Stop, Collaborate, and Learn: Staff Attend Multi-State Conference

Educators, partners, and leadership from the 21st Century Community Learning Center programs in Kentucky, Tennessee, Indiana, and West Virginia gathered this October for the 2023 21st Century Multi-State Conference. The conference embraced the theme All Hands On Deck…Anchoring Students for Success as participants spent three days on the Ohio River at the Galt House, learning, sharing, advocating, and collaborating. 
Covington Partners played multiple roles, sending thirteen staff (program coordinators and teachers) to attend the conference, as well as having one of Covington’s program coordinators lead a breakout session on student retention and quality program design. 

The first in-person conference since 2019, the conference offered a wide range of sessions, providing training and support on relevant topics in out-of-school time—social and emotional learning, using student data to drive programming, college and career readiness programming, supporting program staff, etc.

Holly Simkonis has been working as the program coordinator at Holmes High School for less than six months. As a new coordinator, she was especially energized around a session which provided ideas that could immediately be implemented to foster relationships and increase student retention. Simkonis stated that the conference offered many great opportunities for small group interaction. 

“These interactions led to fantastic relationship building ideas that I am able to implement into my program to create a community feel. All of these ideas allow students to be recognized and celebrated for their improvements and gains! It was a wonderful opportunity to see how other coordinators prepare for and implement their programs and come away with innovative processes moving forward,” Simkonis said.

Almost as important as the learning associated with programming, the conference also enabled coordinators and teachers to socialize with each other once the sessions had concluded each day. Daily debriefs allowed a time to share and find strength in each other.

Tara Chesnut, starting her third year as CLC coordinator at Latonia Elementary School, stated, “It was nice to spend time with my co-workers in an environment other than the workplace. It gave me time to get to know everyone better and talk in an informal setting about what we do every day.” 

Whether a first-year coordinator or a staff member who has been involved in programming for several years, the conference provided a time to collaborate, learn, and energize around out-of-school time.

Category: Education
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