First Presenter's Institution

University of Alabama

Second Presenter's Institution

University of Alabama

Third Presenter's Institution

University of Alabama

Fourth Presenter's Institution

University of Alabama

Fifth Presenter's Institution

NA

Location

Sloane

Strand #1

Social & Emotional Skills

Strand #2

Family & Community

Relevance

Though the TOPS program relates to all five strands in many ways, the two most relevant are the Heart and the Home.

Heart (Social and Emotional Skills) is present as academic achievement and leadership are central foci in the TOPS program. The elementary student participants take part in the early intervention after-school program five days a week with the inclusion of sport-based youth development, personal and social responsibility lessons, and academic resilience. For a full hour each session the children focus on their homework with the assistance of a school teacher and University students. This will ensure they maintain their studies and complete their homework regularly. The sport-based youth development portion of the program, which uses physical activity as a vehicle through which to provide the children opportunities to be leaders, make decisions, set goals, communicate, understand and express their emotions, and show care for themselves and their peers, meets for one hour five days a week. Each sport-based youth development lesson is built around a focus on one of four key goals: respect, participation and effort, self-direction, and leadership. The ultimate goal of the sport-based youth development portion of the program is to empower the children to take what they learn and transfer it to other areas in their lives such as their homes and communities.

Home (Family and Community) is present with the involvement of family and community partners. A large portion of the program is to develop a team of parents that work to create support for other parents and families within their school and their community. This, and the actual meeting of the program, is possible with the assistance of community, University, and social services program partnerships. A title I school has agreed to work with professionals from the University in the Department of Education and the School of Social Work to provide this program to the children in need. In addition, a local family resource center is providing input and support to the children, the volunteers, and the leaders of the program. A group effort is being put forth to ensure the program succeeds in its goal to improve the lives of at-risk youth and their families.

Brief Program Description

Educators, program practitioners, and potential community partners may enjoy this presentation on a collaborative approach to improving the lives of youth that have been placed at-risk within and outside of a Title I elementary school’s after-school program. By combining resources, expertise, and disciplines, the program works to develop well-rounded and personally and socially responsible children through academic enrichment, sport-based youth development, and parental engagement.

Summary

This presentation provides an overview of an after school program at a Title I elementary school called TOPS. The partners involved in the program include faculty members and students from the College of Education and School of Social Work, a local family resource center, and the program’s elementary school. Approximately 80 children (grades 1-5) attend the program from 3:00-5:00 PM, five nights per week. The targeted children include those at-risk for academic difficulty, behavioral difficulty, and/or truancy and attendance problems. Upon arrival, the children are split into two groups of 40. Each group will then take turns participating in separate 45 minute program sessions.

One session will focus on a sport-based youth development curriculum taught by University faculty members, graduate students, and preservice teachers. Sport-based youth development is a particular branch of youth development that uses physical activity as a vehicle through which to empower youth (Petitpas, 2005). This particular program is based on the Teaching Personal and Social Responsibility model (Hellison, 2011). The model focuses on enhancing children’s respect, participation and effort, self-directed learning and goal setting, leadership and caring, and the transfer of these ideas outside of the program (Gordon & Doyle, 2015).

The other program session will provide an opportunity for academic enrichment. A school teacher and University students will work together to give the children support and assistance as they complete their school work. This will help to ensure that program participants complete all of their assigned homework and stay current with the concepts being learned in classes.

In addition to the after school program, a professor in the School of Social Work and two student interns will provide family support in the form of the collective parent engagement. Parents will be recruited and trained in groups so they may develop programs that support parental needs within the school and community (Alameda-Lawson et al., 2013). Participants will leave this session with an understanding of the program’s purpose, included models, and implementation; this knowledge can be utilized as they choose within their own focus on improving the lives of youth placed at-risk.

Evidence

The sport-based youth development component is based on the Teaching Personal and Social Responsibility model (Hellison, 2011), which is considered an evidence-based practice for teaching life skills through physical activity (Lund & Tannehill, 2010; Petitpas, Cornelius, Van Raalte, & Jones, 2005). This model incorporates five primary goals including: (1) respect for self, others, and one’s environment; (2) participation, effort, and self-motivation; (3) self-directed learning and goal setting; (4) leadership, caring, and helping others; and (5) transfer of the previous four goals into other areas of their life, including the families, community, and classroom (Gordon & Doyle, 2015).

