February 2008
U.S. Department of Education: Technical Assistance and Professional Development for
21st Century Community Learning Centers
a newsletter of the National Partnership for Quality Afterschool Learning : Afterschool News

Staff Development 15 Minutes at a Time

When it comes to professional development, one of the most common complaints from afterschool leaders is that they don’t have the time or money for training. While it may be tempting to abandon professional development, a well-trained staff can have greater success in offering activities that will improve student achievement. Instead of sending your staff to a conference, consider using free or inexpensive resources and devoting just 15 minutes a week during a staff meeting to professional development. What follows are examples of how you can use the Afterschool Training Toolkit for professional development on academic enrichment in afterschool. Each activity below can be done in 15 minutes. All you need is a computer with Internet access.

Explore the Afterschool Training Toolkit. Show your staff the toolkit at The toolkit has six content areas: literacy, math, science, the arts, technology, and homework help. Each content area includes the following components: information about the role the subject plays in afterschool, promising practices, sample lessons, and resources and references. After your staff has spent some time exploring the toolkit, ask them to explain the components.

Learn about promising practices. Promising practices are teaching techniques used in afterschool programs with evidence suggesting they help students learn important academic content. Watch a video demonstrating a promising practice with your staff and ask them to discuss what they saw. They can also spend some time reading about the practice on the Web site. Ask your staff how they can incorporate the practice into existing lessons.

Teach a lesson. Ask your staff to select a sample lesson they would like to teach and discuss the parts of the lesson. Talk about what they need to implement it. Staff should teach the lesson to their students and be prepared to report back on their experiences.

Talk about what you learned. Ask staff to give feedback on how their lessons went, what worked and didn’t work, and what they would do differently. Revisit the promising practice and parts of the lesson. Do their existing lessons have these components? What changes could they make to these lessons to make them more effective?


What is the National Partnership of Quality Afterschool Learning?

Instead of sending your staff to a conference, consider using free or inexpensive resources and devoting just 15 minutes a week during a staff meeting to professional development.

Recommended Resource
Stories from the field

Bladen County 21st CCLC Program
Elizabethtown, north carolina

The wheel has already been invented, and I’m using it!--Afterschool instructor Blanton County 21st CCLC

Reaching program goals depends on starting the school year out right, and professional development is no exception. At the Bladen County 21st Century Community Learning Center (CCLC) afterschool program, the school year begins with training for new and returning staff. It includes an orientation that covers goals and expectations of the program’s grant; workshops on core content areas, curriculum goals, and lesson plans; and alignment of activities with the North Carolina state standards.

The program also includes the Afterschool Training Toolkit in its professional development. “At the beginning of the year we introduce [the site coordinators] to the toolkit,” says director Margaret Lawrence. “We go from step one and then into the different parts, letting them go on the Web site, get familiar with it, and see what resources it has.” The site coordinators then take what they have learned about the toolkit and share it with the instructors at their different sites.

At meetings during the school year, site coordinators report on program progress, including how staff have used the toolkit. Staff say the toolkit saves them time in planning activities and makes it easy for them to pull ideas and resources together. As one staff person remarked on the toolkit, “The wheel has already been invented, and I’m using it!”

In Your Words Announcement Events Calendar

To participate in this survey and view results, submit your vote now.

Which topics do you think should be covered in professional development for afterschool? (Select all that apply.)

Registration for the 2008 Summer Institute is open!

The 2008 21st Century Community Learning Center Summer Institute will take place July 15–17 in Dallas, Texas. Pre-conference events, including state coordinators meetings, a networking session, and an evening reception, will occur on July 15. Regular conference sessions will take place on July 16 and 17.

Learn more and register online at

April 14–15

“Linkages to Learning” Southeast Regional Conference
Atlanta, ga

May 1–2

PEAK Afterschool Workshop Series: Math and Science
Denver, CO

For more events, visit our calendar.

Produced for the U.S. Department of Education by the National Partnership for Quality Afterschool Learning housed at SEDL


Questions or comments should be directed to:

Laura Shankland
4700 Mueller Blvd.
Austin, TX 78723
Phone: 800-476-6861 ext. 6556
Fax: 512-476-2286

This newsletter was produced in whole or in part with funds from the U.S. Department of Education under contract number ED-01-CO-0057/0001.

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Copyright © 2008 by SEDL.

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