Spring Conference Award Winners

Many thanks to those who were in attendance for our 37th Annual Spring Virtual Conference Celebration! It was a HUGE SUCCESS!! 


Rich Scofield Award Winner

Latasha Battie, YWCA of Metropolitan Chicago

IAN Jill Bradley Best Practice Award Winner

Carole Robertson Center for Learning, Chicago, Illinois

Deb Nelson Board Leadership Award Winner

Nichole Miller, Board Chair

Happy AfterSchool Professionals Appreciation Week! April 24 – 28, 2023 #heartofafterschool

Again, THANK YOU for your continued support of our work in the field of after school and youth development here in Illinois.

Registration is Open for the IAN 37th Annual Spring Conference

Register today for the IAN 37th Annual Spring Virtual Conference on March 29 – 31, 2023.

Your registration grants you access to the full three days of live conference sessions, the On-Demand Video Library, Resource Hall, Award Experience, and a unique event profile where you can interact with other attendees. Click the link below to create your profile, check out, and enter the virtual conference website.After School ROCKS in Illinois!

Register by following this link https://www.ian37thspringconference.org/

Dignity of Children’s Youth Social Entrepreneurship Program

Good day to all!

Introducing Dignity of Children’s Youth Social Entrepreneurship Program in partnership with the Illinois Afterschool Network!

Illinois after school providers will have the opportunity to facilitate the Dignity of Children’s Social Entrepreneurship Project Based Learning (PBL) Curriculum to their youth (12-18 years old). The objective is to prepare them to showcase their business ideas at the IAN Annual Spring Virtual Conference in March 2023 and go on to participate in Dignity of Children’s Entrepreneurship Competition (high school students) or at iDEAS® Empowered by Youth Symposium (middle school youth).

The Social Entrepreneurship PBL Curriculum is designed to empower young people to solve important world issues such as:

·        Poverty, injustice, health crisis, and climate change
·        Guiding youth to find local solutions to global issues
·        Youth will do deeper learning in topics that matter to them
·        Youth will have the opportunity to present to experts and business professionals to get validated for their ideas.
Illinois after-school providers who are interested in facilitating the curriculum will receive the following support:

·    Access to Dignity of Children’s self-guided Social Entrepreneurship PBL Curriculum.
·    Facilitator’s guide to assist in direction on how to best facilitate and implement the curriculum.
·    Curriculum fundamentals asynchronous training to support in the facilitation of the curriculum.
·    Virtual 45-minute session, Tuesday, January 20, 2023 which will cover how to navigate the portal and implement the self-guided curriculum to youth.

To gain access to Dignity of Children’s Social Entrepreneurship PBL Curriculum please register here.
Only high school students who participated in the IAN Annual Spring Virtual Conference Showcase will have the opportunity to join teams from all over the country at the Dignity of Children’s Entrepreneurship Competition.

If Illinois after-school providers believe this is a great opportunity for their youth but cannot facilitate the curriculum, Dignity of Children is giving Illinois youth the chance to join the program individually. Youth will need to sign up here by December 23rd.

Photo from iDEAS® Empowered by Youth Symposium

GIVING TUESDAY, Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Give all Illinois After School professionals the resources they need to impact future generations by providing them with QUALITY professional learning sessions.

Make Donation Here: https://www.paypal.com/donate/?hosted_button_id=7CTTYBX4L3FAS
Here are a few testimonies from providers and trainer:
“Since I first became familiar with IAN around 6 years ago, I have sought to attend every session held pertaining to any of my job duties and responsibilities. Executive Director Curtis Peace and his team do an excellent job at finding high quality, engaging presenters who cover up to the minute issues facing afterschool professionals.” 
– Robert McIntyre, Program Director, Spring Forward Program, Rock Island, Illinois
“Being a single mom and educator, the IAN training offerings are great! Not only did it catch my eye offering the Saturday Parent Café sessions…. I am thankful I opened the email, clicked the link, and attended my first Parent Café in which training sessions followed. Curtis Peace is awesome.”
-Ms. Tamara L Red, Family Child Care Owner, Decatur, Illinois

 “By facilitating Family Child Care workshops, they learn how to navigate the complexities of running a business, how to manage an unexpected full-time remote teacher for students during COVID, and how to create policies and procedures for supporting children, families, and protecting their business.” 
– Penny Williams Wolford, IAN Trainer, Chicago Illinois
– Ms. Tamara L Red, Family Child Care Owner, Decatur, Illinois.

Winter Professional Learning Sessions

Our Winter Professional Learning Sessions are now listed and open for registration! Many thanks to providers for your feedback with sessions they would like to see offered as they range from a series on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion to Parent Engagement and back by popular demand, the Youth Mental Health First Responder Series. The winter sessions will begin in December through the month of February as we prepare for the 37th Annual Spring Virtual Conference, scheduled March 29-31, 2023.  

