Breakfast Club Blog

Reach out to the Gifted in Your After School Programs – Provide the Spark for All to Learn

More than a majority of professional literature and conferences are geared to disadvantaged, underserved, underperforming, and English learner students. We talk about Closing the Achievement Gap. This has been the case for more than a decade. Do we often forget to look at the strengths of students and gear some of our activities to their strengths? Do we actively seek out gifted and above-average learners in our after school population and stretch their thinking? In closing the achievement gap, ...Read More

If I’d Only Known…

Have you ever had an “if only I’d known…” episode? This happened to me when I learned some simple ways I could have helped a hearing-impaired student join my YMCA afterschool program with much less stress and fuss—had I only known. Basically, this is what happened: In the fall of 1999, a father came to my office to register his son and his stepson for our afterschool program. He was newly married, had just moved to the area and had some difficulty completing all the neces...Read More

The Importance of Being Intentional

Sue, an afterschool staff member, races into the school at 2:30 p.m. She came from a school across town where she has been a substitute all day. Sue gives a hurried “hello” to the school administrative assistant as she signs in for the day. Now, Sue runs down to the cafeteria, grabs the snacks, gets the attendance sheets to put on the tables, and figures out what activities are going to be offered to students once they finish homework help and tutoring. She finds some crayons and but...Read More

Where the Rubber Meets the Road- Planning a Successful Afterschool Activity

Building on the concept that the most productive learning comes through active involvement, the effectiveness of any program that seeks to develop skills in youth must be rich in activity. Remember, most of the students sit for almost 7.5 hours a day! They are eager to be involved in activities that allow for action and interaction. Enthusiasm is contagious and movement essential. You do not need a repertoire of several hundred activities. Such a large selection is simply not practical and, more...Read More

ABC’s of professional, purposeful, and powerful programming practices

These ABC’s are philosophical foundations. They are new and powerful paradigms. Paradigms are like mental models that we all have about the way things should be done in afterschool programs. These ABC’s might challenge the paradigms or mental models that you might carry in your own mind. We challenge you to consider these shifts and the way you may think about how afterschool programs should be. Autonomy Autonomy is the ability to act independently, to be self-governing. Autonomy is ...Read More

Take Cover, and Be Prepared, Here Comes the Rain

I had 30 minutes to kill this morning after eating my standard: oatmeal, fruit, and 2 eggs breakfast. While waiting for my 13 year old to get her lunch together, I decided to see if I could catch up with local news. (Side bar: Being that I am a busy mom, wife, and full-time professional, I’ve had to cut some non-essential activities out. Currently, I’m on a media fast, meaning I read and watch VERY little news. I actually find that I’m a much more peaceful person, but I digress...Read More

From Changing Lives To Saving Lives

For the past fifteen years I’ve had the privilege of working in the afterschool field as a program director, consultant, policymaker and advocate. I’ve met countless people who are making a huge difference. Students are doing better in school, becoming more enthusiastic about learning, developing positive social relationships, experiencing new things and mastering new skills. There’s no question that afterschool programs change lives. Now it’s time to save lives. Just a f...Read More

After School Programs Need to Keep Improving

I write this post on the heels of spending a day working on the outline of THINK Together’s i3 fund application. Ironically, the Governor is signing AB1130 today which is one of two bills that will make California eligible to compete for Race to the Top Funds (RTTT). The i3 Fund is the companion piece to RTTT in the U.S. Department of Education’s Innovation Fund that Local Educational Agencies’ (LEAs) and non-profit organizations can receive directly. In the i3 guidelines, the ...Read More