October 2016      
A Vision for Expanded Learning in California

California's expanded learning programs are an integral part of young people's education, engaging them in year-round learning opportunities that prepare them for college, career, and life.

This is the state's vision statement for expanded learning. But what is a vision statement? It is the optimal desired state of the expanded learning programs to be achieved over time. It describes the future we are working to achieve together.  A shared vision is about many individuals embracing the same future and experiencing the same feelings about that future.  

Why is a vision statement important? Successful programs are built on powerful visions. The vision should drive the program's goals and activities. A strong vision ensures that staff members believe that what they are doing together is much more valuable than what anyone can do alone.

Liza Flowers
RTAC Lead Coordinator
San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE)

Start Planning Next Year's Lights On Afterschool Celebration!

This week many expanded learning programs participated in the only nationwide event celebrating after-school programs and their important role in the lives of children, families, and communities. Each October, millions of Americans in thousands of communities across the nation celebrate after-school programs that keep kids safe, inspire them to learn, and help working families. Access ideas for your celebration, an event planning kit , and learn how to engage the media and legislators in your celebration to highlight the importance and success of your expanded learning program. Start planning your celebration today! 
County Features Lights On Afterschool District

The San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE) recognized Valley Center-Pauma Unified School District as the county's 2016 featured Lights On Afterschool district for its exemplary expanded learning programs.

The honor recognizes the high-quality, before- and after-school programs operated at Valley Center High School, Oak Glen Alternative High School, and Pauma School for nearly 250 students.

As the featured Lights On Afterschool district for the county, the SDCOE Expanded Learning team on Oct. 13 visited and toured Valley Center High School, where the district's after-school programs showcased the students' work. The highlighted programs included golf, flower arranging, and culinary arts, as seen in the photograph.

Read more about the recognition and district program in this San Diego Union-Tribune article.


Create a Powerful Vision and Clear Purpose

According to Andria J. Fletcher, Ph.D, in A Guide to Developing Exemplary Practices in Afterschool Programs , one of the most distinguishing characteristics of high-quality, sustainable after-school programs is a powerful vision that brings people with different experiences and interests together for a common purpose and drives them toward excellence.

Whether you're starting to develop your program or it's been in existence for some time, you have an incredible opportunity to create the future you imagine!

The most compelling visions are far-reaching, exciting, and easily understood. They capture our hearts and ignite our passions. They inspire us to do our best by telling us what we really stand for, what we're trying to do, and why it matters. They paint a clear picture of what could be, set a process in motion for making it happen, and create a sense of urgency and excitement about getting there. They're rooted in reality and focused on the future. They add value and meaning to everything everyone does!
Revised ASES FAQs posted on California Department of Education Webpage

In January 2014, the California Department of Education's (CDE) Expanded Learning Division (EXLD), formerly known as the After School Division, released A Vision for Expanded Learning in California . One of the primaryproposed goals in this three-year strategic plan was to convene a California Expanded Learning Policy Committee to develop and disseminate clear policy guidance that supports quality programs.  

The EXLD provided the first of these policy guidance documents in the form of an updated and comprehensive  After School Education and Safety (ASES) program frequently asked questions (FAQ) document . These ASES FAQs contain a variety of helpful information, which includes current regulatory authority and field-based promising practices that range from grant requirements to federal program monitoring.

Similar FAQs for the 21 st Century Community Learning Centers (CCLC) and After School Safety and Enrichment for Teens (ASSETs) programs will be released in the coming weeks.  If you have any questions, please contact the EXLD office at  expandedlearning@cde.ca.gov or 916-319-0923


RTAC Webinars

Do you have new staff members who need a quick lesson on the guidance for Expanded Learning programs or a returning staff member who needs a refresher? Click on the links below to access the RTAC-developed webinars:

The California After School Resource Center (CASRC) maintains a lending library of reviewed curriculum. Visit the CASRC website, browse the lending library, check out curriculum and resources, and have it delivered to and from your program for free! In addition to their lending library, CASRC offers over 50 web-based professional development sessions on health, nutrition, and physical activity, academic support, STEM, supporting English learners, and more. Online training modules are meant for expanded learning frontline staff and coordinators. They are interactive, offer easy-to-apply strategies and connections to useful resources, take 30 minutes to complete, and give the option to take a five-question assessment to earn a certificate. 

STEAM Maker offers many free challenges to schools and community groups. From robotics to fashion and creative social ideas to bug collecting, there is something for everyone!

The challenges allow students to collaborate on ideas to design and build original inventions and they provide an environment for creative thoughts to flourish.

Most STEAM Maker Challenges are offered year-round and come complete with in-school kits, programs, and mentors. All are free and available to your expanded learning programs!

Contact STEAM Maker representative Samantha Cole to sign up for a free challenge today!


The Resources and Technical Assistance Center at the San Diego County Office of Education provides a variety of professional learning for expanded learning program leaders and staff members. Click on the date below to register for one of the upcoming events. Contact Shelby Arnett with any questions or if you need help registering. 
Using Quality Standards for Continuous Improvement Workshop
  • 9 a.m. to noon Oct. 28 at the San Diego County Office of Education main campus, JRRTC, Communications Labs 1 to 4
Quality Standards: ASES Community of Practice
  • 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Oct. 31 at the San Diego County Office of Education main campus, Annex B
  • 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Nov. 16 at the San Diego County Office of Education main campus, JRRTC, Learning Labs 2 and 4
  • 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Jan. 13 at the San Diego County Office of Education main campus, Annex B
Quality Standards: High School ASSETs Community of Practice
  • 9 a.m. to noon Nov. 2 at the San Diego County Office of Education main campus, Annex C
  • 9 a.m. to noon Dec. 7 at the San Diego County Office of Education main campus, Annex B
Power of Discovery: STEM Communities of Practice
  • 9 a.m. to noon Nov. 3 at the Ballard Parent Center auditorium
  • 9 a.m. to noon Dec. 8 at the Ballard Parent Center auditorium
  • 9 a.m. to noon Jan. 5 at the Ballard Parent Center auditorium
Building Self-Esteem with Storytelling, Writing, and Rapping!
  • 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Nov. 18 at the San Diego County Office of Education main campus, Annex B

Registration is Now Open for the 2016 San Diego STEAM Maker Festival

Sign up your expanded learning program to have a booth at the San Diego STEAM Maker Festival at the Del Mar Fairgrounds on Dec. 3! RTAC has reserved 10 tables and free tickets for programs to participate in the festival.

You can join one of the many free challenges or simply reserve your tickets to attend this year's festival. There will be an estimated 100 schools and 200 booths, and more vendors, activities and make-and-takes than ever before. The STEAM Maker Festival is set to be an amazing event!

Contact RTAC Project Specialist Christine Carrera for more information on a booth and tickets. 
If you have any questions or comments about the RTAC News, please contact Liza Flowers.
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