated it would be helpful if the Committee also made recommendations. Mr. Malloy will share information about the audit findings with the after school Regional Leads, the CASN, and others to get the word out.
The last major audit finding was how site coordinators are funded. This issue is addressed on pages 9 through 12 of the FAQs. Mr. Malloy stated if Assembly Bill 434 becomes law, it will supersede those FAQs.
Member Newton inquired whether the CDE could work with the California School Boards Association to get the word out to parents about the early release policy.
Mr. Malloy stated this would work for LEAs, but this method might miss some parents whose children attend a program run by a non LEA. He further stated it is important to get information out to the parents in an easily understandable language and an appropriate format. If more than 15 percent of students speak a language other than English, the program must provide information to parents and guardians in that language. After school coordinators should work with the LEA’s legal department to make sure they are in alignment.
Lou Fernandez stated it would be good to have examples of records which must be kept and early release policies.
Mr. Malloy addressed a question asked by the Committee at the last meeting regarding where in the law it states we can not switch grant funds from the after school base grant to the supplemental grant. For the federal 21st CCLC Program is required by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB). The NCLB requires a local entity competing for a grant to describe its program in terms of an after school and before school grant. In state law (California Education Code [EC]) the funds can only be spent for the purposes granted. Therefore grantees are required to operate the program the way the funds were described in their application.
Mr. Malloy also informed the Committee the CDE is working on a grant reduction strategy for ASES grantees. This process will be done in accordance with EC Section 8482.
In addition, Mr. Malloy clarified the shared vision is what was included in the ASPO E-news. Mr. Malloy said the ASPO would like to send out the E-news on a regular schedule but this would require staff time.
Outcomes and Evaluation Subcommittee Report
Renee Newton, the Subcommittee Chair, informed the Committee the Subcommittee has not met since January 26, 2009. The Subcommittee will meet again once there is a draft of the outcome tools from the University of California, Irvine. She stated this should be within the next couple of months.
Workforce Development Subcommittee Report
Sandra McBrayer (also the Workforce Development Subcommittee Chair) informed the Committee the Subcommittee formed a work group to develop and distribute one or more work products. The work group is working with the David and Lucile Packard Foundation and CalSAC to produce a document which would provide after school programs with promising practices for recruiting and retaining staff. This work product would include information such as how to conduct a job fair and how to recruit and retain mature workers. The work group will be meeting once a month for the next several months until they have a design.
Through the economic stimulus package, workforce investment administrators in each community will be receiving funding for a summer older youth program. The dollars are significant, both in the short and long term. This program will bring LEAs and CBOs together with workforce investment administrators. The Chair plans on doing a presentation with Mr. Malloy and Dennis Petrie of the Employment Development Department.
The Chair gave the Committee an example from San Diego County, which is getting $8 million. Workers will be trained to work in after school programs. This program will provide workers to after school programs in addition to the instructional aides they already employ. This funding can be used to provide services to individuals up to the age of 24. The only outcome measure for this funding is workforce development.
Loren Tarantino stated counties also have access to the healthy start community collaborative which is mandated to do youth development training and hiring.
California Afterschool Network Report
Andee Press-Dawson of the California After School Network (CASN) provided the Committee with an update of CASN projects. Ms. Press-Dawson informed the Committee the CASN’s Policy Committee is getting the word out to key legislators who have an interest in after school issues. The CASN will be coordinating site visits to various after school programs to allow legislators to see all the good things going on at these sites. They are producing a tool kit for the field on how to conduct a site visit with legislators attending.The CASN’s Quality Committee has broken into two groups, one for overall policy issues, and one for alignment with the regular school day and overseeing feedback on the quality assessment tool. Starting this month, this committee will take the quality indicators from the tool and develop best practices relate to each indicator.
Ms. Press-Dawson reported all training sessions about how to use the quality assessment tool have been scheduled. The CASN will be taking feedback on the tool throughout this year and will then make modifications on the tool.
