Beyond the Classroom: Boosting Program Quality for OurYouth Since 2014, Baptist Community Ministries has been investing in NOLA-YPQI, a youth program quality initiative designed to raise the caliber of out-of-school time programming through- out New Orleans. The ultimate goal is to create a robust and continuous quality-enhancement system to support better futures for the city’s young people. Research consistently shows that high-quality youth pro- grams are more likely to lead to positive developmental outcomes for children and youth. We know that young people spend time in other places besides school — such as sports, arts and other community activities. BCM asked,“What do our youth organizations have to help them continue to improve?” NOLA-YPQI was born from that question. Triple the Impact In its inaugural year, NOLA-YPQI assisted 15 youth programs. Now in year three, 45 organizations — serving about 5,000 young people — are benefitting from NOLA-YPQI services. Notably, this year’s cohort reflects increased diversity across program types, including a program that exclusively serves youth with disabilities, and another focused on youth who are involved in the justice system. It is exciting for BCM to see these specialized programs utilize NOLA-YPQI as a source of their quality improvement support. Above, L to R: Angela Herbert White, Coach; Devon Turner, Coach; Andrea Zayas, Founding Executive Director; Alli Wo- mac, Coach; Troy Glover, Coach; Marti Dumas, Lead Coach; Sara Green, Coach “BCM is about investing in people, and investing in what can be better.” — Alvin David BCM Program Director, Education Grants A powerful manifestation of NOLA-YPQI culture is the “Communities of Practice,”which brings together staff across organizations who wouldn’t routinely have the opportunity to connect with each other. In one community, coaches meet monthly with team leaders at participating youth organiza- tions to discuss how programs are progressing and to problem-solve across teams. New communities can be formed to design new youth programs, and this flexibility fosters collaboration over competition. From Pilot to Intermediary NOLA-YPQI is transitioning from a pilot project closely sup- ported by BCM to a more community-based initiative. Andrea Zayas was recently hired as the Founding Executive Director Youth Program Quality Initiative Strategic Grant in Education 12