The time for CAPP observations has come!

Some of you may remember that ACT for Youth used to set up visits to observe CAPP educators implementing a module of their evidence-based program. The main goal of observations was to assess the quality of program facilitation. We have not done CAPP observations yet in this new funding cycle. But as before, the grant requires ACT for Youth to do one observation per project within the funding cycle. Since you are in year 3, the time has come to start scheduling observations.

Currently, PREP providers are used to annual observation visits by ACT for Youth. And so are the providers who implement TOP. In their case it is part of the licensing requirements set by Wyman.

What can you expect?

The TA/Evaluation support teams will contact Health Educator Supervisors to schedule an observation visit. We will ask you about dates and times of current EBP cycles. We usually avoid observing the first and last sessions. We will negotiate the best time with you and your educator and work out the logistics (meeting time, place, etc.). We will use the facilitator observation form that is available on the Observation Protocols and Tools page.

What happens afterwards?

After the observation we will be available for some immediate feedback. Two days after the observation we will send the observation report to the Health Educator Supervisor and the DOH Program Advisor. If the report indicates the need for facilitation improvement, we will be available to provide support and guidance.

Next steps

We will start contacting Health Educator Supervisors to schedule observations before schools let out. Obviously we won’t be able to do all of the CAPP projects this year. Some of you will hear from us in the fall or next year. If you have any questions please let us know.

~ Jutta

ACT for Youth TA/Evaluation Support Team: Michele, Jenny, Marisol, Jutta, Mandy, Brian, and Heather
ACT for Youth TA/Evaluation Support Team:
Michele, Jenny, Marisol, Jutta, Mandy, Brian, and Heather

The Learning Collaborative for Supervisors Is Starting Up Again!

Last year we held a series of meetings for supervisors to explore their responsibilities and tasks. We discussed challenges and best practices, and many of you shared your own experiences, challenges, and effective strategies. We covered a range of topics such as new educator orientation and professional development, team management, handling personality conflicts, community outreach, and recruiting new sites.

New supervisors have joined the ranks of CAPP and PREP since then. We would like to start up a new series of online learning collaborative meetings for supervisors in April. Following last year’s model we’ll start with an overview of effective supervisory strategies for CAPP and PREP. Next we will identify issues supervisors are interested in, and based on those interests we will offer monthly meetings via Zoom, providing best practice strategies and an opportunity for supervisors to learn from each other.

Learning Collaboratives work best if we have a diverse group of people involved, from supervisors new on the job to very experienced and seasoned supervisors.

Please join us for the first Supervisor Learning Collaborative Meeting on April 22 at 1:00PM. Stay tuned! Registration and additional information will follow soon.

Jutta Dotterweich

~ Jutta

Training Events for 2019

Have you noticed that the CAPP and PREP training calendar for 2019 is posted on the website? If not, take a look!

If you are a Health Educator Supervisor the training calendar will assist you in planning professional development for your educators, in particular newly hired educators. Keep in mind which trainings are mandatory and which ones are recommended. (You can find that on Working with ACT for Youth — scroll down to the table.)

A few gaps…

One mandatory training, the Training of Educators for Project AIM, still needs to be confirmed. Most likely it will be offered in May. A few webinars are still under development as well. We will update the calendar as soon as possible. Not listed are learning community meetings such as the ones for the Supervisor Learning Collaborative or Component 2 Providers.  We will send separate notices for these events.

Exciting News!

We are developing a couple of new workshops this year:

  • Gender and Sexuality
  • Creating Inclusive Program Environments for Youth with Different Abilities

ORS drop-in sessions are new as well. The evaluation team has scheduled quarterly drop-in web sessions for folks who have questions about online reporting system and/or want to fine-tune their skills using the ORS.

Registration Changes

As usual we will send out registration notices a month prior to workshops and trainings. We will be moving towards an online registration process. Stay tuned for that.

We are looking forward to a productive 2019 training year!

Jutta Dotterweich

— Jutta

How are we doing?

As you know, we at ACT for Youth love to evaluate things and collect data. We are very interested in finding out what you are doing and how you are doing it.

Now we want to flip these questions and ask: How are we doing? Are we helpful? How can we be more helpful? Some of you may remember that a few years ago in first round of CAPP we asked you questions like that to evaluate our center and services. This time we have a slightly different plan.

Trainings first!

We have changed our training feedback form, as you may have noticed. We are asking a few different questions, mostly trying to gauge how well training content and resources can be applied to your work. Thank you all for filling out these open-ended questions.

Over the next few months we will contact participants of our core trainings–Training of Educators, Facilitation Fundamentals, Supervisor Training, Teaching Anatomy and Reproduction, and PYD 101–and conduct a brief interview to see if the trainings have been effective in enhancing your capacity to deliver evidence-based programs and meet other CAPP and PREP objectives.

Technical Assistance next!

Next year we will focus on assessing our TA approach. We are still developing ideas and approaches on how to do that. If you have any suggestions, please let us know.

In the meantime, we hope you will provide us with BRUTALLY HONEST and constructive feedback.


– Jutta

Welcome, Marisol!

Marisol De Leon on zip line
Marisol gets a flying start

I’m delighted to announce that Marisol De Leon is joining the ACT for Youth Training and Technical Assistance team! A talented trainer with deep knowledge, Marisol comes to us with an extensive portfolio in the fields of positive youth development and adolescent sexual health. From designing an HIV prevention curriculum at the Hetrick-Martin Institute way back in 2004, to educating 10,000 NYC middle and high school students about reproductive health during her years at the Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center, to serving as the CAPP Coordinator, among other roles, at DREAM (formerly Harlem RBI) – Marisol has done it all. She is also bilingual in English and Spanish. Total number of students educated over her career so far? Upwards of 18,000.

