Lessons from the Field: Examining Exemplar Principal & Afterschool Partnerships

Posted on October 3rd, 2017 in: Blog

This year I received a unique writing assignment. Inspired by the National Association of Elementary School Principals, who profiled two principals in Vermont who are strong supporters of afterschool programs, I decided to interview a few select Vermont principals with the goal of gathering information on what makes a stellar afterschool/principal partnership. Given that the depth of partnerships between afterschool programs and schools has been shown to improve student academic outcomes (Bennett, 2015)[1], this is an important topic for our organization and statewide community to consider.

To start, I reached out to afterschool directors for their nominations of outstanding principals who actively collaborate. From there, I chose four principals from across the state and attempted to capture a snapshot of different schools in Vermont. There’s a big city elementary school with diverse demographics, the larger rural elementary school pulling in students from a number of area towns, the middle school in a struggling post-industrial community, and the elementary school in a picturesque small college town.

All are principals schools with 21st Century Community Learning Center afterschool programs, which rely on federal grant funding distributed through a statewide grant competition for the purpose of providing high-quality afterschool and summer learning opportunities for students who attend schools where 40% or more of the students are from low-income families (free/reduced lunch assistance) and/or are approved for Title 1 status.

Any and all school-based afterschool program staff should ponder the following insights and perspectives from the principal’s office. These are hard-working, thoughtful, and inclusive principals who are committed to educating all students. Which is why they see afterschool and summer learning programs as being integral to their school systems and why their profiles are worth a read.

The Supporter: Steve Cone, Riverside Middle School

The Communicator: Judi Pulsifer, Neshobe School

The Visionary: Dorinne Dorfman, Champlain Elementary School

The Resource Provider: David Manning, Johnson Elementary School

















Recommendations and Lessons Learned:[2]

1) Effective Collaboration. Ask to attend school staff meetings; invite teachers to afterschool meetings.

2) Shared Vision. Afterschool programs can build on school values by creating programming that supports the social fabric of the school; likewise the principal needs to visit afterschool program to observe and learn how the afterschool program contributes to the growth of students. Personally invite the principal to visit and emphasize how your afterschool program contributes to the shared vision.

3) Relationship Building. Informal relationships take time and trust; invest in the development of these relationships particularly between school day and afterschool leaders. Think long-term and incremental.

4) Complementary Skills. Emphasize the role of afterschool programs in complementing school day academics vs. replicating classroom lessons; align with any social-emotional learning strategies the school is already utilizing.

Further Reading:

Collaborating to Build a New Day for Learning: A Toolkit for Principals, Afterschool, and Community Leaders (National Association of Elementary School Principals, 2010)

Leading After-School Learning Communities: What Principals Should Know and Be Able To Do (National Association of Elementary School Principals, 2006)

Building a Culture of Attendance: Schools and Afterschool Programs Together Can and Should Make a Difference (Expanding Minds and Opportunities, 2013)

Linking Schools and Afterschool Through Social and Emotional Learning (American Institutes for Research, 2015)

After the Last Bell: The Multiple Roles of Principal in School-Based Afterschool Programs (Afterschool Matters, 2007)

[1] Bennett, T.L. (2015). Examining levels of alignment between school and afterschool and associations on student academic achievement. Journal of Expanded Learning Opportunities, 1(2), 4-22.

[2] Based on Anthony, K. & Morra, J. (2016). Creating holistic partnerships between school and afterschool. Afterschool Matters, 24, 33-42. Connelly, G. & Young, P. (2013). More than just another “to-do” on the list: The benefits of strong school, principal, and afterschool/community partnerships. In T.K Peterson (Ed.), Expanding minds and opportunities: Leveraging the power of afterschool and summer learning for student success. Washington, DC: Collaborative Communications Group.

Our Very Own Holly Morehouse to Receive the 2017 Con Hogan Award!

Posted on September 22nd, 2017 in: Blog

The Vermont Community Foundation and the organizing committee for the Con Hogan Award for Creative, Entrepreneurial, Community Leadership are pleased to announce that Holly Morehouse, Executive Director of Vermont Afterschool, Inc., will be honored with this year’s award.
The $15,000 award, to be used however the recipient chooses, will be presented to Morehouse at a reception on October 4th at the Vermont College of Fine Arts in Montpelier.

