Introducing Work Groups and Reading Club

Since we are all working from home and much of our regular work is suspended for the time being, we have a rare opportunity for professional development and collaborative work. So at the all-provider learning community meeting this past Tuesday, the TA Team introduced new vehicles for moving forward: online work groups and a book/article club.

In the learning community meeting Heather also went over basics for Zoom meetings from the perspective of participants (00:53 – 08:07) and Michele reported on the results of last week’s survey (08:44 – 22:34). Here is the recording, and here are the PDF slides – you’ll also find them on the Webinars page.

What are Work Groups?

The goal of work groups is to collaboratively develop youth-friendly materials on specific topics: STI/HIV prevention, pregnancy prevention, and healthy relationships (for starters)–and we plan to add a group on social media outreach soon. Using best practices in online learning, we’ll work together to develop resources that:

  • Teachers can use now in online learning platforms
  • Providers can use in component 2 virtual sessions with young people
  • Providers can use for outreach to youth and parents
  • Providers can use in summer programming

Work groups will meet weekly with an ACT for Youth trainer facilitating. Participants will work on projects in between sessions and present their work the following week.

To keep the work groups a manageable size, pick your favorite topic—please don’t sign up for all of them. Agency staff might want to spread out among the groups rather than all signing on to the same group. You can register for group meetings directly from the training calendar.

These work groups are voluntary, but we hope you’ll actively join in! If we can judge by the chat response at our recent meeting, folks seem enthusiastic about taking this on.

What is the Reading Club?

On Fridays we would like to introduce a new professional development opportunity: a book/article discussion group open to CAPP, PREP, and SRAE. We’ll send articles around and facilitate a discussion on the readings. We won’t present on or review the material—we ask you to read the articles first, then we’ll use our time on Friday to discuss how it applies to our work. If you have an article you’d like to share, please let us know! Check back here for links to the first readings.

– The TA Team

Online Professional Development: Things You Can Do in April!

As promised I will share with you online learning opportunities that are posted across the country by different networks and national TA providers.

Leaders of Learning: This course on learning theories is offered by EdX: HarvardX. Faculty from Harvard’s Graduate School of Education facilitate this course until mid-June. It is free; work load 4-6 hours per week; a certificate can be purchased. Starts today.

Staying Connected: How to Foster Student SEL Growth Through Remote Learning: Youth Communications will offer this interactive seminar on Thursday, April 2, 3:00-4:00. The seminar will explore the methods and strategies educators are using to stay connected with students and foster SEL growth during this time.

2020 National Service-Learning Conference: The National Youth Leadership Council is sponsoring this free, virtual conference April 16-17. Register by April 13. Session topics range from youth voice and civic engagement to education equity and reflection.

Motivational Interviewing – Enhancing Engagement & Improving Conversations. This is a two-part webinar, taking place on Monday, April 20 & Wednesday, April 22. You must register separately for each event. This interactive, online training will review and make relevant the key concepts of Motivational Interviewing. Participants will explore how and when to employ this evidence-based practice to support behavior change. Tailored case scenarios will be used to provide hands on, in real time, practice opportunities focusing on substance-misuse-prevention conversations.

Have fun! Stay tuned for more opportunities!

Jutta Dotterweich

~ Jutta

Meeting the Challenge Together

You are all on our minds during this difficult time as we hunker down, physically separated but sharing similar experiences, fears, and hopes. Connecting virtually is not new to our far-flung, statewide network, but important to do—now more than ever. At ACT for Youth—now operating out of each of our households—we are focusing on online connection and professional development.  We are here for you.

