WHO IS ACCREDITED?

Private Organization Accreditation

Money Management International is a nationwide nonprofit organization that provides counseling and education related to credit, housing and bankruptcy, and offers debt management assistance if needed. MMI also conducts community education programs in the areas where we have a physical presence.
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VOLUNTEER TESTIMONIAL

Jane Bonk, Ph.D., LCSW

Volunteer Roles: Commissioner; Evaluator; Lead Evaluator; Peer Reviewer; Team Leader

Dr. Jane Bonk is a team leader, evaluator, and commissioner who has led over 25 site visits for COA.
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Purpose

Youth who participate in Youth Development Services gain the personal, social, emotional, and educational assets needed to support healthy development, increase well-being, and facilitate a successful transition through childhood, adolescence, and into adulthood.

YD 7: Academic Programming

Youth participate in academic activities that help them to succeed in school.

Interpretation: While some programs will have an academic focus, it is important to note that the academic programming described here should be provided within the context of a youth development program that provides the variety of other supports and opportunities described throughout the section as a whole.

Research Note: Research suggests programs striving to improve academic outcomes must include an academic component in order to achieve their goals. However, literature also notes that it is still important to combine academic programming with a variety of other fun and enriching activities in order to engage youth and encourage the achievement of positive outcomes. Youth development programs may also try to provide exciting and new interactive, hands-on, or experiential ways for youth to apply what they have learned in school. 

NA Academic programming is not the primary focus of the program. 

Rating Indicators
1
All elements or requirements outlined in the standard are evident in practice, as indicated by full implementation of the practices outlined in the Practice standards.
2
Practices are basically sound but there is room for improvement, as noted in the ratings for the Practice standards; e.g.,
  • Minor inconsistencies and not yet fully developed practices are noted, however, these do not significantly impact service quality; or
  • Procedures need strengthening; or
  • With few exceptions procedures are understood by staff and are being used; or
  • For the most part, established timeframes are met; or
  • Proper documentation is the norm and any issues with individual staff members are being addressed through performance evaluations (HR 6.02) and training (TS 2.03); or
  • Active client participation occurs to a considerable extent.
3
Practice requires significant improvement, as noted in the ratings for the Practice standards. Service quality or program functioning may be compromised; e.g.,
  • Procedures and/or case record documentation need significant strengthening; or
  • Procedures are not well-understood or used appropriately; or
  • Timeframes are often missed; or
  • A number of client records are missing important information  or
  • Client participation is inconsistent; or
  • One of the Fundamental Practice Standards received a rating of 3 or 4.
4
Implementation of the standard is minimal or there is no evidence of implementation at all, as noted in the ratings for the Practice standards; e.g.,
  • No written procedures, or procedures are clearly inadequate or not being used; or
  • Documentation is routinely incomplete and/or missing; or  
  • Two or more Fundamental Practice Standards received a rating of 3 or 4.

Table of Evidence

Self-Study Evidence On-Site Evidence On-Site Activities
    • Description of academic activities
    • Daily schedules for past month
    • Documentation of collaboration with school personnel
    • Program curricula and/or lesson plans (for previous quarter)
    • Program planning materials
    • Qualifications of personnel providing academic activities (e.g., in personnel records)
    • Staff training materials
    • Documentation that staff training has been provided (e.g., in training files or personnel records)
    • Interview:
      1. Program Administrator
      2. Site Director
      3. Program Personnel
      4. Youth and families
      5. School personnel, if applicable and possible
    • Review files of youth 
    • Observe academic activities
    • Observe interactions between personnel and school personnel, where applicable and possible

  • YD 7.01

    When the organization runs programs that provide academic programming in partnership with schools, the organization collaborates with school personnel to:

    1. identify and recruit potential program participants;
    2. develop program activities that are aligned with and complement the school curricula;
    3. obtain needed resources;
    4. share information about and address the needs, issues, and progress of youth;
    5. facilitate communication between schools and families; and 
    6. discuss the successes, challenges, goals, and outcomes of the partnership.

    Interpretation: Examples of ways to demonstrate implementation of this standard include, but are not limited to:

    • Personnel keep informed about special school projects and events;
    • Personnel attend relevant school meetings and events;
    • School personnel are invited to attend special events at the program;
    • Personnel communicate with school personnel through formal channels, such as participation in scheduled meetings;
    • Informal communication helps personnel stay connected with school personnel (e.g., e-mails, phone calls, written notes, spontaneous conversations in shared classroom space, etc.);
    • Personnel make an effort to  talk with teachers about ways to help youth succeed; 
    • Youth are encouraged to be motivated and successful in school;
    • The academic efforts of youth are recognized and valued;
    • Personnel work closely with school personnel to ensure that the program’s academic components and activities are coordinated with and will enrich school learning;
    • The organization has access to resources needed for academic activities, such as classrooms, libraries, computer facilities, and bulletin boards;
    • The organization takes proper care of the facilities and other resources provided by the school;
    • The organization seeks input from school personnel about the impact the program has on youth;
    • The organization keeps the school informed about important issues and decisions;
    • Personnel reach out to and communicate with school personnel to monitor the academic and behavioral needs and progress of youth;
    • The organization communicates appropriate information about youth and families to the school;
    • The organization is responsive to the suggestions and concerns of school personnel; 
    • Personnel help teachers figure out how to engage and involve families (e.g., providing tips on when and how to reach out to family members);
    • When parents consent, personnel and teachers share information and goals from Individualized Education Plans and 504 plans; and
    • Personnel meet with school personnel and families in order to help the school gain a sense of the whole youth.