Established by a group of his colleagues, the annual award recognizes the life’s work of Con Hogan by rewarding each year a community leader who shares his vision of a better Vermont and who seizes the responsibility for making that vision a reality. The award is given to a leader who shows deep community involvement, generosity, enthusiasm, a collaborative approach, and a focus on data and outcomes in his or her work.

As one of the co-founders of the statewide nonprofit Vermont Afterschool, Inc. (VTA), established in 2009, Morehouse has played a major role in advancing high quality afterschool and summer learning opportunities for all Vermont children and youth. Her goal is to make the “third learning space”—the space after home and school where children spend the bulk of their time—meaningful.
Her focus on creating statewide partnerships and collaborations, with strong diversified funding, promotes the education of children and youth in creative ways that extend beyond the school day and school year. In her role as Executive Director of VTA, Morehouse brings 20 years of experience in project management, community-based decision making, communication and collaboration processes, and leadership to her work.

The committee noted that, like Hogan, Morehouse is effective at making a difference by staying focused on the big picture, bringing together people with diverse views, and using data and analysis to stay on track. She has developed a network of partners both in and outside of Vermont and advocates policies that encourage partnership, complementary connections, and collaboration.

For more information about the award and to register for the upcoming reception on October 4th from 4:30 – 6:30 p.m., please visit vermontcf.org/ConHoganOct4.

Youth Rights Summit on October 20th

Posted on September 13th, 2017 in: Blog

Building on our work with Youth Ambassadors over the past six years and all the work around youth voice and youth engagement that programs are doing throughout the state, Vermont Afterschool would like to invite youth from expanded learning programs to a Youth Rights Summit on Friday, October 20, 2017.

The goal of the youth summit is to bring together youth ages 9-26 from across Vermont to create a Youth Declaration of Rights. We believe that knowing what is truly most pressing and most important to our young people will help all of us design and develop better and more effective programs and resources.

Event Details:
Chandler Music Hall
71 Main St. Randolph, VT
9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Lunch is provided
Download the flyer to share (older youth version here and middle school youth version here)
There is NO COST to attend this event; all youth ages 9-26 are welcome!

There will be a separate schedule of activities for adults/parents/drivers. Limited travel stipends are available and please contact us if you have further questions. There will a bus traveling from Burlington too!


  • If you are an afterschool program provider or staff person looking to bring multiple youth, please email Alissa Faber with their names and ages, as well as any additional chaperones.
  • Individual participants can fill out the form below:

21C Grant Competition is Open

Posted on September 12th, 2017 in: Blog

The 2017-18 grant competition for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) is now open. The Vermont Agency of Education invites schools, non-traditional educators, and community-based organizations to apply for 21st CCLC partnership grants for the purpose of providing high-quality afterschool and summer learning opportunities for students who attend schools where 40% or more of the students are from low-income families (free/reduced lunch assistance) and/or are approved for Title 1 Schoolwide Program status, and where the need for improved student performance is well documented.

Visit the Vermont Agency of Education 21st CCLC website to check out eligibility requirements and instructions for new and existing programs to apply. Intent to apply is due on November 20, 2017, and full applications are due by February 5, 2018.

Applicant workshops will be held on the days listed below from 9 a.m. -3 p.m. Key information will be presented and there will be time for team planning and individual assistance.
  • Wednesday, October 11 at the Vermont Technical College, Langevin House (Randolph)
  • Wednesday, October 18 at the Vermont Historical Society (Barre)
  • Thursday, October 19 at the Golden Eagle Resort (Stowe)

Bringing a team to one of these workshops is essential for success. Reserve your team members’ attendance by e-mailing names, affiliations and contact information to emanuel.betz@vermont.gov at least one week prior to the meeting. Space is not guaranteed at each location and confirmations will be sent by email.

For any additional information about the Vermont 21st CCLC program, contact: Emanuel Betz at (802) 479-1396 or emanuel.betz@vermont.gov.

Grant Application, Instructions, and Guidelines can be found here:


Free CCV Online Course for Fall 2017

Posted on June 28th, 2017 in: Blog

For the Fall Semester 2017, Vermont Afterschool is partnering with the Child Development Division (CDD) to offer a 3-credit, online course for afterschool professionals through the Community College of Vermont (CCV).

 This is a FREE online course for those who are working in a licensed afterschool/childcare program!