The CASN has launched a new committee based on physical activity and nutrition. The CASN will be surveying the field to find out main issues in these areas.
The CASN is also launching a new project in connection with the Mighty Milers out of New York. The Mighty Milers work in connection with the New York Marathon. They will help establish running clubs in after school programs. They have provided the CASN with funding to start six demonstrations sites. The CASN is looking forward to finding funding to do this project statewide.
The CASN’s Older Youth Committee has split into a high school and middle school subcommittee. Site directors are sharing their expertise and will put together a guidebook to provide site directors with best practices.
As part of the Mott Achievement Grant, the CASN will be sponsoring a high school conference. The Step Up High School Summit will be held on November 4-5, 2009, in San Diego. They are currently recruiting presenters and will have information out next week.
The CASN is also assisting with the technical assistance plan for after school programs. The CASN helped with running five high school ASSETs focus groups to look at the technical assistance needs of high school programs. The Network partnered with the Bay Area Partnership, in conjunction with the CDE, to run focus groups throughout the state based on high school learning communities already in existence. They are currently compiling a report to help inform technical assistance for high school.
The CASN will also be sponsoring the statewide Lights On event at the state capital in October 2009.
Challenges Before and After School Programs Face Delivering Services
The Chair stated she feels attendance is the main focus for after school programs. It is important to provide technical assistance to help programs capture attendance accurately. Programs want to know how to count students, especially for the middle school and high school levels. How do we help programs recruit and retain students? Programs need best practices for student recruitment and retention. We need to think about whether best practices should be a guide or training. The Committee needs to work with the Regional Leads to develop and market good practices for after school programs.
Member Tarantino stated it is necessary to provide frequent site director trainings to ensure they know what the elements of a program are and necessary policies. Also needed is technical assistance for district contacts.
Member Fernandez commented it is necessary to boost program ability to engage in the community and recruit students. It is best to do this at the local level. Recruitment can be done by taking teams to individual sites that are struggling. Engage school community in a presentation. He further stated transportation is a challenge for rural programs.
Mary Hoshiko commented a top priority for technical assistance is helping programs align with the regular school day. Technical assistance is needed on best practices, partnerships, collaboration, and working with children with disabilities. Also needed is a comprehensive evaluation of the after school Regional Lead system. There should be a systemic look at who is providing technical assistance.
Gary Moody stated both recruitment and marketing are necessary. Most people having trouble with marketing their program don’t have much to sell. Quality and recruitment must work together. It is important to find the right staff and provide them with marketing tools to recruit kids. Program quality is the answer to attendance problems.
Member Hoshiko commented information is needed on technical assistance systems used by the different counties. A technical assistance review or tracking system of what is being offered across the state is needed.
Mr. Malloy stated the ASPO met with Gordon and members of the Curriculum and Instruction Steering Committee (CISC), the Committee Chairperson, members of the CASN, and others. This group discussed the idea of alignment with the regular school day. Mr. Malloy commented he just returned from a trip to Washington, D.C. where he met with other states operating 21st CCLC Programs. Program directors from other states believe alignment with the regular school day is of high importance. The CDE is considering working with the Curriculum and Instruction CISC contacts on technical assistance related to aligning with the regular day. He further stated we must be sure than our programs are not about drill and kill, but expand on what students learn in the school day. We need to include standards in aligning after school programs with the regular day. The CDE is also looking at technical assistance for English learners. Member Newton referred to the information provided at the last meeting by Member Funk regarding the Sunset Beacon Neighborhood Center’s guide of aligning after school programs with content standards. She commented it would be interesting to hear about the use of this guide.
Mr. Malloy stated we do not just need a comprehensive evaluation of the Regional Lead system but an evaluation of the entire technical assistance system. This will be expensive in a state as large as California. The CDE is working with different foundations to come up with a funding source. We think an evaluation probably needs to be done completely independently. This is cutting edge evaluation. He further stated the CDE is not in a position to contract with private vendors.
The Chair concluded the Committee should continue to look at what regional issues are and how state dollars can be used to get information out to programs.
