Think Together’s Helen Welderufael is Named a 2021 “Next Generation of Afterschool Leaders”

Think Together, a Santa Ana-based and California’s leading nonprofit provider of afterschool, expanded learning and school improvement programs, is proud to announce the National AfterSchool Association (NAA), has named Think Together Regional Operations Analyst Helen Welderufael, as one of NAA’s 2021 Next Generation of Afterschool Leaders.

Welderufael joined Think Together in 2018 as the Regional Operations Analyst for the San Bernardino Region. In her role, she oversees the compliance, evaluation, data collection and training for one of Think Together’s largest regions which includes 91 schools across seven school districts.

“We’re so proud of Helen and all she has already accomplished during her very promising tenure at Think Together,” said Randy Barth, Think Together founder and CEO. “Her strong organizational skills, reliability and drive have earned her the respect of her peers and leaders alike and we’re thrilled to have her represent our organization among our industry’s top leaders.”…Read More

Learning through gaming

When students are so deeply engaged in a task that they can’t wait to dive in — and at the same time, they’re learning fundamental skills that are critical for their success — it’s a magical combination.

That’s what a lucky group of 20 students at Horace Mann UCLA Community School are about to experience as they take part in an innovative afterschool program. The students will practice and reflect on 21st century skills such as problem solving, communication, and teamwork as they compete against each other in the popular online video game League of Legends.

A partnership between UCLA and the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), Mann is a public school serving students in grades 6-12. As director of the UCLA Community Schools Initiative, Dr. Christine Shen serves as a liaison between the school and the university. Her typical day consists of interacting with others and solving problems, and so she knows firsthand the value of these skills.…Read More

New Science Kit Series for Educators

Carolina Biological introduced a new Next Generation Science Standards® (NGSS)-aligned science kit series for educators of elementary students in both formal and informal education settings. Carolina launched Phenomenal Explorations™ kits for grades 3 to 5, which each explore an interesting focus question about a phenomenon that can be completed in two weeks or less. Carolina’s new three-dimensional science kit series turns students into inquiring scientists during short investigations that easily fit into the busy elementary school day or informal settings, such as science clubs, afterschool sessions, or summer camps. The lessons are designed to complement any core science curriculum that teachers are using with concise, high-interest topics to help them explain the most difficult concepts that are challenging to present in an interesting way to students. Each lesson is broken into four student-driven investigations.

Available now, Phenomenal Explorations kit topics cover life science, Earth science, physical science and engineering. Designed for flexibility, educators can use the kits in many ways, such as for a two-week change of pace, after testing, before vacations or afterschool programs, museum programs, kids groups, or even camps to build their students’ hands-on experience, engagement, and excitement. The kit topics include: Why Can a Sloth’s Fur Be a Habitat?; How Can We Keep Pets Cool During Hot Weather?; What Can Fossils Tell Us About Past Environments?; How Do Airplanes Fly?; and How Does Matter Change When an Object Dries? These new kits provide supplemental science resources with hands-on materials and digital components that support teachers who need to fit science lessons into smaller 30-minute time slots and create high-interest engagement for their students. By giving students direct experience with phenomena, the kits help them learn about and make sense of the real world.

The kits support teachers as they teach science to strengthen NGSS three-dimensional connections. Each one emphasizes science and engineering skills within flexible 3D activities. They explore bite-sized topics using a combination of hands-on, print, and digital resources. The investigations challenge students to solve real-world problems and use claims, evidence, and reasoning to support their own explanations of phenomena.…Read More

After-school activities make educational inequality even worse

It’s not just what happens inside the classroom that determines a child’s status as an adult, The Atlantic reports.  Accomplishments outside the classroom can be just as influential.  Yes, a basic public education is in principle free to all (though of course quality correlates with property values).  But activities outside of school are not free, so they largely benefit already advantaged kids. While we talk a lot about inequalities between the rich and the poor, and the role school quality plays in perpetuating class divisions, one often overlooked factor is the opportunities middle- and upper-middle-class kids get to strengthen their life skills through organized competitive activities outside of the school system…

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