Introduction to Afterschool Education and Care (EDU 1320). This course engages students in an exploration of the growing field of afterschool age care and education. This course provides students with an understanding of the history of the afterschool field and examines the skills and training that are needed to successfully develop and administer high-quality programming in afterschool settings. Topics include: history of the afterschool age education and the core competency areas for professionals, including child and youth development, health and safety, program organization and professional development, family and community, and teaching and learning.

Semester Dates: September 5 – December 18
Instructor: Jannice Ellen
How to register: Complete the letter of intent and email to Tricia Pawlik-York triciapawlikyork@vermontafterschool.org. Course size is limited to 15 students, so don’t delay and register as soon as possible.

*Note that you do NOT register  with CCV directly.

Vermont Afterschool, Inc. Receives McClure Grant

Posted on June 12th, 2017 in: Blog

Vermont Afterschool, Inc. is pleased to announce it has received a $30,000 grant from the J. Warren and Lois McClure Foundation for the 2017-2018 school year to create meaningful job and expanded learning opportunities for students across rural Vermont.

This grant will support Vermont Afterschool to train high school students who will deliver content around science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) to their local afterschool and summer learning programs. The grant also provides support to Vermont Afterschool’s ongoing efforts to improve the quality of STEM instruction in Vermont’s afterschool and summer learning programs.

Over the course of the year, high schools students at five different afterschool programs will receive training from STEM experts; practice delivering lessons with feedback; work on planning, goal-setting, and reflection; and receive ongoing support as they teach STEM lessons to elementary students in afterschool programs. The five selected sites will cover the Windham Northeast Supervisory Union, Franklin Northwest Supervisory Union, Windham Central Supervisory Union, Orange Windsor Supervisory Union, and Lamoille South Supervisory Union.

Executive Director Holly Morehouse emphasized that the grant comes at an exciting time when Vermont Afterschool is already expanding its STEM efforts in beneficial ways. “Our ultimate goal is to see measurable STEM-related gains for the high school students working in the programs as well as the younger afterschool students attending as participants,” stated Morehouse. “We see these types of out-of-school time work-based learning experiences as being essential to student success and connecting youth to careers and college.”

The J. Warren and Lois McClure Foundation collaborates with educators, organizations, and philanthropists to improve and promote postsecondary and career education opportunities within the state with the conviction that through this work Vermont’s most important resource — its people — will become more fully empowered.

Executive Director Holly Morehouse Awarded by KidSafe Collaborative

Posted on April 18th, 2017 in: Blog

Executive Director Holly Morehouse was recently awarded “Outstanding Professional” by KidSafe Collaborative in honor of her work to advocate for children and families in Vermont.

IMG_3579 Over 250 guests joined the KidSafe Collaborative on April 18th to applaud Holly and other outstanding individuals and partnerships at KidSafe’s Annual Outstanding Service Awards Luncheon at the Sheraton Burlington Hotel and Conference Center. The yearly luncheon recognizes members of the community working to support families and protect children from abuse and neglect, and honor the outstanding individuals and groups who have improved the safety and well-being of children and families in Chittenden County Vermont

Holly was nominated by the Vermont Afterschool Board of Directors for her tireless commitment to our mission; her dedication to quality; and her ability to inspire others to advocate for all kids in Vermont to have access to afterschool and summer learning programs.

The 2017 Awards were presented to:

  • Don Wright, Very Merry Theatre – Lifetime Achievement Award
  • Kelsey Francis-Fath, LUND – Promising Professional Award
  • Holly Morehouse, Vermont Afterschool – Outstanding Professional Award
  • Tracey Wagner, University of Vermont Children’s Hospital – Gregory Packan, Esq. Outstanding Children’s Advocacy Award
  • Ridmi Coe, VT Youth Development Program – Outstanding Volunteer Award
  • Chittenden County Children’s Integrated Services Intake Team – Outstanding Collaboration Award

The KidSafe Collaborative is a Burlington based non-profit that works with dozens of partner agencies, individuals and organizations to improve our community’s response to child abuse and neglect.

Need funding? Check out the CDD Afterschool Care Grants

Posted on March 27th, 2017 in: Blog

We excited to announce that we are currently accepting applications for the CDD Afterschool Care Grants!

All afterschool programs applying for these funds must be licensed or working on licensure through the Child Development Division, Vermont Department for Children and Families, Agency of Human Services and be in good regulatory standing for the past year.

The CDD Afterschool Care Grant Program is designed to increase the capacity and quality of regulated Vermont afterschool programs. The funds are available to serve children in grades K-12. Grant activities are to impact these children and their families in one of two ways: increase the number of children served in afterschool programs, or improve the quality of program services.

