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Afterschool Professional Learning Strands

ISSAP_Nov8Vermont Afterschool provides training and technical assistance to afterschool programs via the Afterschool Professional Learning Strands (APLS). This intensive professional learning community brings afterschool leaders together around specific topics or “strands” for a focused experience. Each APLS is facilitated by an instructor with expertise in the area, and all strands incorporate both group experiences with individualized coaching that takes place between the instructor and afterschool participant. APLS require participants to engage in the material and group learning process by attending all sessions. Each strand expects participants to invest in program quality through a change in personal practice, policy, or completing a program pilot.


8:00-8:30 a.m. | Breakfast
8:30-9:00 a.m. | Morning Welcome
9:00-1:00 p.m. | Afterschool Professional Learning Strands
1:00-2:00 p.m. | Lunch (provided)
2:00-3:30 p.m. | Full Group: State Announcements & Quality Improvement


  • Workshop 1: September 22, 2017 (all strands)
  • Workshop 2: February 9, 2018 (program quality strand only)
  • Workshop 3: March 30, 2018 (all strands)
  • Workshop 4: May 11, 2018 (program quality strand only)


All workshops will be held at the Lake Morey Resort in Fairlee, Vermont. Each strand will meet during the workshop dates above as well as receive individual coaching support, access to online modules, and other teaching techniques according to each unique strand.

2017-2018 STRANDS:

1. Social Emotional Learning (FULL)
Instructor: Sara Forward, Vermont Afterschool

This strand focuses on helping afterschool staff to build and support social emotional learning competencies in children and youth. Activities involve:

  • Helping program staff build a community of support onsite around social-emotional learning (e.g., school day teachers, guidance counselor, principal, parents/care givers, etc.)
  • Developing tools, strategies, and visuals for staff to use in working with children and youth
  • Helping programs work with SEL curriculum being used by their school
  • Developing individual action plans with staff to help them improve their own practices in working with the children and youth in their programs
  • Meeting regularly with program staff onsite during “office hours” (Office hours are designated time when the coach will be on site in the program and staff can sign up for individual consultations with the coach to work on their action plan, implementation strategies, and individual program practices.)
  • Supporting each site in hosting 1-2 family engagement nights around social emotional learning; options include: a family fun night where students show off the SEL tools and strategies that they’ve learned; a family movie night featuring a film (or TV shows) that touch on SEL competencies with suggestions for discussions care givers can have with children after watching the movie or shows; parenting workshop around SEL led by the coach; etc.

2. STEM Pathways (FULL)
Instructor: Tracy Truzansky, Vermont Afterschool

This strand focuses on support to middle school and high school students in STEM career exploration. Participants in this strand will implement either a) MedTrek – a health science careers mentoring project for middle school youth or b) STEM Opportunities – a work-based learning program where high school students are trained to deliver engineering units to elementary afterschool programs while making connections to broader STEM careers.

  • This strand will be twice at Lake Morey and then receive individual coaching and instruction over the course of the fall and spring at program sites.

3. Program Quality
Instructor: Suzanne Birdsall-Stone, Independent Consultant

This strand will focus on strengthening program content for 10-15 afterschool directors and will include a strong emphasis on peer networking and sharing. Strand components include:

  • Hold four training sessions with participants and provide individualized coaching in between sessions.
  • The coach and strand participants will work together to determine specific strand content; options may include summer planning, literacy/effective tutoring programs, program design, sustainability, partnerships, evaluation, or other related topics depending on participant need and interest.
  • Peer coaching circles will be used throughout the strand to give directors time to share concerns and provide feedback and support to one another.
  • Each participant will receive up to 20 hours of instruction and coaching.

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