alphabest education

AlphaBEST in the News: Shawnta Jones Joins a Panel Discussion at the Center for American Progress

Our very own Shawnta Jones was invited to join Senator Hillary Clinton and other political leaders yesterday for a roundtable discussion in Washington, D.C.  In June, Shawnta was invited to the 2014 White House Summit on Working Families to discuss 21st century workplaces for today’s working families, alongside President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.

AlphaBEST at Center for American Progress for Progress for Women

As a group, they discussed the challenge many women face of making ends meet and caring for their families. More and more women are now breadwinners, with nearly 6 out of 10 women as the primary, sole or co-provider for their family. Shawnta, who is currently an AlphaBEST site manager in Charles County, MD, had the opportunity to share how she was able to provide for her family, go to college and be a great role model for her children thanks to AlphaBEST Education Early Childhood Program and government subsidies. Just as important, her three children have significantly benefited from their start at AlphaBEST and are flourishing as honor roll students!

We are extremely proud that Shawnta was able to share her story on a public platform, and helped shed light on an issue that many women face today. It also emphasizes the impact we all make in the lives of the families in our programs.

AlphaBEST selfie with Hillary Clinton at the Center for American Progress

You can view the discussion below. Fast-forward to 34:00 to hear Shawnta’s story. FYI: She’s sitting beside Senator Clinton!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gJkjt9CSX-I?rel=0]

 

Image sources: www.twitter.com

 

AlphaBEST in the News: White House Summit on Working Families + CGI America 2014

2014 White House Summit on Working Families

AlphaBEST Shawnta Jones at the 2014 White House Summit on Working Families

Over a thousand government leaders, advocates, employers and more gathered for the 2014 White House Summit on Working Families on June 23 to focus on creating 21st century workplaces for today’s working families. Along with First Lady Michelle Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, President Barack Obama delivered remarks during the summit, highlighting “paid leave” and “improved child care” as solutions to supporting working families.

To further demonstrate the importance of workplace flexibility, representatives of working families were invited to discuss how innovative and supportive workplaces have impacted their lives. Shawnta Jones from AlphaBEST Child Care Center in Port Tobacco, MD, was invited to introduce the Caregiving breakout panel during the summit. Shawnta, whose son has been attending AlphaBEST Child Care Center since he was eight weeks old, discussed how AlphaBEST has helped her manage work and life by providing a safe, healthy learning environment for her family while allowing her to pursue higher education and contribute to her family’s self sufficiency.

Watch the video below to hear Shawnta’s story (start at 1:20):
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8sHGr5KHW5o?rel=0]

Clinton Global Initiative 2014

Hillary Clinton at the 2014 Clinton Global Initiative Our Executive Vice President Judy Nee was invited to participate in the Clinton Global Initiative on June 23-25 as a part of the STEM in Education workgroup. This year, CGI America focused on finding solutions that promote economic recovery in the United States. Within the STEM in Ed. workgroup, Judy also participated in a discussion about STEM in after school/out of school time, which included leaders from the philanthropic, research and programmatic communities.  As a group, they discussed a vision for STEM in after school and formulated a plan to engage all stakeholders in raising students’ awareness of and exposure to STEM-related careers and activities.

AlphaBEST Education Judy Nee on Clinton Global Initiative 2014

To learn more about the mission behind CGI America, check out: 5 Ways CGI America Commitments Are Turning Ideas Into Action [INFOGRAPHIC].

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Feature: She’s all business about after-school education

Our Executive VP and General Manager Judy Nee was recently featured in the business section of The Palm Beach Post to share her experience as one of the top professionals in the afterschool field. This article was originally published at http://www.mypalmbeachpost.com.

She’s all business about after-school education

AlphaBEST executive vice president Judy Nee was recently featured in the Palm Beach Post business section

Judy Nee is the vice president and general manager for education company AlphaBEST Education. The company provides after-school programs for school districts around the country.

She was recently recognized by the National After School Association as one of the Top 25 People in After School.

AlphaBEST operates after-school programs at three Palm Beach County middle schools: Conniston, Osceola Creek and Lake Shore. Those programs are funded with a grant from the Florida Department of Education. The programs are a partnership with the Palm Beach County School District’s Safe Schools Department.

Nee is based in Palm Beach County, and the firm’s corporate headquarters are in North Carolina.

Name: Judy Nee

Age: 52

Hometown: Ledyard, Conn.

Town you call home now: Palm Beach Gardens (22 years!)

Family: Husband Joe is a teacher; daughter Megan, 11.

