The Program Quality Intervention (PQI) is the professional development framework for SOWA’s expanded learning investment, as backed by the Forum for Youth Investment’s David P. Weikart Center for Youth Program Quality. PQI comprises three components: assessment, coaching, and training.

Grantees will individually, and in cohorts, partner with SOWA and each other to improve the quality of expanded learning opportunities provided to King County’s young people. Learn more about the initiative and view the timeline (dates subject to change).

Partners in Place-Based Collaboratives will participate together in some or all elements of PQI which includes:

  1. Assessment
    Throughout the PQI, grantees will engage in both external and self-assessments of their programs using the Weikart Center’s Social Emotional Learning Program Quality Assessment tool (SEL PQA)[2]. These data will inform programs’ quality goal-setting and further their coaching and training priorities.
  1. Coaching
    All grantees will be expected to meet with their coaches on a consistent schedule, at least once each month. Additional coaching requirements and options will be implemented specific to programs’ assigned cohorts.
  1. Training
    A streamlined suite of required trainings will prioritize key information that is foundational to youth development. Additional offerings will be available to provide choice and further tailor supports for grantees. SOWA will ensure that cohort members are able to access additional, broadly-available professional learning.

Cohort-Based Approach

Grantees’ levels of engagement and cohort placements will vary based on differing levels of familiarity with the PQI process, differing levels of program readiness and differing funding amounts and capacity.

SOWA’s objective with the cohort-based approach is to right-size programs’ experiences based on need. By creating three distinct but aligned cohorts, SOWA expects to increase value and uptake by providing tailored, scaffolded access to quality supports.

  1. Quality Readiness Cohort
    This cohort will dive into the philosophy of continuous quality improvement as a precursor to specific skill building.  The focus will be on how to implement the Program Quality Intervention and continuous quality improvement for those with low or no exposure to the Weikart Center’s formal Program Quality Intervention, as well as those with limited capacity. The Quality Readiness Cohort will explore quality frameworks, practices, and processes, building familiarity among front-line staff and establishing essential, long-term tools among program managers/leadership.
  1. Continuous Quality Improvement Cohort
    This cohort will serve programs that have foundational knowledge and structures to support both the philosophy of continuous quality improvement and engagement in a Program Quality Intervention. Grantees in this cohort will have foundational quality practices and strong organizational infrastructures. They will work toward building more robust and consistent quality practices in their expanded learning programs.
  1. Deepening Quality Cohort
    This cohort is for those with seasoned participation in quality initiatives. The emphasis will be on train-the-trainer supports and peer learning. Through cohort engagement, these providers will strengthen continuous quality improvement practices and structures to ensure quality is embedded into all levels of the organization and not dependent on individual staff.

Determinations on cohort placements will be made jointly by SOWA staff and grantees. The intent of the cohort structure is to provide tailored supports that best fit the needs and goals of each grantee. SOWA is not necessarily striving for even distribution of grantees across cohorts.   

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