Strengthening School-Community Partnerships to Deliver Culturally-Relevant Summer Learning
When schools and communities come together to deliver culturally-relevant summer programming, the impact on participating youth can be profound; particularly if programs are aligned to evidence-based best practices in summer learning. But planning and implementing high-quality, culturally-enriching summer learning isn’t easy! At a minimum, it requires a strong planning process with an engaged group of school and community leaders, knowledge of youth needs, and talented cultural practitioners and educators with the capacity to implement with quality. Hear from colleagues in Oregon and Hawaii about how they supported schools and community partners to adopt evidence-based practices, strengthen school-community partnerships, and capture stories of impact. Speakers will also share their ongoing strategies to build lasting support for summer programs in their states.
Casey leads the department's efforts to provide a comprehensive menu of engaging summer learning opportunities for students in the upcoming summer months for all grade levels, from a transition program for incoming kindergartners to paid summer internships for our graduating seniors. Schools and community partners have worked hard to design programs of high interest for vulnerable students and enrichment programs for students seeking to explore new interests. Casey's previous experience includes overseeing summer programs at Punahou School, as well as a variety of education and STEM initiatives.
Joe Bertoletti brings over 20 years of experience in working to change the odds for young people through direct service, capacity building, and building systems in the education, human services, and youth development fields. His approach to consulting combines social worker facilitation skills and social justice and ecological frameworks with engineering systems building and problem-solving skills. He has partnered with policy makers, funders, and system leaders using data driven and people centered approaches to build systems of support that inspire and equip leaders and educators to ensure high quality instructional practices and high quality settings where young people spend their time. As a Senior Consultant for The Learning Agenda, Joe offers strategic guidance and coaching, plans and facilitates learning communities, and engages in research projects at the local, state, and national level. He is currently co-leading the Strategic Use of Summer and Afterschool Set-Asides Community of Practice for the National Comprehensive Center at Westat; In 2008, Joe was one of a small team that helped launch and scale the Forum For Youth Investment’s Weikart Center from a small unit that was serving a handful of partners to partnering with over 150 local, state, and national systems in 3 countries by 2020. During his 15-year tenure at the Forum, he has played a role in multiple rigorous research and evaluation projects, multi-year initiatives, nurtured long term partner relationships, and supported organizational development and change management efforts around operations and business systems. This included supporting a partnership with multiyear project with the National Summer Learning Association to adapt and implement continuous improvement processes for summer programs
Raquel Gwynn currently serves children and their families as member of the Federal Systems Team in the Office of Teaching, Learning and Assessment at the Oregon Department of Education (ODE). She oversees the Title IV-B, 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) federal grant and leads agency work in the co-creation of comprehensive, equity-driven afterschool and summer programs across the state. Throughout her 25 years in public education, Raquel is most interested in the policy and practices that improve access and opportunity for students left at the margins. Prior to joining the ODE team, Raquel served as a classroom teacher, school principal, district administrator, and staff development specialist focused on literacy, mathematics and student social-emotional development. She is currently teaching aspiring school administrators the foundations for effective professional learning at the University of Oregon. Raquel is committed to advancing excellence and equity for every student, and in building an education system where the whole community supports every child with equitable access to safe, inclusive, and welcoming learning environments, in and out of school year-round.
Brenda has worked at the intersection of education and youth development research, policy and practice for 20 years, translating key learnings to positively influence the well-being of youth and their families, and strengthen organizations and systems. Her insight and expertise have led state education agencies, school districts, nonprofits, philanthropies and communities to expand their capacity and better serve young people. As The Learning Agenda’s Founding Partner and Senior Advisor, Brenda offers strategic guidance and coaching, plans and facilitates learning communities and events, engages in research projects, and develops tools and resources to build the capacity of the field. She is currently leading capacity-building efforts for 21st CCLC programs across the State of Arizona, co-leading the Strategic Use of Summer and Afterschool Set-Asides Community of Practice for the National Comprehensive Center at Westat; leading Texas Education Agency’s (TEA) Additional Days School Year Planning and Execution Program (ADSY PEP) Full Year Redesign, which includes strategic plan process design and review, project management, and compliance monitoring dashboard development; and she previously led capacity-building efforts for districts engaged in The Wallace Foundation’s National Summer Learning Project. Brenda founded The Learning Agenda in 2011, and rejoined the team in 2022 after serving as Chief Impact Officer at BellXcel and launching The Sperling Center for Research and Innovation – a division of BellXcel focused on elevating the quality and impact of summer and afterschool programs nationally. Within that role, she designed coaching systems to support the TEA’s ADSY PEP Summer grantees to meet initiative requirements and apply evidence-based practices. She also served as vice president at the National Summer Learning Association from 2004 - 2011, leading research, evaluation, and strategic initiatives.