Beyond the Bell is a coalition of youth-serving agencies, funders, policymakers and youth who work to ensure all young people have access to quality after school and summer opportunities.
On Friday, March 22, 2013 more than 75 youth serving agency leaders and funders gathered at the Helen Bader Foundation to discuss the results of a survey designed to uncover challenges facing the youth development sector in Milwaukee. 98% of youth serving agencies and 62% of funders supported the establishment of a “city-wide intermediary” to coordinate capacity building among youth service providers, policy makers, and funders. This sentiment was validated when a majority of those in attendance signed up to join one of five working groups to address issues in the areas of access, quality, data, policy, and funding. This marked the launch of Milwaukee-Out-of-School Time initiative, later to become known as Beyond the Bell Milwaukee.
Staffed by the Center for Youth Engagement, Beyond the Bell is a collaborative effort driven by service providers, funders, youth, policy makers and public institutions all committed to ensuring that youth have access to coordinated and quality programs and services. This initiative is currently focused on programs and services for youth ages 12-18. This is a critical age group that is significantly under-served in Milwaukee and cities across the country.
Since 2013, parters have put forth a significant amount of work to explore national best practices, gather input from youth locally, and discuss the unique needs and opportunities for improving coordination of youth programs and services in Milwaukee.
Beyond the Bell engages partners in working groups that develop sector-driven strategies to increase the coordination and quality of programs and services for youth.
QUALITY WORKING GROUP
Mission: Pursue strategies to increase program quality through shared standards and continuous improvements and supports.
Update: The Quality Working Group is leveraging results of its recent training pilot to further develop a city-wide professional development system that will offer affordable, high-quality, competency-based trainings to youth development practitioners. The system will include training, coaching, peer-to-peer exchanges, continuous quality improvement processes, and incentives for pursuing professional development.
ACCESS WORKING GROUP
Mission: Improve accessibility and participation among youth in quality out-of-school time and extended learning opportunities in Milwaukee.
Update: After successful rounds of beta-testing sessions of the Beyond the Bell mobile app with teens and the Milwaukee Youth Alliance, the working group is building partnerships to enhance the design and functionality of the app. Phase 2 of the app is expected to debut in summer 2017.
DATA WORKING GROUP
Mission: Identify and pursue strategies for collecting, sharing, and using data to track city-wide participation and service inefficiencies for programs serving youth.
Update: The Data Working Group is leveraging learnings from its survey of more than 80 youth-serving agencies to partner with the United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County and Milwaukee Succeeds to increase organizational data capacity and lay the groundwork for developing a citywide, shared youth data system.
POLICY WORKING GROUP
Mission: Identify and promote policies that that enhance resources, accountability, and impact of programs and services for youth.
Update: In partnership with the Public Policy Forum, the Policy Working Group has released a fiscal scan of public resources for youth services in Milwaukee. Scan results will be analyzed in order to: 1) identify opportunities to align and leverage resources for greater efficiency and impact, and 2) advocate for equitable investment in youth prevention and development.
FUNDING WORKING GROUP
Mission: Identify and adopt strategies to improve the coordination of local and national resources to support the provision of quality expanded learning opportunities in Milwaukee.
Update: Coming soon
MILWAUKEE SUCCEEDS COMMUNITY & SOCIAL SUPPORT NETWORK
Milwaukee Succeeds is a collaborative community effort to ensure success for every child, in every school, from cradle to career. The Center for Youth Engagement leads the Community & Social Support Network, one of Milwaukee Succeeds' four impact areas. This network focuses on improving social-emotional health throughout the community.
Vision: Inspire and build an inclusive and diverse community that promotes and supports the social-emotional well-being of all individuals to succeed in school, work and life.