Marisol will be based in New York City with Michele Luc and Sara Birnel Henderson at Cornell University Cooperative Extension of NYC. She can be reached at:

Please join me in welcoming Marisol!


– Jutta

How do you deal with staff turnover?

In our experience of CAPP and PREP, staff turnover happens frequently. Educators may stay for a year or less and move on to other positions. We also see Health Educator Supervisors move on to other jobs, although this occurs less frequently.

This dilemma leads me to ask…

What strategies have you used to prevent educator turnover? Not all projects experience frequent staff turnover. Since increasing salaries is usually not an option, I am especially interested in finding out what practices  you have found to be effective in keeping educators engaged and motivated to stay on the job.

What strategies do you use to screen potential candidates? How do you find the best candidate for the job, a candidate with some staying power?

What do you do to prepare and onboard new educators and supervisors to the CAPP and PREP project? I think many projects would love to hear about your experiences and effective practices. Please share your ideas by commenting on this post.


Remember the CAPP and PREP Toolkits? Last year we put together toolkits for CAPP and PREP Supervisors with in order to create an institutional memory about the project, its purpose and goals, and key implementation strategies. Our hope was that it would help orient new staff to the project. Toolkit binders were distributed to each project at Provider Day—it may be somewhere in your office right now! We recently updated the CAPP and PREP Toolkits and made them available on the ACT website. Browse the list—you may find a new resource, or one you had forgotten.


– Jutta

EBPs in School Classrooms: Have you encountered any special challenges?

Most of you deliver evidence-based programs in school classrooms, often in health education classes. I am interested in exploring to what degree you encounter behavior challenges during programming. As I have heard from many of you, classroom management can be an issue. Naturally, classroom behavior can be impacted by many external factors such as the structure and control provided by the regular teacher, as well as school climate and organization–but sometimes the issues may arise from personal challenges that students are facing.

I would like to hear from you how often you think you have students in the class who are not participating or engaging because of special needs. Students who are very withdrawn or anxious, struggle with impulse control and attention, or have a tough time comprehending specific program activities may be coping with disabilities. Is this a common occurrence outside of special education classes? And what specific behavior challenges do you experience?

Depending on your responses, we may want to form a learning collaborative that could take a stab at developing strategies and adaptations to enable these students to participate and engage.

What has your experience been? Let us know in the comments.

  – Jutta

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


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.


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

How Effective Is Peer Education?

I have been struggling with this question for a while. From a positive youth development perspective, I totally support peer education as a way of engaging young people in meaningful ways and giving them a voice. But if I look at peer education as a strategy to affect behavior change in other young people, in particular with regard to sexual health behavior, I am not so certain that this is creating the positive outcomes we want to see.

In a recent Research Facts and Findings, we took a look at the research on the effects of peer education in the area of sexual health. We see different outcomes for peer educators and for the young people they are engaging and trying to educate. Basically, the research to date reports a range of benefits for young people who take on the role of peer educators. But here’s the catch: peer education is less beneficial for the young people they are reaching out to. There we see potential benefits in changing attitudes and norms, but not to the point of changing behavior.

The research also points out the need for clearly defining what we mean by peer education: the type of responsibilities we give peer educators and how we build their capacity to do the work.
Still, I see positive outcomes and growth for youth peer educators or advocates. Maybe we need to re-define goals and scope of peer education? What do you think?

  – Jutta

BWIAH Provider Days – What did your colleagues think?

It’s always great to have face-to-face time with all of you, and for us that was certainly a highlight of the 2017 Bureau of Women, Infant and Adolescent Health (BWIAH) Provider Days. Amy has compiled the evaluations to give us a sense of how it all went for you, and how we can improve in the future. Here are some of our takeaways.

Registration and communication before the event was more difficult or confusing for people whose agencies work with more than one Center of Excellence.

  • If we have this opportunity again, we should work on clarifying the audience for each day and streamlining the registration process across COEs.

The hotel itself received mostly positive reviews – but the few who had a bad experience had a very bad experience. Your comments ranged from “Beautiful” and “Love it!” to “Horrible.” However, there were many comments on the location and size of the hotel, and despite our own positive experience with the conference planners at this hotel we will explore other options.

  • Many noted that the distance from the train station and lack of a shuttle made for expensive taxi rides.
  • Food options were limited by the location, and meant that many of you had to brave crossing the highway. As one participant put it, “Street crossing was like the video game Frogger.”

We were unable to provide lunch, coffee, or snacks because of the terms or our funding, and we were unable to negotiate an affordable lunch buffet or boxed lunch option for you with the hotel. Some of you found the 90-minute lunch break a waste of time, others appreciated the breather.

The May 9 plenaries, meetings with program advisors, and workshops were all rated as valuable with very few dissenters. Nearly all of you seem to have found the content useful. (Or are you just trying to make us feel good?)

The May 10 evaluations tell us you thought the day overall did a good job of meeting its objectives, especially the goal of “recognizing the opportunities for collaboration among community providers.” The speakers—especially Tom Klaus—were appreciated and presented useful information.

Community meetings got mixed reviews. Some of the groups were bigger than anticipated, so the noise level in the ballroom was a real problem. Some providers noted that they have limited opportunities for collaboration in their own regions. But some regional groups were excited about meeting each other, and we’ve heard of at least two regions that are already planning to meet again. In general, opportunities to network were rated highly, and 88% of you agreed (or strongly agreed) that the community meeting will enhance collaboration in your community.

Thank you for coming and sharing your opinions! What else do you want us to know? Has any part of Provider Days stuck with you? Share your thoughts in the comments!

 – Jutta