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.
Program Quality Assessment Tool
INTRODUCTION TO THE SEL PQA
Welcome to the Social and Emotional
Learning PQA Tool! The Social
and Emotional Learning Program Quality
Assessment (SEL PQA) is an efficient and
reliable observational tool for assessing practices
that support social and emotional learning (SEL). It
builds upon the research-validated Youth PQA, over
ten years of observational measure developments,
research from positive youth development and the
science of learning, and lessons learned through the
SEL Challenge study that was funded by the Susan
High-quality programs can create the settings and
experiences where young people learn the social
and emotional skills they need to succeed in life.
Intentionality in adult practices, including both adult
behaviors (e.g., modeling appropriate use of emotion)
and in designing program structures, activities, and
routines that introduce and reinforce SEL development
are critical to this learning. The SEL PQA consists of four
domains and ten theoretically-derived scales that indicate
these adult practices. It has 41 items and focuses
on observable practices at the point-of-service, or the
place where young people interact with each other,
adults and their environment.
The four domains are:
Safe Space—This focuses on practices that create a
positive emotional climate. Adults convey warmth,
respect, and incorporate a positive behavior
management style. Adults create supports for a safe
space where adults and young people are mutually
accountable to each other.
Supportive Environment—This focuses on
practices where adults support young people by
scaffolding learning through modeling skills and
providing encouragement and opportunities for
managing their emotions and fostering a growth
Interactive Environment—This focuses on practices
that create an ideal social environment for
young people. Adults focus on fostering teamwork
and promoting responsibility and leadership
among young people. Adults provide opportunities
for young people to accept, value, and support
each other’s diverse perspectives and experiences.
Engaging Environment—This focuses on practices
that give young people opportunities to extend their
knowledge and experience a sense of belonging,
which prepares them to assert agency over their own
learning through planning and goal setting.
Becoming an External Assessor
External assessments are an integral part of the SEL PQI system. They give partners that offer out-of-school-time programming objective performance feedback on the quality of the services they provide for youth. This is the first step in improving their programs and providing support for them to deliver social-emotional learning opportunities for the students. Data from these programs demonstrates that this process works and that young people who attend high-quality programs perform better in school.
The website for Scores Reporter is https://portal.cypq.org/.
Once on the site, you will enter your Username (it is usually your email address) and your password that should have been sent to you from Weikart in an email. If for any reason you do not have the password, you may click on the “forgot your password option.” You will login and a screen will come up that says “Welcome to the CYPQ Online Portal.” You will have the option to click on Scores Reporter on the left side of the screen. You will select “New Entry” the first time you access the system. If you start on an assessment and have to come back to it, you will select “Saved Entry.”
External Assessor Recruitment
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 SEL 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 [email protected].
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 Social Emotional Learning Program Quality Assessment (SEL PQA) and Staff Rating of Youth Behavior (SRYB).
Youth Program Quality Intervention (YPQI)
The Youth Program Quality Intervention (YPQI) is a comprehensive
system for improving the quality of youth programs. The YPQI
involves a three-part approach to program quality: the assessplan-
improve sequence as shown below. This sequence begins
with assessment in order to identify both youth workers’ existing
strengths and areas for improvement. These areas then become
goals in an improvement plan, with clear steps and benchmarks
for success. To manage improvement, the Weikart Center also
provides powerful supports for leaders and the high quality Youth
Work Methods series of workshops for staff.
As a whole, the assess-plan-improve sequence establishes a
supportive system for continuous improvement.
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.
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:
Social Justice Youth Development Certificate