New Learning Collaborative: Parent Engagement

Sometimes the only thing harder than being a parent, is engaging a parent.

In response to the feedback we’ve gotten through conversations and the needs assessment, we will soon begin a learning collaborative around parent engagement and parent education workshops. We’ll discuss best practices and what the most recent research tells us.  We’ll also ask you, the practitioners, what has worked, what hasn’t worked, and what you think the most obvious challenges are,  and we’ll dive into what some of the hidden challenges may be.

Open to both Health Educator Supervisors and Educators, this learning collaborative will meet every other week for an hour via a Zoom meeting, over the course of several weeks. If we get a large response, we may limit the amount of participants–we really want folks who are going to participate and, well, be engaged.

At the end, participants will create a topics and tips sheet to share with the rest of the CAPP and PREP providers.

Our first meeting will take place Thursday, May 3rd, at 1pm. During that initial meeting, I’ll poll the group to see what day/time work best and go with whatever works for the majority of people. A link to register will be emailed out early next week, so be on the lookout for it!

Looking forward to talking more about this with you!

 – Heather

How Are You Using Incentives?

We asked Jessie Moore, Director of Sexuality Education at Planned Parenthood Mid-Hudson Valley, to talk about her experience trying out different incentives. Let us know in the comments what works and doesn’t work for your program, too!

Our CAPP program has been offering $25 gift cards for 100% completion and $10 gift cards for 75% program completion as EBP incentives. The only problem is that it isn’t often that we are giving out the $10 ones and purchasing them becomes a hassle. What are others doing? Only giving an incentive for 100%? Giving $25 for 75-100% completion? Just curious. We’re thinking about getting rid of the $10 card all together.

Also, this might be useful for some. We have found that using generic gift cards for stores like Walmart or Target was not as successful. When we have chosen to promote sneakers (Finish Line or Foot Locker), teen girl fashion (Forever 21), or video games (GameStop), we see an increase in interest. Going after gamers opened an entirely untapped audience for us!

You can now find the Incentives Guidance (Word) from DOH at the bottom of the EBP Implementation page.

  – Jessie Moore

 

Getting More from Your Kindle

We invited Gilbert Wu, Health Educator Supervisor at the Chinese-American Planning Council, to share his ideas on using Kindles creatively. Thank you, Gilbert! We’d love to hear your ideas, too–please share them in the comments.

Our PREP program requires that all entry and exit surveys be distributed to the participants during the start and finish of an EBP. The amazing thing is that the surveys can be answered through the use of Amazon Kindle Fires. However, when we were finished with using the Kindles we would just pack the Kindles away until the next use.

Kindles are Under-Utilized

We thought about how we have such a great resource but it is extremely underused. We can definitely make more use of the Kindles other than just data collection. Rather than having the Kindles stored away only for survey use, we can try to find ways to use them during our lessons. The participants can get to experience different kinds of learning styles with the Kindles; we just have to take advantage of the valuable technology we have right now. Therefore we decided to be resourceful by utilizing the Kindles in our lessons whenever we possibly can.

Getting Birth Control Information

One way we use the Kindles involves an adaptation to the birth control activity. In our adaptation, we have the participants research the information online instead of just listening to a lecture. When we unlock the Silk browser app, this lets the participants go online to look up the information about birth control. We have the participants read out to each other the answers that they have found, and the educators make sure the key information is shared. This helps create an environment where we can reassure that the information is correct and at the same time help the participants learn through their own gathering of information.

Adult Preparation Activities

We use the Kindles in our adulthood preparation workshops as well. In our financial literacy workshop “Budgeting to live on your own,” we utilize the Kindles by having the participants search for furnishing costs. The students are presented a scenario where there is a monthly income budget and need to pair up as roommates in order to live on their own. This group activity involves the participants keeping a budget while searching the cost of furnishing a room. They use the web browser to search for their preferred retailers, researching their best cost-effective methods for living realistically and comfortably. The possibilities of Kindle use can be endless, and it can go further as long as we are creative about the uses of Kindles.

Handle with Care!