About your company: AlphaBEST Education has $17 million in revenue, serving 8,000 students in 150 schools in 10 states. We have 900 employees. AlphaBEST provides an after-school educational program that expands and enriches student experiences through a unique modular curriculum and teaching approaches that can be a catalyst for student and school improvement.

First paying job and what you learned from it: New accounts clerk at a local bank. I learned about the importance of relationships in business and how to treat customers to earn their loyalty.

First break in business: As the first director of the Palm Beach County After School Consortium, I was charged with learning everything I could about the after-school field nationally, and bringing it back to Palm Beach County. In this role, I established a connection with leading individuals and organizations from around the country.

How did you make the transition from the nonprofit world? What was the takeaway? It was easier than I expected. I was concerned that the business focus would outweigh the educational – but that wasn’t the case. Just as in my experience in nonprofit work, I found that if you build the best programs available, the business – and funding – will follow. That’s been my experience at AlphaBEST Education. We’ve grown over 60 percent in the last three years.

Best business book you ever read: “Good to Great,” Jim Collins.

Best piece of business advice you ever received: “Not everyone thinks like you do – figure out how to share your vision.”

Many successful people learn from failure. Do you have a failure you can share and what you learned from it? When I first moved to Palm Beach County, I accepted a job that wasn’t the right fit for me – but I thought I could make it work. I couldn’t. Once I starting doing what I was really passionate about – my career began to grow and expand naturally.

What do you see ahead for Palm Beach County? Palm Beach County is one of the most desirable places in the country to live. If we can compete educationally – the future is bright. We need to continue to focus on innovation in our schools and stay current with student needs and interests.

Power lunch spot: Café Centro.

Where we’d find you when you’re not at the office: Traveling and spending time with my daughter.

Favorite smartphone app: My Fitness Pal

What is the most important trait you look for when hiring? Strong relational skills and a willingness to learn.

 

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The NAA Top 25 Most Influential People in Afterschool

We would like to congratulate our Executive Vice President and General Manager, Judy Nee, for being honored as one of the top 25 most influential people in afterschool! With more than 20 years of experience in afterschool care and extended learning programs, the National AfterSchool Association (NAA) selected Nee for her positive attention and investment to the afterschool field. Judy Nee of AlphaBEST Education named among top 25 most influential people in afterschool Since joining AlphaBEST Education in 2011, Nee has helped expand afterschool programming to more than 8,000 students in nine different states. Outside of the office, she acts as Chair of the Coalition for Science After School, consultant to the Noyce Foundation and Board Member of the Florida Afterschool Network and the National AfterSchool Association. Nee’s strong leadership and relentless advocacy have played an invaluable role in AlphaBEST’s continued growth and success, and we are truly privileged to have her as part of our team! Judy Nee was recognized in a special edition of AfterSchool Today, alonside the other NAA honorees. Below is a full list of those who were honored:

  • MATTHEW BOULAY | Founder, Chairman of the Board of Directors, National Summer Learning
    Association
  • JIM CLARK | President and CEO, Boys & Girls Clubs of America
  • JESSICA DONNER | Director, Every Hour Counts
  • TERRI FERINDE DUNHAM |Partner, Collaborative Communications / Lead, National Network of Statewide Afterschool NetworkNAA top 25 most influential people in afterschool
  • AYEOLA FORTUNE | Director, Education Team, United Way Worldwide
  • LUCY N. FRIEDMAN | Founding President, TASC (The After-School Corporation)
  • ELLEN S. GANNETT, M.ED. | Director, National Institute on Out-of-School Time (NIOST), Wellesley Centers for Women at Wellesley College
  • JODI GRANT | Executive Director, Afterschool Alliance
  • ROBERT HALPERN | Professor and Chair of Research Council, Erikson Institute
  • CLIFF JOHNSON | Executive Director, Institute for Youth, Education and Families, National League of Cities
  • SYLVIA LYLES, PhD | Director, Academic Improvement and Teacher Quality Programs, U.S. Department of Education
  • JIM MURPHY | Senior Manager, Child and Youth Development Program, Council on Accreditation
  • JUDY NEE | Executive Vice President and General Manager, AlphaBEST Education, Inc.
  • NEIL NICOLL | President and CEO, YMCA of the USA
  • GIL NOAM, Ed.D, PhD | Founder and Director, Program in Education, Afterschool and Resiliency, Harvard University
  • BEN PAUL | President and CEO, After-School All-Stars
  • TERRY PETERSON, PhD | Director, Afterschool and Community Learning Network
  • SAM PIHA | Founder and Principal, Director, Temescal Associates, Learning in Afterschool & Summer Project
  • KAREN J. PITTMAN | President and CEO, The Forum for Youth Investment
  • SHANNON RUDISILL | Director, Office of Child Care, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
  • CARLA SANGER, M.ED. | President and CEO, LA’s BEST After School Enrichment Program
  • JENNIFER SIRANGELO | President and CEO, National 4-H Council
  • CHARLES SMITH, PhD | Executive Director, David P. Weikart Center for Youth Program Quality
  • DEBORAH LOWE VANDELL | Founding Dean, School of Education, University of California Irvine
  • TOM WYATT | Chief Executive Officer, Knowledge Universe-United States

