In addition to our current priorities, we translate community needs to policymakers and connect low-income communities to resources through the following policy development and advocacy:
California’s major changes in school financing and accountability systems under the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) provide school districts and communities unprecedented new opportunities to invest at the local level in strategies that promote equity and boost student success. We believe that schools cannot close the achievement and opportunity gap without investing in after school and year-round learning, and in the systems that enable our most vulnerable students to receive the range of services they need. We are working with school districts and community partners to seize the opportunity provided by LCFF to reinvent and reinvest in expanded learning programs and community school partnerships. These strategies are proven to have impact on the policy priorities outlined in LCFF, by allowing districts to target resources to higher need student populations and use those resources more efficiently..
For more information on the LCFF:
Common Core State Standards
California schools have a unique opportunity to strategically partner with expanded learning programs to support students’ learning, growth, and success; and to ensure the success of their own efforts to implement the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). These expanded learning programs offer students and schools an array of unique resources, including the most valuable one – time. Expanded learning programs can effectively support the implementation of new content standards and hands-on instructional strategies. Quality programs use project-based curriculum, small class sizes and multiple grouping strategies to build the types of communication, critical thinking, and collaborative skills required by the CCSS. We are working to encourage increased coherence and coordination – see Time Well Spent report – between school day and expanded learning strategies. Together we can foster the cognitive, social and emotional skill sets that will set our youth on the path for the brightest of futures.
For more information on CCSS:
Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)
Signed in December 2015, ESSA reauthorizes the Education and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). PCY is pleased that the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) program remained a focused funding stream for expanded learning programs in low-income communities, and has received a small funding increase. PCY is a leader in a coalition of program providers and advocates across the nation promoting specific improvements to the 21st CCLC program, including the addition of stronger language on the importance of community partners working together with schools and the critical role of intermediaries in maximizing resources and supporting program quality.
Linked Learning and 21st Century Skills
PCY cosponsored AB 547 (2013); a bill to align funding requirements for the 21st Century High School After School Safety and Enrichment for Teens (ASSETs) Programs with the real needs of high school students by including college and career readiness activities – something many expanded learning programs already recognize as key to high-quality programming. AB 547 passed the Assembly and Senate with broad bipartisan support and was signed by Governor Brown.
California Department of Education (CDE)
PCY’s Jennifer Peck and Katie Brackenridge, are committee members of the CDE’s After School Division Strategic Implementation Teams, which serves to build on the collaborative work between the ASD staff and the field for strategic planning. The teams work to create alignment both within CDE and with external stakeholders towards a common vision.
Additionally, Executive Director Jennifer Peck served as Director of the State Superintendent’s Transition Advisory Team in 2011. The Transition Team provided strategic advice on key issues impacting California students, schools, school districts and the California Department of Education. She continues to serve as an advisor to the Superintendent on after school and summer programs, as well as on community schools.
California Afterschool Advocacy Alliance (CA3)
PCY is a founding member of CA3, an alliance of organizations that are: (1) dedicated to promoting legislative and administrative policies that enhance the quality and accessibility of after-school programs in California, including the protection of funding for the state’s After School Education and Safety Program; and (2) actively engaged and/or represented in the California State Capitol.
California Afterschool Network (CAN)
PCY is a member of CAN’s advisory board, an advocacy network whose mission is to provide expanded learning time practitioners, advocates, and community members with the resources and tools necessary to build high quality expanded learning programs in California. Katie Brackenridge serves as co-chair for CAN’s Quality Committee. Senior Policy Director, Jessica Gunderson, serves on the Executive Team, Leadership Council, and as chair of the Policy Committee.
Every Hour Counts
PCY is a member of Every Hour Counts, a coalition of leading expanded learning intermediary organizations representing cities and regions across the country that are building expanded learning systems. Its mission is to expand the availability of high-quality learning opportunities, including after-school and summer, which help children gain the skills, knowledge and experiences they need to lead successful lives.
Coalition for Community Schools
PCY serves on the advisory board for the Coalition for Community Schools, an alliance of national, state and local organizations to create opportunities for the success of children, families, and communities by promoting the development of more, and more effective, community schools.
We believe expanded learning opportunities support a variety of academically enriching, engaging, hands-on learning opportunities that complement, but differ from school day instruction – and that these services should be delivered jointly by non-profits and schools during the times after school, before school, and in the summer.