Of course we have to take care of the Kindles as well. We have to ensure that they are all fully charged, functioning, and able to connect to a working internet connection, and we make sure that the parental controls are working. With the frequent use of the Kindles, we have to be handle them carefully to be sure that the precious equipment is working. We also have to take measures to ensure that they have covers for protection.

So I recommend to those who have the Kindles to take advantage of their versatility and to make full use when possible. We live in a modern age where our youth are constantly learning through the use of technology and this is a chance to provide that kind of experience. Best of luck to everyone!

  – Gilbert Wu

Online Learning Collaboratives – Let’s dig a bit deeper!

From time to time many of you have told us that you appreciate our training offerings but you wish that there were more opportunities to delve deeper into subject matters. Experienced providers are looking for more advanced training, but also new educators and supervisors express the need for in-depth training. It has been challenging to chart training opportunities for an initiative that involves professionals with a wide range of expertise and experience.

We would like to tackle this dilemma by introducing Learning Collaboratives. What distinguishes these Collaboratives from our monthly webinars? Learning Collaboratives are interest groups that come together to:

  • accomplish clearly articulated objectives and goals in a particular subject area
  • learn cooperatively by articulating their needs, sharing their expertise, and jointly exploring new strategies and practices

Logistics

Participation is voluntary. You join if you are interested in the subject matter the Learning Collaborative will explore. Participants are actively engaged and committed to doing some extra work such as researching information and resources. Learning Collaboratives meet on a regular basis for a limited time period; for example, the collaborative might meet every other week over three months. Each Learning Collaborative will work out their own schedule. ACT for Youth will facilitate the meetings and provide support.

Benefits

Participants will post challenges, share strategies and practices, and engage in cooperative learning. There is great potential for developing new resources and tools that we can archive on the website and make accessible to the whole initiative.

Start up: February 27, 2018

We would like to focus the first Learning Collaborative on supervisors. Many Health Educator Supervisors have expressed challenges and questions about the responsibilities and tasks of supervisors. To mention just a few potential topics: Hiring and orienting new educators, retaining staff, handling personality conflicts, supervision, negotiating with subcontractors, community outreach… and any other topic you would like to tackle in this area.

Stay tuned for a special invitation with registration information.

Looking Ahead

We are planning a few other Learning Collaboratives focusing on:

  • Parent education and engagement
  • Professional development needs of experienced educators

We would love to hear what you think about this approach. Any suggestions or comments? Is there another topic you would like to dive into with your CAPP or PREP colleagues?

  – Jutta

Educators: Are You Certified?

CHES© and MCHES©, or Certified Health Education Specialist and Masters of Certified Health Education Specialist, are national and international certifications for health educators. CHES is for entry-level health educators and MCHES is designed for specialists with at least five years of experience. These certifications are offered by the nonprofit organization National Commission for Health Education Credentialing (NCHEC), whose mission is to “enhance the professional practice of Health Education by promoting and sustaining a credentialed body of Health Education Specialists.”

To become certified, one must pass an examination that assesses one’s competence in the possession, application, and interpretation of Seven Areas of Responsibility:

Area I: Assess Needs, Resources, and Capacity for Health Education/Promotion
Area II: Plan Health Education/Promotion
Area III: Implement Health Education/Promotion
Area IV: Conduct Evaluation and Research Related to Health Education/Promotion
Area V: Administer and Manage Health Education/Promotion
Area VI: Serve as a Health Education/Promotion Resource Person
Area VII. Communicate, Promote, and Advocate for Health, Health Education/Promotion, and the Profession

Once certified, one must pay an annual $55 renewal fee and obtain 75 continuing education contact hours every five years for recertification.

Who is eligible?

Basic requirements to be eligible for the exam include:

  • Official transcript clearly showing health education major

OR

  • Official transcript reflecting at least 25 semester hours or 37 quarter hours with specific preparation addressing the Seven Areas of Responsibility and Competency for Health Education Specialists.

Should I become certified?

This national credential lets others know that you have competencies beyond just a degree. You understand the responsibility and accountability in being a high quality health educator. Certification can be appealing to employers looking for health education experts and may be required for some careers in the field.

How can I become certified?

