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

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

Out-of-School Time Staff – What do you get to do?

Hello Breakfast Club readers & leaders! As we approach August and get closer to launching the 2017/2018 school year, I wanted to share a speech I was asked to do for a CAL SAC leadership event in June, in Los Angeles. I am hoping this helps motivate and inspire you and your staff to appreciate all you GET to do. They come to us filled with hormones, under-resourced, confused, academically behind, overstimulated and oversexualized, underfed, tired and with poor hygiene. They are bullied, they...Read More

5 Ways to Address and Help: Self-Injury

Have you found yourself concerned for a young person with cuts or scratches on their thighs or noticed a wound on their arm that seems to not heal? Has there been a youth or student that you suspected might be harming themselves? Do you know how you would talk with a youth that is engaging in non-suicidal self-injury? Before you address someone’s non-suicidal self-injury, it is important to understand what self-injury is, why someone might engage in it, who is at greater risk of self-injury, and...Read More

Growth Mindset: Losing is the New Winning

Spending more than half of my life in and out of a locker room, one gets very used to sound of competition. Sayings like, “failure is not an option” and “winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing,” were common echoes in my upbringing. From one coach to the next, it was always about winning, getting better, playing your best, minimizing mistakes, practice makes perfect, etc., etc. It’s no wonder that I wanted to quit after losing my first soccer game ...Read More

Three Shining Lights Against a Dark Cloud

Under normal circumstances, I’m not one to be political in a public and professional forum, but really, I’m in need of some writing therapy. Every day, I read the latest news story about another negative appointment to the President- elect’s cabinet. Who knew there were so many people who both seem to despise the role of government AND also want to lead it? While alarming, those aren’t even the most upsetting parts of my daily doldrums. What really brings me down are the ...Read More

Filling in the Gaps: How Developmental Theory Supports Social Emotional Learning in Afterschool Programs

This spring issue  of the Journal of Expanded Learning Opportunities (JELO) launched at the 2016 BOOST conference and features a conversation about quality programming in afterschool, an article on the role that social emotional learning can play to close the achievement and learning gaps, and an article focusing on the links between professional development and quality STEM learning experiences. The JELO serves as an important resource for the expanded learning field as well as makes the connec...Read More

Behavior is a Form of Communication

Nine years ago, when my son was in 4th grade, he had a homework assignment that involved reading a newspaper article and bringing it in to school. He spread out the newspaper on the kitchen table and IMMEDIATELY my big, fluffy, 13 pound cat jumped on the table and spread out as far as she could over the newspaper (cat owners have surely seen this phenomenon.) Now Kasha, the cat, had done this to me MANY times. And no matter how often I pushed her out of the way or picked her up and moved her, sh...Read More