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N.D. Out-of-School-Time & Early Childhood Summit

N.D. Out-of-School-Time & Early Childhood Summit

Out-of-school-time & Early Childhood Summit

About The Event

The ND Afterschool Network is again joining efforts with Child Care Aware of North Dakota to host the ND Out-of-School Time & Early Childhood Summit July 29-30, 2024 in Fargo, ND!

The Summit will provide two days of in-person learning and connecting, with keynotes and breakout tracks for afterschool, summer learning, and early childhood providers working with youth from birth through age 18.

Questions? Contact kristin.knorr@k12.nd.us


Watch for registration and more details to come early 2024!


See below for 2023 Information:



August 1, 2023
8:00 – 8:30am Breakfast, Exhibitors & Registration
8:30 – 4:00pm Keynote, Lunch & Breakout Sessions
4:00 – 6:00pm Child Care Aware of ND Networking Social

August 2, 2023
8:00 – 8:30am Breakfast, Exhibitors & Registration
8:30 – 4:00pm Keynote, Lunch & Breakout Sessions


Day 1 – August 1, 2023

Jim Ott

Bridges Out of Poverty

Bridges Out of Poverty provides a lens for understanding the real-life experiences of the children and families that have the most to gain from the services we provide.  The keynote will give an overview of Bridges concepts that yields a frame to both better understand and react to the actions of others.

Jim served as a school psychologist for 33 years before moving into “semi-retirement” in which he continues to consult with schools and families, present ahaProcess workshops, and work in the community through churches and agencies addressing poverty.  Jim has been an aha!Process consultant since 2010 and recently collaborated on a book with Dr, Ruby Payne as a part of the Emotional Poverty series.  Navigating Emotional Realities with Adults focuses on adult relationships with co-workers as well as the people served by agencies and businesses.  Jim lives in Dubuque, IA with his wife of almost 40 years, Teresa.  Jim and Teresa have four adult children and four grandchildren.  


Day 2 – August 2, 2023

Raelene Ostberg

Finding Your Joy – Increase Your Joy Factor, Reduce Stress, and Experience the Genuine Happiness You Deserve!

Raelene will cover a topic relevant to all those working with children from birth through grade 12. Celebrate your unique gifts and the critical role you have in shaping our next generation. Gain methods to crush the obstacles causing you stress, increase your “joy factor”, and feel inspired in your critical work. Learn how to train your brain to stress less and enjoy more, no matter what your current situation. Discover practical methods to reduce stress both personally and professionally.

Raelene Ostberg is the Early Childhood Specialist Director with Thriving Together, LLC. Raelene brings boundless energy, extensive expertise in reducing stress, years of experience in early childhood classrooms, and wonderful real-life stories that show the strategies in action!

BREAKOUT SESSIONS Day 1 - August 1, 2023

Day 1 – August 1, 2023 

Breakout 1  –  10:00 – 11:15am (select 1 of 4 breakout sessions)

Mindful Self-Compassion Core Skills Melissa Michelle Dahl, Mindful Healing & Consulting, PLLC

Participants will learn to identify the three key components of self-compassion; Apply new techniques in small groups to increase self-compassion in everyday life; Learn how to apply self-compassion practices to respond to feelings of perceived faults; Assess and manage difficult situations and emotions with greater moment-to-moment acceptance. Learning is held in both a teaching and dyadic reference. Group expression, curiosity, and engagement encouraged.

Session for: All


Bridges Out of Poverty – The Importance of Relationships in Serving Children – Jim Ott, aha!Process

This breakout will focus on the issue of bonding and attachment in the work we do with children.  Recognizing behaviors and emotions as expressions of relationship building in the young brain can give us space to help regulate our own emotional reactions while also helping children to develop stronger relationship building skills themselves which will benefit them now and in the future.

Session for: All


Playground Safety – Sarah Myers, Child Care Aware of ND 

Participants will become aware of the playground safety data and the most prevalent facts regarding playground injuries, how children’s development can put them at more risk for injuries, common playground hazards, and how to use active supervision when children are playing.

Session for: Ages infant – 12


Intro to the Clover Model of Youth Development – Florence Dickerson, PEAR, Inc. (SESSION PRESENTED VIRTUALLY)

Understanding human development can transform the way we work with youth. The Clover Model synthesizes multiple theories, and provides a practical, usable framework for educators. Clover is a tool that helps us understand the needs of the youth we work with and develop strategies for helping them learn and grow. Participants will learn the framework and have opportunities to apply it to themselves and their students. This will be an interactive workshop space.

