The Silicon Valley Out-of-School-Time Collaborative is a capacity-building initiative, including eight youth development organizations and four funders in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties. Each of the organizations serve secondary-aged students outside the formal school day through a variety of academic supports, including tutoring, academic advising and summer enrichment programs. Between 2014-16, the Collaborative sought to build the non-cognitive skills of the youth they serve.
Nurturing Social-Emotional Learning in Out-of-School-Time
Collaborative members participated in a Professional Learning Community, training and coaching in developing non-cognitive skills, and capacity building around evaluation. The Collaborative researched and selected off the shelf curricula for use in their programs; four member agencies developed their own approach in the second program cycle.
The Question: Can social-emotional learning be intentionally taught and measured?
The Collaborative wanted to know whether participating organizations were successful in establishing a strong learning context, training staff to implement research-based curricula, and helping youth build specific non-cognitive skills. Would sustained, intentional focus on non-cognitive skill building within out-of-school time programs result in measurable gains for participating youth?
The Process: Assessing effectiveness and documenting lessons learned
Public Profit used a host of tools to evaluate the effectiveness of the initiative and to gather Collaborative members’ reflections and lessons learned. We used the Youth Program Quality Assessment Tool; created staff surveys; aligned specific scales of the Holistic Student Assessment to the Collaborative’s three focal non-cognitive skills; analyzed member reports; and observed staff practice.
The Outcome: Members shifted practice; youth showed significant growth
Our evaluation showed that young people built non-cognitive skills in the three focal areas: Academic Mindsets, Learning Strategies and Social Skills. Collaborative member agencies increased their ability to support young people’s non-cognitive skill development, and they have concrete plans to continue along this path. Collaborative funders have a deeper understanding of what it takes to support a complex, multi-member initiative, and the time and resources required to see systemic change.