Contribute to the Iowa Afterschool Alliance Expanding Minds and Opportunities

Welcome to the Iowa Afterschool Alliance Website!


Register Now for the 2014 Impact After School Conference!
April 24 & 25, 2014

Stoney Creek Inn and Conference Center 

5291 Stoney Creek Court

Johnston, IA 50131 


Join other afterschool coordinators, administrators, front-line staff, and educators for two full days

of professional development and networking with Iowa and Minnesota afterschool program providers!

Space is limited - register today!

Regular Registration Deadline: April 17


 With questions about the conference, contact Indira Blazevic at


Click here to register for the conference

Registration Fees:
for Iowa and Minnesota 21CCLC Grantee Program Staff & Administrators ($130 after April 17)
for General Attendees ($170 after April 17)

Looking for places to eat and things to do in the Des Moines area? Visit


Click here to view a PDF of the agenda

Thursday, April 24, 2014


8:00 – 8:30 am Registration, Visit Exhibitors 
8:30 – 9:20 am Welcome
Opening Keynote
Bob Seidel, National Summer Learning Association

Bob Seidel of the National Summer Learning Association will offer a national perspective on the state of summer learning, including recent research on effective practices as well as current policy issues. These issues include the role of summer learning in addressing 3rd grade reading/retention policy, year-round school proposals, and the role of community schools in addressing the needs of students, families, and communities 12 months a year.

9:20 – 9:30 am Break, Visit Exhibitors
9:30 – 10:45 am Workshop Session 1
A. Aligning with the School Day
You for Youth (Y4Y)

Explore how to use the You for Youth (Y4Y) web portal to learn about benefits and strategies for aligning learning across in-school and out-of-school experiences. Topics covered will include sharing responsibility for student learning, integrating academics into afterschool programming, and partnering effectively with school day staff. Please bring a laptop, tablet, or internet-accessible device to explore Y4Y during the session.

B. Physical Literacy
Ed Thomas, Iowa Department of Education

The before- and afterschool environment can and should contribute to the physical and motor development of all youth. This session will explore methods, materials, and motivators required to promote meaningful physical literacy in the before- and afterschool environment. Research clearly indicates that fit children perform better academically.

C. Re-Imagining School-Community Partnerships: The FAIR + Program
Mike Elston, Kevin Bennett, and Mary Pat Cumming, The FAIR School

This interactive session will engage participants in a powerful conversation aimed at changing thinking around community partnerships.

D. Chess Spells Success & Supports STEM and Common Core State Standards
Steve Schneider, Championship Chess

Studies show chess improves reading and math skills, increases focus and self-esteem, and keeps students in school. Chess supports STEM and addresses Common Core State Standards. With step-by-step hands-on activities, video, and interactive games, you can facilitate a successful chess program and provide a fun and supportive environment after school, whether or not you know how to play. Meet coach and author Steve Schneider and find out how you can put chess to work for your students.

10:45 – 10:50 am Transition to Next Workshop
9:30 – 10:45 am

Workshop Session 2
A. Family Involvement
You for Youth (Y4Y)

Forging strong links to students’ families can help improve programming and support youth success in school and life. Explore common challenges and potential solutions to engage families using the You for Youth (Y4Y) web portal including: creating a culture conducive to getting to know families; tailoring activities to meet families’ needs; and strengthening families’ experiences. Please bring a laptop, tablet, or internet-accessible device to explore Y4Y during the session.

B. Balance in After School Programs: Fostering and measuring skills of cognition and character in the out-of-school time community
Mary Daily Lange, United Way of Central Iowa

Recent research and observations have identified a correlation between reinforcement of academic skills during out-of-school time (OST) and maintaining the mastery level that a student has achieved. Further investigation has identified social skills that are also important in students’ development and success in school and beyond. Iowa, including the Des Moines Public Schools, incorporates several of these skills into curriculum and learning practices already. Many of the programs that UWCI has supported have invested time and effort in helping students develop those skills. This presentation will provide a framework for a balance of these disparate but complementary issues of cognitive or academic and social skills.

C. Building Extended Learning Opportunities Both Within and Beyond the School Day
David Welter, Principal, and Dan Bower, ECHOES Program Coordinator, Holmes Junior High School, Cedar Falls

Welter, the principal of Holmes Junior High, and Bower, the ECHOES Program Coordinator, will show how they have integrated Project-Based Learning and STEM activities along with intervention and enrichment both within and beyond the school day. The session will focus on collaboration between afterschool and school-day staff during the Tiger Time and ECHOES afterschool programs. This interactive discussion will address audience questions about the programs and how they have provided extended learning intervention and enrichment opportunities for students during the school day and in afterschool settings.

D. Student Participatory Processes
Eric Billiet, Minnesota Department of Education

Student Engagement and Youth Voice are popular goals, like anyone can just do it. Unfortunately, there is not much information available about how to implement youth advisory processes. In this session, participants will learn how to lay the groundwork for authentic involvement of students in decision-making. Participants will learn that student advisory is a methodology and process toward achieving goals, not a goal or product itself. Participants will also learn best practices and models for authentically involving students in decision-making, and avoiding harmful pitfalls in the school environment.

12:05 – 1:00 pm Working Lunch
Movement 515 Presentation and Q&A Panel with Emily Lange and Kristopher Rollins

Enjoy this informative, entertaining, and discussion-based Q&A session where participants will have the opportunity to interact with Movement 515, an initiative that aims to combat illiteracy through creative writing and performance with students. Students from Warren G. Harding Middle School in Des Moines will present.

1:00 – 2:15 pm Workshop Session 3
A. Strengthening Partnerships
You for Youth (Y4Y)

Strong partnerships add depth and breadth to your program. Use the Y4Y resources to identify your needs, select partners, establish a common vision, and use data to enhance your program. Please bring a laptop, tablet, or internet-accessible device to explore Y4Y during the session.

B. Iowa 21CCLC Q&A – Budgets, Monitoring and Programming
Iowa Department of Education

Vic Jaras serves as the Educational Technology, Community Education, Service-Learning, and 21st Century Community Learning Centers Before and After School consultant for the Iowa Department of Education. This session will focus on answering the logistical questions that surround the important topics of budgets, monitoring, and programming for before- and afterschool programs in Iowa.

C. Minnesota 21CCLC Q&A – Budgets, Monitoring, and Programming
Minnesota Department of Education

Eric Billiet serves as the Expanded Learning Education Specialist for the Minnesota Department of Education. This session will focus on answering the logistical questions that surround the important topics of budgets, monitoring, and programming for before- and afterschool programs in Minnesota.

D. The Power of Play: STEM & Afterschool
Deb Dunkhase, Iowa Children’s Museum

Research supports play as critical for children to develop key skills that serve as a foundation for life-long success, including critical thinking, communication, problem solving, and collaboration. Often referred to as 21st century skills, these capabilities complement core subject matter knowledge and are highly valued in a world that is increasingly complex, competitive, and interconnected. Join Deb Dunkhase, Executive Director of The Iowa Children’s Museum, to learn more about how to create STEM active learning experiences through the power of play.

2:15 – 2:25 pm  Break, Visit Exhibitors
1:00 – 2:15 pm Workshop Session 4
A. STEM Strategies and Resources
You for Youth (Y4Y)

STEM is for everyone! Learn how You for Youth (Y4Y) can support your program’s potential for science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) by encouraging students’ curiosity and making STEM activities real, active, and local. Find local resources to support your STEM programming and learn strategies to coordinate with school-day partners. Please bring a laptop, tablet, or internet-accessible device to explore Y4Y during the session.

B. Literacy and Afterschool Panel
OST Literacy Coaches – Angela Cardamon and Emily Hesse
Mary Daily Lange, United Way of Central Iowa
Mike Elston, The FAIR School
Jackie Swink, Burlington Community Schools

Literacy is a hot topic among policymakers and educators. Out-of-school time is a great opportunity to get children and youth doing more reading and writing. This panel of experts in out-of-school time literacy will offer their advice on integrating more intentional and high-impact reading and writing activities into your afterschool and summer programming.

C. Putting the Steam in STEM
Martha McCormick, Keep Iowa Beautiful

This workshop will provide teachers and out-of-school time providers with hands-on (outdoor weather permitting) experience in bringing STEM to classrooms. The workshop will demonstrate how lessons from “Teachers Going Green” can engage students in real-life problem solving. The workshop will take a unique perspective, combining art (put the A in STEAM) with science, technology and mathematics education. Teachers Going Green empowers adults to take education outside the classroom, onto the playground and into the community; the program is online and it is free, through public and private funding.

D. Fun, Simple, and Inexpensive Ideas for Promoting Healthy Eating in OST
Daniel Hatcher, Alliance for a Healthier Generation

Are you looking for simple resources and tools to help you promote healthy eating at your out-of-school time site? This interactive skill-building workshop will offer inexpensive ideas and tools to ensure your OST snacks are as healthy as possible. National evidence-based guidelines will be reviewed and implementation strategies that engage youth in nutrition enrichment will be shared. Participants will experience hands-on activities that can be used with children of all ages.

3:45 – 5:00 pm  Special Activities
Option 1 (at 3:30 pm): Site visit to Brody Middle School 21CCLC program (Des Moines Public Schools) – Meet in hotel lobby at 3:30 (you will need to leave your last workshop 15 minutes early to go on the site visit). Transportation provided by Iowa Commission on Volunteer Service

Option 2: Iowa Extended Learning Pilot Video Presentation See the videos highlighting the outreach and input-gathering conducted with expanded learning providers, educators, and community members across Iowa in 2013. 

