February 2021
Resource Unveiling:
Afterschool in a Box Toolkit!
After months of work in collaboration with members of the Iowa Afterschool Alliance Strategic Leadership Team, the Iowa Afterschool Alliance is excited to share our new Afterschool in a Box Toolkit with you all!

The Afterschool in a Box Toolkit is a 200+ page document broken up into topics including establishing a program, budget information, staffing and volunteer considerations, the value of community partnerships, recruiting and enrolling youth into your program, effective program components, how to effectively evaluate your performance, how to effectively advocate for your program and resources. This document can be downloaded as one PDF or in sections based on the needs of your program.

This resource is intended to help communities lacking out-of-school time options to establish new programs, as well as support existing programs with any of the above listed areas they may need assistance with. The Afterschool in a Box Toolkit is free to use and can be accessed here.
Help Put the Afterschool in a Box Toolkit to Use!
The Iowa Afterschool Alliance Strategic Leadership Team is also working to document what out-of-school time programs exist across the state. Information gathered from this survey will create a map of existing providers and identify where gaps exist. We will also use this network to identify program needs and ways the IAA can best offer support.

If you are a out-of-school time program provider, please fill out the survey and feel free to send along to other programs in your area!

Thank you for your support in this endeavor- all of the info we get helps the IAA better serve all of you!
A+ Afterschool!
The Bird's Nest

"The Bird's Nest is a school-age program in Bondurant, Iowa. Trying to plan and run a school-age facility since the beginning of COVID has made it a huge challenge -especially with the back and forth changes from hybrid learning to full time learning. Our goal was to continue providing quality care and a "normal" environment for the children despite the challenges presented this past year, and I believe we did just that."

This nomination comes from Lindsay Schaper, Director, The Bird's Nest.
We want to hear from you! The A+ Afterschool program has been a great way to recognize and honor great programs from across the state, and we want to know more - especially about students and administrators!To nominate an administrator, student or program for the A+ Afterschool Award, please fill out this form.
National Study of 21st Century Community Learning Centers
The Department of Education Institute of Education Sciences will be conducting a two part study of the 21st Century Community Learning Centers concerning the strategies used by 21CCLC sites to serve their youth and their families, as well as an evaluation of the quality improvement system.

Goals for this study include addressing long-term barriers such as learning loss and trauma experienced during the pandemic and understanding key outcomes that centers promote. All data collected will pertain to activities that occur before March 2022.To read more about the study, click here.
Celebrate the Mars Landing
On February 18th Perseverance made a historic landing on Mars, becoming the planet's newest "rover". To celebrate this landmark event, participate in the NASA “Mars Student Challenge” with hands-on STEM enrichment activities that can be done by students at home using everyday materials (such as Make a Cardboard Rover), activities that can be done as virtual demonstrations (such as Make a Moon Crater - Perseverance will be landing in Jezero Crater), and fun short videos that explain key ideas.

For videos, activities and lesson plans, click here.
National Geographic's BioBlitz
Learn to create lessons on biodiversity through outdoor exploration with National Geographic's BioBlitz webinar training series. Each session teaches afterschool educators how to lead students in safe, fun and free BioBlitz activities in which students must find as many species as possible over a short period of time. Register soon, as classes start in March!

Webinar Dates:

●     Wednesday, March 10 at 12:00 P.M. (CST)
●     Tuesday, March 16 at 12:00 P.M. (CST)
●     Monday, March 22 at 12:00 P.M. (CST)

Get outside and explore nature this Spring and Summer! Checkout the new Guide to BioBlitz for Afterschool Programs.
Virtual Tours of Historic Iowa
The West Des Moines Historical Society invites students to Walk in the Footsteps of History, Virtually! Live virtual tours of the historic Jordan House Museum are being offered at no charge for schools and educational organizations. Our virtual visitors will learn about the Underground Railroad during a tour of the Jordan House, a stop on the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom, hear the story of radical abolitionist John Brown's visits, and learn about the lives of early settlers to Central Iowa.  
The WDMHS also has 6 videos available at no charge for use by educators, introducing concepts and history normally explored during tours of the Jordan House Museum, including:

  • The Underground Railroad in Iowa
  • Iowa Women and the Underground Railroad
  • One Room Schoolhouses
  • Rule Maker vs. Rule Breaker
  • The John Brown Freedom Trail
  • Iowa in Times of War

These videos can be used as a stand-alone lesson, or combined with a live virtual tour of the Jordan House Museum. To receive a link to a video or to schedule your live virtual tour, please email info@wdmhs.org or call them at (515) 225-1286.
Equity, Diversity and Inclusion
The Iowa Department of Education is looking for experts in the field of equity to facilitate discussions on supporting and maintaining a culture of equity and inclusion at every level of education; practicing data-driven decision-making and strategic resource allocation; and setting the expectation that equity and inclusion are core values underlying the work of every stakeholder in education.

The Social Justice and Equity in Education Conference will be held online April 14, 2021, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The conference is designed for educators, practitioners, educational administrators and leaders, and industry experts to share best practices, to connect for the advancement of justice in education, and to equip educators with research-based tools to promote the academic and social emotional learning for all students in Iowa.

Deadline for proposals is March 5th, 2021. To apply, click here.
Professional Development Opportunities
Million Girls Moonshot and PEAR Training Series
As an implementation partner for the Million Girl Moonshot Initiative, PEAR is thrilled to offer a three-part training series to all state networks and participating programs at no cost!
We invite program staff, network leads and/or coordinators to leverage the free Dimensions of Success (DoS) Program Planning Tool (PPT) during these guided, interactive sessions focused on creating authentic plans to support quality programming and maximize positive outcomes for youth and educators. There is still time to register for two sessions in the series! Details about each session and a link to register are below.

Imagining & Planning for Quality: Exploring Goals to Guide our Work
Thursday March 11th 2-3 PM CT (Deadline to Register: Monday March 8th)

Learning Goals:
• Reflect on areas of SED and STEM that are traditionally strong or challenging for
programs nationally and for your program/network specifically
• Create a vision and generate goals for strengthening STEM and SED in programming
using the DoS framework and tools as a guide

Creating Change: Leveraging DoS toward Continuous Growth
Tuesday March 30th 2-3 PM CT (Deadline to Register: Friday March 26th)

Learning Goals:
• Learn how to use the freely available DoS planning tool and related data collection tools
to grow and strengthen programming
• Discuss how to sustainably leverage data and planning resources to continue
strengthening STEM and SED in your program/network

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; Virtual
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 is now open!. For more information, visit the conference's website.

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