Awards & Recognition

NAA and our partners are doing some great things to elevate the field of afterschool!

Strategic Plan 2015-2018

Executive Summary

How kids spend their time matters.

In order for young people to fully realize their potential and thrive, they need opportunities and relationships beyond what they have access to at school and at home.

NAA exists to inspire, connect and equip professionals who meet this critical need for young people.

The afterschool professional is our primary audience and at the center of all of NAA's work. Over the next five years, NAA will pursue its mission by inspiring, connecting and equipping at least 200,000 professionals who collectively will enrich the lives of more than four million young people, roughly half of all children who currently participate in afterschool programs.

To achieve that result, NAA will function as the "voice of the field" and engage its state affiliates and members to pursue three major strategies:

  • Improving program quality by developing and equipping professionals
  • Connecting and growing the field of afterschool and expanded learning programs and providers
  • Bridging research, practice and policy to strengthen the profession

By 2018, NAA will use its influence, membership and assets to fundamentally re-shape the way young people spend their time outside of school.

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Tom Wyatt

Tom Wyatt is the chief executive officer of Knowledge Universe-United States, the nation's largest private provider of early childhood education and care and the parent company of the KinderCare, CCLC, Champions, Knowledge Beginnings, Cambridge Schools and The Grove School brands. Under Wyatt's leadership, these brands collectively provide early learning and school-age programs to nearly 175,000 children in more than sixteen hundred locations and more than four hundred programs around the country.

Deborah Lowe Vandell, Ph.D.

Deborah Lowe Vandell, Ph.D., is the Founding Dean of the School of Education at the University of California, Irvine, where she is a Professor of Education and of Psychology and Social Behavior. The author of more than one hundred fifty articles and three books, Dr. Vandell studies the effects of afterschool and summer programs on children's academic, social, and behavioral development.

How To Conference Like a Pro


1. Plan to participate to the fullest extent
NAA conventions offer many different exceptional learning opportunities in a variety of structures:

  • The Coffee & Idea Swaps each morning are a low-key time to share ideas in small group discussions while sipping on complimentary morning coffee. Get up early, you won't regret it!
  • Beyond the 170 captivating workshops available, NAA also offers Poster Presentations—a spectacular visual display of projects, programs and best practices to view at your own pace and ask questions of experts.
  • At the end of the day if you're looking for quick takeaways, attend an Express Session, these 30-minute sessions provide you with just the right amount of information to add value to your experience.
  • The Learning Expo is filled with opportunities to learn about afterschool products—visit the Learning Labs to learn more about STEM and HEPA friendly afterschool learning environments.

2. Get the most bang for your (or your organization's) buck
The NAA convention offers top-notch opportunities so planning should be well underway before you leave for your trip. Set a few key goals for the convention and then plan tactics to meet those goals. Use the Convention App (available in the App Store – search "NAA2015") to plan your experience. This game plan allows strategic selection of first and second workshop choices for each session and exhibitors you want to engage with to ensure opportunity to meet your goals.

3. Take advantage of the available networking opportunities
Get ready to encounter a variety of outstanding afterschool professionals--prep two or three focus questions to use as you network with others. Questions might pertain to an issue you've been experiencing or to a new initiative you have been considering. As you attend workshop sessions, spark a discussion early by asking a focus question at your table group. Get ready to jot down all the insight and advice coming your way to use to when you get back home.

4. Have a system for organizing your thoughts and notes
Use a "conference template" to organize your thoughts. Document the session title and presenter contact information, notes and ideas gathered from the session that would benefit you and other colleagues. This format will help you retain information for reflection and implementation meetings and prevent you from becoming overwhelmed by the new concepts you're introduced to at the convention.

5. Schedule reflection time and then let the enthusiasm drive you!
Thinking and learning is abundant at the convention. Allow time each day and at the end of convention to process your thoughts. Think about the most important things you learned or encountered. Determine the key takeaways and contacts. Plan immediate action items, put other ideas in a someday file and then let the enthusiasm gained at the convention drive you toward your goals!


Charles Smith, Ph.D.

Charles Smith, Ph.D., is the founder and Executive Director of the David P. Weikart Center for Youth Program Quality, a division of the Forum for Youth Investment, and Senior Vice President at the Forum. The Weikart Center currently provides technical supports to a portfolio of more than eighty-five quality improvement systems and quality intermediary organizations in thirty-eight states, including several thousand direct service organizations. Dr. Smith leads the measures and analytics team at the Weikart Center. His current areas of focus include design and implementation of lower-stakes performance accountability policies and integration of afterschool systems with schools.

Connect With Convention

naa-appPresenting the National Afterschool Association 2015 convention app. Download the NAA 2015 Convention App to plan your personalized schedule (tip: pick more than one workshop per block), get the most up-to-date scheduling information, announcements, handouts andresources, and to complete workshop evaluations. To complete a session evaluation or downloadsession materials, open the app, search for the workshop by title, and click on it to access the evaluation and resources.

If you don't have a smartphone, or if you want to visit the app via your computer, or download handouts and session materials directly to your computer, visit to access the app.

On your phone, visit these app stores to download the app. Simply search for "NAA2015."

Google Play
Compatible with Android 2.3.3 and higher

Apple App Store
Compatible with iOS 7.0 and higher

BlackBerry World
Compatible with BlackBerry 10 and higher

Windows Phone Store
Compatible with Windows Phone 8 and higher



Carla Sanger, M.ED.

From 1988 to 2015, Carla Sanger, M.Ed., served as president and chief executive officer of LA's BEST (Better Educated Students for Tomorrow) After School Enrichment Program. 

Shannon Rudisill, MSW

Shannon Rudisill is Director of the Office of Child Care (OCC)— formerly the Child Care Bureau (CCB)—where she has focused on raising the bar on quality in childcare across the country, particularly for low-income children.


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