Session for: Grades K – 12

Lunch & Learn  –  11:15 – 12:15pm 

North Dakota Behavioral Health Support: Introducing B-HERO – Natalie Couture & Meghan Nordstog, B-HERO

Join this lunch & learn to hear about the Behavioral Health in Education: Resources and Opportunities (B-HERO) Technical Assistance Center, a collaboration between CREA and the NDHHS Behavioral Health Division to support behavioral health in school communities. This brief overview will introduce this work and available resources for any person who works with youth in North Dakota.

Session for: All 

Breakout 2  –  12:15 – 1:30pm (select 1 of 4 breakout sessions)

Bridges Out of Poverty – Language Development  – Jim Ott, aha!Process

The language environment in which we are raised not only determines our vocabulary and speaking style, but also impacts the way our brains develop and process information.  While language experience is not inherently a moral issue, it is true that some language experiences prepare kids’ brains better for school that others.  This breakout will focus on recognizing patterns of processing related to language development.  Useful not only for work with kids but also with parents.

Session for: All


Taming Those Terrific Toddlers: WHY DO THEY DO THAT (And what can you do about it!?) – Raelene Ostberg, Thriving Together

Explore the link between toddler’s challenging behaviors and toddler development. Delve deeper into what drives toddlers’ negative behaviors while you gain insight into their cognitive capabilities. Discover top tips to get them to follow your direction while you promote optimal growth and development. Problem-solve a common toddler challenge and gain insight into preventing negative behaviors.  Have fun and get inspired listening to entertaining, real-life stories that show the strategies in action.  View videos and connect with others as you evaluate when and how you might apply the strategies learned.

Session for: Infants/Toddlers


Marketplace for Kids: Introduction to Life!!! – Bob Heitkamp, Marketplace for Kids Inc.

Attendees will learn opportunities available through the Marketplace for Kids (MFK) Program, Regional Information, ages and who can attend Education Days, costs, how to navigate the MFK website, and other MFK programming.

Session for: Grades 5 – 12


Recognizing and Responding to Child Traumatic Stress – Heather Simonich, Concordia College

Join this session for a powerful and motivating discussion regarding child traumatic stress, the neurobiology of trauma, and practical strategies we all can utilize to promote resilience. Objectives include 1) defining traumatic events and child traumatic stress; 2) describing signs and impact of child traumatic stress; and 3) discussing trauma-sensitive strategies to foster resiliency.

Session for: All


Breakout 3  –  1:45 – 3:00pm (select 1 of 4 breakout sessions)

Bridges Out of Poverty – “Hidden Rules” and Working with Parents – Jim Ott, aha!Process

Hidden rules are those rules that everyone knows, but nobody talks about – that is, everyone knows if they know!  But if you don’t know, it can make you uncomfortable and if you break a hidden rule, you can suddenly find yourself feeling very judged.  This breakout will consider how hidden rules impact our interactions with parents and how better understanding the impact of hidden rules can improve our communication with the parents of the kids we serve.

Session for: All 


Working with Challenging Behaviors to Get the Behaviors You Want, and Stop Those You Don’t! – Raelene Ostberg, Thriving Together 

Identify positive guidance methods that will prevent challenging behaviors from occurring, encourage gleeful cooperation, and reduce dreaded power struggles. Collect several strategies to redirect challenging behavior in the moment. Utilize a positive behavior intervention support tool to effectively address the challenging behaviors you experience and tailor your response to the individual child’s stage. Brainstorm strategies with others to address difficult behaviors in children 3-12 years with others who provide care for that age group.

Session for: Infant – 5th grade


Now What? The Other Side of the ACEs Pyramid – Maegan Rides at the Door, UM National Native Children’s Trauma Center

A healing conceptual framework is needed to outline a path toward increased community wellbeing after learning about ACE study outcomes. This session is based upon a paper recently published to provide a holistic, Indigenous Wellness pyramid to guide pathways toward healing in Indigenous communities but has implications for non-Indigenous communities as well. Participants will learn about a public health community wide framework for mitigating ACEs. Participants will be able to situate their role and function as part of a larger systemic effort to heal ACEs. And participants will leave more hopeful about our capacity to not only mitigate but prevent ACEs.

Session for: Grades K – 12


Unlocking the Digital Realm: Exploring Ciphers and Cybersecurity – Shannon Blomker & Nancy Mahlen, NDIT | EduTech

Participants will dive into the fascinating world of ciphers and cybersecurity. Attendees will learn about the historical significance of ciphers and how they have evolved to protect sensitive information in the digital age. Furthermore, participants will gain insights into the importance of cybersecurity, understanding the threats we face in an increasingly interconnected world, and how they can protect themselves.

Session for: Grades 5 – 12


Breakout 4  –  3:15 – 4:00pm (select 1 of 4 breakout sessions)

Bridges Out of Poverty – Q&A Open Discussion – Jim Ott, aha!Process

Jim Ott will field questions and facilitate a discussion about Bridges concepts, neurological development, working with parents and anything else that may come up!

