Right At School Blog

AASA NCE 2022: Partnering and Innovating to Support Students

Educators, administrators and service providers from around the country gathered in Nashville, Tennessee in February for AASA’s National Conference on Education. The theme of this year’s conference was “Leading for Student-Centered and Equity-Focused Education,” and many of the conversations on these themes involved the need for greater collaboration in order to support schools, students, and families.

The Right At School team was ever-present at this year’s show, connecting with our district partners, sharing thought leadership, and contributing to the strategic conversations.

Our own Dr. Dawn Bridges led a panel discussion entitled “Building the Ecosystem of Before, During, and After School: The Future of Learning.” Joining her were Dr. Gustavo Balderas (Superintendent, Edmonds School District, Washington), Paul Otten (Superintendent, Beavercreek School District, Ohio), Dr. Trisha Kocanda (Superintendent, Winnetka Public Schools IL), Dr. Don Austin (Superintendent Palo Alto Unified School District) and Dr. Tammy Campbell (CEO, The Scholar First). The group discussed some of the current challenges districts are facing, from learning recovery, to staffing issues, as well as the importance of providing equitable access to before and after school enrichment.

As students recover from lost learning time, schools are re-evaluating what they expect and need from before and after school care programs.   

“One of the variables now that we know our students need is time,” said Dr. Tammy Campbell. “And so if we can align that extension of time and learning, we’re actually going to be able to do some accelerations. What I appreciated about Right At School was the willingness to want to train and learn what it was we were doing in the classroom, so that it would be seamless for our students outside of the classroom. That sort of glide path right into the learning environment you don’t naturally associate that with before and after care.” She described the Right At School approach as “before and after relationships, community, and learning.” 

Touching on those same ideas of relationships and community, Dr. Don Austin explained that one of the largest needs for students returning to school this year has been re-learning to socialize and build relationships. “Kids forgot how to talk to each other and play. [There were] discipline issues where they didn’t exist in the past, and some of that was just forgetting how to interact. I think that the before and after school programs are so essential to that.” 

Dr. Gustavo Balderas emphasized the importance of high-quality enrichment as it related to the “community schools” concept, stating “that’s what we’re going to be heading towards in terms of more wraparound services for kids for extended time before school [and] after school, and having schools really be the hub for the communities they serve.”

You can watch the full recording of the panel over on our AASA NCE landing page.

Right At School’s ability to collaborate and partner with schools and districts contributed to our organization becoming the official after-school care provider of the School Superintendents Association. If you’d like to learn more about how we can partner with your school or district, you can get started here.

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