–> Applications will be accepted by May 1st, 2017.  The grant period for afterschool care grants is from July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2018.

New this year, each grantee will work with a Vermont Afterschool coach throughout the grant period. As follow up to grant, each grantee must submit a summary of how coaching supported grant outcomes. Also, at least one afterschool professional from the grantee’s program is expected to attend the 2017 Vermont Afterschool Conference.

A technical assistance webinar is scheduled for April 12, 2017 at 10:00 a.m. This webinar is open to all prospective grantees and join here: https://zoom.us/j/6644193317. You can also email Tricia Pawlik-York to register or if you have further questions: triciapawlikyork@vermontafterschool.org.

Grant applications and further information can be found on our website here:

CDD Afterschool Care Grants

Meet Our New SEL Coordinator Sara Forward and Workforce Coach Tricia Pawlik-York

Posted on February 7th, 2017 in: Blog

We are very excited to welcome Sara Forward and Tricia Pawlik-York to our team! Our little office is growing and it’s wonderful to have two new hires who will be dedicated to improving program quality.

Sara joined us in January as our new Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Project Coordinator. Sara will be working on expanding our support for afterschool teams around social emotional learning. Sara will lead the initiative to help afterschool programs implement the PATHS® curriculum starting in grades K-3, build connections with school day staff and classroom teachers in the selected sites, and support family engagement and connections around social emotional learning. Sara is a licensed social worker and has worked as a mental health consultant to public school teams and preschool programs in Vermont.  Her previous work experience includes classroom teacher, school social worker, afterschool program director, children’s mental health clinician, and mom. She has a professional interest in developmental psychology, trauma-informed programming, behavior analysis and intervention, and in outdoor and nature-based curriculum.

Tricia, a long time trainer and mentor for Vermont Afterschool, has stepped forward in a new position as the Workforce and Program Improvement Coach. We’re excited to see Tricia lead in this role; as well as explore how our organization can change and grow with the times in order to best support afterschool staff in the important, rewarding, and yet sometimes difficult, work that they do in serving Vermont’s children, youth, and families. She has over 25 years of experience directing school age programs and developing youth programs. She was the director of Youth and Family Programs at the Greater Burlington YMCA, and also the Youth Director at the Clubhouse camp where she managed after school, vacation, school age enrichment and summer programs. Tricia is also a leader on the state level, serving on the STARS (Step Ahead Recognition System) oversight board as an afterschool representative, and was instrumental in developing Vermont’s afterschool core competencies for professionals.

If you would like to reach Sara or Tricia or just simply say hello–you can reach them at our office (802-448-3464). Welcome aboard Sara and Tricia!


New VT Data Highlights Learning Gains in Afterschool STEM Programs

Posted on January 10th, 2017 in: Blog

Vermont Afterschool is partnering with the PEAR Institute: Partnerships in Education & Resilience (PEAR), an organization that creates and fosters evidence-based innovations such as the Common Instrument which is used to assess child and adolescent interest and engagement in science. We worked with the PEAR team to develop versions for the Common Instrument to be used by Vermont students in grades K-9 that attend STEM-related afterschool and summer learning programming.

Last spring, 13 programs throughout the state that provided tinkering programs had their students complete the Common Instrument. A total of 199 students in grades K-9 completed the instrument, which measured their self-report gains in science interest, critical thinking and perseverance over the course of attending their programs.

The team at PEAR analyzed the results and provided Vermont Afterschool with useful charts and graphs. PEAR found that overall, Vermont students reported significant gains in each of the three sub-scales (science interest, critical thinking, and perseverance). pear-tinkering-overall-results

Compared with the rest of the nation, PEAR found that Vermont students reported significantly higher ratings of science interest. In particular, Vermont students in grades 6-9 reported significantly higher gains in science interest compared with the national sample.

To view our interactive data dashboard with more results from the spring 2016 tinkering programs, visit: http://www.vermontafterschool.org/stem/data. The dashboard will be updated as we receive data from more programs that have their students complete the tool.

–> If you are interested in learning more about the Common Instrument, be sure to join a FREE webinar that we will be co-hosting with the PEAR team on Wednesday, January 11 at 11:30 a.m. To join, click on http://mclean.adobeconnect.com/ci when the webinar begins and enter the participant code 71089974. Phone number for audio is 1-646-560-7802.

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