Registration for the 2023 Summer Symposium is now open! Click here to go to the registration page.

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Elementary and Secondary Education (OESE) is pleased to announce the Nita M. Lowey 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) 2023 Summer Symposium. This event, hosted by OESE’s Office of School Support and Accountability, is scheduled to be held in New Orleans, LA on July 19-20, 2023. Registration will open in early May 2023.  Please check back soon and also look for our official announcement email.

The Summer Symposium features successful strategies that State educational agencies (SEAs) and their grantees can use to implement and manage all components of a 21st CCLC program. Attendees will hear from nationally recognized speakers during plenary sessions and work closely with education experts and peers during interactive workshops. SEAs and grantees will gain valuable perspectives on afterschool issues and receive important updates about the 21st CCLC program.  

This year’s theme is “Celebrating 21st CCLC Resilience: Yesterday, Today, and Beyond” and there are eight conference strands:

  • Changemakers: Youth Tell Their Stories
    This strand features students’ first-person accounts of a change they made, how and why they did it, who provided encouragement and support along the way, and why it makes them proud. Whether it’s a personal or academic goal, a group project, a community effort, or some other accomplishment, these individual and group stories will reinforce what you already know: The students who attend your program are creative, passionate, resilient, and just plain awesome! Please note that sessions submitted under this strand will require additional approvals and information (such as student release forms) if selected for inclusion in the Summer Symposium.

  • College and Career Ready: Fully Present and Future Focused
    Students who’ve fallen behind in school or faced other challenges may feel too overwhelmed or distracted to prepare and plan for postsecondary education, whether it’s college, technical education, or career. Maybe they’ve read headlines about student loan debt and assume they can’t afford college, or maybe no one in their family has attended college. They might not know about new career options and their requirements. In this strand, you’ll learn about ways to help students calm their minds, share their dreams, explore possibilities, and act now to put themselves on a good path. Get ideas and resources to help you connect students to the right people and programs. Help is available, whether it’s career counseling, academic support, financial aid, or some other need. Students and families may not know about these resources, so you can play an important "connector" role. You can also create learning experiences that develop key skills and habits of mind to help students achieve their dreams. The time to create the future is now.
  • Great Leaders Track: Recognizing and Cultivating Others’ Potential
    If you want to reduce staff turnover and develop a diverse workforce, recognizing and cultivating "local talent" is a valuable skill! This strand provides strategies for growing your own leaders and staff and helping them gain the knowledge and skills to succeed and progress in their careers. Hear other program leaders tell how they recruited, developed, trained, coached, and encouraged staff members, site coordinators, volunteers, and others to step up to the 21st CCLC plate and find their calling in the out-of-school time world. This strand will also include program management tips for you and your protégés.
  • Howdy, Partners: Families, Schools, and Communities Circle the Wagons for Students
    Families, schools, and communities are working together in new ways to support students as they recover academically, socially, and emotionally, from the pandemic’s effects across our society. Explore how formal and informal partnerships can help your program provide intensive tutoring, academic enrichment, and more one-on-one time between students and caring, responsible adults. Collective efforts can also increase families’ awareness of, and access to, local services that can help with everything from housing to food assistance to mental health services. The examples you hear in these sessions may inspire you and your program to go on a “partner roundup.”
  • Human-Centered and Personalized Learning Approaches
    All people have certain things in common as learners, like the need to be respected, appropriately challenged, and engaged in meaningful ways that spark interest and curiosity. And we all have physical, intellectual, social, and emotional needs. Yet each of us has unique experiences, perspectives, strengths, and needs. This strand shares ways to make sure each individual is seen, heard, understood, and nurtured — including students with learning difficulties and disabilities, English learners, migrant students, students in foster care, students experiencing homelessness, LGBTQ+ youth, students who’ve fallen behind academically, and students who’ve experienced loss or trauma. Get inspired as others share their stories and strategies for making sure every student gets the support they deserve.
  • Life Experience Counts: Voices From the Field
    You’ve learned a lot about life since 2020, and so have your staff and students! Sessions in this strand provide opportunities for you to share your new knowledge, skills, and understandings. How have your experiences changed you and the ways you interact with students, families, and schools? Has it changed your perspective on health and wellness? What have you learned from your successes — and your mistakes? What are you doing to help your students navigate and process their own life experiences — and take inventory of what they’ve learned? Life experience counts. You and your students are wiser and stronger than you think! Realizing that can give you the strength and courage to keep going.
  • Lighting the Flame: The Power of Interdisciplinary Connections
    Project-based learning is "the watering hole of the disciplines" in out-of-school time learning. It’s where math meets music, history meets storytelling, and school subjects in general meet students’ real-life interests. It’s also an efficient way to build skills, knowledge, and conceptual understanding in many areas at once for students who are playing academic "catch-up." In this strand, you’ll learn how projects and activities that connect the disciplines can light the flame of learning for students. Join us as presenters from 21st CCLC programs across the nation share creative ideas, experiences, tips, and lessons learned.
  • Positive Learning Environments: Physical, Social, and Emotional Considerations
    No doubt, your program already finds many ways to make students and families feel welcome, respected, and engaged, whether you’re interacting in a physical or virtual program environment. This strand helps you take your practice to the next level. You’ll learn about specific strategies to ensure physical and emotional safety and ways to enhance social interactions among and between students and staff. You’ll walk away with new ideas for improving relationships, trust, and communications; incorporating frequently overlooked elements like nature, movement, service learning, and choice; finding the right balance between routine and flexibility; and creating a place where everyone feels safe enough to take the risks that true learning requires.

The final agenda is in its final stages of development including details on the plenary session keynote speakers and the selection of breakout presentations.  In the meantime, please seet he tentative overview agenda that we have posted here. 

Please share the above information with your out-of-school time colleagues. Registration will open in early May 2023, in the meanwhile, if you have questions about the Summer Symposium please use the Contact Us page.