Over 500 Kentucky out-of-school time professionals gathered on February 8 and 9, 2022 for the Kentucky Out-of-School Alliance’s fist ever virtual conference – A Healthy Kickoff to Summer Learning. From a diverse cadre of speakers and presenters, attendees learned about everything from how to plan a high quality summer learning experience to how to make and integrate healthy snacks into their program schedule to how to implement STEM learning through free access to Learning Blade.
Day one was kicked off with an informative keynote address from Aaron Dworkin, CEO of the National Summer Learning Association. He spoke to attendees about the research behind high quality summer learning experiences and how to creatively leverage the summer months to meet the unique needs of students in their communities. He encouraged everyone to “Move from a competitive mindset to a collaborative mindset,” while seeking ways for school districts and community partners to come together and use the historic investments made possible by the American Rescue Plan to scale up summer programs across the Commonwealth. Tom Haggard, Director of the Kentucky Out-of-School Alliance, shared information about an incredible free resource available to out-of-school time programs in Kentucky thanks to support from the Charles S. Mott Foundation – Mizzen by Mott. “We all know that we have to come up with Plans A, B and C because no two days after alike – and Mizzen provides research-informed, high quality activities that are engaging, fun and best of all – easy to implement with little to no prep time,” Haggard said as he encouraged attendees to take out their phones and download the free app. After a brief break, attendees had their choice of breakout sessions from local and national partners including kid-grit, Covington Partners and the Alliance for a Healthier Generation.
Day two started with an inspiring keynote from Matthew Emerzian, Founder and CEO of Every Monday Matters. Matthew shared his deeply personal story of moving from the corporate world where he was not connecting with his purpose to founding Every Monday Matters and helping individuals realize that they matter and can make their community a better place. He encouraged the crowd to focus on building relationships with young people to help them recover the COVID-19 pandemic and the isolation that many students experienced, “Time spent on what matters most is never wasted time.” Wednesday’s breakout sessions included dynamic presentations from kid-grit, Save the Children, and Learning Blade.
All in all, it was a very successful two day event. Christy VanDeventer, Director of District Childcare Services for Bardstown City Schools commented, “I absolutely loved the conference! We have already begun using some of the information we learned.” The virtual conference was generously sponsored by the Charles S. Mott Foundation, the Kentucky Department of Education’s Healthy Schools team and Save the Children.
For more information about upcoming trainings, professional development and more, check out KYOSA’s Professional Development page.