  • EBPs are suspended—outreach (virtual) is not. We know that young people continue to need your support, even as normal programming is suspended.  (From Mandy, here’s how to record any incomplete EBP cycles.) No evidence-based programming can continue without in-person meetings, but some of you already have expertise at maintaining your relationships with young people and getting them critical information and education online. Which brings us to…
  • Sharing your social media expertise. On a learning community meeting attended by over 200 providers last week, many of you shared how to locate your social media accounts (check the chat document. We will also have a future post on this topic). CAPP provider Eloise McAviney suggested that we connect our community of educators across the state with #CAPPsexEd – so keep your eye on that across social media (And this means you, too, PREP providers!) We are actively looking for ways for you to share your expertise with your colleagues. Share your thoughts in the comments!
  • Look for more Hub posts, as we will be using this blog to share updates and ideas.
  • More professional development opportunities will be coming your way soon. First, we are asking supervisors to give us the background information we need to be sure we’re on the right track. Supervisors, check your email for the survey link that your TA provider sent you Monday 3/23 and please complete the survey. Jutta and the TA team are meeting just about constantly, retooling the training calendar and planning new ways to move forward on your behalf.
  • Questions about your funding may be at the top of your mind. We expect guidance from the Department of Health soon, though we know that they are in the eye of the storm. We do not have any inside knowledge at ACT for Youth. Supervisors are welcome to direct your questions and concerns about funding to Eric Zasada. In the meantime, rest assured that time spent in online outreach and professional development is time well spent.

Thank you for your dedication and collaborative spirit. We will get through this together.

~ The ACT for Youth Team:
Jane, Jutta, Mandy, Brian, Heather, Jenny, Karen, Marisol, Mary, Michele, Paula, Vanessa, Vicki

New Training Outlook for 2020

We would like introduce a few new features to our training calendar this year. But first things first.

The 2020 Training Calendar is Up!

The 2020 CAPP and PREP Training Calendar, which lists our standard trainings, is now available on the ACT website. Since staff turnover in CAPP and PREP happens fairly regularly, we see the need to offer these trainings every year. We will continue to add additional web sessions. Also, the new Sexual Risk Avoidance Education (SRAE) grantees will be joining us in many of the regional trainings.

New Learning Collaboratives

This year we want to pilot three new learning collaboratives. Notices will go out soon. Our learning collaboratives are groups of educators and/or supervisors who meet online (via Zoom) to discuss certain critical topics. ACT for Youth training and technical assistance staff lead these meetings. Participation is optional.

  • A learning collaborative for new educators, facilitated by Marisol: This will be an opportunity for new staff to network with other new staff, share challenges, and learn from each other.
  • A learning collaborative for experienced educators, facilitated by Michele: This will be a forum for seasoned staff to explore new strategies, fine-tuning and advancing their skills.
  • A learning collaborative focused on Parent Engagement, facilitated by Heather: We would like to restart this group (originally attempted a couple of years ago) and invite all educators and supervisors interested in this challenging topic.

In addition, we will continue the Supervisor Learning Collaborative, facilitated by me, that will meet monthly starting in March. New members are always welcome!

Announcing: Traveling Workshops

We have a truly new training offering for the new decade! This year we will offer two different half-day (3 hour) workshops, one on self-care and one on youth engagement/classroom management. And we will offer them on request, which means we will travel to you to do the workshop. This way we will be able to offer training in different parts of the state and maybe engage more staff as well. All it takes is a training space for roughly 10-12 people. At your invitation, we will recruit staff from nearby CAPP and PREP providers and provide the workshop at your site.

We are currently developing the workshop material, but will be ready to accommodate requests starting in the spring. So let us know if you are interest in hosting one of these workshops!

~ Jutta

Jutta Dotterweich
Jutta Dotterweich

BASIC Training

In any profession, it can be easy to fall into the trap of telling yourself you know/have seen or can do it all, if you’ve done it long enough. As a trainer and facilitator, part of the way that I counter this is to look for places to be a participant as often as my schedule allows.

So when I had the opportunity to attend the “Inclusive Excellence Summit” at Cornell recently, I went all in. When we did introductions and they asked “why are you here?” my answer was an enthusiastic “to learn and to participate.” All of the activities and conversations, even the ones I’ve facilitated before, I completed as someone who had not. When I go in with this mindset, it allows me to be more reflective of my own work and be open to new ideas.

