Continuously Improving SEL in an Out of School Time Program

Excel Beyond the Bell is a network of out-of-school-time (OST) providers in San Antonio, Texas, that serves more than 55,000 youth per year. As of November 2017, 25 of Excel Beyond the Bell’s providers administer the Developmental Assets Profile (DAP) to 1,200 students twice a year, generally during March and October. The Excel team uses these data to foster continuous improvement in their network by determining where supports may be needed and when resources may exist.

Why did you choose this measure?

Our OST network wanted to find a tool that could do two things: (1) analyze SE competencies at various levels (e.g., student and program) and (2) provide data universal enough for use across the many OST programs we carry out in the San Antonio area.

How do you use this measure?

Our OST network uses the results for several related purposes:

  1. To support continuous improvement efforts among our network providers. We looked for bright spots in the network and build community around fostering that asset. We are particularly interested in developing communities of practice to support professional development.
  2. To help our network map the specific domains each of our providers work within. Twenty-five of our agencies were able to map their domains of impact according to the 40 assets in the measure. This allowed us to look for competency gaps across our network of providers and make informed choices for interventions.
  3. To identify specific student needs and areas of focus for professional development. For example, if our logic model shows us that we are trying to build self-esteem and the results on self-esteem are not good, then we need to look at the network’s programs that address self-esteem and consider what additional supports or practices are needed.

What additional insights would you share with others considering using a measure to identify systemic social-emotional competency practices, supports, and resources?

The measure we chose is good at showing movement from a low level of asset to a moderate level. Once a student is getting moderate scores in most asset areas, the aggregate level score is less informative, and it’s best to look at scores of specific assets. We know that no one program will be able to address the whole ecosystem. This measure  allows us to focus on specific assets like communication. It is good for moving knowledge, skills, and behaviors in a targeted way.

We have found it to be very beneficial to have data analysis capacity within our team that can take the data reports and customize their results to meet our specific needs.

For the training, we followed a train-the-administrator model, which involved an in-person hour-long training. This measure is a relatively easy tool to implement.

Contact: Ryan Lugalia-Hollon, Executive Director

Excel Beyond the Bell

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *