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Author: Zach Wilson

Shine On!

In the Expanded Learning field, we prioritize building personal connections and creating a sense of belonging. We all have a why or purpose for what we do, and, while it is often altruistic, we’re all human and seek some level of recognition and appreciation. When we are at our best, we shine full of hope and with an energy that keeps us motivated to push ahead. The goal of this blog is to share m...

2 Terrific Tips on Social & Emotional Learning (SEL) For Adults

  This blog is about SEL for adults, exploring why and how we must practice SEL in our collective work, both in and out of school. I believe there is no such thing as a coincidence. I asked my close colleague, who sits just across from me in the office, what I should write about in this next blog.  Understanding my ongoing, organic theme about creating conditions for youth voice and choice, h...

How Do You Provide Youth Voice and Choice? 

When program providers in the Expanded Learning Field are asked if they incorporate youth voice and choice, the answer is often a quick “yes” or “of course.”  This blog is about digging a little deeper into what incorporating youth voice and choice can look like, beyond some of the traditional practices. I am a firm believer that our field of work is all about providing services and learning envir...

How Do You Reach Frontline Staff?

I cringed, big-time when I realized that part of my role as LA’s BEST Director of Staff Development was to develop an online learning and resource hub for our 2,000+ staff. Based on my previous experiences, I knew we were up against a lot—creating ‘that thing’ for compliance or ‘that thing’ we have to use online. It’s not easy to make an online learning platform engaging and relevant. Our internal...

Speak on What We Do! Youth Development is for You!

I believe you cannot learn youth development without experiencing it. What I mean by “youth development” is distinct from “education.” Reflecting on nearly 19 years in our field of many names, I embrace Expanded Learning here in California as it embodies the heart of our work.  When I hear Michael Funk, Director of the Expanded Learning Division at the California Department of Education, talk abou...

Some Things Don’t Change: Rethinking Adult Learning

When it comes to how kids and adults learn, there are similar dynamics that are very important to acknowledge and foster. I find at times, that folks get really focused on noting the differences across our various developmental stages/ages. Even though it’s important to understand these differences, it sometimes limits if/how we create learning environments that are engaging and experiential...