Image Source: http://blog.learninginafterschool.org

Five Ways to Incorporate Engineering in Afterschool

Engineering puts the “E” in STEM, an acronym used to describe the study of science, technology, engineering and math. STEM careers are rapidly growing, and engineering represents a majority of these STEM jobs.  (To learn more, read Computing and Engineering in Afterschool). In order to prepare our students for a STEM-driven economy, educators must provide activities that spark students’ interest in STEM. Afterschool is a great catalyst for students to explore engineering though hands-on, student-centered activities.

Five ways to incorporate engineering in afterschool

 

Here are five ways to incorporate engineering in afterschool:

  • Educate. Many students do not know much about engineering or what an engineer does. Once they discover engineering, students may develop an interest in the topic.  Check out this video by NASA to introduce students to engineering.
  • TryEngineering. This organization offers 114 lesson plans designed to get students interested in engineering. Lessons can be selected based on students’ age range and by an engineering topic, like robotics or motion and forces.
  • Use Lego Robotics to introduce students to engineering in afterschoolRobotics. Programs like LEGO Robotics pair computing and engineering to tap into students’ problem solving skills. At AlphaBEST, students build and program robots according to step-by-step instructions. With robotics, students explore the basics of engineering by focusing on what makes the robot work.
  • Mentor. Leverage community resources to put a face to engineering. Invite parents and other community members to further explain engineering and to discuss their careers with students. There are also programs, such as Engineering for Kids®, that will bring fun, hands-on engineering projects to your program.
  • Discover Engineering. This website provides hands-on activities, videos, games, field trip ideas and other resources to discover engineering in your afterschool program. Activities are tailored for educators, parents, volunteers and students, and many of their activities can be translated into other languages.

Educators should build a year-long commitment to spark students’ interest in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math.  Check out this Pinterest board for 50+ activities to incorporate STEM in afterschool.

Digital Learning in Afterschool

In recent years, digital technology has emerged as a fundamental tool in education, transforming the way students learn and gather information. It supports educators, improves learning and prepares students for future success. Sandy Holt, a 12-year technology teacher and Technology Arts Instructor at AlphaBEST Education, tells us why digital literacy is important for students today and how technology is used in afterschool.

Digital Learning Day: Digital Technology in Afterschool

How has technology transformed education?

AlphaBEST Technology Arts Instructor discusses digital learning(SH): Students are digital natives. They begin to manipulate digital devices at the age of two. By using technology in the classroom, we are turning their knowledge into learning by honing in on their fluency as digital learners. Digital technology is also hands-on, which enhances the curriculum and keeps students engaged.

How important is digital literacy for today’s students?

(SH): Digital learning fosters the four C’s of 21st century learning: collaboration, communication, critical thinking and creativity. As technology instructors, we want children to learn how to manipulate apps and programs, demonstrate how to operate those tools to create projects and communicate with others—in the classroom and globally. These skills are preparing students for college and future careers.

How does AlphaBEST use technology to advance learning?

Digital Learning in Afterschool

(SH): At AlphaBEST, we enhance learning with digital arts programs that encourage students to work collaboratively, as well as independently. When working with these programs, such as SAM Animation and LEGO Robotics, teachers are the facilitators and students become leaders. As they complete projects, students become digital creators and learn to solve problems and share solutions with their peers.

What do students enjoy most about using digital tools to learn?

(SH): Students enjoy seeing the final product after working through each step of a project. For example, when using SAM Animation, students narrate a storyboard, create figures to use as props and operate technology to develop the animated movie. Every student has a role, and they realize that their individual work collectively leads to the completion of the project. They are excited and beam with delight when it is time to share their creations with other students!

Digital Learning in Afterschool

Digital learning is a great way to foster 21st century skills in students. Join thousands of educators as they celebrate the innovative use of digital technology!

For more information about Digital Learning Day, visit digitallearningday.org.

To learn more about AlphaBEST Education, visit www.alphabest.org.