Out-of-School-Time Conference Brings Out The Inner Child In Attendees

ND Out-of-School-Time Summer Conference
Aug. 1-2, 2017
Avalon Events Center


In early August, nearly 150 individuals from a variety of out-of-school-time programs across the state, plus some from Minnesota and South Dakota, engaged in two days of high-quality professional development with 30+ local and national experts. A total of 22 school districts were represented along with program staff from non-school related programs including YMCAs, Boys & Girls Clubs, CHARISM and Wahpeton Youth Club. We also had attendees from the ND Department of Public Instruction, ND Department of Health, Moorhead Regional Extension Office and multiple public libraries!

58% of attendees completed our conference evaluation.

Amongst those 58% slightly over 1/3 of them were FIRST TIME ATTENDEES… Awesome!

These programs are all different in terms of programs offered, students served and the way they identify themselves. For example, a vast majority of participants indicated they offer programming related to math (91.2%), science (89.5%), literacy and reading enrichment (86.0%), and homework help/tutoring (86.0%). Others also offer programming related to intergenerational (5.3%), STEM (5.3% under “other”), counseling/group work (10.5%), job preparation/career training (21.1%) and more. Programs serve elementary, middle and/or high school age students and identify with one or more of the following program types: 21st Century Community Learning Center, School-Based, Community-Based, Faith-Based. See the charts below for full breakdowns.

Our attendees that chose to respond to the conference eval shared what they believe are the most important pieces of a Quality Program:

  • Safety (21)
  • Quality learning (hands-on, skill-driven enrichment activities/projects) with knowledgeable resources that all support standards and academics (14)
  • EVERYONE is engaged: child led, youth voice/choice, working with peers (13)
  • Fun & Exciting (13)
  • Qualified/Educated/Effective staff (11)
  • Welcoming environment (relationships, nurturing, compassionate, positive) (10)
  • Curriculum (compliments school day, flexible, homework help) (7)
  • Healthy & active including social and emotional awareness (6)
  • Organized structure with consistency, continuous improvement and evaluation (8)
  • Good Communication (3)
  • Mentorship (2)
  • Community support/Parent involvement (2)

We are so proud and thankful to have the relationships with these programs as well as meeting new individuals and collaborating with more and more programs across the tri-state area. These are truly amazing people who make every child’s life matter.. listen to what they have to say when asked, “Explain how one caring person make a difference in the life of a child.”

“Knowing that child’s story. Knowing that child on a personal level. Knowing more than just their name.”

“Being the person that cares and letting a child know they matter. Supporting them when possibly no one else at home does.”

“Even one connection to an adult lets a child know someone cares.”

“Let them know THEY MATTER and being unique is what makes them great!”

“A child will always remember people who are caring and wanted to get to know them. When a child feels wanted and validated they strive!”

“Building self-esteem for that child and helping them understand that they ARE IMPORTANT can guide them to being a great person who knows they matter.”

“Taking the time to listen, support and encourage a child outside of schools hours makes a big difference for many children.”

“Show interest. Be present.”

“We can give children *hope* and inspire a child to be all he/she can be.”

Not only are these fabulous people creating safe, fun, motivational places for children… they also focus on what a child needs to be successful in the 21st Century. Here are a few excerpts from attendees when asked to describe the value of the 4Cs (critical thinking, communication, collaboration and creativity) during out-of-school-time.

“Afterschool has a big influence on children’s future jobs because it lets them experience more than just what they learn in the classroom.”

“Doing projects, being creative, providing activities that involve “thinking out of the box” – all while not letting the children “realize” they are LEARNING while being creative!”

“It helps expand their overall thinking ability and continues to build on the education and concepts they are already learning in school.”

“Students need to use critical thinking skills in all STEAM-based activities. Programs collaborate with school-day staff and build upon what their learning. STEAM takes great amounts of creativity from teacher to student to be successful.”

“Critical thinking – think for yourself and make positive choices. Communication – one of the #1 things employers need. Collaboration – working together makes us stronger, better problem solvers. Creativity – thinking outside of the box and expressing ourselves.”

All in all over 96% of evals indicated that attendees believe that what they learned at this conference will help them improve in their profession and will make a positive impact on youth in their program. Here are some of the most noted topic takeaways:

  1. Every Monday Matters/Everyone Matters (23)
  2. Groove Education (5)
  3. Compassionate Classroom (be mindful, everyone has a story) (4)
  4. Trauma Sensitive/Social Emotional Learning (3)
  5. Active Learning (3)
  6. Art (3)
  7. Laws of Motion (2)
  8. “What if?” Questions (2)
  9. Beyond the Bell (2)
  10. STEM (2)
  11. Student Voice (2)
  12. Behavior Management (1)
  13. Quality Assessments (1)
  14. Mindworks (1)

Let’s wrap this us with some great takeaways from attendees:

“Communication with parents, kids, staff, school principals, teachers, counselors, etc. IS KEY to both promote and advocate your program as well as enhancing it to run smoothly.”

“I now have an overall better understanding of afterschool resources available to me.”

“Love the quality of sessions you bring in!”

“Remember the power of laughter and promoting a positive self.”

“Work to instill confidence in kids.”

“The conference was good. It is always important to get focused and improve afterschool programming.”

“I loved this conference. It brought my inner child out and allowed me to put different hats on.”

“Very informal and interesting topics. It will benefit me when working at our youth program over the school year.”

NOTE on ideas/topics provided not just for next year’s conference but what the Network can focus on providing to ALL N.D. out-of-school-time programs: Staffing (engagement, sustainability); Academics + related activities (STEM, reading, 21st Century Skills); Behavior Management; Health & Wellness (trauma informed schools, social emotional learning, compassionate classroom); Coding/Technology; Crisis Prevention and Growth Mindset.

THANK YOU to everyone involved in making this a success.
We love what we do and we do it for you. Keep up the great work!

#NDAfterschool     #AfterschoolWorks

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