    Note: It is also important to collaborate with families regarding youths’ academic pursuits, as referenced in YD 13. For more information about ways to engage family members and help them support their child’s learning, see YD 13.02 and 13.03. 

    Research Note: Research shows that youth and families fare better when there is a coordinated, cooperative approach across systems, and some literature suggests that collaborating with different types and levels of school day staff can help to promote the strength and sustainability of a partnership. For example, while a principal might set the overall tone for the partnership and enable a program to share the school’s resources, teachers might offer valuable information about the school-day curriculum and the progress of youth. Relationships with other personnel, from guidance counselors and secretaries to coaches and custodians, can yield their own opportunities and benefits. Multi-level partnerships can also protect against disruptions that might occur as a result of turnover amongst school day staff. 

    NA The organization does not operate programs that are designed to provide academic programming in partnership with schools.


  • YD 7.02

    Program activities are designed to promote learning in at least one of the following academic areas:

    1. literacy and language arts;
    2. math;
    3. science; and/or
    4. social studies.

    Research Note: It is widely recognized that the United States must bolster its workforce’s skills in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Accordingly, literature emphasizes the importance of engaging youth in high-quality STEM learning opportunities, and points to the role that youth development programs can play in engaging youth in these fields.


  • YD 7.03

    Youth are engaged in high-quality academic activities that:

    1. are focused on achieving clear and specific learning goals and objectives that are aligned with state and local academic standards;
    2. provide active learning experiences;
    3. are based on a curriculum that reflects current research on promoting learning in the relevant academic field; and
    4. build upon one another to facilitate a step-by-step approach to learning, when possible. 

    Interpretation: As noted in YD 7.01, programs that are designed to provide academic programming in partnership with schools should ensure that academic offerings are aligned with the school-day curricula. Furthermore, academic activities should also meet the more general criteria for programming addressed in YD 6. For example, organizations should ensure that activities are appropriate to the ages and interests of program participants, as referenced in YD 6.03. Similarly, there should be enough appropriate materials to facilitate activity implementation, as referenced in YD 6.06. Thus a literacy-oriented program that includes an independent reading component should ensure it has enough books appropriate to the needs, interests, and abilities of program participants. 

    Interpretation: Regarding element (d) of the standard: COA recognizes that it can be challenging for activities to build on each other in a sequential manner if the organization does not require daily attendance. Accordingly, organizations that permit sporadic attendance should provide stand-alone activities, but ensure that the activities are thematically connected so that youth are exposed to related concepts over time. Activities could also include optional follow-up items for youth who want to pursue related projects on their own. 

    In contrast, organizations with academic goals that do require daily attendance may opt to employ a more structured approach in which youth are required to participate in academic activities, and each activity builds upon the ones that precede it. Although such an approach might seem counter to the notion that youth should be able to choose amongst activities, as addressed in YD 6.04, organizations can still incorporate this practice by allowing youth to choose the non-academic activities in which they will participate.


    Interpretation: Examples of ways to demonstrate implementation of this standard include, but are not limited to:

    • Activities involve hands-on, interactive learning opportunities;
    • During activities youth raise their hands, take part in discussions, and seem excited about the topics being addressed;
    • Personnel help youth to draw connections between their own lives and the subject matter covered in activities;
    • Activities give youth opportunities to practice what they have learned; and
    • Each activity builds on previous activities.


  • YD 7.04

    Time is allocated for homework completion, homework help, and tutoring.

    Interpretation: In order to avoid excluding youth who need extra help from other more enriching academic activities, the organization should ensure that the time allotted for homework and tutoring does not conflict with the time allotted for the academic activities addressed in YD 7.02 and 7.03.

    Research Note: Research suggests that providing only limited academic support such as homework help is not sufficient to promote academic gains, which points to the importance of also providing the type of academic activities described in YD 7.02 and 7.03. 


  • YD 7.05

    Personnel who provide academic activities are qualified to do so, and receive training that addresses:

    1. best practices in programming for the relevant academic areas;
    2. state and local academic standards; and
    3. instructional skills and strategies.

    Interpretation: COA does not require organizations to hire teachers to provide academic activities, but the organization should have a strategy in place to ensure that staff members are prepared to engage youth in high-quality academic activities. For example, the organization might establish an ongoing relationship with, or arrange for staff to be trained by, an experienced teacher or curriculum developer.

    Research Note: Literature emphasizes the importance of preparing staff to provide academic activities. Strategies for training staff vary, but some literature highlights the potential benefits of partnering with external providers to ensure that staff members are properly trained. Research also highlights the importance of providing coaching or training on an ongoing basis in order to help staff maintain and strengthen their skills, and deliver quality programming, over time.