One of the most exciting things about working for Algorhythm is the opportunity to witness the breadth of the incredible youth development work our products and services support. We’re as committed to continuous learning as you are, and constantly looking for new ways to contribute to our clients’ success. We are especially excited to highlight patterns of growth in social and emotional learning (SEL) for the youth in our system. SEL is the mark of thriving youth, and SEL in young people predicts all kinds of outcomes related not only to education but also health and overall well-being as youth transition to adulthood. Each year, we analyze the data collected by our growing community of more than 300 programs across 20 states, in order to identify organizations and programs supporting exceptional growth in SEL so that we can celebrate their success and highlight fresh insights to support all of us in helping young people to thrive.
Here’s how we did it:
Step 1. Measure Success
In the 2016/2017 school year, we analyzed data from 58 organizations with 150 programs run by hard-working, passionate staff helping more than 4,000 talented youth reach their fullest potential. By using our growing data set and machine learning techniques, we were able to identify how youth grow, accounting for age, grade, gender, ethnicity, and starting place when they entered the program. What we have seen is that typically, young people who enter a program with limited SEL skills demonstrate modest growth, while young people who enter with high scores tend to maintain their skills or grow faster.
Step 2. Identify High-Impact Programs and Organizations
Understanding typical growth helps us to identify programs where youth are developing SEL skills faster than expected – no matter their starting place. This year, we identified four organizations and twenty programs that were having exceptional impacts on the youth they served. These high-impact programs represent the top 15% of programs in our system over the time period studied. High-impact organizations represent the top 5% of organizations. When a single organization is operating multiple HI Impact programs, we know something really special is happening. In these programs there is a culture of ongoing learning and strong values and practices related to positive youth development. In fact, last year, we learned that these organizations were employing staff development strategies that mirrored exceptional youth development practice.
Step 3. Lift Up and Learn from Success, Together.
We are honored to recognize these leaders in the field—leaders we can learn from. We plan to hold a series of in-depth conversations and engage in an ongoing dialogue throughout the next year to figure out what differentiates these programs from the pack. Last year, we recognized these programs and organizations as “Positive Deviants” and worked with them, in conjunction with our partners at Youth INC and NewsCorp, to produce a white paper highlighting the common practices between these groups. We are so proud of The Art and Science of Creating Effective Youth Programs, which continues to be a useful resource to the community, and we hope to build on it. This year, we plan to hold a series of in-depth conversations and engage in ongoing dialogue to build a digital library of field-tested tips and strategies in the form of blog posts, webinars, and more.
In the spirit of collaborative learning, we present the 2018 HI Impact Award winners:
- ASTEP (Artists Striving to End Poverty) (New York, NY)
- Christodora: Nature, Learning, Leadership (New York, NY)
- DREAM (New York, NY)
- The Mayhew Program (Bristol, NH)
- Trail Blazers (New York, NY)
- Queens Community House (Queens, NY)
- Apex For Youth‘s 2016-2017 SONYC Afterschool Programs (New York, NY)
- Fiver Children’s Foundation‘s September 2016 to August 2017 programming (New York, NY)
- Hands In for Youth‘s Summer Camps 2017 (West Milford, NJ)
- MetroLacrosse Inc‘s September 2016 to August 2017 programming (Boston, MA)
- New Heights‘ 2016/2017 STEM Program (Portsmouth, NH)
- NYC Service | Office of the Mayor‘s Youth Leadership Councils (New York, NY)
- Play Rugby USA‘s September 2016 to August 2017 programming (New York, NY; San Francisco, CA; Los Angeles, CA)
- Philadelphia Youth Network‘s PEP 2017 (Philadelphia, PA)
- Spark’s September 2016 to August 2017 programming (Chicago, IL; San Francisco Bay Area, CA; Los Angeles, CA; and Philadelphia, PA)
- Steve’s Camp at Horizon Farms (New York, NY)
- Studio in a School‘s Teen Apprenticeship Program (New York, NY)
- The Community YMCA‘s Achiever Program (Shrewsbury, NJ)
- Triskeles‘s Food For Thought (Exton, PA)