21st CCLC and JAKAPA: A Step By Step Guide

21st CCLC grants are a great program for youth development. JAKAPA trains students in soft skills and youth development.

Youth Development and 21st CCLC Grant Programs

Youth development is one of the four critical areas in any 21st CCLC grant program, and JAKAPA can be a great tool for measuring, training and tracking key skills related to student soft skills and wellness. Many states cite competitive priorities for funding and workforce readiness is often a competitive priority for middle and high school programming.  85% of job success comes from soft skills, while only 15% comes from academic and technical skills. Including soft skills training in your 21st CCLC programming is an important component for college and career readiness.

JAKAPA is a great fit for 21st CCLC programs and youth development.

Example: Ohio State Objectives

States also connect their applications to objectives. In Ohio, the youth development is prompt 5 and states: Describe the plan for using evidence-based materials and/or strategies in the program and how you intend to make progress toward this objective (class behavior, homework completion, class participation, school attendance); and describe the positive youth development strategies to serve the diverse needs of students. The notes that the youth development proposed programming should achieve the following objectives: 

Objective 2: Ohio’s 21st CCLC programs will deliver high-quality programs with evidence-based educational and developmental services that positively affect student outcomes in school attendance, academic performance, and behavior. 

Objective 5: Participants in Ohio’s CCLC programs will demonstrate educational and social benefits and positive behavioral changes. 

Objective 6: Ohio’s 21st CCLC programs will deliver evidence-based opportunities for participants to explore careers, occupational identities, and draft career and postsecondary pathway maps.

JAKAPA's Data in your 21st CCLC program

JAKAPA’s program builds skills that directly impact attendance, academic performance and behavior, so you can make a case that we can help you achieve objective 2 and our data can help you prove it. Our skills are also connected by research to the outcomes in Objective 5, so you can connect your youth development program to educational and social benefits. 

We can provide an edge to your grant application. As part of your after-school or summer program, you can provide time for students to complete JAKAPA’s weekly challenges (10-15 minutes daily). NOTE: JAKAPA is not suited for elementary students. It is a tool for middle and high school students. 

Below outlines how to use JAKAPA in your after-school or summer programming.

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Step 1. Include JAKAPA in your Grant Application in the Section Related to Youth Development

Here is some language you can include in your youth development prompt.

Assuming a 4000 character limit, the below text contains 3196 characters with spaces, so you have space to add your own information as well.

The foundation of youth development is soft skills training. Soft skills are the skills that help us manage our lives, communicate better, regulate our emotions and cooperate with others. 85% of job success comes from soft skills, while only 15% comes from academic and technical skills. We will be using JAKAPA, a gamified platform that measures, trains and tracks 32 soft skills in five areas: self-management, innovation, social engagement, cooperation and emotional resilience. The weekly challenge system requires 10-15 minutes of engagement each day. Students take self-assessments, request others assess them, read about the skills, engage in daily tracking of goals, positivity, expressive communication and stress regulation, and play with skill builders related to the weekly challenge. The system rewards engagement in weekly challenges with points and badges, and leaders can see weekly reports of student usage and data. The JAKAPA program emerged out of the research from the University of Illinois’ BESSI Research Group, who identified the skills, validated an assessment instrument, and researched their impact. JAKAPA skills have predictive power for course grades and academic engagement, conscientiousness, which predicts the number of years of education adults will complete, enterprising occupational interests, peer acceptance, friendship quality, exercise, life satisfaction, realistic interests, peer acceptance, investigative interests, artistic interests, and social interests. The skills were identified through an exhaustive crosswalk of career readiness and student wellness frameworks, so it is aligned with district initiatives and can provide useful data we can share with staff working with students during the day. JAKAPA’s data dashboards show strengths, areas for improvement, comparative data and growth data. In addition to tracking this data, we will triangulate district data such as attendance, discipline and academic data to gauge impact. Research shows that soft skills training has the following impacts, so we expect this program will have benefits beyond youth development. Soft skills training increases: math testing scores in boys by 7.5% and in girls by 10%, assignment completion and performance by 9.3%, GPA by 11%, and graduation rates by 30%. 95% of students who score in the top 20% for soft skills graduate high school while only 58% of those who score in the bottom 20% graduate. We will ensure students engage with JAKAPA daily and share data with daytime staff monthly, so they can use it as part of their MTSS system as a way to identify students in need of Tier 2 or 3 intervention. We will also connect JAKAPA skills to the career exploration experiences we have planned and help students understand the skills beyond academic and technical credentials they need for various careers.

