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King County Learning Community Gathering Sets Exciting Precedent

by School's Out Washington | | Posted under School's Out News

By James Lovell, SOWA Quality Initiatives Program Manager

On Wednesday, January 14th, School’s Out Washington hosted an exciting “first-of-its-kind” event: A King County Quality Learning Community Meeting. Peer & Professional Learning Communities have been the bedrock of SOWA’s method of professional development for years. Typically, these meetings constitute 8-12 sites that are working on a project with the same timeline. Some groups have the opportunity to meet past cohorts to share best practices over the years, but often times shifts in funding and program timelines makes it difficult to all meet. On the 14th, however, the field turned out in full force!

More than 115 folks attended the Learning Community Meeting on Wednesday the 14th. The common thread for everyone was participation in the content-neutral Youth or School Age Program Quality Initiative over the last 5 years. The goal? To be less content neutral. The focus of the meeting was for folks to combine with self-determined and self-selected colleagues in different areas, including STEM, Arts, Civic Engagement, Health & Treatment, and many more areas. These groups of 10-15 began with questions about challenges to each program area – “What are you most challenged by as a ______ program?” and the discussion then took a deeper look at the different content areas and what sustainability as a field looks like for each one.

We were joined by several first-time staff (from volunteers to program leads to Executive Directors), who brought a fresh perspective to the Quality work and Peer Learning Community. We also enjoyed a host of seasoned veterans who helped drive conversations down fun and authentic paths to develop common mission. The meeting, held at St. Mark’s Bloedel Hall, was an exciting meeting to attend and host, and will remain an inspiration to SOWA staff to continue to connect the field across and within content areas toward our shared goal – better outcomes for more young people in King County and Washington State.

Check-out this video which more than words can, shows the energy, conversation, connection and learning happening at this event.

For more information about the Youth Program Quality Initiative, visit School’s Out Washington’s website.

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