From February 22 to 24, Orlando, Fla. was alive with the magic of afterschool, as nearly 1,000 out-of-school time professionals convened for the 21st annual Beyond School Hours Conference. The conference, hosted by the team at Foundations, Inc., draws attendees from across the country to spend three days learning from each other about best practices and new ideas for providing high quality afterschool and summer learning programming.
With so many fantastic speakers, networking opportunities and special events, it is hard to pick just a few to highlight! Below are some of our top moments:
- Afterschool Alliance Executive Director Jodi Grant and Board Chair Terry Peterson got the crowd fired up to show the world #AfterschoolWorks with an inspiring speech calling on attendees to tweet for afterschool. Bonus moment: Feeling the emotion in the room as they shared this video.
- We got revved up by noted educator and creator of the #HipHopEd social media movement Dr. Chris Emdin, who told us to be our own authentic “ratchademic” selves and allow our youth to bring their whole selves to our spaces, and be valued for doing so, too.
- We laughed along with Dr. Ioannis Miaoulis, President and Director of the Boston Science Museum, as he entertainingly shared the challenges and successes of encouraging policymakers and the general public to recognize science and engineering education.
- Clapping along to “Uptown Funk,” we cheered on the arts in afterschool with the student musicians in the nationally recognized Jones High School “Marching Tigers” Band.
- We participated in a number of great education sessions on literacy, STEM education, program sustainability, and family engagement, led by amazing afterschool professionals. Some the featured sessions included a special conversation with Jodi Grant and a “talk show” on encouraging the next generation of afterschool advocates and community leaders, featuring Terry Peterson and the Mott Foundation’s Gwynn Hughes.
We can’t wait for next year’s conference in Atlanta! The Beyond School Hours Conference also kicks off the busy spring conference season and Afterschool Alliance staff will be in the field! We’d love to meet you, so if you see us, please be sure to say hi. Keep checking this blog for more updates from the field.