July 26, 2020

What's UAN up to?

By Angel Gomez |  

Since the middle of March 2020, the field of out-of-school time in Utah has been faced with some of the most brain-breaking, uncertain, and challenging times in the existence of afterschool programs. Back in March, we didn’t want to think that we would still be dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic in the summer months, especially after our day-to-day lives changed so drastically. Although we are coming into August now, there is still a lot to be unsure of considering what life will be like when wearing face masks are a necessity outside of our home. One thing we know now and have always known is that Utah’s Children are our priority. When Governor Herbert gave the announcement of the soft closures of Utah schools on March 13, the UAN office saw Afterschool Professionals around the state jump to the call of figuring out how and what they could do to keep supporting their kids. We saw an insurgence of ingenuity and creativity and communities pulling together to make sure their kids were supported. 

At Utah Afterschool Network, we try to make sure that you as the boots on the ground have what you need to navigate through this wild time. Below, our School Alignment Specialist, OST Specialist Team, Professional Development Team, and our Leadership Team have written a blurb on what we’ve been up to the past 4 months.

OST Specialist Team | Kristen Knoche, Elinor Blankenship, Erica Andino, Chaz Pounder, Katie Acheson, Angel Gomez

The OST Team has kept busy over the past few months. Back in March, our OST team jumped on creating professional development opportunities for Professionals in the field to access. The result of that was Afterschool Nuggets | Professional Learning To-Go! with the help of community partners and other Utah Afterschool Professionals, we were able to create 24 one-hour opportunities for Professional Development that is available on our website. We’ve also been working on compiling and consolidatingaaron-burden-1zR3WNSTnvY-unsplash.jpg resources that cover general COVID-19 resources, Summer Resources with COVID-19 in mind, and our newest resource, Fall Planning Resources for all of the possible scenarios that we might be faced with this school year. 

The OST Team wants to make sure that we can do what we need to do; to support the boots on the ground, you. We are here to help with the heavy lifting, so as you are coming up with grand ideas and are looking for an ear, don’t hesitate to reach out to your OST Specialist. 

Professional Development Team | Emilie Holdaway & Amberley Motz

COVID-19 has really impacted what type of professional learning our organization can offer and also what training topics are most needed. We've worked really hard from the get-go to roll with the punches and then adapt as things have evolved. Our Afterschool Nugget Webinar Series was so fun to pull together, and it's allowed us to cover such a wide variety of topics that have reflected the needs expressed by returning attendees and other afterschool professionals. As we continue to rethink and reimagine professional learning opportunities for this upcoming school year, our team has sustainability at top of mind: How can we create new experiences and systems that will be pertinent and worthwhile even after the pandemic has subsided? While we continue to nail down details for this year's lineup of virtual training events, we're excited by new possibilities to cross state lines, collaborate with new experts and facilitators, and facilitate new networking opportunities. We're using this time to expand the definition of professional learning for not just the duration of this temporary pandemic but moving forward into the future. Moral of the story: STAY TUNED!

We know, we know. That's all well and good, but what's happening RIGHT NOW? Well.... the new cycle of the Afterschool Professional Development Incentive will open soon for the school year, and we're working on adding our eLearning Institute modules into our Resource Library to make it even easier to find the on-demand training you need. And lastly, Jump Start 2020 is going to be a real humdinger, and we're convinced that you won't want to miss it. Our Call for Proposals is still open through July 31, and we're excited to offer a variety of prerecorded and live sessions this year so attendees can have maximum flexibility in creating their personalized conference experiences.

School Alignment Team | Holly Phillips 

One of many hot topics this summer when it comes to fall planning has been alignment with the school day. Given that is my main role with the Utah Afterschool Network, I knew I needed to collaborate with my team and organizational partners, like the Utah Education Policy Center, to get resources out as soon as possible. My research gathering can be found on a new school-day alignment page on our website. From in-house materials and templates to my top picks from around the county, I believe there is something there for everyone. Feeling overwhelmed with where to start? I encourage you to download the Align for Success Self-Assessment Rubric and don’t hesitate to reach out with questions, comments, or ideas.

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Leadership Team | Kelly Riding & Ben Trentelman

The UAN leadership team has been working with state agencies, school districts, and other afterschool networks around the country to respond to the varying need for afterschool and out-of-school time programs in our ever-changing climate. We are working to identify partnership opportunities, best practices for all school models being offered around the state, and to develop tools to help programs and organizations open and offer their services in whatever way is best for the communities they serve. 

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