JAKAPA is the Youth Development Tool for 21st CCLC programs

PBIS starts by identifying the attributes you want to see your students demonstrate on a daily basis, such as responsibility, respect and safety. There is an underlying set of skills that impact whether students can understand and demonstrate these attributes. For example, self-management skills, such as time, task and responsibility management are critical if they are to behave responsibly. Without a strategy to teach, assess and track skill development, PBIS systems can degrade into an award system for students who already have the skills necessary to meet expectations rather than a system to instill those characteristics.

The 21st Century Community Learning Centers grants fund after-school programming aimed at improving literacy, math, youth development and family engagement. The literacy and math goals in the program are easy to measure because most schools implement intervention software that tracks usage and growth. But what is there to measure, train and track youth development? As a former evaluator of many 21st CCLC grants, data reported on youth development is usually related to attendance or participation data rather than skill development. To compete for funding and better understand the impact of your programming, you need a measure for youth development. JAKAPA is that solution.

JAKAPA can help schools more clearly define their youth development programming and we can measure results. 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. They are critical for success at work. In fact, 85% of job success comes from soft skills, while only 15% comes from academic and technical skills. JAKAPA measures 32 soft skills in five areas: self-management, innovation, social engagement, cooperation and emotional resilience. Our gamified system engages users 10-15 minutes daily and measures, trains and tracks skills.

The BESSI Research Group from the University of Illinois identified the 32 skills we measure after an exhaustive crosswalk of career readiness and student wellness frameworks. This means our skills are aligned to the many SEL programs and career readiness initiatives you are already using, so you can make a case that your 21st CCLC program is extending the work already underway during the school day. Our 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. We can even integrate with grade books, so there is no additional work for teachers. Using JAKAPA builds awareness and shared vocabulary around skills students need to succeed.

Soft skills have a huge impact on youth development and future success. 

  • Soft skills ability predicts adult health problems even after accounting for social class origins and IQ.
  • Soft skills ability is a stronger predictor of financial success than social class origin or IQ
  • Students with poor soft skills are more likely to be convicted of a criminal offense
  • 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


Soft skills training can have an enormous impact on student well-being and academic success as well. 

Soft skills training can have an enormous impact on student well-being and academic success as well. Soft skills training:

  • Increases math testing scores in boys by 7.5% and in girls by 10%
  • Increases assignment completion and performance by 9.3%
  • Increases GPA by 11%
  • Increases graduation rates by 30%

Including JAKAPA in your 21st CCLC grant application can enhance your chances of getting funded and using it daily can improve student soft skills and generate impressive growth data. Even better, students become more self-aware of their skills, are in control of building them, and can use JAKAPA data as a soft skills resume to accompany their transcripts. JAKAPA can also be a credit-bearing elective, so students can earn ¼ credit of soft skills training annually.

JAKAPA has grant writers ready to help. If you are interested in including JAKAPA in your 21st Century program, reach out to discuss how we can assist your grant writing process.

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