December 2014

It’s that time again! Time to revisit your program plan to see if you’re on the right track for the year. While you probably spent a considerable amount of time planning for the year, the importance of revisiting that plan can’t be overlooked. Now is the time to take a breath and think about what could be improved as you move into the new year. So, what should you be thinking about as you revisit your plan?

First and foremost, be sure to include staff, youth, and families in this planning process. Staff members who work in the program will have a different perspective than site-level and program leaders. Their awareness and knowledge of the program and the youth can contribute to successful program changes. Similarly, youth and their families provide unique perspectives and insights on potential changes.

One great time-effective and low-cost way to capture information is through surveys. There are several tools in Beyond the Bell you can use for this, including the Tool of the Month, Tool 72: Youth Preference Survey. Using surveys to gather information about stakeholder satisfaction is an efficient way to gather information from a lot of different people.

You’ll want to think about all the data you are already collecting, such as attendance, grades, and behavior reports. Consider using these data to inform updates to your program plan. Do you see attendance drops during certain times of the year? Are there other school-based activities, such as sports, that coincide with the drops? Or do you notice certain activities are not as well attended as others? Discuss any trends or patterns with staff, youth, and families to see if program updates or changes are needed. And remember, if you do decide to make changes, notify all stakeholders and let them know why you are making the changes.