Professional Development

NAA publishes fresh, new content every week covering a wide variety of topics related to the field of aftershool. Be sure to check in regularly.

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STEM Gems (1)

STEMGems Logo wNAA

STEM Gems are short discovery-based experiences. They involve little or no materials and may be easily implemented by educators who are not STEM specialists. Each STEM Gem is designed to engage young people in active experiential learning. The activities begin by setting up connections to prior knowledge, then a hands on activity provides new concepts and the opportunity to design experiments to answer any questions the kids discover. Finally, a connection to a different scenario for the concept is provided to help cement and evaluate the learning.

STEM Gems are experiences designed to be used with kids of all ages. Younger children should be focused on one idea or concept and should perform the activity as a collective group with prompts and directions from the teacher. With older youth, the teacher should act as a facilitator. The older youth should be set up to work independently in small teams and encouraged to ask questions and try out their own experiments to answer them. Each team should report back on their findings, so a consensus around the concept is reached.

Each STEM Gem is presented in an easy to follow lesson plan:

Big Ideas and Science Talk
Central concepts and key words to give the adult the science background for the experience.

Open ended questions to stimulate discussion and generate connections to prior knowledge.

What You Will Need
A list of the materials.

Before You Begin
The preparation needed for the activity.

Explore and Experiment
The directions for the experience designed using open ended questions that focus the children on discovering answers.

Make the Connection and Extend and Evaluate
Connections to other scenarios that use the same concepts and related question(s) or additional activity to evaluate knowledge.

STEM Gems are available to members only. Login to access STEM Gems. 



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Webinar: No-Cost Digital Resources to Support Social, Emotional and Physical Wellness

Webinar DigitalResourcesSEP Web

Tuesday, January 26, 2021 | 1:00 - 2:00 PM ET (12 PM CT, 11 AM MT, 10 AM PT)
Sponsored by:

DE Logo

High quality digital resources addressing SEL, physical health, substance misuse and community engagement are essential to supporting student achievement. Global corporate and community partners have joined forces with Discovery Education to fund curriculum development in these key areas for students in grades K-12. Resources include interactive modules, videos, virtual field trips, student activities, parent resources and more. This session will include an overview of these meaningful programs, many of which are available in English and Spanish. Participants will be provided with both digital and print summaries of the programs reviewed, along with links to all of the content.


Registration Closes January 25, 2021


JKavege HeadshotJackie Kavege
Sr. Director, Global Program Marketing
Discovery Education

A recent addition to the education partnerships team at Discovery Education, Jackie Kavege’s 15-year career has included developing integrated communications strategies for a wide variety of companies, including a number of fortune 500 companies and non-profits. In her current role Jackie is responsible for helping to ensure that timely, relevant program content from Discovery Education and its corporate and community partners reach the educators, counselors, education site leaders, parents and students that can most benefit from the no-cost, comprehensive resources that are available. Jackie resides in Charlotte, NC with her husband and children.




Self-Care in 2021: Join the Facebook Group!

SelfCare2021 Social update

One thing that 2020 reinforced is the importance of afterschool professionals and leaders prioritizing our own physical and mental health and taking care of ourselves to better support our communities.

This group - an Executive member benefit - will provide space to connect with other afterschool professionals and leaders so that self-care remains a priority in 2021. Here you can share ideas and resources, ask questions, and motivate one another as our field takes on the challenge of meeting the needs of kids, families and communities. Log in to your membership to access link.


The Afterschool Professional’s Guide to Self-Care

SelfCare eBook Web

Stress can reach every aspect of life, whether professional, personal, or social. As an afterschool professional, you likely also feel the stresses of youth in your care, compounding your own stress. You serve as a caring, stable adult to youth and are vital to their participation in afterschool.

To ensure you provide youth with the best care possible and are responsive to their needs, it’s essential to place importance on your own well-being and self-care.

The Afterschool Professional’s Guide to Self-Care provides information on the basics of self-care, in addition to practical self-care actions and strategies for managing your mindset to cope with stress.

The eBook is a member benefit and is accessible on the Program Resources page of your membership profile..



Webinar: STEMulate Your Afterschool Program

STEMulateYourAfterschoolProgram WebUpdate

Thursday, January 21, 2021 | 1:00 - 2:00 PM ET (12 PM CT, 11 AM MT, 10 AM PT)
Sponsored by:

Stemfinity logo forWeb

Jason Lindsey forWebUpdateAfterschool professionals face enormous challenges to support students in the STEM fields, especially during the recent pandemic. But STEM can be successfully implemented when educators are supported with hands-on resources and curriculum that are based on best practices!

Join us in this exciting hands-on workshop and learn how to integrate STEM in your afterschool program or at home. Bring your problem-solving skills as we construct several STEM activities and learn how to create a blended learning environment. We'll highlight several inexpensive, hands-on resources that integrate STEM. These STEM activities exemplify the benefits of project-based learning to enable students to transfer their knowledge and skills to real-world problems, to be motivated to learn, and to improve their math and science scores.

