When was the last time you attended a conference and had the opportunity to network with hundreds of out-of-school time professionals ... while wearing your pajamas? Hundreds of afterschool professionals just did at the National AfterSchool Association Virtual Convention.
Get excited about moving!
Technology comes with a price tag many afterschool programs cannot afford—and if they can afford it, the idea of a child "running with" technology is perhaps nerve-wracking. Technology is the here and now, however, and when we can use it to boost physical fitness, sometimes we have to step outside of our comfort zones and try.
As designers of engineering curriculum for children and young teens, we are frequently asked if our materials are "hands-on." In fact, we get this question more than any other. This obsession with hands-on perplexes us. We think people ask for two reasons—first, because they believe hands-on results in better learning; second, because they believe hands-on is essential to student engagement and learning.
In afterschool, great leaders often rise from within the ranks—in part because of inspirational leadership at all levels. What can you do to help your young staff members reach their leadership potential? Empower them!
"Empowerment can have a greater impact on your bottom line than any other strategy you implement," said leadership consultant Michelle Steffes, CPLC.
I want to introduce you all to my friend and colleague, Daron Roberts. A former college football player, NFL coach and Harvard Law School graduate, Daron is the Founding Director of the Center for Sports Leadership and Innovation at the University of Texas. As you can imagine, Daron and his UT students have been closely following the recent developments at the University of Missouri that involve student—and especially student athlete—engagement around greater social justice on campus.
Our work is personal. Often the best opportunities—to build connections or to make learning real—happen in the moment.
But these moments only happen when we plan and are prepared. Well-designed professional development gives our staff the resources they need to plan for effective learning and be prepared to maximize opportunities to connect and engage youth in STEM.