Mr. Malloy added with a $42 billion deficit, the CDE will be looking at how dollars are spent to make sure they are spent wisely.
Items for Next Advisory Committee Meeting
- Standing committee reports
- Network update including a report about the ASSETs focus groups
- Michael Funk to do a presentation on his guide and aligning with the regular day
- Technical assistance and challenges to after school programs
- Next meeting date
- Update on CASTA and their evaluation of technical assistance
- Report from the CDE regarding after school programs that are undeserving and what the procedure is to transfer funds on a site-by-site basis
Next Meeting Date
Kathie Scott will email members in the next several days about the next meeting date which will be in May 2009. The CDE is also looking into video conferencing for future meetings. When videoconferencing meetings, the meeting sites must be open to the public and meeting locations must be posted at least ten days prior to the meeting.
California After School Resource Center
Deborah Wood, the Executive Director of the California After School Resource Center (CASRC), provided the Committee with a quarterly update. The CASRC is partially funded by the CDE to promote quality after school programs in California. Ms. Wood provided the Committee with a handout which showed that usage of the CASRC Web site is getting 20,000 hits per week. CASRC could also provide information related to the audit findings, attendance, and connecting to the regular school day. The CASRC currently has sections on their Web site to cover those topics. The CASRC also has several advisory boards.
The materials review board is made up of 60 members, and they have evaluated over 1,800 instructional and professional materials for use in after school programs over the last year. They use content specific review forms. Materials are evaluated for content and also appropriateness for use in after school programs. The CASRC acquires from 3-15 copies of each material. By July 1, 2009, they will have between 450-500 materials available in the library. Materials reviewed exceeded over 2,000. About a quarter of the materials submitted for review are approved.
The Chair asked the reasons for not approving materials. Ms. Wood stated quite frequently materials are not high quality, are not engaging, or are not a good match with student diversity in California. She is spending more time with publishers and they are now investing in materials likely to be approved. Ms. Wood hopes the numbers of materials submitted for review will increase in the future.
Ms. Wood explained the review board includes regular school day staff who review materials based on content standards and after school practitioners. The CASRC library has loaned approximately 6,000 materials. Ms. Wood further discussed the CASRC looks for a critical mass of titles to keep in the library. This critical mass was just reached in mathematics, reading/language arts, and physical and emotional health. She hopes over the next year to implement a separate search area for science and history social-science. Ms. Wood explained critical mass is about 20-30 titles so people will have enough to pick from when they search for an area. There is also a new special needs page. Physical education and nutrition are very active pages. The physical activity materials are waiting for CDE Press to review. These will include research-based activity guidelines. They are also completing about 70 face-to-face trainings related to physical education and nutrition in after school. The CASRC offers a Web site searchable database for topic-specific training. The CASRC also has a print catalog available. They expect to phase in the print version after next year. The Chair asked Ms. Wood if she has considered having a survey of users on the CASRC Web site. Ms. Woods stated this is currently not included but would be a good idea.
California School-Age Consortium
Taylor Brady of the California School-Age Consortium presented information to the committee. Mr. Brady is glad to hear the discussion of challenges to after school programs. He stated it is important to look at the linkage between quality and the need for a marketing plan for attendance and program quality. We want to draw upon the earlier discussion on workforce development. We are in a particularly opportune place right now in that money will be available for a pipeline project to recruit and retain new staff. There is additional work needed after an initial surge of funding. Looking at retention, career advancement, and career pathways used to encourage longer stays, more career motivated, educationally linked stays in the after school field will stabilize the workforce and help children and youth they work with. We are still looking at a 30 percent turnover of front line staff. There is a lot of funding coming in and it is good to leverage and get more bang for the bucks. We need a strategy that might produce a multiplier effect because of the systems it can interlink with and it has implications for attendance, program quality, and all other issues under the technical assistance plan.
There being no other comments, the meeting was adjourned at 11:10 a.m.
Since this was a non-quorum meeting, the minutes from January 26, 2009, were not approved.