Dr. Jonathan F. Zaff is executive director of the Center for Promise, the research center of America's Promise Alliance. He is also a research associate professor in the department of child development and a senior fellow at the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service at Tufts University.
His research focuses primarily on understanding how to create the conditions within which all children and youth thrive academically, socially, vocationally, and civically. The results of his work have appeared in numerous peer-reviewed journals and books and presented at local, national,and international conferences. Prior to joining America's Promise, Jonathan was a research associate at Child Trends and founder of the youth voice organization, 18to35 (merged with Mobilize.org). Jonathan received his Ph.D. in lifespan developmental psychology from the University of Georgia.
Meeting At Promise Students Where They Are – A Center for Promise Synthesis
Four years ago, Jonathan Zaff and his colleagues at the Center for Promise asked young people who had left high school without graduating: “Why did you dropout?” What they heard was dramatically different from the prevailing narratives about “bored,” “disaffected,” “deviant” youth who did not care about school, their own lives, or their communities.
The young people's answers started with, “I didn’t drop out.” They perceived “dropout” as a sign of failure, which did not gel with how they saw themselves. They described their lives in ways that busted through the narrative that they were lazy, that they lacked “grit,” or that they were destined for failure; instead, focusing on the adversities that they faced and the strengths they expressed to meet life’s challenges. This presentation is a synthesis of the Center for Promise’s work over the past four years delving into the lives of these young people. By combining systematic, social science methodologies and analysis with the authentic voices of young people, Dr. Zaff will present what he believes is a more accurate depiction of who young people are, what they can achieve, what supports they need, and what the most promising strategies are for getting them these supports. Come join a discussion about what we, throughout our society, are doing and can do to meet these young people where they are and provide the support they need to build upon their strengths and thrive.
Past AAPF Sessions:
Leveraging Social Supports for At-Promise Students
Dr. Jon Zaff the prime researcher for America’s Promise Alliance and Dr. Shannon Varga will provide a social support mapping app for understanding the social supports available to at-promise youth and levers for optimizing their academic (and life) success. Participants will use provided tablets to work through an exercise using a social support mapping app that practitioners can use with youth to understand the youth’s web of supports. The session includes a discussion about how to use that information to optimize the supports that youth are and could be receiving. The session is relevant both for practitioners who work with at-promise youth as well as for policy advocates who are looking to design better policies to support at-promise youth.
An Evidence Base For Expanding Services to Disconnected Youth As of 2010, more than one million 16-to-19 year-olds (6%) in the United States were classified as disconnected youth. Being disconnected places a burden on individual youth and on the broader society. The combined lifetime social and fiscal cost has been estimated to be equal to $1 trillion for a single cohort of disconnected youth. The disconnection rate has declined from a high of 14% 40 years ago, with possible reasons for improvement including efforts to improve high school graduation rates and increases in funding and programming focused on disconnected youth, such as through the Workforce Investment and Opportunity Act, Job Corps, and Youth Build. Join America’s Promise Alliance researcher Jonathan Zaff as he provides a research-based alternative perspective for why the disconnected youth rate has improved: people. His research shows that the adult capacity in the community and the supports that these adults provide can put more young people on a positive pathway to adult success. Jonathan’s research is particularly relevant to advocates for the expansion and strengthening of youth-focused neighborhood assets – like dropout recovery schools, job training – and increasing the overall community's capacity to support its young people.
the annual alternative accountability policy forum is aN Education policy conference from:
Alternative Accountability Policy Forum 2605 Temple Heights Dr Suite F., Oceanside, CA 92056 (916) 712-9087