As a woman of color, I know all too often “diversity” and “inclusion” can often focus on people who look like me. And while I appreciate and applaud these efforts, it can end up actually narrowing that concept of “inclusion” and become almost counter-productive if we (I) am not careful.

Luckily, this summit did a good job covering a lot in a small amount of time and allowed me to think more broadly about inclusion beyond my own story and experience. One of the first things I wrote down came from when we did our group agreements, the main one being: Be BASIC.

B– Broaden your perspective.

A– Ask questions. Specifically within this group, ask yourself “who is being left out of the conversation”.

S– Struggle–and then Stick with it.

I– Intentionality is key.

C– Construct new spaces and dialogues.

Having group agreements that were purposeful and that encouraged us to think “bigger” was a great way to start things off. It also allowed me to start thinking about our own trainings and ask “how can we be more inclusive?”

One of the first things that came to mind was that during the registration process for workshops or trainings, we don’t ask if people have any special training needs. Folks sometimes let us know the day they walk in, but having to take that initiative can be intimidating for them or feel like more work, especially if they’ve just taken two trains and a bus to get to us.

Asking weeks beforehand could also allow us, the trainers, to prepare activities differently, arrange the room in a more accommodating way or just simply be more aware.

Listening to speakers with varying abilities during this summit not only made me realize things I may take for granted, but also gave me tangible solutions for addressing these things.

What do you think? What ways could we be more inclusive? What ways could your own program be more inclusive?

image of Heather smiling

~ Heather

What did CAPP and PREP providers think about the 2019 BWIAH Provider Meeting?

We crunched the numbers on your evaluation of the 2019 BWIAH Provider Meeting. Here’s what the 50+ CAPP and PREP providers who answered these questions had to say:

You were kind to us about registration.

We didn’t need evaluations to know that the registration process needs a new approach – but you were remarkably tolerant!

You liked the Albany Capital Center.

94% of those who answered this question agreed that the Albany Capital Center worked well as the event venue. There was one caveat that was probably mentioned more than any other comment: it was too cold. A few people who were unable to stay nearby missed the convenience of having it at a hotel or at least having the event within walking distance. The inexpensive parking was appreciated.

You were happy that food was provided this year, though it should have included protein options at breakfast, coffee and tea in the afternoon, and water in each room.

Structure & Timing

While some loved the start and end times, others did not. Some of you would lengthen the event overall while others would shorten it; some wanted longer workshops and others wanted shorter ones.

But certain messages came through clearly: Build in more breaks! Having two working lunches was really too much, and Day One was long and packed. The networking reception was a highlight for many participants, but it came at the end of a long day. Many of you would have liked more time for networking.

Content

  • We heard many positive comments on the keynotes—particularly Amy Cunningham’s talk on self-care. Some did not like the political slant of Loretta Ross’s presentation, but overall, most of you were happy with the keynotes.
  • Workshops could have been more interactive – there was too much sitting. Many people were happy with the range of topics, and many of the workshops got high marks.
  • The CAPP and PREP provider group meeting was another highlight. Many of you loved the discussion and would have liked to have more of it.

Let’s cut to the chase. Was it a good use of your time?

YES. The vast majority of those who responded to this question
– 98% – agreed that it was time well spent. One person was neutral and several people who completed other questions skipped this one. Either they were unsure or just didn’t want to hurt our feelings!

It makes a difference!

We anticipate being able to offer another Provider Meeting in 2020 or 2021. Rest assured your feedback is already helping us make changes for the next event. Our thanks go to everyone who took the time to complete the evaluations—it DOES make a difference!

If you have anything to add about the 2019 Provider Meeting or the kind of event you would like to see in the future, please let us know in the comments!

Karen Schantz

~ Karen

Using Kahoot! in Evidence-based Programs

In this guest post, Abby Terry, an educator with Mothers and Babies in Binghamton, shares a hot tip!

When presenting our middle school life skills and using a “Jeopardy” style review game, a student suggested we use Kahoot! instead.  We investigated and found that by changing the question format to multiple choice, it would work well and be engaging for all students.  Students were already familiar with the game from other classes and are instantly excited when they hear there will be a Kahoot! 

