As an afterschool intermediary, CASE for Kids provides resources, trainings and funding for students in grades pre-k through 12 in afterschool programs in schools, child care facilities and community centers. Services benefit approximately 12,000 kids in greater Harris County. CASE for Kids programs happen before and after school, on weekends and during the summer. As a branch of Harris County Department of Education, the division was founded in 1999 with a goal to keep kids safe, help working families and improve academic achievement. For more information visit

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CASE for Kids is hosting the Out-of-School Spring Symposium on March 27th in the HCDE Conference Center from 8 a.m.-2 p.m.  It is a day of professional development for OST practitioners to connect with their peers and keep up with the latest in OST research and best practices. The symposium provides an opportunity to strengthen your communication skills; learn new ideas for programming; and build professional connections to support your work.

Selected afterschool professionals will share tools that can improve your out-of-school time program. One of these tools is stress management. Charmette Jones knows that the OST profession can be stressful, so she will present coping mechanisms that you can use so you can feel your best at work every day.

As a part of a healthy workplace and afterschool program, SEL practices will be covered. During her presentation “3 Ways to Spread Love in the Classroom,” J.J. Simon will describe how OST professionals can use small acts of kindness to encourage good student behavior.

Meanwhile, Kristen Miller will connect Erik Erickson’s stages of emotional development in “Incorporating Social Skills and Emotional Regulation in OST” to explain how to approach a child that is struggling with the emotions they face.

An engaging curriculum is another aspect of a great program. In the “Math, Math, Math” workshop, Victoria Lopez-Case and participants will explore numeracy learning materials that you can use during transition times in your program.

It’s easy for students to get sidetracked by social media, but Chasidy Celestine says in her presentation: “If You Can’t Beat Them, Join Them!” Instead of resisting the influence technology has on your students, learn how to incorporate it into your program!

For a program to succeed, effective communication is important. Join Jasmine Castleberry to learn more about how verbal and nonverbal communication can affect professional relationships between staff. Use each type of communication to enhance your interpersonal skills.

With the strategies shared by these OST professionals, you can help your afterschool program reach its potential.

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