Professional Development



High-quality professional development and technical assistance opportunities are essential to propel the field forward. Opportunities to engage in conferences, series- and/or certificate-based training, mentoring and advocacy, and college coursework strengthen professionals’ ability to provide better care and opportunities for the children and youth in their programs, and deepen their understanding of research and best practices. Professional development is a key component to a career lattice for the field.


Workshop Details

The Very Visual Voyage: K-12 Educators Explore Nature’s Structures

Date/time: 12/4/15, 9:30am – 12:00pm

Location: UWRI

Presenter: Amy Leidtke


Embark on an enjoyable journey of tinkering, thinking three-dimensionally about Nature’s Structures. Participants will do hands-on investigations that result in modeling polyhedral structures. Everyone will make and take back to the classroom their very own mathematical and biological sculpture. Participants will be able to adjust the lesson to replicate within their own programs.

Registration Cost: $15

Registration link:, registration closes @ 9pm 12/2/15



Workshop Details:

Flying WILD

12/11/15, 9:00am – 12:30pm @ United Way of Rhode Island

Presenter: Lisa Maloney, Audubon Society


Through activities involving language arts, social science and math experiences, coupled with community outreach and service learning applications, Flying WILD offers a whole-school approach to environmental education using birds as the focus.   Targeted for the middle-school audience, though widely adaptable, Flying WILD offers practical hands-on classroom and outdoor field investigation experiences connecting real-world experiences in bird biology, conservation and natural history. Project-based classroom applications, service learning and community involvement are encouraged through sections of the guide dedicated to the planning and implementation of birding festivals.

Registration Cost: $15

Registration link: registration closes @ 9pm 12/9/15



Workshop Details:

Positive Youth Development II: Exploring Metacognition

12/18/15, 9:30am – 11:30am @ United Way of Rhode Island

Presenter: Brittany Sandbergen


Veteran practitioners will deepen their understanding of positive youth development through concepts of metacognition. This training provides a point of view regarding Carol Dweck’s theory of mindset and its effect on the learning environment. Educators will explore multiple approaches to student learning & comprehension where they will  experience visual, written, verbal, and active learning styles to better approach student learning.

Registration Cost: $15

Registration link: registration closes @ 9pm 12/16/15


Workshop Details: 

Failing Forward: Building a Stronger Organization

1/22/16, 9:00 – 11:00am @United Way of Rhode Island

Presenter: Beth Cunha


When is the last time you looked at an error as a learning opportunity? How about as a moment of inspiration? From a young age we learn the importance of trial and error. That we should not try once, but multiple times, in multiple ways until we find success. That same flexibility must be tied to our careers. Bring your errors and an open mind to this interactive workshop which will take a look at failing forward and the re-definition of success in the non-profit world.

Registration Cost: $15

Registration link:   registration closes @ 9pm 1/20/16



Workshop Details:

Strategies for Effective Listener’s Engagement

1/29/16, 9:00 am -12: 00pm @ United Way of Rhode Island

Presenter: Brenda Westberry


In a world buzzing with social media, our interpersonal communication skills have been altered. This experiential workshop will help you increase and develop a truly engaging and responsive communication style while helping you advance your ideas in ways that gain attention and respect from others. The participants will also explore the dynamics of effective engagement even in difficult situations. This will be an interactive workshop expecting audience participation.

Level of Instruction/ Target Audience: Intermediate-Advanced.

Age group addressed: All

Registration Cost: $15

Registration link: Check back soon for registration details! registration closes @ 9pm 1/27/16


Previous Workshops:

Intro to RIPQA, 10/2/15, 9:00am – 1:00pm @ Center for Dynamic Learning

Presenter: Maryclaire Knight and Shevaun Keogh Walker

Description: The Rhode Island Program Quality Assessment (RIPQA) is a quality assessment tool and improvement process that is used by after school and youth development organizations across Rhode Island. Participants will learn about the two components of the tool: a program observation tool designed to help front-line staff and instructors improve their practice (Form A) and an administrative checklist designed to help directors improve their overall administrative management practices (Form B). The training includes hands-on practice using the tool and an overview of how it was created and is being used across the state.


Method Series #1 -Building Community, Structure, and Clear Limits, 10/16/15, 9:00am – 1:00pm @ United Way of Rhode Island

Presenter: Maryclaire Knight and Shevaun Keogh Walker

Description: Do you know what it takes to build an emotionally and physically safe space for youth? Building an emotionally safe community of peers and adults is essential for youth to learn and develop as individuals. Part of that safe community is building positive structures that allow positive youth energy to flow freely, without falling into program chaos. This interactive workshop helps participants work on building a safe and supportive community in their programs and to practice identifying and maintaining clear limits.


Methods Series #2 – Active Learning, 10/23/15, 9:00am – 1:00pm @ United Way of Rhode Island

Presenter: Maryclaire Knight and Shevaun Keogh Walker

Description: Do you know the difference between active learning and hands-on learning? Giving youth materials is just the beginning. This interactive workshop introduces the ingredients of active learning, explains the role that active learning plays in the experiential learning cycle, and helps participants create more powerful learning opportunities for youth.


Methods Series #3 – Cooperative Learning, 11/6/15, 9:00am – 1:00pm @ United Way of Rhode Island

Presenter: Maryclaire Knight and Shevaun Keogh Walker

Description: Do the youth in your program have opportunities to work together in groups, teaching and learning from each other? Cooperative learning is an excellent way to nurture youth leadership, build community, and keep things fun. This interactive workshop will equip participants with grouping strategies and ways to think about building cooperative learning into any program offering. This workshop will also include a module on how to structure effective homework help time into your program.


Methods Series #4 – Ask, Listen, Encourage, 11/13/15, 9:00am – 1:00pm @ United Way of Rhode Island

Presenter Maryclaire Knight and Shevaun Keogh Walker

Description: Do you communicate with youth in a way that makes them feel supported and heard? This interactive workshop introduces various communication techniques that help you build more supportive, youth-centered relationships. Participants will learn how to ask more effective questions, listen actively to youth, and offer youth encouragement rather than praise.


Social Emotional Learning, 11/20/15, 9:30am – 11:30am, Newport Adult Education Center

Presenter: Presenters: Sue Constable, Autism Coordinator, Rhode Island Technical Assistance Project and RIDE; and Alice Woods, RIDE

Description:This session will cover what is meant by the term Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) using the framework the Rhode Island Department of Education has adopted from the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL). The SEL competencies connect directly to those skills that our youth and young adults need to achieve success in college and careers. Specific SEL practices will be shared and talked about during this session.

Previous Training Materials

RIASPA Summer Learning Symposium Materials (March 16, 2011)
National Summer Learning Association Perspectives on Summer Learning (PowerPoint)