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Community Agency Learning (CAL) Series

The Issue

Because over half (55%) of all California children ages 5 to 14 have both parents or a single parent working at least 30 hours per week, after-school programs are critically needed and play an important role in the lives of many children. The most important factor in the quality of this care, according to the RAND Corporation, is the quality of staff. However, maintaining staff quality is challenging due to factors such as funding uncertainty and short work hours.

Although staff generally do not have teaching credentials, they are increasingly called upon to improve the academic work of low-achieving students. When that happens, traditional teaching methods that have failed the student during the school day are unlikely to succeed in after-school programs.

What Has ANR Done?

The 4-H Youth Development staff in the San Francisco Bay Area developed 17 professional development workshops for after-school program staff: the Community Agency Learning (CAL) Series. These interactive workshops, based on expressed interests and needs and on the latest research information, cover youth development theory, after-school program management and after-school curricula.

The 4-H staff team has trained more than 800 after-school program staff who in turn work with more than 8,000 children in Northern California. A similar program is being developed to serve Southern California communities.

The Payoff

Tests demonstrate increased after-school staff competencies

Following our workshops, after-school staff consistently report improved knowledge and skills in working with children. Each of the workshops is evaluated, using a retrospective pre- and post-test. For example, 17 participants in the workshop titled Working with Challenging Children gave these responses:
--In regard to "ways to change the environment, curriculum/activities, teaching strategies, etc. to improve children’s behaviors”, respondents indicated a 41% improvement in knowledge.
--When asked if they “understand that staff has the strongest influence on children’s behavior”, respondents indicated 28% improvement.
--In regard to having “a rough plan to improve children’s behavior”, respondents indicated 67% improvement.

Clientele Testimonial

“Excellent presentation to enhance teaching style and techniques. Keep up the great job!”
“I thoroughly enjoyed everything. What great training!”


Supporting Unit: After-School Workgroup:
Education, Enrichment, Research

Faye C.H. Lee, Ed.D., UCCE, San Francisco County, 300 Piedmont Ave. Rm. 227, San Bruno, CA 94066
(650)871-7559 fhlee@ucdavis.edu