Breakfast Club Blog

The BOOST Breakfast Club Blog is a curated space where bloggers from around the world contribute content on a continual basis about a variety of topics relevant to in and out-of-school time. The BOOST Breakfast Club blog is at the heart of an ongoing dialogue where expanded learning and education professionals share their personal thoughts and stories from the in and out-of-school time field. They also tell us what they ate for breakfast!

The BOOST Breakfast Club Blog is Brain Food for In and Out-of-School Time Leaders!

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Taking a Pause for Equity

Slow down to move fast. Sounds counterintuitive, right? But knowing when to press pause is a critical decision that all leaders face. Here are some thoughts on why taking a break is the right thing for all leaders right now. As leaders in expanded learning, we often evaluate our practices against a set of criteria, perhaps aligned with a specific grant, or internal goals and objectives. What if instead, we took a step back and really looked at how our efforts and decisions impact the very commun...Read More

Focusing on the Three Rs this Summer

In a recent principal training, a participant raised his hand and asked a question I have heard too often: “How can I afford to invest in SEL (social-emotional learning) when my students have fallen so far behind?” I struggled to maintain my composure. This principal had been in at least three brain development workshops that unpacked the connections across the social, emotional, and cognitive functions of our limbic system. According to our biology, learning is a social and emotional process – ...Read More

Incorporating Equity into Evaluation: Tools to Use

For many out-of-school time professionals, evaluation feels separate from the heart of the program. Data collection is an administrative chore like refilling paper in the copier: necessary, but not all that meaningful. This is, in part, because data and evaluation are often described as value-neutral, which doesn’t connect very well with people and programs who are values-driven. Who wants to put time and effort into something that isn’t aligned with your purpose? By acknowledging that values in...Read More

Hey Afterschool Leaders, We’ve Been Called In

Most of us are compelled to work in afterschool programs because we want to empower youth, nurture young talent, even level the playing field. Despite doing this important work daily, we are painfully aware that the conditions of schools, neighborhoods, and economies just never change. So, we find ourselves, though well-intended, propping up a system that still doesn’t equitably serve all the people in this country. As agency leaders, we are witness to, and work daily against, the pressures, pol...Read More

Expanding Our Commitments to Brothers in Out-of-School Time

This post originally appeared on the Breakfast Club Blog on March 24, 2015. Learn more about the current work of MBK, here. A year ago February [February 2014], President Obama launched the My Brother’s Keeper Initiative (MBK). The goal of MBK was to lift up and strengthen any and all efforts that were “helping more young men of color stay on track. Providing the support they need to think more broadly about their future. Building on what works, when it works, in those critical life-...Read More

In this Time of Crisis, Afterschool Gives Me Hope

California, and the nation as a whole, are in the midst of multiple and intersecting crises—the public health crisis of COVID-19, the resulting economic crisis, and a long-standing crisis of injustice and systemic oppression of Black, indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC). When I think of the children and communities who are suffering the most as a result of these crises, I get consumed with questions. What will happen to kids this summer? When will they be able to come back to school? How wil...Read More

Using Voice and Choice in Afterschool Programs

As afterschool professionals, we give a lot of lip service to the phrase “voice and choice.” Theoretically, we understand that students feel more ownership of their afterschool programs when they are able to voice their opinions and provide input into the program. Sounds easy, right? Like most good ideas, however, implementation is much more difficult than it sounds. Students are most likely not going to gather and discuss collaboratively what they want the program to be. There is al...Read More

At-home Learning in Crisis Times (with the Cat in the Hat)

Largely at a loss Nobody has any very good answers amid the anxiety and trauma of these COVID-19 times. But efforts to help, share, and encourage each other have overflowed in online education communities, to the benefit of educators, students, and families. Floods of ideas and resources have come from countless individuals and organizations to help the millions of families whose households have suddenly become classrooms. Please, for example, go get a free download of our coloring book, What’s ...Read More

Existential Crisis

“Feelings of loneliness and insignificance in the face of nature are common in existential crises.” This is the sentence I tracked when I Googled “My job is being disrupted.” I saw a picture of a man in a suit standing on a rock on the edge of an ocean. In this case, the ocean is not the force of nature that makes us feel insignificant. It’s each other. This virus that we may or may not be carrying inside us is a force of nature for which we have not prepared. People who work in the people busin...Read More

Ensuring Access to Nutritious Meals During School Closures Due to COVID-19

As schools remain closed due to COVID-19 — and with many states announcing that they will stay closed for the rest of the school year — communities in every state are working together to fill the nutrition gap created by the absence of traditional school meals. During unexpected school closures, school districts and other program providers can use the federally funded Summer Nutrition programs to provide meals to students at no cost as a replacement for school meals. Additionally, the U.S. Depar...Read More

8 Art Activities to Encourage Wellness: At-Home Edition

Healthier Generation’s social-emotional health expert, Elizabeth Cook, recently gave me a book called Teacher’s Guide to Resiliency through the Arts. The book explores how creative arts can encourage well-being for children (and adults) experiencing adversity. Here’s one of my favorite quotes: Arts activities that include touch, pleasant smells, visualizations, movement, and/or pleasant sounds all work to soothe the body and restore equilibrium in the brain for rational decision-making. If you’r...Read More

When OST Comes Home: What Happens, What Counts, and What Matters?

Both the evidence from the science of learning and common sense tell us that learning and development occur all the time. But typically, opportunities for learning and development are shared and spread over various spaces, places, and delivery modes in schools, community organizations, and families. But ten days ago, most of those places were abruptly shut down – schools were closed, OST programs shuttered, and parks were ordered emptied. Yet learning and development didn’t stop. Millions of fam...Read More