Expand Your Reach and Effectiveness with Expanding Minds and Opportunities
By Steve Fowler, Terry K. Peterson and Tia Quinn
Have you ever wished there were one source that could provide what you need to expand your reach, make the case, or improve your programming and partnerships?
Expanding Minds and Opportunities: Leveraging the Power of Afterschool and Summer Learning for Student Success is a powerful collection of nearly 70 articles that present bold and persuasive evidence demonstrating how afterschool and summer opportunities are yielding positive outcomes for authentic student, community, and family engagement in learning.
This groundbreaking compendium comprises studies, reports, and commentaries by more than 100 thought leaders including community leaders, elected officials, educators, researchers, advocates and other prominent authors. In addition, it offers examples and approaches to engage young people in expanding their learning and highlights opportunities that could be of particular interest to afterschool and summer learning staff and educators. Combined with involvement in local, state, and national networks, this excellent resource can help you advocate for and improve your program offerings.
Released in February 2013, this important book can be purchased at Amazon.com. Individual articles may be downloaded without cost at http://www.expandinglearning.org/expandingminds.
This comprehensive collection has been available less than six months and already, the afterschool and summer learning fields have found numerous uses for it in terms of advocacy, program enhancement and staff development. Below are some of the ways that you might use the publication in your program:
• Use the publication as a staff development tool. Assign an article to your staff and discuss at a staff lunch or during staff development time. Or assign different sections to individual staff and have them share relevant information during a longer staff-training day.
• Connect with the authors of articles. Invite those from your region to conferences and trainings. Have them present the findings from their articles.
• Use articles as a basis for your own blog post or commentary. Include local examples that demonstrate an article's theme and findings.
• Share copies of the publication with key decision makers, such as school superintendents and legislators. The printed compendium is impressive in its size and scale, and delivery of an actual book demonstrates that afterschool is a well-documented field.
• Download and share relevant articles with potential allies and supporters. For example, share the article from ACSD with your school curriculum specialists, or provide the article on nutrition and physical activity to staff at your local health department.
• Create a local article that builds off of concepts in the publication.
• Share a copy of the publication with the education reporter from your area newspaper or TV station. Deliver background information on your own program at the same time.
• Integrate promotion of Expanding Minds into your own social media outreach. Add a link to the publication on your program's website and Facebook page. Share a photo of staff discussing the publication. Or send out tweets when you read an article that you find particularly interesting or relevant.
• Sign up for updates on the Expanded Learning and Afterschool Project website at http://www.expandinglearning.org/sign_up.html.
In order to maintain and build financial and other support for afterschool and summer learning programs, decision makers want evidence that your program is making a difference and is constantly improving and learning from best practices. Use Expanding Minds and Opportunities, its authors, and the Expanded Learning and Afterschool Project as valuable tools for success and sustainability.
Steve Fowler is a consultant with FowlerHoffman LLC who has worked on afterschool since the 1990's. Terry K. Peterson, PhD, is Senior Education Fellow at the College of Charleston and National Board Chair of the Afterschool Alliance. Tia Quinn is the Founder & CEO of BOOST Collaborative and has been inspired by out-of-school time programs since 1992.