Wednesday, December 21, 2016

DCAYA's Top Ten Blog Posts of 2016

To wrap up the year, we thought we'd take a look back at our Top Ten most read blogs for 2016, beginning at number 10!!

10) FY2017 Budget Asks, 3/31/16

As you know, our asks take a look at the Mayor's proposed budget, incorporate our own policy analysis and research, and are a mix of requests:
  • to maintain what is in the Mayor's budget,
  • to increase the amount of funding to appropriate levels, and at times
  • to insert funding that isn't included at all.
Our asks for the current fiscal year included Transportation Support, Educational Data Capacity, Youth Workforce Development, Youth Homelessness, and Expanded Learning. Little would we know that the latter ask, as it related to allocation to the DC Trust, would be part of a completely new landscape the following month.

9) Local Funding for Local Opportunity: The Role & Vision of the DC Trust in Expanded Learning, 3/9/16

9 months later, it's pretty interesting to see how the core values shared in this post continue to be a part of the conversation, as legislation for an Office of Youth Outcomes and Grants is in the midst of the markup process, following the dissolution of the DC Trust.. From our community providers, several themes that emerged were:
  • The impact of expanded learning programs on achievement outcomes
  • The capacity of community partnerships to maximize resources
  • The need for stable local funding intermediaries
So although the landscape might be a different one, as our community and representatives finalize what a new youth development entity looks like, the direction and purpose of our work remains constant.

8) A transcript of the Kojo Nnamdi Show's segment on the DC Trust, 5/4/16

Our next most read blog was simply a transcript of a Kojo Nnamdi Show segment focused on the DC Trust, what went wrong and what's next. One of his guests included Andria Tobin, Executive Director of Kid Power Inc, but also a member of DCAYA's Board of Directors. On one our favorite quotes from the show, from Andria:
"So we want to make sure that there’s a really thought out plan to make sure those funds are protected for many nonprofits and youth in the District, one that is collaborative and strategic, and is flexible and innovative in the way that the Trust was designed to be."
7) Lights On Afterschool: 4 Questions with DC Afterschool Ambassador Daniela Grigioni, 10/19/16

This month's blog took a closer look at afterschool, in an interview with Daniela Grigioni, who had been selected as one of 15 leaders from across the nation to serve as a 2016-2017 Afterschool Ambassador for the Afterschool Alliance. This is the third of our blogs in the top ten which related to Expanded Learning. This is one of our four main issue areas, and has to do with learning outside of the classroom, particularly after the school day and over the summer.

6) Homeless Youth Census: Data-Driven Advocacy Calls for Greater Investment to End Youth Homelessness, 3/2/16

As with many of our efforts, the need for accurate, robust, and timely data leads to better advocacy. And the Homeless Youth Census is both a great example and a relatively recent success. Benefits of this census highlighted in the 2015 Report Fact Sheet were that it:

  • Provides understanding of the number of youth experiencing homelessness in the District
  • Informs the various and complex needs of youth experiencing homelessness and help bring solutions to scale
  • Educates key stakeholders of where resources should be allocated
What's especially wonderful looking back at this post was another very recent success we highlighted in last week's blog post, that the DC Interagency Council on Homelessness voted to approve the 5-year Comprehensive Plan to end youth homelessness.

It should be no surprise that one of our most read blog posts was an update regarding the hearing schedule set by DC Council, which is our primary advocacy season. We've already been planning for the FY2017 hearings over the past several months, which included our regular community input sessions across our four issue areas as well as a special effort to move the Office of Youth Outcomes and Grants legislation forward so that an FY2018 budget has somewhere to put Out-of-School Time funding.

This month, we re-released #ExpandLearningDC, our policy and funding framework for afterschool and summer learning in DC, originally posted in April. The report had been updated following the vote that month by the DC Trust’s Board of Directors to dissolve the organization. This version also used updated data to better reflect trends in out-of-school time access within DCPS.

3) #ExpandLearningDC, 1/28/16

Even more read than the previous blog post, was our first Expanded Learning post of the year. As you can tell from this year's highlights, our work is definitely more of a marathon rather than a sprint. Although our main advocacy season happens during regular times each year, not only is there a tremendous amount of work that is required to prepare for and then evaluate after hearings, but there are also the unplanned events and developments that we have to monitor and respond to, like the dissolution of the DC Trust. And this refers not just to DCAYA's staff of four, but the hundreds of member organizations whom we do our work with.

2) Leading the Way in Youth Workforce Development!, 8/3/16

The runner-up to our top read blog post for 2016 was our recap of a joint program we have with the Institute for Educational Leadership, the Youth Workforce Leaders Academy aka YWLA. Through in-person learning sessions with national and local experts, online discussions, capstone projects, individual professional development action planning, and facilitated peer-to-peer learning, participants will significantly expanded and grew their expertise in providing high quality youth workforce development services This post recapped the year with our 2nd cadre, and recognized each individual in this post.

1) New Year, New Resolutions, 1/6/16

Our most read post was our first one of 2016, a light-hearted start to the year, using GIFs to animate some New Year's Resolutions we wanted to make, both personally and professionally.

And THAT was 2016! We hope you enjoyed this look down memory lane, as we look ahead to 2017. We also hope you may have learned a bit more, not just about our work highlighted at various points throughout the year, but how it all ties together. And this work is only possible, because of the year-round engagement of our members and support from our community.

If you would like to support us during this holiday season, please consider showing your support with a donation, and thank you in advance!

- Your DCAYA Team

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