Professional Development

NAA publishes fresh, new content every week covering a wide variety of topics related to the field of aftershool. In addition, NAA offers a variety of opportunities for virtual professional development (PD) through meaningful content, conversations and connections. Click here to see full descriptions of virtual PD offerings.

OST Organization Increases Job Quality through Paid Leave and Pandemic Pay

Friday, 28 January 2022 15:19

How can organizations increase job quality for OST professionals? Here’s a real-life example from Wisconsin Youth Company.

Voices from the Field: Ben Trentelman on Job Quality in the OST Field

Monday, 24 January 2022 13:22

Considering job quality can directly impact staff retention and workforce development. To explore the idea of job quality and what it means for our field, we interviewed folks from across the country. Next in our series is Ben Trentelman, Executive Director with NAA's State Affiliate, Utah Afterschool Network.

Using Social Emotional Learning For Employee Development

Tuesday, 11 January 2022 07:09

We have historically focused on developing “hard skills”-- we call many of our trainings “skill-based,” or give merit to fact-building.  But only in recent years have we given the “soft skills” the stage they deserve.  The “soft skills” deal with our inter and intra-personal interactions, where the “hard skills” deal in tasks.  The “hard skills” help us navigate a google doc; the “soft skills” help us not yell at our co-worker.   Each has its rightful and important place in our development as leaders.  But while it’s easy to understand how to learn how to navigate google docs, it can be trickier to understand how to learn to navigate the heart.

National Mentoring Month – January 2022

Tuesday, 11 January 2022 07:05

In celebration of National Mentoring Month, we are highlighting some of our favorite articles. From mentoring youth in programs, to young professionals in the field, mentoring is an important development strategy. Check out the resources below and think about how you can incorporate mentoring at all levels.

5 Steps to 2 Positive Choices - An In-the-Moment Approach to Positive Guidance

Monday, 03 January 2022 13:19

Youth voice and choice is a powerful, proactive youth development approach that fosters decision-making skills, self-efficacy, and independence. In addition to on-going program opportunities for youth voice and choice, kids need in the moment skill-building support. The five steps below can be used to help with the decision-making process when time is short or as part of a guidance strategy to redirect behavior.


Tuesday, 14 December 2021 07:43

It's never too early to think about attending NAA22! Michelle Owens, National Advisor for Alliance for a Healthier Generation, sat down with NAA to offer her perspective on why NAA22 is the place to be in March 2022.

The ABCDs of decision making

Tuesday, 16 November 2021 00:00

You’ve used the basic guidelines for integrating youth choice and well-informed decision-making in OST. Now what? Let’s look at a model for teaching young people about the decision-making process and how to make thoughtful choices. ABCD Decision-Making focuses on the steps involved in the decision-making process. When used repeatedly, kids will begin to go through the steps as part of their normal thought process. 

Honoring Native American Heritage

Friday, 12 November 2021 00:00

Recognizing the significance of Native American culture is something we as educators should strive to incorporate year round, but November shines the spotlight on it with Native American Heritage Month. It’s a time to put renewed focus on understanding and appreciating the history, achievements and contributions of Native Americans. OST professionals have an opportunity to be even more thoughtful and inclusive about incorporating these silenced voices and meaningful accounts that have been left out of the historical record.

Summer for All: Community Collaborations to Promote Access to Quality Summer Opportunities

Friday, 12 November 2021 00:00

Summer is a period of opportunity and concern when it comes to children and youth. However, a new report from the RAND Corporation commissioned by The Wallace Foundation shows that collaboration among community stakeholders can help identify and prioritize high-quality summer programming. The report, which focuses on the experiences of four cities, demonstrates that building successful summer networks requires a shared vision, strong leadership, coordinated action, funding for sustainability, and diagnostic data. The progress made and lessons learned in Boston, Dallas, Pittsburgh, and Washington, D.C. can serve as a roadmap for communities across the country.


Monday, 08 November 2021 00:00

Currently over 10 million children and youth--many from historically-excluded groups--participate in afterschool and summer programs nationwide. In fact, for every one young person enrolled in an afterschool program there are three more waiting to get in, totaling 25 million kids who aren’t able to access programs.  At the National AfterSchool Association (NAA), we believe every young person deserves quality, enriching experiences outside of school that positively impact their development and help them thrive, however, currently there are multiple systemic barriers that impact access. 

Page 1 of 84