The level of student excitement and engagement prompted us to put the Myth and Fact activity from Be Proud, Be Responsible into Kahoot! as well.   Immediately, we could see the benefits of every student responding with less time to be influenced by their peers.  We had real-time feedback of what the majority of students understood, or what we would need to clarify.  We are also able to gather trend data from the Kahoot! website by downloading reports.  One hiccup was that we were only able to do this for schools that provide an iPad or tablet for each student.   

We knew that we had to make this available to all students both for the student’s increased excitement and our data collection.  Kahoot! works through an app or the website. We had experience with students using the app, but the app is not available in the Google Play Store, which works with our Kindle Fires.  We didn’t want to allow students open internet access, so we set out to find a work-around.  After some research (involving APK mirrors, etc), we were able to load the Kahoot! app onto all of our Kindle Fires and now we use it at every school for Be Proud, Be Responsible and Making Proud Choices.  It’s even more exciting for the students who don’t have tablet access every day and our results have been fantastic.  For more information about using Kahoot! with evidence-based programs or with Kindle Fires, e-mail aterry@mothersandbabies.org

Abby Terry, Mothers and Babies Perinatal Network

~ Abby Terry,
Mothers and Babies

Farewell and Good Luck, Sara!

The word is out…Sara is leaving us this week and headed to an amazing new job with Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

For 11 years, Sara has done incredible work as a researcher and with the ACT for Youth Evaluation Team and beloved mentor for the ACT Youth Network.   Through her skill and humor, Sara has been able to connect with providers by helping them navigate the world of evaluation, tablets, surveys and everyone’s favorite…ORS.  In addition to her own family, Sara has been an integral part of our family here at Cornell.  Her dedication to the work, her commitment to reproductive justice and her endearing personality make her one-of-a-kind.

Sara, your work with Cornell, in general, and the ACT Team, specifically, has been invaluable.  Planned Parenthood’s gain is our loss, but we are beyond excited for as you embark on this new endeavor.  We will miss you tremendously!

~ the ACT for Youth team

Sara at Youth Network meetiing, June 2016
Sara and Michele with Youth Network members in Albany, 2011
Sara and Michele, 2011
Sara, Heather, Divine, and Michele with Ravhee
Sara and Michele with Youth Network participants

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

A word on the Bureau of Women, Infant and Adolescent Health (BWIAH) Provider Meeting

In a few short weeks, NYSDOH will welcome CAPP and PREP providers to Albany for our Bureau-wide two-day provider meeting. It is a great opportunity to hear about emerging public health topics related to priority areas of healthy interpersonal relationships, healthy birth outcomes, and improved pregnancy intention. You will hear from several excellent keynote speakers and attend relevant workshops that can enhance the great work that you do. At the conference, you will connect and exchange ideas with CAPP/PREP providers, other BWIAH provider groups, as well as your DOH program staff and your ACT for Youth team members.

Who should attend?

Attendance is limited to two participants per program. For CAPP and PREP, both Health Educator Supervisors and Health Educators are eligible to participate. We expect that at least one Health Educator Supervisor from each CAPP and PREP program will join us. Many of the workshops are specifically designed for staff that work directly with their program participants.

What does it cost?

The cost is $116 per attendee. Your registration fee will cover continental breakfast and lunch on May 22-23 and an evening reception on May 22.

**Note that no outside food will be allowed at this meeting and there will be presentations during lunch each day.

You are responsible for event registration, hotel, and travel expenses, all of which should have been included in your CAPP or PREP budget.

How do we register?

Register on the event website. For planning purposes, we’ll ask you to select the workshops you wish to attend. You’ll find descriptions of the workshops as well as keynote presentations on the site.

Room blocks have been secured at several Albany hotels. We recommend that you reserve your rooms and register for the event soon as each hotel has an early deadline for the discounted rate.

More information is available on the registration link; if you have any questions about the conference please contact your NYSDOH program liaison or me. We look forward to seeing you at this exciting event!

Eric Zasada

~ Eric Zasada
NYS Department of Health