An Inside Look at AERA 2015

Chicago – Site of 2015 AERA. “ChicagoOverheadTiltShift”. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Over the course of five days in mid April, thousands of researchers, teachers, and administrators came together to discuss current educational issues. Valerie Futch, Ph.D., gives us a look into the 2015 American Educational Research Association (AERA) conference held in Chicago this spring. aera jpeg

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Valerie Futch, Ph.D., is a Research Assistant Professor of Education, and Youth-Nex faculty member at the Curry School of Education. Her current work includes several projects that aim to improve understanding of youth experiences in the classroom, in after-school programs, and in relationship to adults. Futch is Program Chair for the American Educational Research Association Out-of-School Time (OST) SIG, American Educational Research Association, 2015 & 2016 Conferences. She was a Youth-Nex postdoctoral fellow from June 2011–August 2014.

Since I’m only one person and can’t be in multiple places at once, I followed a lot of the concurrent sessions on Twitter. If you want a great recap of the main points as well as links to lots of other resources, definitely check out the #AERA15 conversation.

The theme this year was “Toward Justice: Culture, Language, and Heritage in Education Research and Praxis” and many of the keynotes took up issues of achievement and opportunity gaps, disciplinary discrepancies, access to quality schools, and issues of education policy and reform. For a full listing of keynote speakers and information about their talks, visit the conference page.

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AERA OST-SIG Business Meeting Panel

I also had the opportunity to chair the program for the Out-of-School-Time Special Interest Group (OST-SIG). We had several roundtable and paper sessions, as well as a few posters. Some of the topics that were covered included discussions of what constitutes quality in after-school programs, how we can build collaborative opportunities in out-of-school-time settings, a full paper session documenting outcomes in these programs, and a look at global programs for youth. We also had a very productive business meeting with leading researchers in the OST field where we discussed the ESEA renewal debate in Congress and the importance of funding after-school programs. We are working on compiling all of the slides from our presenters and will post them on our SIG webpage for you to have access to in the next few weeks. You can follow us on Facebook and Twitter to have access to these materials when we post them!

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Maxine Greene Memorial Program

There were somber moments as well, as several memorial sessions honored and mourned the loss of brilliant scholars. Two who were influential to me were Maxine Greene and Greg Dimitriadis. Both took up issues of art, aesthetics, justice, and philosophy of education. Their ideas fuel many educators and researchers and inspires us to create classrooms that spark creativity. The full rooms and heartfelt memories shared by former colleagues, students, and friends attests to their long-lasting influence on many in the education field.

The highlight of my trip was definitely the Saturday morning Youth Research Festival coordinated by AERA President Joyce King and Distinguished Professor Michelle Fine. Over ten teams of youth researchers from across the nation (and one group from South Africa!) presented their participatory research projects and highlighted the impact these projects had in their local communities. You can learn more about several of the projects by visiting the Public Science Project webpage. I’m looking forward to chairing the OST-SIG program again next year and encourage you to submit your work for presentation at the 2016 conference, to be held in Washington, DC.

Health Effects Of Physical Activity In Youth – Russell Pate, Ph.D.

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The annual Youth-Nex Conference on Physical Health & Well-Being, was held October 11 & 12, 2013 at the University of Virginia.

The following is a summary of the presentation by Russell Pate, Ph.D., by Jeanette Garcia, graduate student in the Curry School of Education’s Department of Kinesiology, under the direction of Art Weltman, Ph.D., conference chair. Video also available here.

Russell Pate, Ph.D., is Professor and Director, Children’s Physical Activity Research Group, University of South Carolina Arnold School of Public Health. He is also the current president of the National Physical Activity Plan Alliance. His research interests include physical activity and physical fitness in children and the health implications of physical activity. 

There is evidence that the following strategies are effective:

  • Multi-component school interventions
  • Physical education in school

There is evidence that the following strategies are emerging or suggestive:

  • Activity breaks in school
  • Pre-school and childcare settings

Community and built environment

The following strategies have insufficient evidence at this time:

  • School physical environment and after-school
  • Camps, youth organizations, and other programs in the community
  • Family and home
  • Primary care settings

Current Physical Activity Guidelines for Adolescents and Youths Continue reading

The Middle School Conversation Continues…

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Deb Zehner chats with Alma Powell after the keynote.

Deb Zehner chats with Alma Powell after the keynote.

Welcome to the Youth-Nex blog. Let’s continue the conversation started at the Youth-Nex middle school conference. Simply reply to posts here or email edaniels@virginia.edu to contribute your own post. You can also subscribe at the top right of this post.

As they accumulate, related posts will be found “under one roof” so to speak, under Middle School Conference 2012.

The first entry is by Deb Zehner, Management Consultant (with a specialty in social network analysis), NetVision LLC. Deb works closely with U.Va. business professor Rob Cross. Their application of social network analysis has traditionally been in the business sector but they are transitioning to the educational sector as well. More on the business application of social networking can be found here. Comments from her 13-year old daughter follow her post.