Session for: All


Innovative Early Learning Opportunities – Partnering with Waterford.org – Becky Eberhardt, Waterford.org 

This session will explore ways in which you can personalize learning for your youngest learners with Waterford.org. We seek to blend the aspects of learning science, mentoring relationships, and innovative technologies to form community, school and home programs that deliver excellence and equity for all learners. We strive to help children build a strong foundation in literacy, so every student reads at grade level by the end of second grade. When children can learn by reading, they can understand the world around them and find success in every aspect of their lives. Our mission is achieved and supported by our three pillars: Equity and Access, Family Empowerment, and Universal Literacy.

Session for: PreK – 5th grade


Empathic STEM – Arin Casavant, North Dakota’s Gateway to Science 

Did you know some of the most useful and world changing inventions were created to help other people? Think about the light bulb, Velcro, or simply just crossing a bridge. In this breakout session – North Dakota’s Gateway to Science will share ideas on how easy it is to blend human-centered approaches to STEM education for all ages of learners. Examples and activities will be shared with participants across all age levels and together we will brain storm additional activities. As always, literacy will be tied to our STEM experiences to create a cross-curricular and real-world activity for all ages. Backed by research and data, you can go back to your programming ready to foster the confidence and belief that children can use their creativity to aid the ones they love.

Session for: All 


Reinventing Nursery Rhymes – Jonathan Repoyo, Prairie Public 

We all remember those nursery rhymes we were told from our childhood. “Old MacDonald”, “Hey Diddle”, or “Itsy Bitsy Spider” to name a few. The connections we made through simple words and rhymes created colorful pictures in our brains and built the foundation to understanding how to read. In this session, we are going to go on a little journey of how to take those nursery rhymes and reinvent them to be hands on, with full body moving learning moments!

Session for: Infants/toddlers

BREAKOUT SESSIONS Day 2 - August 2, 2023

Day 2 – August 2, 2023 

Breakout 1  –  11:00 – 11:30am (select 1 of 4 breakout sessions)

Sparking Creativity & Mindfulness with Sensory Play – Ashley Krinke & Mitch Smette, Leika Sensory Creations 

Sensory play brings children back to the fundamental elements of authentic self-directed play – creativity, fine motor skill development, imagination, technology-free. While engaging in sensory play they become more independent and build neurons in their brain which leads to problem-solving. In addition, by engaging many of the five senses they begin to make connections with the world around them and regulate their bodies and emotions. Come learn, play and explore with us at this interactive breakout session!

Session for: Infant – 5th grade


How to Give a Read Aloud – Heather Chatham, Grand Forks Public Schools

Experience the artistry of an engaging read aloud and the beautiful connections created between reader, audience, and literature. Enjoy a dynamic and interactive reading of “Busy Betty” designed to model the 10 Principles of the Artful Read Aloud, and join in the magic of bringing a story to life and igniting your read aloud game.

Session for: Infant – 5th grade


CareerViewXR – Bringing Jobsites into the Classroom- Matt Chaussee, Be More Colorful 

In this session, attendees will learn about CareerViewXR, a cutting-edge extended reality platform for career exploration that allows students to investigate dozens of different careers from any device. Topics covered will include: currently available career experiences, the future production roadmap, compatible hardware, and initiatives currently underway to make CVXR accessible to students across the state.

Session for: Grades K – 12


Reimagining Belonging – Florence Dickerson, PEAR, Inc. (VIRTUAL SESSION) 

Belonging is critical for youth engagement and success. In this session, participants will learn about the physiological impacts of belonging, reflect on belonging for key stakeholders in their communities (students, families, staff) and work together to plan things they can do to increase belonging in their schools and programs. This will be an interactive workshop space.

Session for: Ages 5 – 18


Lunch & Learn  –  11:15 – 12:15pm 

Inclusion Partners Matter – Missi Baranko, USpireND

Join this lunch and learn to hear a story of inclusion at its best with all the challenges and joys. During this session we will also take time to consider how we are each responsible for a child’s success, especially as it relates to providing inclusive opportunities.

Session for: All 

Breakout 2  – 12:30 – 2:00pm (select 1 of 4 breakout sessions)

CSPAPs 101: Understanding Stakeholder Roles in Comprehensive School Physical Activity Programs Dr. Jenny Linker and Dr. Kristen Ford, SchoolsAlive!

Participants will learn about the Active Schools initiative and Comprehensive School Physical Activity Programs (CSPAPs). By the end of the session, attendees will be able to identify the five components of a CSPAP (Physical Activity Before/After School; Physical Activity During School; Physical Education; Family and Community Involvement; and Staff Involvement) as well as evidence-based strategies to address each component a their site. This session will engage participants in sample activities to demonstrate various strategies.

