Breakfast Club Blog

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

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

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

Part 2: The Great ASES Augmentation of 2017 – A Children’s Story

In 2015, Sir Mark Leno from the village of San Francisco introduced a bill to increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour. By now, the full resources of CA3 were focused on the issue, but that still amounted to very little in comparison to the magnitude of the quest. The Partnership for Children and Youth, a longtime member of CA3 led by Lady Jennifer of Peck, was called upon to lead the campaign and she assigned her most renowned policy warrior to the task, Jessica Gunderson the Tenacious. The gr...Read More

Part 1: The Great ASES Augmentation of 2017 – A Children’s Story

Gather around, children, and I’ll tell you a story. What kind of story, you ask? Is it a scary story? Is it a funny story? A magical story? No. It’s better than that. It’s the best kind of story there is. It’s a story about policy change. ASES to be exact. Our story begins way back in the year 2006. Do any of you remember that year? Some of you may have been quite young. A traveling minstrel named Justin Timberlake performed a song called SexyBack. Children were introduced to a delightful talkin...Read More

Demystifying the LCAP for Expanded Learning: FUNDING Explanation

The California Department of Education asks school districts to produce Local Control Accountability Plans (LCAPs) as evidence of appropriately using Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) dollars. Every district must submit this plan in order to spend these dollars. Here’s my question: Is your Expanded Learning program written into your district’s LCAP? I know some of you out there are asking me, “bruh, why should I even care if my program is in this LCAP thing?” Simple. Y...Read More

Turn Your Survey Hell into Survey Heaven in Three Easy Steps

Nearly all after-school and summer programs have their kids take surveys, and nearly all programs suffer through the process. Surveys so rarely live up to their promise, and it gets harder and harder to convince staff and youth to complete this annual chore. In my experience as a professional evaluator, surveys almost always have three big flaws that limit their usefulness. Fix these flaws to turn survey hell to survey heaven! Step One: Organize survey questions by theme Think of the three or fo...Read More