Youth-Nex’s In Between Conference, held Oct. 18-19, surpassed my expectations. I attended for two reasons. First, to explore possible applications of social networking to benefit middle school students by better understanding what adolescents need and how the schools are serving those needs. Second, for practical ideas of how I could get involved in a hands-on way myself. A nice side benefit was that I gained knowledge helpful to better understanding my own 13 year old daughter and her friends (her thoughts are below). The conference blended the worlds of research, application, and policy, allowing for discussion with the speakers and other attendees. There were many interesting findings, but some of the most striking ones for me follow. Continue reading

“Conflict and debate?! Okay, I’m listening!”

Laurie Jean, Adolescent Educator at SARA, the Sexual Assault Resource Agency, gave us her thoughtful insights on the bullying prevention conference co-hosted by Youth-Nex, this summer. She was one of 500 teachers, law enforcement personnel and others, who attended the statewide event held at Charlottesville High School.

Bullying Prevention conference slide

Related posts can be found under Bullying.

Walking past tables covered in white paper and coffee urns, I expected little from yet another conference as I entered the Martin Luther King, Jr. Performing Arts Center. I rarely find much useful substance amid conferences’ broad, non-targeted material. As I settled into a folding seat in the back of the theater, a wave of empathy for my students came over me as I recalled many of the sensations of attending a mandatory high school assembly. Continue reading

Critical Considerations in a Capability Focused Approach to Intervention Design and Evaluation – YN Panel Video

Nancy Deutsch

Related posts available under YN Working Conference April 2012

View the video for this discussion looking at methods, broadly and integratively, through a Positive Youth Development lens.

Panelists used four guiding questions:
1. How do we bring in developmental theory as we design evaluations of programs? Specifically, how do we relate Positive Youth Development processes and constructs to expected outcomes. How do we resolve the tension between evaluating competencies— promotion, and measuring problem behavior—prevention? Continue reading

Lessons from Settings and Programs for Adolescent PYD – YN Panel Video

Jacqueline Lerner


PYD as meritorious science; Jacqueline Lerner kicks off the panel discussion.

Related posts available under YN Working Conference April 2012

YN brought together 23 scholars at the University’s beautiful Morven Farm this spring, to advance further scientific knowledge and to formulate a framework for promoting effective youth development. Listen in on this panel discussion with leaders in the field: Jacqueline Lerner (chair), Dale Blyth, Nancy Guerra, Reed Larson, and Jean Rhodes. Video. Continue reading

Psychology Conference Focuses on Youth Organizing and Desegregation

By Valerie Futch, Postdoctoral Fellow at Youth-Nex.

Related posts are available under Conferences, Research

Changing Societies

Last week I had the opportunity to attend the 9th biennial conference of the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues (APA Division 9). The theme for the conference was Changing Societies: Learning From and For Research, Social Action, and Policy. As part of the presidential programming, I had the great fortune to organize an invited panel on desegregation stories in the South and chair an invited panel on youth organizing for educational engagement and justice. These two panels turned out to be just one of many that featured youth development and youth organizing throughout the conference. Continue reading

Youth-Nex and CASTL Researchers Compete in Annual Sloboda Bukoski Cup

By Angela Henneberger, recent Curry graduate and YN researcher (PhD, Applied Developmental Science, ’12)

Valerie Futch, Angela Henneberger, Peter Lovegrove, and Michelle Maier

Valerie Futch, Angela Henneberger, Peter Lovegrove, Michelle Maier (not pictured: Ross Larsen, Chris Hafen)

The 2012 annual Society for Prevention Research (SPR) convention was held on May 29–June 1, 2012 at the Hyatt Regency in Washington, DC.  It is very exciting to me that the theme of this year’s conference was “Promoting Healthy Living Through Prevention Science.”  This Spring, I had the opportunity to attend the Youth-Nex summit, a gathering of prominent researchers in the field of prevention and positive youth development. Continue reading

Youth-Nex JPC Team travels to NYC Research Institute

Sibley presents the work to the group.

Sibley presents the work to the group.

Related posts available under Research, and Community.

I had the privilege of spending the last week with a great group of undergraduate researchers and my colleagues at the Public Science Project for their annual Critical Participatory Action Research (PAR) Institute. Thanks to a grant from UVA’s Jefferson Public Citizens program, we were able to bring our community partner, Sibley Johns, director of Charlottesville’s Music Resource Center with us to brainstorm our youth PAR evaluation project that begins this summer.

Continue reading

Improving PYD Interventions – YN Panel Video

Jeanne Brooks-Gunn

Related posts available under YN Working Conference April 2012

We’re lucky enough to have captured on video the Youth-Nex Working Conference —where six panels and 23 scholars congregated to further scientific understanding of how to promote effective youth development through the Positive Youth Development (PYD) lens.

Be a part of the discussion chaired by Jeanne Brooks-Gunn: “Learning from Prevention Science and Developmental-Intervention Approaches to Improve PYD Interventions and Evaluations.”  We welcome your comments.  Video.

In the light of the need to provide research and action that integrates PYD into what we already know, Dr. Tolan recently posited: Continue reading