December 2020
A+ Afterschool!
P.A.C.E.S. Before/Afterschool Learning Center Program

"P.A.C.E.S. (Perry's Academic, Cultural, Enrichment Services Program) has provided services to students Pre-K - 5th grades daily 6 am - 6 pm; school year and summers for 21 years! P.A.C.E.S. was able to be open for 9 weeks this past summer of 2020 - serving over 100 students of "essential working parents" without any incidents of COVID-19. P.A.C.E.S. main focus is academic improvement with homework help, enrichment learning to include STEAM, character education and safety; serving mainly at-risk students with 71% on free lunch, 76% Hispanic, 24% Special Needs, and 52% ESL students. P.A.C.E.S. has received many awards for its fitness & nutrition efforts towards reducing childhood obesity to include the new 5-2-1-0 Project."

The P.A.C.E.S. Before/Afterschool Learning Center Program was nominated by Mary Hillman, P.A.C.E.S. Project Director!

To nominate an administrator, student or program for the A+ Afterschool Award, please fill out this form.
Host an AmeriCorps Member in Summer 2021!
It’s hard to believe, but it is time again to start planning for summer programming! For youth who had an unstable school year due to COVID-19, summer programs will serve as a crucial support in helping youth reestablish connections with role models and other students, in addition to catching up on lost learning. Summer programs will need extra support this year, and fortunately, the Iowa Afterschool Alliance has received a grant from Volunteer Iowa to support a portion of the cost of hosting an AmeriCorps Member or team of Members in summer 2021.
What the Summer Ladders AmeriCorps Member Will Do: The AmeriCorps Members will focus on building your program's capacity by developing high-quality lesson plans utilizing the Dimensions of Success (DoS) framework ( The AmeriCorps Member will also be responsible for implementing activities they have developed with high-need youth in your program. The Member is expected to serve a total of 300 hours over the summer.
Cost to Host a Summer Ladders AmeriCorps Member: The cost share to host a Member (the amount you will be responsible for as a host site) is $2,520 for the entire 2021 summer (300 hours of service). This calculates to a cost to the program of about $8 an hour! Each Member will receive a living allowance of $3,000 over the summer. The remainder of the cost per Member is covered by the Volunteer Iowa grant.
What We’re Looking for in Host Sites:
  • Ability to supervise the AmeriCorps Member, including coaching and mentoring to meet program goals; approving time sheets; discipline; and role modeling good collaboration, communication, and leadership.
  • Provision of strong staff orientation to the program, as well as on-going professional development throughout the service period.
  • Commitment to evaluation.
  • Commitment to ensuring a good Member experience.
To learn more and to indicate your interest, please complete this survey: The Iowa Afterschool Alliance will consider all interested programs and make our decision for host sites by mid-February 2021. Recruitment for Members will begin at that time. An answer of "No" on any question on this survey is not necessarily disqualifying. Please answer honestly according to the information you have at this time.
If you have any questions regarding this opportunity, please contact Britney Samuelson at
Grants of $100,000 for OST Programs
The New York Life Foundation is seeking applications from afterschool, summer, or expanded learning programs serving underserved middle-school youth. In total, $1.35 million in grants will be awarded to programs all across the country. This is the fifth year of the Foundation’s Aim High grant competition, bringing the total amount awarded to $6.15 million. A total of 26 grant awards will be made nationwide—take a look to see which opportunity is a good fit for you, and apply today!

Grant categories:
  • $100,000 Level
  • Eight (8) grants of $50,000 per year over the span of two years (for a total award of $100,000) will go to OST programs with annual program budgets of $250,000 or more and annual organizational budgets of $500,000 or more.
  • $50,000 Level
  • Eight (8) grants of $25,000 per year over the span of two years (for a total award of $50,000) will go to OST programs with annual organizational budgets of $250,000 or more.
  • $10,000 Level
  • Ten (10) awards of $15,000 over one year will go to OST programs with annual organizational budgets of $150,000 or more with a focus on supporting programs in their efforts around advancing racial equity and social justice.

Read the full application and eligibility requirements, and join the informational webinar on January 14 at 2 PM ET to learn more about this opportunity. Applications are due February 1, 2021 at 5pm E.T.
Self-Care for the Holiday Break

Many lives are significantly disrupted with millions of students now at home, thousands of educators teaching from home, and entire families and communities on lockdown. In order to support others, however, we must support ourselves first.

This archived webinar, hosted by REL West, the Region 15 Comprehensive Center, and the National Center to Improve Social & Emotional Learning and School Safety, offers practical information and guidance backed by research to help school staff cope with the stresses of school closures, service provision, and quarantine due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Thank you to Jenny Watkins from Bettendorf for this newsletter suggestion. If you would like to suggest content for the IAA monthly newsletter, please email Emilee Harris at
Virtual Youth Volunteer Fair
Volunteer Iowa is hosting a virtual event for youth looking to help in their community across the state. The goal of this virtual event is to empower youth and direct them towards community needs. This will take place on January 11th at 4pm.
The Virtual Youth Volunteer Fair will consist of organizations from across the state presenting opportunities for youth to respond to the needs of their communities. This is part of a larger goal to increase youth participation in volunteerism across the state of Iowa. Youth who are interested in learning more about opportunities near them are encouraged to register here or check Volunteer Iowa’s social media for further information on finding volunteer opportunities.
Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

With the New Year quickly approaching, January presents a clear slate to adopt new mindsets and challenges for the coming year. This new year, commit to creating more equitable, diverse and inclusive environment with in your programs. The National Diversity Council has compiled a list of 10 DEI Resolutions for 2021 to help you build a better world.
Support for Youth Service Learning Projects

Are you interested in hosting service-learning opportunities for the youth in your program? Volunteer Iowa is seeking Iowa Afterschool Alliance and Iowa Mentoring Partnership programs to facilitate youth service-learning projects. As a part of the contract, Volunteer Iowa would pay $500-$1000 for the engagement of a minimum of 20 students in the service-learning process for 1 hour a week over the course of 8 weeks. It is anticipated the terms of the contracts will be from February 15 - May 30, 2021. 

