Breakfast Club Blog

ExScaredEd: Fear & Excitement of the Unknown

My son Dylan just started first grade a few weeks ago. In the weeks leading up to it, he coined a new word to describe how he was feeling: ExScaredEd. A combination of excited and scared, he said that was the best way to express how he was approaching this new year. I love it. I love, love, love it. Since then, he added “ExNerveEd” to describe being excited and nervous, and “ExSKYted” to express being extra-excited. Which are both pretty cool too. But I’m stuck on ExScaredEd. Because isn’t that ...Read More

My Why: Hope Dealers – A Mission for Change

I got hooked on after school programs in 1992 while working as an art teacher in Hartford, CT. The old, rundown brick-faced school sat in the middle of an urban jungle. The hallways were dingy, there was no grass, only a cement parking lot that was used for “recess,” and many of the bathroom stalls were missing doors. It lacked promise to say the least. My immediate thoughts when I started this job were of sadness. Where was the equity in all of this? Despite previously working with ...Read More

Taming the Beast – Hip Hop in After-School

I love hip hop music. I love love love the songs on the radio. I love probably the worst of the worst. I love even the songs that treat women like sex objects and I’m a feminist through and through. I just love the sounds and the beats, and the spirit hidden under the layer of words that to me feel like a front, an inheritance of our culture and the roles that are being played out of ignorance and habit. But the truth is, even though I love these songs and sing them out loud in my car, I d...Read More

3 Great Opportunities to Blast off the New School Year

It’s that time again! All across the country, youth are getting ready to embrace the new school year and after-school programs are transitioning from summer learning to fall programming. I have found that a new school year is like a blank journal just waiting for an author’s special touch. It is an opportunity to expand upon an existing story, transform the direction of the story, or create something totally new. I wanted to share three thoughts to consider as you begin the new school year: 1. W...Read More

15 Messages of Encouragement to Site Supervisors

As the beginning of the school year is underway, safe spaces during the out-of-school time hours are open and serving children all around the nation. This piece is collaboratively written by our bloggers and includes wisdom, tips, and inspiration for all of our valued Site Supervisors of out-of-school time programs. You ALL matter, and we wish you a successful school year. “I’ve been thinking a lot lately about this quote from Faouzi Skali: “My friend, stop searching for the wh...Read More

7 Healthy Makeover Ideas for Your Office & Breakroom

Back-to-school is Here. For youth serving organizations, transitioning from summer to the school year is stressful. With tight budgets, limited capacity and less-than-inspiring news headlines, staying optimistic, energized and creative is a challenge. This article builds on my previous blog, “Designing Welcoming and Healthy Environments” with seven ways to makeover your office and break room this fall. Like this topic? I will be presenting a workshop based on this article at the National Recreat...Read More

Calming Back-to-School Jitters for LGBTQ Youth

Will I make friends? What if I get lost? Will I like my teachers? What if I do something embarrassing? These are the back to school jitters we’re used to helping youth navigate. We have all kinds of strategies to help young people feel comfortable in their new classroom or after school program — putting their name on a desk or name tag, icebreakers, activities that encourage youth to get to know each other — the list is endless. But consider the young person who is unsure of his or h...Read More

Now Live! Submit an RFP for the 2018 BOOST Conference

From May 1-4, 2018,  thousands of professionals will be joining together to learn, think, inspire, create, and grow at the BOOST Conference and we want YOU to help facilitate this growth and learning through our dynamic workshops. Submit a proposal today! Think about your expertise, what you have to offer to the out-of-school (OST) time field, and what conversations conference participants are seeking. The variety of workshop themes are designed to promote those conversations, interactions, and ...Read More

Leaping Into the Void: Modeling Learning for Our Students

Artist Yves Klein perfectly captured how it feels to be engaged in the creative act in this 1960 piece entitled Leap Into the Void. I have been teaching the creative process and making art for most of my adult life, and this image perfectly captures the feeling of not knowing where you’ll end up when you begin to make something. Leaping, literally, into the unknown, not knowing if you’ll fall to your death or grow wings and soar, is a wonderful metaphor for the process I’ve tried to teach studen...Read More

4 Steps to Make Student-Centered Learning Come Alive!

The purpose and potential of Expanded Learning Programs have changed radically in the last 20 years. The process began with the passage of California’s first comprehensive afterschool legislation, which Carla Sanger of LA’s BEST and I initiated in 1997. This paved the way for hundreds of millions of dollars in funding for elementary and middle school programs and resulted in a growing body of knowledge about what it takes to make a real difference in students’ lives. As part of this process, man...Read More

7 Back-to-School Resources for the Expanded Learning Field

Hello Expanded Learning, Out-of-School Time, and rockstar educators across the globe! In support of back-to-school time, our home team has chosen a hodgepodge of resources that will jumpstart your school year. 1.  Apply for FREE school supplies! Kids In Need Foundation has your back and is giving out two large boxes to qualified applicants. The deadline to apply is August 14th. 2. For a plethora of professional development, curriculum, outdoor education, support and training, school products, te...Read More

Back-to-School: Pencils and Possibilities

I love pencils. Freshly sharpened, classic #2 pencils. I love the smell of a freshly-sharpened pencil. I love the way a sharp pencil feels on a thick, new notebook. I love the way you can erase away anything you don’t like with a pencil. I love the way pencils will smudge my fingers. I love the eraser dust that fills the page. Fresh pencils also bring with them all of the feelings of back-to-school. Here in Indiana, the dawn of a new school year is already upon us:  School buses are shining in t...Read More