Students deserve the best quality education both in and out of school time. To enhance services to students, New Orleans has embarked on a proven process to increase the quality of out-of-school programming, the Youth Program Quality Initiative (YPQI). In use throughout the country, YPQI provides training and reflective practices to adults working with children to ensure that quality is central to the work. Spearheaded by the Baptist Community Ministries, YPQI is changing services for youth for the better – increasing student safety, engagement and voice.

photo-ta-bonnieBonnie Gabel, KID smART Arts Coach, has been a spirited leader for our collaborative residencies, afterschool & enrichment programs for the last two years. Now, she is sharing her talents with YPQI as an external assessor. In the Louisiana cohort, she is one of four certified trainers in the youth work methods, the YPQI training modules, allowing her to present professional development sessions to help improve youth programs. To achieve her certification, Bonnie completed a month-long online course and attended a national training summit in Houston. KID smART Director, Echo Olander has also been part of the steering committee for the initiative since its inception.

“One of the benefits of YPQI’s assessment process is that it gives people a shared language around the quality of programming,” Gabel explains. Fifteen New Orleans organizations that span disciplines and age groups are piloting this training and assessment system. Previously lacking common terms and consistent measurements for such diverse providers, YPQI is unifying the community with a nationally validated process.

KID smART is proud to be a part of this community-wide initiative to provide continuous quality improvement for services for students. For more information about the YPQI process and the 15 organizations piloting the work in New Orleans, click here.