Boston After School & Beyond (BASB) uses its unique position as an intermediary to provide research-backed and data-informed professional development for program improvement. We do this in five ways:
- Data Debriefs: At the end of the school year or the summer, all program partners in BASB’s network are invited to review network-wide data trends and dive into their own program quality data. Past data debriefs include our 2017 Summer Celebration, and the 2016-2017 School Year Debrief.
- Initiative-Based: BASB has specific initiatives that bring groups of partners together with a common focus, including TEEN on college and career readiness skills badging, BoSTEM on increased interest and engagement in science, technology, engineering, and math in middle school students, or Partnerships for Social and Emotional Learning Initiative on aligned social and emotional learning opportunities for elementary students. These initiatives offer their partners access to professional development on their topic of interest. Past offerings have included an Intrepid event, Defined STEM Training, and SEL Circle offerings.
- Skill-Based: BASB also offers professional development sessions on specific skills of interest within the ACT Skills Framework, often informed by research and designed to provide practical recommendations for program practice. Past offerings have included sessions at the 2017 ACT Skills Summit on the Achieve, Connect, Thrive domains, as well as upcoming sessions at the 2018 ACT Skills Summit focused on Critical Thinking, Teamwork, and Growth Mindset.
- Observer Certification: BASB provides an opportunity for staff from every program partner to be trained as a Certified Observer. Becoming a Certified Observer involves training with the National Institute on Out-of-School Time (NIOST) to learn the Assessment of Program Practices Tool (APT), an observation tool created by NIOST and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. This two-day training involves a group site visit, where trainees and a NIOST Master Observer practice using the tool at an after-school or summer program. Following the two-day training, trainees participate in a tandem site visit with a NIOST Master Observer to ensure inter-rater reliability. Once trainees demonstrate inter-rater reliability, they become a Certified Observer who conducts observations during the year for other programs in the network.
Current participants say that being a part of this citywide network builds capacity in their organizations to incorporate best-in-class program performance practices by using valid and reliable measurement tools, facilitates an opportunity to learn from a diverse network of programs, and provides professional development and networking opportunities with peers from other organizations.
- Other Topics: BASB also hosts professional development sessions based on the demand and interest of program partners. Past sessions have included Maximizing Summer Attendance, Communicating Data to External Audiences, and Partner Feedback Sessions.
For upcoming professional developments, see the Boston After School & Beyond events calendar.