Again, our continued THANKS to the IDHS, Division of Early Learning for a generous increase in our funding!   

Register today by checking out the schedule here.

2022 Fall Professional Development

Good day to all! 

Our 2022 Fall Professional Development offerings are now listed and open for registration!  Many thanks to providers for your honest feedback and input with ways for us to enhance our distance learning sessions. As requested, we have pushed back our schedule because you have asked us to allow you more transitional time from summer programming into the new school year. Next, we continue to offer distance learning sessions that you have requested, most recently those related to mass tragedies, emergency preparedness and youth mental health.  Last, as a friendly reminder, our  distance learning sessions are planned in seasons so that if there are topics that emerge from our training evaluations, we are able to swiftly coordinate future sessions with our deep bench of seasoned trainers. 

Special thanks to IDHS, Division of Early Learning for a generous increase in our funding!  This quarter, all sessions will be offered to providers FREE of charge! 

Register today by checking out the schedule here.

IAN Spring Virtual Conference – Mar 29-31, 2023

Save the dates!  March 29 – 31, 2023 for the exciting jam-packed IAN Spring Virtual Conference! 

Due to the uncertainty of the pandemic and the success of the 2022 virtual conference, after careful thought and consideration, the IAN board has decided to hold the 2023 IAN Spring Conference virtually.  As optimistic as we are for the Covid numbers decreasing here in Illinois, we looked at our commitment to safety, affordability and access for providers across the entire state, the decision was made in this way.

Given the successful feedback and support from the afterschool field we are confident in delivering another engaging and impactful conference in the remote setting.

We hope you save the dates now and make plans to attend!  More information to come in the coming months.

Congratulations to our 2022 Spring Conference Award Winners!

Congratulations to our 2022 Illinois After School Network Spring Conference Award Winners. They are all very deserving, and it has been our honor to recognize them all for their great work this year.

Rich Scofield Award Winner:
Dr. Lolita Cleveland, Youth Guidance

IAN Jill Bradley Best Practice Award Winner:
By the Hand Club for Kids – Moving Everest, Chicago, Illinois

Deb Nelson Board Leadership Award Winner:
Deborah Rogers-Jaye, IAN Membership/Marketing Committee

Top 5 Tips for Developing Positive Relationships with Parents

It’s easy to look at our AfterSchool programs as being for youth, but our relationships with families are just as important as our relationships with youth. While every provider-parent relationship is unique, there are some general rules that – when followed, drive stronger & healthier relationships with families.

Check out the top 5 tips from our pals at Edutopia!

1. Smile When You See Parents

Believe it or not, parents are just as intimidated to meet you as you are to meet them. A genuine smile breaks the tension between both parties and helps ease the conversation toward where it needs to go.

2. Learn Their Names

By demonstrating that you know their names, you’re really demonstrating your dedication to a personalized learning experience. It may not be immediately reciprocated, but it still builds a positive connotation in that parent / guardian’s mind.

3. Declare Your Intention

When parents look at their relationship with staff as a partnership, they’ll be more willing to work with you on key issues. They’re also less likely to push back on your feedback, which gives all parties room to grow.

4. Communicate Often, and in Different Ways

There are many channels that you can use to keep a flow of open communication with families. Even if your program doesn’t offer it, having an email list of parents and guardians will allow you more flexibility and access to reach out when you need to. 

5. Make a Positive Call Home

Sending children off to school can be overwhelming for some families, and having positive reasons to speak with teachers and staff are something that most parents don’t expect. Solidify your relationship by demonstrating that you’re rooting for the student.

Feeling inspired? You can find more ways to connect to families at Edutopia.com

Good Communication Helps To Make a Good Team

Having a dependable team is important to success. As a team leader, you have to be able to rely on your team members to know their role, and to communicate any potential challenges. But good communication practices come from the top, and your team is likely looking to you for cues. 

Being able to communicate effectively is key to having a successful team, but knowing how to communicate with other team members can be a hurdle for many team leaders. Often, it’s not what you say, but the way you say it that is that most important.  Everyone communicates differently.  Knowing your style and tendencies is a first step to good communication – and knowing more about your team’s communication style helps to make communication more effective.

In Gretchen Rubin’s book, The Four Tendencies, she asks the simple question – ‘How do I respond to expectations?’. By knowing how you respond to outer and inner expectations you gain insight into yourself. When you know how others respond to expectations, you can understand them better and how to communicate with them more effectively. 

“People fit into Four Tendencies: Upholders, Questioners, Obligers, and Rebels. Our Tendency shapes every aspect of our behavior, so understanding this framework lets us make better decisions, meet deadlines, suffer less stress and burnout, and engage more effectively.”

-Gretchen Rubin
Author – “The Four Tendencies”

Curious as to which tendencies you gravitate toward most? Take the quiz on the author’s site to learn more about your own communication style!