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.
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 youth programs in order to make program 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).
BLOCS’ partners have created the Louisville Out-of-School Time Program Quality Standards to provide youth-serving agencies guidelines for ensuring positive youth programming. As of 2014, both the Louisville Metro Government and Metro United Way now require funded programs to conduct a “Minimum OST Quality Standards Self-Assessment” and address any standards not met.
Youth Program Quality Intervention
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.
The SRYB is comprised of four measurement areas: Expresses Emotion Knowledge, Behaviorally Manages Emotions, Displays Social-Role Mastery, and Displays Goal-Striving Mastery, with several items in each measurement area. This tool is not intended to be a clinical assessment of youth, but rather a complement to the Youth Program Quality Improvement (YPQI) tools to aid in program planning and improvement of SEL practices and youth SEL outcomes.
Survey of Academic and Youth Outcomes
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. More information and applications are available by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Find A Program
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 at email@example.com
Summer Learning Summit
Thursday, March 9, 2017 (8:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.)
Over the summer, kids can lose up to 3 months of knowledge; that’s nearly a third of the previous year’s learning lost to the phenomenon referred to as the ‘summer slide’. BLOCS is committed to helping youth serving agencies combat this summer learning loss by bringing providers together for the Summer Learning Summit, where they learned about the best strategies and latest tools to do so.
The fourth annual BLOCS Summer Learning Summit took place on Thursday, March 9, 2017 at the Crowne Plaza Louisville Airport Hotel. The summit included interactive workshops as well as an enrichment vendors fair, where agencies found multiple enrichment opportunities for youth over the summer. Hundreds of participants and dozens of different youth-serving organizations attended the event. Click here for photos.
2017 Workshop Themes and Presenters
- Promoting Social-Emotional Wellbeing in Young People, with Catherine Graber, MSLS, MAT; Alexis Harris, Ph.D; Aimee Pike, and Nan Silkunas
- Incorporating Science and Nature in Your Summer Programs, with David Grissom (Download David’s Activities Guide here)
- Engaging STEAM Activities for Youth, with Hannah Elliott
Mindfulness and Self-Care for Out-of-School Time Providers, with Broderick Sawyer
BLOCS is always looking for quality Summer Out-of-School Time programs to add to our offerings.
We’re also committed to helping all programs become a BLOCStar program.
Want to be a Summer Learning Provider but not sure how to best qualify? Download the BLOCS’ Summer Learning Playbook
Download the 2017 BLOCS’ Out-of-School Time RFP Application (applications due April 14th)
Thanks to all the organizations who participated in the 2017 Enrichment Vendors’ Fair!
- 55000 Degrees
- Asia Institute-Crane House
- Commonwealth Theater (Walden/Blue Apple)
- Drama By George
- Falls of the Ohio
- Food Literacy Project at Oxmoor Farm
- Frazier Museum
- Looking for Lilith Theatre Company
- Louisville Water Company
- Louisville Free Public Library
- Kentucky Science Center/IMAX
- Mad Science
- My Gym Louisville
- Whet Your Palette
- WUOL Summer Listening
New for 2017! Summer Enrichment Awards available for Summer Learning Summit attendees only! As we mentioned at the Summit, you can use these funds to integrate summer programming from organizations like the ones above. Click here for more info.