Current COVID-19 Update (March 30th)
Dear Cambridge OST Community,
As you know, much has changed since many of us gathered together at recent AFCOST convenings and meetings including: MSN, Trainings, COPs, Quality Coaching, and the OST Coalition Gathering. Please know that we are thinking of you and we are here for you as we learn to navigate the best ways to stay connected. Your health, safety, and well-being are our greatest concern. We know how important OST programs are to our children, youth, and families. We are eager to support you to continue to support them. We also know how important we are to each other. Even though, for the time being, we cannot be in the same physical spaces together, we’ll continue to be together in community, virtually.
As of this writing, schools and out-of-school time programs are physically closed through May 4th. Families are figuring out this new reality and through these difficult times, we are continuing to support the OST Community to support children, youth, and their families. We are working closely with our AFCOST Team Members as we shift to offer virtual gatherings to connect OST staff and continue to share learnings and resources.
We will begin to offer all AFCOST Activities virtually via Zoom beginning with the April 1st MSN Meeting, and the April 8th COPs. Please register for these upcoming meetings on our website and be on the lookout for an invitation from the facilitators with a link to these online convenings.
As you know, this is an emergent situation. We have put together an OST FAQ which we will continue to update on www.agendaforchildrenost.org. We will continue to communicate via social media, and contact OST staff to facilitate participation in upcoming virtual AFCOST Activities.
AFCOST staff are accessible while our physical spaces are closed, so don't hesitate to reach out to us. We are here to support you virtually. Check out our blog and write to tell us more about how you are staying connected and supporting co-workers and families during this time. Here are some tips for writing a blog post.
Please continue to check the City of Cambridge COVID-19 Information web page. Also, please see recent updates and details sent out by the Cambridge Public Schools.
Lastly, in addition to communicating directly with the families of children and youth that you serve, we strongly encourage OST Programs to update your program status information on Find It Cambridge, as this will help people who are also assisting families.
If there is anything AFCOST can do to support you or your staff during this time, please contact us. We are available and will respond.
With much love and respect,
Khari & Susan
Resources for Talking with Children
Check out this link from the Harvard Graduate School of Education for helping children copy with coronavirus and uncertainty.
What advice is available on talking about Coronavirus with children and teens?
@cambridge_cpsd shared the following resources may be helpful in speaking with students and your own children about the COVID-19 outbreak.
We want to hear from you.
We are living through an unprecedented public health crisis which has closed schools, and out-of-school time programs. As an out-of-school time professional, we invite you share what this experience has been like for you. Please email AFCOST to share your thoughts, and perspectives. She will facilitate production and publishing blog posts. To get you started on your blog post, think about the following prompts.
Click here for tips for writing a blog post.
AFCOST Youth Connectors Damilola Oluwole and Medjine Lucien and AFCOST Coach and Trainer Melinda Barbosa pulled together these slides, reflections, and photos of the Symposium to inspire staff who work to support youth development in out of school time programs.
What inspires you to work with young people?
Keeping it Real in Family Partnership: A Facilitator’s Guide
This facilitator’s guide is intended to provide instruction and inspiration for how members of the Cambridge OST community might use the Family Partnership Stories produced by the Agenda for Children to enrich staff development efforts. This guide provides: a brief summary of each story, story-specific reflection questions, and ideas for interactive activities that can help deepen participants’ engagement with the material.
New Report Highlights Critical Importance of Family Partnership
Equity-based family engagement helps parents and caretakers in underserved communities become effective advocates and culture-bearers in schools, which boosts educational quality and relevance. Learn more in this new report published by the W. K. Kellogg Foundation.