Exams are offered biannually in April and October. Check out the NCHEC exam overview  for more information on registering for the next exam!

ACT for Youth now offers contact hours

ACT for Youth has recently become a Designated Provider of continuing education contact hours with NCHEC. This means we can now help those of you who are already certified get those 75 credit hours! Any webinar or training we offer that addresses at least one of the Areas of Responsibility will be eligible for contact hours (don’t worry – we will make it clear if a webinar or training does not qualify). If you attend and successfully complete these events, you will need to get in touch with me (mas597@cornell.edu) as soon as possible to receive a special evaluation form to be completed. Once we’ve received your evaluation form, we will submit it to NCHEC for you. We are excited to be able to offer this new service to help further your career as a certified health educator!

Divine Sebuharara  – Divine Sebuharara, MS, CHES

Unexpected Situations! What’s an Educator to Do?

So, you’ve gone to all of the ACT Training of Educators, you’ve taken the online implementation training, you’ve even gone to a training on facilitation, but what if the “WHAT IF” happens?  We train educators how to deal with sensitive questions, but what about dealing with sensitive situations that come up in your programs?

Picture this scenario.  While implementing your program in a typical classroom setting, you’re facilitating a module that includes a game centered around STDs.  It’s one of the more engaging activities and participants usually have a lot of fun doing it, but this time, one of the students gets really upset and begins to get teary.  What do you do?

As educators, we can never really plan for EVERYTHING, but we try to be as prepared as possible.  In the case of this scenario, having a participant cry during the session can really rattle an educator, but it’s important to remember that we’re dealing with issues that can bring up a lot for people.  A strategy for dealing with issues like these is to put that out there up front.  Let participants know at the beginning of the cycle what you will be covering, and be explicit.  They may not know when you will cover a particular topic, but at least they know what to expect.

Also, let them know about the different strategies that you’ll be using.  Inform them from the start that there will be role plays involved, but the decision to participate as an actor is completely voluntary.  There will be games involved, but it doesn’t mean that the program or you, as the educator, think topics like HIV/AIDS or negotiating sex are funny or don’t take them seriously.

Without putting them on the spot, check in with them, ask if they’re OK or if they need to take a break (possibly step out of the class/group setting).  This will require you to find out the policy of the school/agency regarding students’ leaving the room.  It’s also helpful if you have another adult in the class (a co-facilitator, teacher, etc.) who can support you so that you can tend to the class and they can assist with the student.  Also, note that checking in with them may require a longer conversation and possibly disclosure of a bigger issue.  Be aware of who the social worker, counselor, or on-site support is, if needed.

Lastly, self-care is important.  Remind them that your workshop is a safe space.  You have to go over all of the material, but if something being discussed is too much for them or hits too close to home, let participants know that they can do whatever is necessary to take care of their needs.  Make sure to give them examples (e.g. step out, take a water break, mentally check out, write/doodle/draw in their notebooks, etc.)

This was one example of a challenging or sensitive situation that may arise, but I’m sure there are many more.  What are some examples you have from the field of difficult situations that have arisen in your programs, and how have you dealt with them?

  – Michele

Completing the Biannual Report

The Biannual Report (BAR) form is now available through the online reporting system (ORS)! This form requests the same information you sent in during the last reporting period, but it’s in a new format – everything is submitted through the ORS.

A few things to know

  • The current report is due January 30 and includes the period July 1 – December 31, 2017
  • Only CAPP/PREP Health Educator Supervisors can access the BAR through the ORS
  • Draft descriptive responses in an offline text editor (like Microsoft Word) and then copy/paste your responses into the online BAR

Demos

We’ve created some short videos to demonstrate how to access and complete the BAR through the ORS.

Demo: CAPP Components 1 and 2 – Biannual Report


Demo: CAPP Component 1 Only – Biannual Report


Demo: PREP – Biannual Report

 Have questions?

  • For content questions, reach out to your DOH Program Advisor
  • For technical questions, contact me at ald17@cornell.edu

  – Mandy

 

Educators: How confident are you with sex ed content?

