A huge thank you is in order to the 60 BPS educators, principals, school administrators, and their community partners who spent a snowy Friday with us last week at the Advancing Quality Partnerships (AQP) Winter Institute. It was wonderful to see such collaboration and dedication to improving youth outcomes, both academic and social-emotional.The eight BPS schools represented by these tireless educators– Dearborn 6-12 STEM School, Sarah Greenwood K-8 School, Joseph Lee K-8 School, Mather Elementary School, McCormack Middle School, Orchard Gardens K-8 School, Trotter Elementary School, and UP Academy Dorchester– make up the Advancing Quality Partnerships (AQP) cohort. AQP is a joint initiative of the Barr Foundation, Boston Public Schools, and Boston After School & Beyond to redesign the school experience in order to holistically educate every child. This initiative relies on measurements of students’ academic and social-emotional skills to serve as a common language between schools and their partners, allowing them to align their goals for youth development and measure their success in meeting them.
We would also like to thank the researchers and presenters who helped make the Institute so productive. The National Institute on Out-of-School Time gave us an overview of where partner-run programs’ strengths lie, as well as baseline measures of students’ skills such as engagement in learning and building relationships; the Program in Education, Afterschool, & Resiliency led a workshop on how to use existing programs, activities, and structures within the school to support students who are struggling to develop specific social-emotional skills; and Jon Sproul from the BPS Office of Institutional Advancement and Partnerships led us through the process of developing a Quality School Plan that leverages community partners and addresses students’ social-emotional needs. And finally, we would like to express our gratitude to the Barr Foundation for investing in this work– we look forward to shifting our focus from analysis to design at our next AQP Institute in August.
Ellen Dickenson, Partnership Manager
Boston After School & Beyond