Session for: Ages 5 – 18



Lessons Learned from Ten Years of Native Youth Suicide Prevention Work – Maegan Rides at the Door, UM National Native Children’s Trauma Center

This session explores various strategies included in the implementation of a comprehensive suicide prevention initiative for 10-24 year olds. Participants will learn about evaluation efforts to document the effectiveness of gatekeeper trainings, brief intervention and contact for ideation and attempts, and tracking dispatch data. Shifts in prevention strategies and trends that were observed during the COVID pandemic will be discussed. Lessons learned will inform recommendations for other suicide prevention efforts.

Session for: Ages 5 – 18


Shades of Creativity: Igniting Bright Futures – Nicole North, MindWorks Resources

Join us as we shine light on fun and creative ways to engage students in active learning! We will open attendees’ eyes to hands-on techniques and activities that seamlessly integrate high-quality enrichment into afterschool with fun, fun, and more fun. Participants will beam as they create, explore, and walk away from the session with new ideas and tools to ensure their afterschool programs are the bright spot in their students’ days. With creativity, imagination, and simple activities, the future of after-school academics is bright!

Session for: Ages 5 – 18


IN THIS TOGETHER: The impact of adult emotional development in Early Childhood & OST Programs – Amy Brady, The Flourish Lab

Adult learning and growth is directly tied to youth learning and growth. When the adults who serve in after school programs are engaged in their own self-awareness, managing their own emotions and pushing through their own barriers, they can best support young people in doing the same. In this session we will explore the WHY behind adult personal development and the impact this has on young people. Participants will be engaged in several interactive experiences, walking away with new awareness about themselves and an understanding of how their own development is a key factor in youth development.

Session for: All 

Breakout 3  – 2:15 – 3:45pm (select 1 of 4 breakout sessions)

Brain Boosts for Everyone! – Dr. Jenny Linker and Dr. Kristen Ford, SchoolsAlive!

Integrating brain boosts (5-10 minute physical activity sessions) throughout your site’s daily programming improves students’ brain development, behavior, and physical and mental health. This session will provide a basic understanding of the research supporting brain boosts as well as tips for implementation. Presenters will demonstrate a variety of brain boosts that can be used for all ages!

Session for: Ages 5 – 18


Inclusion in Early Childhood Settings – Ashley Stroth, UspireND

When thinking of inclusion, the goal is to have every person in the room feel like they belong. We want to meet each child where they are individually while creating a safe space for each child to be themselves. “Inclusion is not a ‘place’ but a culture that we create when practices are based on rights, inclusive belonging, and contribution.” Learning objectives: Understanding the meaning of Inclusion, to foster inclusive learning environments across all three environments: physical, social, and temporal, adapt teaching practices to support highly individualize learning opportunities, and learn strategies for emotional regulation.

Session for: Infants/Toddlers – Age 5


Building Meaningful and Intentional Connections through Family Engagement – Heather Chatham, Grand Forks Public Schools 

Participants will develop an understanding of the importance of providing meaningful and intentional family engagement opportunities based off current research presented in “School, Family, and Community Partnerships” by Joyce Epstein. Participants will learn strategies and steps to successfully implement meaningful family engagement opportunities and how to build strong connections with families.

Session for: Ages 5 – 18


EduSTEM Expeditions – Shannon Blomker & Nancy Mahlen, NDIT | EduTech

This session focuses on integrating STEM-related resources, technologies, and the engineering process into PK-12 daily curriculum. Activities include, but are not limited to, micro:bits, 3D printing/3D design, block-based and Python coding, and virtual reality career exploration.

Session for: Grades 5 – 12



B-HERO Technical Assistance Center

CAPLP/Bright & Early ND

Leika Sensory Creations

Mackin (August 1 only)

Marketplace for Kids Inc.

MindWorks Resources

North Dakota Department of Public Instruction

North Dakota Parks & Recreation – Bismarck, ND

North Dakota’s Gateway to Science (August 1 only)

NDIT – EduTech

Northeast Education Services Cooperative

Pathfinder Services of ND

Playworks (August 1 only)

Prairie Public Broadcasting (August 1 only)

Prevent Child Abuse North Dakota

RightStart Mathematics


Thriving Together




Holiday Inn Fargo

3803 13th Ave S, Fargo, ND


Mention to reserve room: ND Out-of-School Time & Early Childhood Summit


2023 Summit Credit Information

Summit is approved for 7.5 hours Growing Futures credit per day (up to 15 hours total if both days attended).


Summit is approved for one graduate credit (15 hours) through Valley City State University if both days attended.