Step 2: Identify a Time in the Program for JAKAPA Engagement

JAKAPA only takes 10-15 minutes each day. It can be a great tool during snack when students are just arriving or at the end of the day when students need a break from academic enrichment or remediation. Find a time to schedule JAKAPA into your daily program.

Step 3: Incentivize and Reward JAKAPA Participation

Create a plan for incentivizing participation and rewarding engagement. JAKAPA provides both assessment data and engagement data, so you can set up teams of students and run competitions based on weekly challenge completion. The system is gamified with a leaderboard and weekly points, so you can track how students are engaging and set up friendly competitions among groups with rewards for high levels of completion.

Ready to See What JAKAPA
Can Do for You?

"My JAKAPA demo quickly helped me understand how easy it would be to implement THE JAKAPA soft skill solution IN My school."
—Missouri Educator

Step 4: Develop Shared Vocabulary and Connect Skills to Career Exploration

Different industries and different types of jobs require different soft skills. While everyone can benefit from strengthening all of our soft skills, helping students understand the specific soft skills that determine success in various fields of study or careers can help them decide if those careers are a good fit. As you create work-based experiences or talk about career opportunities with guest speakers or in activities you have planned, connect the soft skills to the careers and enhance students’ understanding of what it takes to succeed in various fields.

21st CCLC grants are a great program for youth development. JAKAPA trains students in soft skills and youth development. Soft skill development helps graduation rates and math testing scores in girls and boys. These afterschool programs help students develop reading ability, math scores, soft skills, leadership skills, teamwork, and STEM

Step 5: Gather, Analyze and Share your Data with Daytime Staff

JAKAPA displays strengths and areas for growth, comparative data and growth data. It also displays engagement in the JAKAPA program. You can disaggregate groups by program, grade level or other parameters to better understand the students you are working with and to strategically group them for activities. You can also have students request their teachers or parents assess their skills, so you can better understand how they are leveraging strengths in other settings. Employers who host students for work-based experiences can also assess students, and you can customize the assessment with a specific set of skills for them to rate. You can also schedule peer assessments and group students. The peer assessments are customizable, so you can select specific skills you are working on and have students assess each other periodically. Self-awareness grows as students have access to more data about how others view their skills, so find as many places as possible to elicit feedback from others. Compare JAKAPA engagement with growth data to gauge the impact it is having on skill development. Share the data with school staff, so they can use it strategically to inform differentiation and Tier 2 or 3 identification.

Step 6: Celebrate with your Community

Publish growth data on your annual evaluation report and share the results with your community and board of education.  You can also generate awards for students to take home and share with parents and you can design parent engagement nights around soft skills to help them understand how to support their children’s skill development in the home. They may not be able to help their children with their math homework, but they can certainly help them build their soft skills!

Ready to Discover JAKAPA? Let's Dive In!


Congratulations on reaching this point! At JAKAPA, we are passionate about developing soft skills and are excited to share more with you. Explore the possibilities of implementing JAKAPA in your district by clicking here. If you’re eager to understand the inner workings of JAKAPA, click here. Prefer a hands-on approach? Engage with our clickable prototype by clicking here. Is JAKAPA the perfect fit for your district? Take the plunge and schedule a short demo with our team by clicking here. We can’t wait to connect with you!

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