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Studies show that “sustained and intensive” professional development (PD) is most effective and that learning alongside one's colleagues maximizes impact. This survey by ChangePD of the professional development needs of nonprofit staff showed that "the least effective forms of PD are the most available." Staff would like PD to focus on the harder topics and would like "More mentoring and coaching" as well as "follow up after the workshop."
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This author, a practitioner-researcher in the youth field, posits that adults who work directly with youth need to be partners in their own development just as they partner with young people to encourage their development. She goes on to write, "A workplace that partners in developing its youth workers actively encourages three things: authentic relationships, emotional safety, and reflective learning." The article provides suggestions for how to create a workplace that provides a model of effective professional development of front-line youth workers.
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This article is a compendium of recommendations for how to engage and retain middle school youth, drawn from youth organizations and intermediaries convened by National Human Services Assembly. The recommendations identify staff and volunteer training and professional development as a key strategy.
This study situates OST workers in the frame that career development literature calls “care workers." OST line staff and site directors were surveyed to collect and quantify factors that led them to be more or less dedicated to their care work. The ﬁndings have implications for staff recruitment, training, and retention and for the institutional and policy development of OST programs.
This study by Public Profit focuses on professional learning communities, and the essential elements that make them successful.
An article that describes how to employ action research strategies with youth workers to improve their program practices.
This articles describes the special support that youth workers who were former participants in afterschool youth programs need as staff. This include training on worker skills, but also the recognition that they need to be provided with positive youth development support as well.
This volume of JELO has an article about creating intentional communities of practitioners in a new model of professional development.
Leap of Faith: A Literature Review on the Effects of Professional Development on Program Quality and Youth Outcomes
A literature review on outcomes of professional development on program quality and youth outcomes. Identifies best practices in professional development.
This article provides guidelines that can help afterschool staff plan for effective professional development by using the the TEARS implementation framework.
This report provides a working definition of professional development in OST, which is professional development includes activities, resources, and supports that help out-of-school time practitioners work with or on behalf of children and youth. The document also identifies types of professional development that falls within this framework.
An article that describes the National Afterschool Matters Practitioner fellowship, a long term professional development opportunity that engages youth practitioners in action research and reflective inquiry.
An article that describes a college course for youth workers and youth practitioners that incorporates action research and reflective practice as part of the curriculum.
This brief by Child Trends presents findings from a study of staff selection in OST, and links these findings to effective strategies for recruiting and selecting frontline staff.
A study by the director of a 21st CCLC to understand how to best address the challenges of hiring and retaining staff at afterschool programs. The author finds presents some recommendations such as hiring staff already working in the school building, encouraging university teaching programs to include internships at OST programs as part of their required coursework, and concentrating scarce professional development resources on full-time staffers rather than part-time workers.
This research brief by Child Trends summarizes the importance of professional development, identifies core competencies for youth workers, highlights professional development training delivery models, and sets forth next steps for professional development that can benefit youth programs.
Staff retention is one of the biggest challenges that OST programs face. This article extracts critical data and findings from studies that show how professional development may create a program climate conducive to effective staff retention.