Engage Every Student Midwest Summit

May 23, 2023

Nationwide, nearly 25 million students who want to participate in afterschool or summer learning opportunities are waiting for an available spot.
Engage Every Student Partners
L to R: Ashley Dawson (AASA), Sheronda Witter-Fleming (U.S. Department of Ed.), Brandis Stockman (National League of Cities), Aaron Dworkin (National Summer Learning Association), Jillian Luchner (Afterschool Alliance) Erik Peterson (Afterschool Alliance), Bryan Joffe (AASA), Christi Rokicki (National Summer Learning Association), Terry Peterson (Mott Foundation)
How do we sustain this [ARP funding] to make sure that every child has access to quality before, after and summer programming? Tony Sanders, Illinois State Superintendent

On May 18th, 60 educational and nonprofit leaders from the Midwest convened in Chicago, Illinois for an Engage Every Student Summit, hosted by AASA!

The Engage Every Student (EES) initiative, launched in July 2022 by U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, aims to ensure that every student who wishes to participate in a high-quality out-of-school time program has the opportunity to do so.

The full day of programming focused on strategies to leverage funding to expand access to high-quality afterschool and summer learning opportunities to meet the physical, social-emotional and academic needs of all kids. 

The summit kicked off with remarks from AASA Executive Director David Schuler and Illinois State Superintendent Tony Sanders.

The beauty and joy of the programs and work that you do allows children to accelerate their learning. When we think about the work, when we think about ensuring every student in our programs understands they’re loved, they’re cared for, and they feel a sense of belonging – at that point is when they can learn. David Schuler, AASA Executive Director

Attendees also learned from local “lighthouse” programs and services that are doing exemplary work in OST and summer learning:

L to R: Ashley Dawson (AASA), Nathan Beck (MOST), Sarah Resch (Camp Whitcomb), Susan Stanton (ACTNow), and Bryan Joffe (AASA)
  • Illinois ACTNow (Afterschool for Children and Teens): a diverse statewide network of more than 2,700 members from across Illinois, believing that an increased commitment to young people beyond the traditional school day is a crucial part of their growth into productive, healthy adults.

Susan Stanton, ACTNow Network Lead, shared a variety of resources, including their new Creating Afterschool Partnerships Toolkit that supports Illinois providers of afterschool and youth development programs in their efforts to collaborate with various stakeholders within their communities.

  • Madison-area OST (MOST): an initiative, guided by core values of racial equity and social justice, to ensure all of Madison's children and youth have access to comprehensive, high-quality, out-of-school time programs that support positive youth development, educational achievement, and readiness for college, career, and community.
  • Camp Whitcomb – Boys and Girls Club of Greater Milwaukee: Executive Director Sarah Resch shared research on the value of camp/outdoors for youth. She shared stories of the Camp’s success in improving confidence, life skills and learning outcomes.
For so long – for too long – summer programs were like this afterthought…if we can build afterschool and summer programs into our year-long strategy and take advantage of our partnerships, we can reach millions of kids and do what we said we would do, which is to literally engage every student. Aaron Dworkin, CEO, National Summer Learning Association (NSLA)
Dr. Terry Peterson speaking to EES Summit attendees

The summit concluded with reflections and a presentation from Dr. Terry Peterson, Senior Advisor to the Mott Foundation and former Special Counselor to the Secretary of Education, on leveraging the power of afterschool and summer opportunities and partnerships. 

“Most people think of OST as an afterthought or a frill. It’s not. Quality, well-designed, well-delivered programs make a difference.- Terry Peterson, Senior Advisor, Mott Foundation



    How you can get involved and take action with #EngageEveryStudent:

    Visit engageeverystudent.org to become an ally and make a pledge to work toward afterschool and summer learning for all.

    Subscribe to receive future EES updates!

    And DYK? Thanks to Afterschool Alliance and the National League of Cities, the Engage Every Student website has an interactive afterschool and summer learning investment map where you can search examples of states, school districts and local governments that have teamed with program providers to help kids thrive!