Whether your program is operating afterschool, at home, or hybrid, STEMfinity provides the roadmap for afterschool providers to adopt a successful approach.



Jason Lindsey (aka Mr Science)
Hooked on Science Videos

Bill Albert
CEO & Founder, STEMfinity

About STEMfinity:

STEMfinity is a One-Stop STEM Shop that includes the latest, vetted STEM products and services. We have the largest selection of hands-on enrichment from the most trusted STEM brands on the planet. Our hands-on resources are targeted to PreK-12 students learning STEM, Robotics, 3D Printing, Drone Technology, AR/VR/AI, Art, Computer Science, Rocketry and Beyond. STEMfinity provides Customized STEM Solutions for At-home Learning, Afterschool, Makerspace, and Summer Enrichment Programs. Join STEMfinity in its effort to provide today’s youth with hands-on tools that will STEMulate Your Mind!




The Afterschool Guide to Building Relationships and Routines Version 2

RelationshipsandRoutinesPT2 Social4

The Afterschool Guide to Building Relationships and Routines eBook was created to help afterschool professionals create safe, supportive environments for young people - which the Science of Learning and Development (SoLD) tells us facilitates healthy development -- through program activities that build relationships and routines.

Because physically safe environments are also a necessary component of quality programs, in response to the pandemic and related health and safety recommendations, the eBook has been revised. The Afterschool Guide to Building Relationships and Routines Version Two eBook includes activity variations to account for physical distancing.

Within this guide, you will find a variety of activities that support SoLD and focus on fostering relationships as well as ideas for implementing program procedures to build routines all with the intent of supporting afterschool professionals in creating physically and emotionally safe environments.

The Guide supports NAA Core Knowledge and Competencies for Afterschool Professionals Content Areas 2–Learning Environments and Curriculum, 4–Interactions with Children and Youth, and 5–Youth Engagement.

The revised eBook is an Executive member benefit and is accessible on the Leadership Resources page of your membership profile..



NAA21 Convention

NAA22 STD Update

You may be wondering about the status of NAA21 Convention. The event, scheduled for March 2021 in Nashville, Tennessee, has been cancelled.

For over 30 years, members of the afterschool profession have gathered together - in community - at NAA Convention for sharing, learning, inspiration, and connection. While the cancellation of NAA21 is disappointing, the good news is that community and connections have not been cancelled. Our members know that NAA is more than a Convention, it's a professional association and a community.

The NAA team has made plans to ensure on-going sharing, learning, and connecting for afterschool professionals and leaders. Next year, in lieu of Convention, there will be opportunities to connect with the diverse voices that apprise, uplift, and illuminate the afterschool profession in at least two unique ways:

  • Intensive Professional Learning Communities - Engage in guided learning adventures designed to level-up your knowledge and skills on the most important topics in afterschool. Intensive PLCS will be led by expert facilitators and in community with other afterschool professionals and leaders. Budget up to $150 and 10 hours per person for each PLC. Stay tuned for details coming soon!
  • Expanded Executive Member Benefits - more resources and opportunities for existing and emerging leaders through new ebooks, virtual PD, affinity groups, book clubs, and more. Budget $99 per person per year for each membership. Click here to upgrade to or renew your executive membership today,

2020 has been a year like no other and 2021 is sure to bring new challenges and changes for you as afterschool professionals and leaders and for our profession.

Please remember: We will get through this year and come out as stronger professionals. In-person gatherings WILL take place again, but until then NAA will keep you connected. We look forward to hosting you at NAA22 Convention in Las Vegas!

Save the Date!

Future NAA Convention dates and locations:

March 20 – 23, 2022 – Las Vegas, NV – Caesars Palace
March 19 – 22, 2023 – Orlando, FL – Gaylord Palms
March 17 – 20, 2024 – Dallas, TX – Hyatt Regency Dallas
March 9-12, 2025 - Nashville, TN - Gaylord Opryland


Virtual Strategy Sessions: Create a Comprehensive Equity Strategy

EquityStrategyWebinar Web Update

January 28, 2021 | February 4, 2021 | February 11, 2021February 18, 2021
1:00 - 2:00 PM ET (12 PM CT, 11 AM MT, 10 AM PT)
For all NAA members

NAA is pleased to offer this complimentary four-part virtual strategy session that will provide participants with an overview of key components of what it takes to create an equity strategy. Throughout the four sessions, participants will be provided with tools and resources to begin or continue to deepen their equity and anti-racist efforts.

If you are interested in influencing change within your organization, are an organizational leader who is looking for tools and resources to create a strong equity strategy or perhaps you’ve committed to equity but not sure where to go next, this series is for you!

Registrants will receive access to all four virtual strategy sessions, supporting tools and resources and will be invited to a private Facebook group where additional dialog and discussion will take place.

Registration is limited, so please be sure to reserve your spot today! Further details are listed below.

Registration for this session has exceeded capacity.
If you would like to be put on the waiting list, please fill out this form.