Option 3: Kids Care Food Packing Line – Try out the meal packaging line yourself! Visit the station in the Northwoods Room.

Option 4: Visit Exhibitors – complete your Exhibitor Bingo card for a chance to win prizes!

Evening Dinner on Your Own
21CCLC Networks Collaboration Time


Friday, April 25, 2014


8:00 – 8:30 am

Breakfast and Discussions

A. Planning Quality Activities (Frontline Staff)Facilitated by Y4Y
B. Enhancing Program Professional Development (Directors and Coordinators)Facilitated by Y4Y

Join us for informal small group discussions that allow you to share with and learn from your peers and the Y4Y facilitators. Choose from the topics of Planning Quality Activities and Enhancing Your Professional Development.

C. Noyce STEM Initiative Sites Session (Invite Only)
D. 21CCLC Teams collaboration time (Optional, on your own)
8:45 – 10:00 am

Workshop Session 5
A. What Every Youth Development Professional Needs to Know about Bullying
Mary Lou Warner, Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Iowa

The content for this session grew out of an identified need for education on bullying for youth development staff in central Iowa. Participants will learn what bullying is, about research and data on bullying, how to recognize it, hotspots for bullying in afterschool settings or clubs, and real-life prevention techniques to use in the field.

B. PPICS Session for Iowa and Minnesota 21CCLC Grantees
Tim Glenn, Iowa Department of Education

Just what is the PPICS system and how do you get data into it? Tim Glenn of the Iowa Department of Education will present on the 21st Century Community Learning Centers’ national data submission program, PPICS (Profile and Performance Information Collection System). Descriptions of the necessary data elements will be given, including the data requirements for the fall 2014 submission.

C. Moving Leaders from “I Can't” to “I Can”: Fearless Science Activities
Monica Post, Camp in a Can

This workshop will address why leading science as an educator or facilitator shouldn’t be scary, but fun! The goal is to recognize, through the use of activities and discussion, that the participants (i.e. the leaders) are scientists and have been since birth. This is a hands-on, interactive workshop.

D. Where Are They Now: Sustaining Out-of-School Time Programming After 21CCLC Grants
Shaney Ford, Davenport Community Schools

This session will be a conversation on sustaining out-of-school time programming after 21st Century Community Learning Centers grants are complete, with a focus on braided funding streams, charging fees, leveraging resources from community partners, and accessing DHS Child Care Assistance.

10:00 – 10:15 am Break, Visit Exhibitors
10:15 – 11:30 am Workshop Session 6
A. Taking Quality To Scale in Out-of-School-Time Programs
Deb Campobasso, St. Paul Public Schools

Saint Paul Public Schools 21st Century Community Learning Centers provide afterschool academic and enrichment programming to over 4,600 students annually across 8 middle school sites. With national research showing high-quality programs have greater positive impact on youth, SPPS 21CCLC will share their continuous improvement cycle that strives to improve program quality leading to greater outcomes for participating students. Participants will experience a professional development game designed for instructors to build skills on linking school and afterschool, as well as tool designed to discover the strengths and areas of growth of afterschool instructors including a format for creating improvement plans.

B. Introduction to Cooperative & Collaborative Learning – Benefits, Techniques, & Strategies
Jessica Simons and Heather Loutzenhiser, Promise Partners

Collaborative learning is a method of teaching and learning that nurtures youth leadership, builds community, and keeps things fun. This interactive workshop will equip participants with reliable strategies and tools to group youth and think about building cooperative learning into programs that is both beneficial and enjoyable.

C. Leveraging Your Leadership Style
Heidi Brown, Des Moines Public Schools, and Michelle Rich, Iowa Afterschool Alliance

Discover your unique leadership style and learn strategies to use this knowledge to get the best out of your staff and your program. At the end of this workshop participants will be able to identify their unique leadership style and the leadership styles of others; be able to identify the impacts of these styles on work and management; be able to identify the responsibilities of a good administrator, including knowledge of continuous program improvement; be able to identify strategies to cultivate (hire and retain) high-quality staff; know how to use data and input to engage and empower staff in program quality and realizing the program mission/vision; and understand the strategies needed to support staff success.

D. Power of Website Creation
Chris Richards, Burlington Community School District

The session will help participants create a free website to deliver your message, keep communication lines open, and engage your audience. Websites can also be created by students to bring their work to the World Wide Web.

11:30 am – 12:45 pm Working Lunch
Youth Speaker: Paige Myers, Boone High School student (11:45-12:20)

Paige's presentation will cover her personal experiences with volunteer work and service learning as a student. Participants will engage in small group discussion and brainstorming to encourage more service learning projects! There will be time for questions at the end of the presentation.