The TPSE model dictates a uniform structure for the leaders and children to follow each session (Hellison, 2011). The children first experience relational time, when the University preservice teachers and the children take part in conversations to develop a positive affective relationship. Next, the children are told what aspect of responsibility will be covered throughout the session, this is called an awareness talk. Following the talk, the children take part in the planned physical activity while continuously revisiting the responsibility focus, this portion is called the lesson focus. A group discussion follows, allowing the children and teachers to talk about performance, responsibility, and how the lesson may transfer into other areas of their lives. The lesson ends with individualized reflection for each child. This structure helps build consistency within the program and facilitates the integration of physical activity and responsibility goals (Wright & Burton, 2008).

Previous research on the implementation of TPSR in after school contexts has shown that youth leadership, goal-setting, and prosocial behaviors are all increased (e.g., Gordon, 2010; Hemphill & Richards, 2016; Wright & Burton, 2008). Instructors who have implemented TPSR have reported increased on-task behavior and improved relationships among students (Hemphill, Templin, & Wright, 2013), and studies indicate that children can take what they have learned through TPSR and transfer it to other aspects of their lives (Walsh, 2008; Wright, Li, Ding, & Pickering, 2010). Especially relevant to the current program, a recent study on the integration of TPSR and academic enrichment within an after school program found that the focus on responsibility in physical activity sessions facilitated students’ focus on taking responsibility for their own learning during academic development sessions (Hemphill et al., 2016).

Whereas most after school programs focus on enhancing children’s academic and leadership skills, the TOPS program adds a focus on formal parental involvement using a field tested program called Collective Parent Engagement, which has been developed and field tested in Florida and California (e.g., Alameda-Lawson, 2014; Lawson & Alameda-Lawson, 2012). As opposed to many efforts that focus on individual parents, CPE focuses on the recruitment and grouping of parents as they work together to develop programs that support parents in the schools and community (Alameda-Lawson et al., 2013). CPE has been implemented with a two phase design. The first is titled “individual engagement phase” and includes outreach at parents’ homes, a needs assessment from parents expressing challenges they and their children are facing, and a 40-hour training course to assist in skill development for community outreach. The next phase, “collective development”, includes parental program implementation to combat the previously identified challenges with support and resources being provided from social workers. Research has indicated that neighborhood collective efficacy, child well-being, and children’s academic achievement have all been improved through the use of CPE, and that the program helps to engage parents in authentic discussions about their schools and communities, which can lead to lasting change (Alameda- Lawson, 2014; Lawson & Alameda-Lawson, 2012).

Format

Individual Presentation

Biographical Sketch

K. Andrew R. Richards is an assistant professor of physical education at the University of Alabama. He completed a Bachelor’s degree at Springfield College before pursuing graduate work (Master’s degree and PhD) at Purdue University. Richards’ research centers on teacher socialization into physical education, with a particular emphasis on the social construction of physical education in school settings, marginalization, and teacher stress and burnout. He has served in leadership roles at the state, regional, and national levels, and recently completed a term as chair of the Society of Health and Physical Educators (SHAPE) America’s Physical Education Council.

Victoria Shiver is a doctoral student in the Department of Kinesiology at the University of Alabama where she is interested in studying after school programs focused on physical activity integration. She completed her undergraduate and Master’s degree in Kinesiology with a focus on Physical Education and Health Education. During her Master’s degree, Shiver coordinated an after-school program titled Healthy Pokes in two counties in Southeastern Wyoming centered around children put at-risk in terms of weight and behavior.

Michael Lawson is an assistant professor (non–tenure track) in the Department of Educational Studies, College of Education, at the University of Alabama. His research interests include student engagement, improvement science, innovative designs for family and community engagement and student support, and evaluation of school-based and community-based prevention programs.

Tania Alameda-Lawson is assistant professor in the School of Social Work at the University of Alabama. Her research interests include innovative designs for family and community engagement; the development, design, and implementation of full-service community schools; and community-based efforts that promote child, family, and community well-being.

Keyword Descriptors

After-school programming, sport-based youth development, teaching personal and social responsibility, school-university partnerships, family and community engagement, academic achievement

Presentation Year

2017

Start Date

3-6-2017 3:00 PM

End Date

3-6-2017 4:15 PM

Previous Versions

Mar 9 2017

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Mar 6th, 3:00 PM Mar 6th, 4:15 PM

The Development of an After-School Program for Youth Placed At-Risk: A Collaborative Approach

Sloane

Educators, program practitioners, and potential community partners may enjoy this presentation on a collaborative approach to improving the lives of youth that have been placed at-risk within and outside of a Title I elementary school’s after-school program. By combining resources, expertise, and disciplines, the program works to develop well-rounded and personally and socially responsible children through academic enrichment, sport-based youth development, and parental engagement.