January 28, 2021 | 1:00 - 2:00 ET

What Does it Take to Create an Equity Strategy and Discovery?
This session will focus on what it takes to create the conditions for getting started with the development of an equity strategy, as well as, identifying the key elements of the discovery phase.

February 4, 2021 | 1:00 - 2:00 ET

Planning an Equity Strategy
This session will guide participants through creating a plan and identifying components for a multi-year equity strategy. We will explore considerations for prioritizing areas of focus.

February 11, 2021 | 1:00 - 2:00 ET

Implementation of the Equity Plan
Review examples of what it can look like to begin implementation of equity-centered practices in different areas of a program/organization.

Supplementary Tool: Sample Professional Development Plan

February 18, 2021 | 1:00 - 2:00 ET

Sustainability of the Equity Plan
In this session, participants will explore the structures and practices needed for an equity strategy to ultimately become ingrained in the fabric of an organization/program.


Registration closes January 21, 2020.

The Afterschool Guide to Trauma-Sensitive Practices

TraumaSensitivePractices Web

The Afterschool Guide to Trauma-Sensitive Practices equips afterschool professionals with basic information about trauma, Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and Trauma-Informed Care versus Healing Centered Practices.

This eBook shares responsive approaches to behaviors youth may exhibit as a result of trauma. In addition to this, the guide provides self-care tips for afterschool professionals to utilize in an effort to reduce secondary traumatic stress and to help maintain emotional wellbeing.

This eBook is accessible to Executive members on the Leadership Resources page of your membership profile.



NAA's Next Generation of Afterschool Leaders 2021 Nominations

Next Gen 2021 Social UPDATE

Nominations are Now Closed

NAA’s Next Generation of Afterschool Leaders identifies young leaders and recognizes and cultivates the talent of rising stars who have the potential to influence the field of afterschool for years to come. The selected emerging leader honorees will have: demonstrated contributions that have started to influence beyond individual programs to organizations and communities, a proven passion for development of themselves and others, active engagement in efforts to elevate the afterschool field and demonstrated persistence in their work to grow as leaders.

Join NAA in recognizing extraordinary individuals, age 30 or under, strong believers in the power of afterschool―who are vested in things like advocacy, professional development, creative program design, the power of youth voice, data and evaluation and racial justice.

If you know of a candidate worthy of this honor, review the eligibility and nominations information below and then nominate them today!

Nomination Information:

For the Next Generation of Afterschool Leaders 2021, NAA is looking to highlight individuals who:

  • Are age 30 or under as of November 13, 2020
  • Are active in the broader afterschool community, including, but not limited to membership in NAA and its state affiliates
  • Demonstrate contributions that have started to influence beyond an individual program to entire organizations and communities
  • Are actively engaged in efforts to elevate the afterschool field 
  • Have a proven passion for development of themselves and others, and demonstrate persistence in their work to grow as leaders 
  • Demonstrate the NAA core competencies, specifically Content Area 10: Professional Development and Leadership

Other Considerations: 

  • NAA appreciates all afterschool professionals and leaders, but in this case we are searching for exceptional young leaders.
  • Successful nominations will share specific examples that demonstrate the full extent of why a candidate is deserving of this special, national recognition.
  • To ensure that honorees are representative of the diverse communities served by our profession, we encourage nominations of Black, Indigenous and other emerging leaders of color. 

Each honoree will receive a free, NAA Executive membership, national recognition, on-going leadership development, support in broadening their professional networks and other opportunities to expand their impact. Those selected must be willing to respond to a written interview, submit a professional photo, agree to be featured in the Spring 2021 issue of AfterSchool Today magazine and be highlighted on NAA’s social channels and digital content.

Important Dates:

Nomination period: October 27 - November 13, 2020
Honoree notification: November 20, 2020

"The National AfterSchool Association knows that strong afterschool leaders develop the skilled professionals and teams that run strong organizations and quality programs that result in positive youth outcomes. These emerging leaders will help shape the next generation of the afterschool field."


-Gina Warner, President and CEO of NAA


Afterschool 2020: Timely Ways to Market Your Offerings

Afterschool2020 Web

Thursday, October 29, 2020 at 1:00 pm ET
A special webinar for NAA Advocate members only

It’s 2020 and the new world we're living in has brought a lot of change to the role of afterschool programs and professionals. In addition to safety and funding challenges, they're also faced with reimagining learning environments, cultural responsiveness, youth engagement, family communication, and school relationships.

How can you better tailor and communicate your offerings to meet these unique needs? Join NAA's marketing team as we share more information about:

  • How NAA members are engaging with youth, families and colleagues and what opportunities that lends to you.
  • What and how often you should be communicating your offerings.
  • How you can match your offerings to meet their current needs.
  • New opportunities available to you as an Advocate member.



Presented by:
Lisa Young, Director of Marketing, Serendipity Media
Jill Carroll, NAA Marketing & Media Consultant, Serendipity Media


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