The number of providers in the BLOCS OST network continues to increase steadily. That’s because they see the success network members are having with students and want to bring that to type of impact to their neighborhood and the community at large. This section of the website is designed to assist providers in two ways:
• For potential BLOCS OST providers, it provides information on how to become a BLOCStar and how doing so can help you continue to improve the quality of your program.
• For existing BLOCS OST providers, it provides access to helpful tools, resources and information.
External Assessor Recruitment
BLOCS is currently recruiting volunteers to serve as YPQA External Assessors to begin in September 2018. External assessors are an integral part of the BLOCS network and are responsible for the objective observation, scoring and reporting of program quality for all BLOCS out-of-school time sites. OST providers who serve as external assessors are not permitted to externally assess their own agency’s programs. All external assessors are required to complete mandatory training and a reliability test in order to become a Certified Reliable External Assessor through the David P. Weikart Center for Youth Program Quality. All BLOCS external assessors are required to complete at least three external assessments in the fall and three in the spring (6 total per year). If interested in becoming an external assessor, contact TJ Delahanty at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click here to download an overview and application.
BLOCStar is an initiative of BLOCS intended to both improve the program quality and impact of OST programs on young people, and incite provider participation in the BLOCS network of programs. By adhering to the BLOCStar Best Practice Guidelines, OST programs will be identified and promoted as an official BLOCS program partner.
BLOCS program partners must identify as Youth Development organizations that provide programming for young people during out-of-school time hours. BLOCS defines Youth Developing as activities intentionally designed to include a learning objective and to transfer social-emotional learning (SEL) skills to young people. The tools described in the Best Practice Guidelines are designed for OST programs that are either currently practicing or have a desire to move towards Youth Development programming. In some instances, YPQA and/or SAYO-Y may not be an appropriate tool for certain programs due to the program structure or target audience. These exceptional circumstances do not preclude OST programs from participating in BLOCStar.
Metro United Way’s 2-1-1 help referral service directs people looking for resources to the appropriate service provider via phone call, text, or online database search. Make sure your program’s information is in the 2-1-1 database and up-to-date for parents to find. For any questions or edits, please contact Glen Powell.
Quality Out-of-School Time Tools
Having a safe place for young people to go before and after school, on the weekends, and during school breaks is important. Even more important is ensuring that these programs are high quality. Having highly-skilled and professional staff, supportive environments, and engaging programming are all characteristics of high quality programs. More and more, OST program administrators and youth work professionals want to be able to measure the quality of their programs in order to make improvements. BLOCS provides access, training, and technical assistance to programs on quality measurement tools including the Youth Program Quality Assessment (YPQA), Staff Rating of Youth Behavior (SRYB), and Survey of Academic and Youth Outcomes (SAYO-Y).
Youth Program Quality Intervention (YPQI)
The Youth Program Quality Intervention (YPQI) system follows an ‘ASSESS-PLAN-IMPROVE’ process whereby youth programs first ASSESS the quality of their program through external and self-assessment, develop IMPROVEMENT PLANS to address program strengths and weaknesses, and then implement those IMPROVEMENTS. This process utilizes the Youth Program Quality Assessment (PQA)®, a validated instrument designed to measure the quality of youth programs and identify staff training needs.
Staff Rating of Youth Behavior (SRYB)
The Staff Rating for Youth Behavior (SRYB) is a tool to measure social-emotional learning (SEL) developed by the Weikart Center for Youth Program Quality. It is a pre/post, observation-based assessment that is designed to assess the behavior of children and youth in OST programs and measure whether youth are making progress on SEL skills such as teamwork, emotion management, responsibility, and problem-solving. The tool is suitable for youth ages 5-18.
Survey of Academic and Youth Outcomes (SAYO-Y)
The Survey of Academic and Youth Outcomes (SAYO-Y) is a research-based tool developed by the National Institute of Out-of-School Time (NIOST) to measure youth impact at out-of-school time programs.
Training for professionals in youth development is critical to providing quality out-of-school time programs. That’s why BLOCS partners offer a variety of training opportunities for our certified providers:
Youth Development Certificate
BLOCS has partnered with Jefferson Community and Technical College to offer a Youth Development Certificate (YDC). The Youth Development Certificate is a 60 training hour CEU certificate that is open to anyone who works with youth. The certificate is based on six skill areas or core competencies that are essential for adults who work with young people. The certificate encompasses 60 hours of trainings divided among the six skill areas.