How much do you know about the menstrual cycle and fertility? How about the way different contraceptives work? Do you know how the major STDs affect the body? Can you explain the difference between sex and gender? Many CAPP and PREP projects are based in organizations that do not specialize in human sexuality. If you are not sure that you could comfortably and confidently answer a wide range of questions on sexual health, you may want to take advantage of the many resources available for your professional development.

Assessment

Self-assessment is an excellent place to start. Healthy Teen Network has developed a self-assessment tool (PDF) for sexual health educators, much of it focused on content. Rate yourself so that you have a good sense of where your weaker areas are – the content areas where you could use a booster.

In-Person Training

Planned Parenthood of NYC Training Institute
A wide variety of topics are offered in PPNYC’s Training Institute. Continuing education contact hours, including Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) contact hours, are available at no additional cost. Your local Planned Parenthood affiliate may also be able to provide in-service training.

National Sex Ed Conference
Sponsored by the Center for Sex Education, this annual conference offers workshops for new and seasoned sex education professionals. (Were you there last week? Tell us how it was!)

CAI (Cicatelli Associates Inc.)
CAI is a training center for NYS DOH AIDS Institute.

Online Training and Webinars

Answer (Rutgers University)
Answer offers online training and capacity building for sex education professionals, including topics such as “Sexuality ABCs” and “Sexual Anatomy and Response,” among many others.

CAPP and PREP Webinars
Find recorded webinars here. Remember to check the CAPP and PREP Training Calendar for upcoming webinars.

Cardea eLearning Courses
While Cardea’s online courses are primarily for clinicians, educators may find value in courses such as “Family Planning Basics,” “Gender Diversity 101,” and “STD 101.”

Office of Adolescent Health: Online Learning Modules
OAH offers several online learning opportunities for organizations in the teen pregnancy prevention and expecting and parenting teen fields, including “Talking with Teens about Reproductive Health” and “Adolescent Development.”

Brushing Up: Brief Reading and Videos

For a more comprehensive list, download the Directory of Professional Development Opportunities in Sexuality Education (Word) from Future of Sex Ed.

Recommendations?

If you have resources to suggest, please comment (or you can email me directly at ks548@cornell.edu).

 

Karen Schantz   – Karen

ORS Reminders

With the increasing volume of cycles these past few months, we thought this was a good time to share some reminders about common issues we’ve noticed when reviewing entries in the online reporting system. In this post we clarify exactly what counts as a session, and review the process for adding participants after a cycle is already underway.

What exactly is a session?

A single date is a single session, even if you cover more than one module. Keep in mind that a session is defined by date, but it can include multiple modules and activities. So, even if you cover more than one module, or parts of more than one module, on a single day, it is considered one session.

Why it matters: Showing multiple sessions for a single date will artificially inflate the number of sessions required to complete a cycle. We need accurate information in order to diagnose problems correctly (for example, attendance drop off).

We have modified the ORS so it will no longer allow you to create 2 sessions with the same date in a single cycle.

When and how should a participant be added after a cycle has already started?

Add new participants (those who join after the first session) to the cycle before you record the first session they attended. Keep in mind information should be added to the ORS on a rolling basis; the order in which you enter information should reflect what happened in the cycle.

Why it matters: Entering information about a participant in any other way will negatively affect your attendance rate because the system will not reflect the total number of participants correctly.

To add information about a new participant:

  1. Before entering the session data, go to “Update an existing EBP cycle”
  2. Select “Add a new participant”
  3. Select the cycle the participant should be added to
  4. Fill out the demographic information (note: don’t check the “attended” box for the session dates listed, because the participant did not attend those sessions)
  5. Hit save

Next go to “Update an existing EBP cycle,” then “Record a session,” and select the cycle.  Now you can enter information about the specific session.

Overall we are very impressed by how well entries into the ORS are going. We just thought we’d send a few reminders before you submit all the cycles started this academic year. Please reach out to your evaluation support team member with any questions!

   – Jenny

Farewell, Beth

As you’ve heard by now, Beth Mastro — trainer and TA provider extraordinaire — will not be returning to ACT for Youth. Beth, we will miss you so much! You make everything more fun. You took on tough projects. You are a true collaborator with a wise voice. And then there’s karaoke…

Please stay in touch!