Afterschool Champions Recognition
12:45 – 2:00 pm Workshop Session 7
A. Culturally Responsive Teaching
Christopher Soldat, Science Curriculum Consultant, Van Allen Science Teaching Center, Grant Wood AEA; and Peggy J. Christensen, Science Curriculum Consultant, Heartland AEA 11

This session will focus on teaching your students to value their differences. When you do this, you are creating a truly global classroom. And by expanding students’ appreciation of each other, you are showing them how to appreciate the rest of the world.

B. IPTV and PBS Bring You FREE Educational Resources
Angela Hiatt, Iowa Public Television

Learn how to utilize the free resources offered by IPTV and PBS and practice utilizing the resources. You will walk away with ideas for engaging students through free multimedia educational programming.

C. Creating a Safe Space: Working With LGBTQ Youth
Bobbie Jo Sheridan, Eyes Open Iowa

Through this interactive session, participants will become familiar with LGBTQ language and the importance of using appropriate language. Participants will learn how to be an advocate and ally for LGBTQ youth, how to create an inclusive environment, the steps for “Name it, Claim it, Stop it,” and the steps of a courageous bystander. Participants will also gain tips for when a youth “comes out” to them. The goal of this presentation is to give participants a toolkit of resources and tips for creating a safe space in their afterschool program.

D. How Policy has Influenced and Shaped the American Indian Experience
Dennis Olson, Minnesota Department of Education – Office of Indian Education

This workshop will provide a brief history of Indian Education, highlighting both Minnesota and federal policy. Participants will learn why Indian Education legislation was introduced, why Indian Education programs were developed, and how integral these unique programs are to American Indian student achievement. Participants will gain a greater understanding of the state and federal programs that exist to serve American Indian students. This workshop will also encourage an open dialogue with participants around the barriers American Indian students face in school and introduce ways in which professional staff, parents, and community members can be involved to help ensure their success.

2:05 – 2:35 pm

Closing Plenary
A Paradigm Shift in Parent Engagement
Mike Elston, Kevin Bennett, and Mary Pat Cumming, The FAIR School

The FAIR School’s Principal Kevin Bennett (last year’s Minnesota Principal of the Year), Associate Principal Mary Pat Cumming (former Minnesota Assistant Principal of the Year), and Mike Elston, community partnerships and community relations specialist, will present an interactive and engaging discussion on the need for a paradigm shift in the ways that schools and community-based organizations view families.

2:35 – 3:00 pm Wrap-Up, Recognition, and Prize Drawings

Check out photos from the 2013 Impact After School (IAS) Conference

The 2013 IAS Conference was the first annual statewide conference in Iowa planned by the Iowa Afterschool Alliance, with support from the Iowa Department of Education and the 21st Century Community Learning Centers Program. The conference took place on April 24 and 25, 2013 at the Stoney Creek Inn, in Johnston, Iowa. 114 out-of-school time professionals attended the conference! 

The second annual IAS Conference will be in April of 2014! Look for more details to come soon. Be sure to check out last year's conference program!

Click here to see the full gallery of photos from the event!




2013 State Evaluation Report

Annual Evaluation Report on the state of afterschool in Iowa, provided by the Iowa Department of Education, in conjunction with the Iowa Afterschool Alliance, 21st Century Community Learning Centers, and Educational Resource Management Solutions. 

To access the full report, click here.





Iowa Named Pacesetter State by the Campaign for Grade Level Reading

The Iowa Afterschool Alliance was recognized along with several partners for our work to support early grade reading in Iowa. We are so honored for this, but it's not why we do it! Check out our new Literacy page for more on what we're doing to make sure our kids are reading and enjoy to read!

Iowa Afterschool Alliance staff and partners are photographed with The Honorable Terry E. Branstad (center), Governor of the State of Iowa, and Ralph Smith, director of the Campaign for Grade Level Reading (ninth in from the right). Partners named alongside the IAA as Pacesetters include United Way of Central Iowa, Child and Family Policy Center, and members of the Iowa General Assembly. Representatives from these organizations are also pictured above.

We have resources for Afterschool Professionals!

Check out our Afterschool Advisors, a publication for practitioners seeking resources to improve, sustain, and develop their afterschool program. If you have any newsletter content you'd like to share, including upcoming trainings, grant opportunities, and general events related to afterschool, please contact Michelle Rich at

December 2013 Advisor
November 2013 Advisor

October 2013 Advisor
September 2013 Advisor
August 2013 Advisor
July 2013 Advisor
June 2013 Advisor
May 2013 Advisor
April 2013 Advisor
March 2013 Advisor
February 2013 Advisor
January 2013 Advisor

Interested in receiving our monthly Advisor?

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Also check out our Resources Page for additional resources on afterschool.

The Iowa Afterschool Alliance is supported in part by the C.S. Mott Foundation as part of its Learning Beyond the Classroom strategy. Learn more about the National Network of Statewide Afterschool Networks at


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