Partner Profile: National Afterschool Association

National Afterschool AssociationThe National AfterSchool Association (NAA) is a national membership organization for professionals who work with and on behalf of children and youth during out-of-school time (OST). With over 20,000 members across the country the NAA promotes development, provides education and encourages advocacy for the OST community to further the afterschool profession. NAA strives to connect with the afterschool community which consists of afterschool program directors, coordinators, sponsors, front-line staff, school leaders, principals, teachers, paraprofessionals, board of education members, non-profit leaders, advocates, community leaders, policymakers, researchers and more.

NAA has 34 state affiliates across the United States. These affiliates are statewide organizations aligned with NAA’s mission to inspire, connect and equip afterschool professionals. Their missions and strategies promote quality afterschool programs and professional development in their states.

NAA works to assure that high-quality learning experiences, both in and out of school is achieved for all children and youth. To further this goal they developed a set of Core Knowledge and Competencies to enable afterschool and youth development practitioners to demonstrate expertise and gain a higher level of recognition within their communities. These Core Knowledge and Competencies serve to establish agreements across programs and funding streams about what it takes to work with and on behalf of children and youth.

In addition, NAA has designed an Afterschool Tech Toolkit which aims to empower afterschool professionals and educators with strategies and training so they can provide students with powerful access to technology outside of classroom hours. This toolkit is for those who lead or oversee out-of-school time programming in various settings including schools, community-based organizations, private organizations, churches, libraries and homeless shelters.

NAA is currently working toward being the industry-recognized credentialing body for STEM facilitation skills and other afterschool or OST content areas.  MMSA has joined together with other leading STEM organizations, including PEAR (Partnerships in Education and Resilience) Institute from Harvard, NAA, and Click2SciencePD (C2S) as an advisory group to develop a national research-based OST STEM PD and credentialing system.  This system is expected to be available field wide in 2019.

To learn more about NAA or the wide range of tools and downloads available visit their website at naaweb.org.

During this pandemic educators have been forced to reinvent the way they reach kids and all of us here at MMSA have been working hard to shift our programming, professional learning opportunities, and research to overcome this incredibly difficult challenge for educators across Maine and the nation.  

Your support is a crucial component of our efforts to continually expand STEM education programs during these uncertain and challenging times.

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