BLOCS 2020 Report

Across the nation 2020 was a year dominated by two crises – a pandemic, that disproportionately affects lower-income families and people of color, and a summer of racial justice protests in the wake of the police killings of unarmed Blacks in America, like Breonna Taylor.

As a network of OST providers and youth development workers serving predominantly Black and Latinx youth and families in the greater Louisville region, BLOCS (Building Louisville’s Out-of-School Time Coordinated System) understood that the events of 2020 signaled the urgent need to pivot in how we supported OST providers which were now not only in the business of social emotional learning improvement, but in helping youth and their families with basic needs.

And so, like 2020, this BLOCS report will be like no other. With our typical annual data collection thrown out the window, this report looks at how together we rose to the challenges of last year and look to come back a stronger, bolder network in years to come.

Leading up to 2020

Before the pandemic-induced, BLOCS was on pace to report on:

111 Fall External Assessments
3,271 SRYB Time 1 Ratings (100% of sites reporting)


Pandemic’s Effect on Program Year

After record numbers of data collected in Fall 2019, BLOCS made the call to cancel data collection in April 2020. A five-year track record of longitudinal reporting would also be halted.


Demographics Overview:
Fall 2020

No data collection for BLOCS year 2020-21

0 Fall External Assessments
0 SRYB Time 1 Ratings
No KREP or MAP Testing Results


Staff Voice

Robert Jamison Family Ministries, Shawnee Learning Center w/ Yvette Goodwin Jamison

Republic Bank Foundation YMCA with Walter Walker

Prominent Youth of America – Social Justice in 2020

Prominent Youth of America with Lavon Clack

Prominent Youth of America – 2020 Effects

Neighborhood House with JeannieJean Davidson

Kentucky Refugee Ministries with Adrienne Eisenmenger

Canaan Christian Church Family Life Center, Dare to Dream Academy with Cherri Lasley

Backside Learning Center at Churchhill Downs with Lauren DeGeorge


AMPED with Dave Christopher


Timeline of Events

March – September 2020

Mar 12

Ready by 21 National Convention in Louisville Canceled

Ready by 21 National Convention in Louisville Canceled

BLOCS had been sponsoring partner

Breonna Taylor is killed in a no-knock raid in Louisville

Breonna Taylor is killed in a no-knock raid in Louisville

Her death would signal Louisville’s transformation as an epicenter of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Mar 17

First confirmed case of COVID-19 in Jefferson County

First confirmed case of COVID-19 in Jefferson County
Apr 16

BLOCS officially announces the cancellation of PQA & SRYB data collection

Apr 18

May 12

Summer Learning Survey sent gauging needs for summer programming supports

Jun 02

Following the killing of George Floyd in MN, the national wave of protests calling for racial justice and equity hits Louisville and would continue throughout the summer.

Jun 11

BLOCS launches “What You Should Know” Training Series beginning with tech/virtual programming tutorials

Aug 05

Fall Programming Survey sent out to all BLOCS sites to gauge plans, concerns, needs

Fall Programming Survey sent out to all BLOCS sites to gauge plans, concerns, needs

Fall Survey: Top Identified Needs

  • Funding due to concerns about keeping your doors open this program year
  • Volunteers and tutors
  • Technology (high-speed internet connection, devices, etc.)
  • Training on NTI 2.0 to assist families
  • Masks, gloves, cleaning supplies, etc.
Aug 20

BLOCS virtual Kick-Off Event “Compassion Over Compliance”

No data collection for Fall, decision by end of the calendar year on Spring

Sep 03

Community Learning Hubs

BLOCS works with Evolve502 and JCPS to open CLHs for in-person NTI assistance for students

Sep 04

Sep 17

Dr. Charles Smith, Qturn, presents tools focusing on key aspects of distance learning

Dr. Charles Smith, Qturn, presents tools focusing on key aspects of distance learning

NTI Participation Summary:
Fall 2020

Key Takeaways¹

  • Participation in BLOCS was correlated to lower academic failure rates & higher NTI participation vs JCPS Averages.
  • About 17% of BLOCS students were failing at least one class, vs. 25% JCPS.
  • Failure rate for the Hispanic/Latinx students in BLOCS was about half the rate of the district.

¹ Correlations between BLOCS participation and outcomes (e.g., participation and course failures) are not causal.

October – December 2020

Oct 08

BLOCS holds first Communities of Practice

BLOCS holds first Communities of Practice

Communities Of Practice To Date:
Total Sessions: 15
Unique Attendees: 245
AVG Attendance: 33.8
BLOCS Orgs Engaged: 34
External Orgs Engaged: 25

Oct 29

BLOCS hosts “What is Quality in a Nutshell” open to OST providers outside of BLOCS

Nov 10

Nov 12

Cabinet for Health and Family Services conducts Communities of Practice around Mandatory Reporting

Nov 13

JCPS Reopens Cascade to collect Roster Data for BLOCS

Dec 01

Decision made to cancel data collection for entire year

Elevating BLOCS:
2021 & Beyond

Established in 2014 as a coalition between Metro United Way, Jefferson County Public Schools, and Louisville Metro Government, BLOCS strives to ensure that all youth in Louisville have access to high-quality OST programs building social and emotional intelligence skills, improving academic performance, and ensuring students are college and career ready. Since its inception with 15 organizations and 38 sites, the network has grown to 56 organizations providing services at 109 locations in five of the seven counties in the MUW service area.

This growth has led to a significant increase in grassroots neighborhood-based organizations led by people of color, from 7% in 2014 to 52% in 2020. Equipped with a sharp contextual equity lens, coupled with strategic impact rooted in empowering neighborhoods and closing the education gap, BLOCS is positioned for increased investment and impact in our community.

In the coming years, BLOCS plans to:

  • Open participation in BLOCS back up to new providers, focusing primarily on small grassroots and neighborhood-based organizations in each county of MUW’s service area
  • Provide a BLOCS fidelity “retention” annual incentive for participating organizations
  • Elevate the BLOCS brand in the community as the trusted source of information for OST and K-post secondary education, student remedial support, and access to quality OST programming in our community by:
    • Building on existing partnerships in the community, while cultivating new ones to help advance our long-term goal to narrowing the education gap
    • Leaning into advocacy for youth success and OST programs through public policy and collaboration with partners & coalitions in the community
    • Building capacity for programs, including an enhanced menu of supports & resources, workforce development, employment & education opportunities

Social Justice Youth Development (SJYD) Certificate Program

With the increase in calls for racial justice and equity, BLOCS will focus efforts on preparing our network with the tools, resources, and supports needed to put racial equity into practice. We are excited to announce the Social Justice Youth Development (SJYD) Certificate Program, an upcoming initiative in partnership with the University of Louisville’s Center for Social Justice Youth Development Research, “focused on the development of equitable access and opportunities for all youth by actively reducing or eliminating disparities in education, health, employment, justice, and any other system that hinders the development of young people.”[1]

SJYD is focused on adopting transformational approaches to improve health and education outcomes for youth to eliminate disparities and work toward dismantling systemic and institutional racism. To learn more about the SJYD Certificate Program send an email to


[1] Outley, C., Brown, A., Gabriel, M., & Sullins, A. (2018). The role of culture in out-of-school time settings. Youth development principles and practices in out-of-school time settings, 463-492

Thank you to our BLOCS partners!