Proposals are due January 25th, 2021.
Grant Opportunities
Maker Learning @ Home Cohort
Digital Promise is excited to announce the Maker Learning @ Home Cohort, a professional learning opportunity for educators committed to designing maker learning experiences at home. This cohort is open to educators representing schools, out-of-school-time programs, libraries, museums, and other organizations serving youth. At this time, this opportunity is only available to organizations and educators in the United States.

Educators will receive:
  • Up to $5,000 (for their organization) to actualize maker learning projects with their learners
  • A six-month cohort experience that includes:
  • Professional learning tailored to the needs identified by the cohort participants
  • Direct support designing and publishing a maker learning project guide to engage learners and their community
  • Opportunities to connect with educators in Digital Promise networks

Digital Promise seeks to center equity in our work to ensure students have fair access to powerful and inclusive learning experiences. Through the Maker Learning @ Home cohort, Digital Promise is prioritizing support for the following stakeholders to increase access to maker learning opportunities:
  • Community nonprofit organizations and Title I schools
  • Educators beginning their “maker learning journey”
  • Educators serving youth disproportionately affected by COVID-19
  • Organizations looking to deepen their understanding and application of the Powerful Learning Principles

We believe creating opportunities for learners to engage in making at home is crucial. While these experiences are important during the continued pandemic response, we all must consider how we can sustain powerful maker learning opportunities in the long term, beyond a physical or virtual setting, that are available in and out of school. We invite educators interested in joining the Maker Learning @ Home cohort to apply and attend an informational session on December 9 at 4 p.m. PT/7p.m. ET.

Apply for the Maker Learning @ Home Cohort! Applications are due January 8, 2021.

Professional Development Opportunities
How to Effectively Engage Families for your STEM Program
An installment of the Million Girls Moonshot Webinar Series
Join the Iowa Children's Museum for the third installment of our Million Girls Moonshot series! If we want to raise kids who are skilled in STEM competencies and eager to pursue STEM careers, it's vital to engage families as critical partners in supporting their child's STEM education. Join us as we challenge misconceptions and explore simple ways to make family engagement a game changer! 

Beyond School Hours
Join Foundations, Inc. February 17-19, 2021 for Beyond School Hours -- the nation’s most popular education conference is going virtual! Attracting a diverse audience of thousands, from frontline staff and school leaders to philanthropic organizations and the U.S. Department of Education, the Beyond School Hours conference focuses on hands-on, interactive workshops on the topics that matter the most right now.  

In this unique year, the conference theme is RESILIENCE -- with a special focus on preparing children for success, program fundamentals, supporting the support system, and youth engagement.

This year’s virtual conference provides a unique opportunity to extend the learning experience for a full year! After three intensive days of live workshops, the learning will continue with weekly follow-up webinars to help educators across the country keep up with the most current resources and strategies for adapting to our ever-evolving educational landscape.
Out of School Time Professional Development Center
The Out of School Time Professional Development Center provides Out of School Time training to OST professionals. The classes provide in-depth curriculum and certificates. If you or your staff are interested in signing up for courses visit the Out-of-School Time website. Check out the entire course catalog here
Great Content on Y4Y!
You 4 Youth is a free online professional development site that is designed to support 21CCLC program staff, but is a valuable tool for any afterschool professional looking to build their skills! Recently, Y4Y has rolled out a whole module on literacy. Click here to register.
Afterschool Alliance Webinars
The Afterschool Alliance offers webinars on a wide range of topics, from policy and the new Every Student Succeeds Act, to STEM and Social-Emotional Learning. Find out more on their webinars website
Iowa Child Care Training Registry
Find professional development for school-age programming on the State of Iowa Child Care Training Registry on topics ranging from health and safety to developmentally appropriate programming. Find out more online.
National AfterSchool Association PD Resources
NAA provides afterschool professionals with resources to stay up-to-date on the latest topics in afterschool and summer learning.

Find out more on their website here
Resources for STEM Programming
The Center for the Advancement of Informal Science Education (CAISE) provides background information that is useful for the development of STEM programming. Find out more on their website.
The Afterschool Tech Toolkit aims to empower afterschool professionals and educators with strategies and training so they can provide students with access to technology outside of classroom hours. It includes training modules on getting started, training staff, accessing technology and devices, and more. Take a look at the toolkit here.  
BOOST Conference & Online Professional Development
April 27 - April 30, 2021; Palms Springs, CA
Join the largest, most recognized and comprehensive global convening for after school, expanded learning, and out-of-school time professionals. Set in a retreat-like atmosphere, this annual, extraordinary event will rejuvenate your passion, boost your direction for quality programming and provide tools and resources that will inspire you to create change.

Registration opens soon. For more information, visit the conference's website.

BOOST also provides free online professional development. Click here to check it out.