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.

Address Learning Loss with this Fun and Active Summer and Afterschool Program

Tuesday, 01 March 2022 10:52

Photos courtesy of: Natalie Carnine and Laura Schmitz

Addressing learning loss due to the pandemic is an important task where afterschool and out-of-school time programs can make significant impacts. The Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER) requires implementation of programs that address learning loss while also responding to students’ social, emotional, and mental health needs.

Now's the Time to Celebrate the E in STEM!

Thursday, 10 February 2022 09:16

National Engineers Week is February 20 – 26, 2022. is dedicated to ensuring a diverse and well-educated future engineering workforce by increasing understanding of and interest in engineering and technology careers. It's a perfect time for afterschool to celebrate the E in STEM!

Findings Conclude: Greater Investments Needed to Stabilize OST Workforce

Thursday, 03 February 2022 07:57

The Afterschool Alliance recently released findings from their most recent COVID-19 out of school time survey, confirming increasing anecdotal evidence that recruiting and retaining staff is the biggest challenge currently facing OST program providers,

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. 

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