Current Professional Development Opportunities

National Geographic Educator Certification for Afterschool




National Geographic and the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation are partnering to design a new education certification program specifically for afterschool educators. VPOST will be nominating multiple experienced, enthusiastic afterschool professionals who have exhibited leadership and are willing to help develop the afterschool field with a new certification program. The National Geographic Educator Certification for Afterschool is a free professional development program that recognizes pre-K through 12 formal and informal educators committed to inspiring the next generation of explorers, conservationists, and changemakers. These educators are part of a powerful movement to make the world a better place by empowering students to be informed decision-makers equipped to solve meaningful challenges in their communities and beyond.


Does this sound like you or someone you know? E-mail Christine at and tell us about a dedicated afterschool professional that would be a great nominee for this amazing opportunity! Please include: Full name, afterschool program or organization name, location, primary ages/grades served, subject area(s), and contact information.


As part of the process, the educator will need to:

  1. Participate in the National Geographic Education Certification Cohort to take place May 20 - August 2019.
  2. Complete a practicum in which they either a) engage youth (any ages preK-12) in two hands-on activities or b) develop and implement a professional development training with after school staff.
  3. Provide feedback and ideas on how to adapt the content and process for afterschool professionals.

Each participant who completes the full program will be named as an advisor to the project and receive special gifts from National Geographic. Educators who complete the certification have access to National Geographic resources and opportunities like an educator network and fellowships.

Virginia Alumni From the Program

Emani Morse, Middle School Program Coordinator at On The Road Collaborative, in Harrisonburg, VA completed and gained certification in the National Geographic course. Emani states "I had so much fun with the students doing the various lessons and learned a lot along the way! I would definitely recommend it to any person who interacts with kids."

To view her final capstone project click here



Afterschool Alliance:  Learn, via webinar, from experts and fellow practitioners on the latest in afterschool, including program funding, research and analysis, practical guides, and how to's. 

Better Kid Care: From Penn State Extension, Better Kid Care distance education modules are appropriate for school-age practitioners. The On Demand modules were specifically developed for school-age professionals and include best practices filmed in school-age or after-school setting. Topics include several Positive Youth Development Foundation modules, Achieving 21st Century Skills through Project-Based Learning, Building Community Support for Out-of-School Time Programs, Helping Youth with Autism to be Successful in After School Programs and more!

National Afterschool Association:NAA publishes fresh, new content every week covering a wide variety of topics related to the field of aftershool.

You4Youth:You 4 Youth provides online professional learning and technical assistance for 21st Century Community Learning Centers. The Y4Y portal has valuable tools and resources to strengthen knowledge of critical aspects of out-of-school learning time that contribute to increased program quality. 



Code Va: Coding training and workshops for educators in Virginia.

Click2SciencePD: is a professional development resource for out-of-school time professionals designed to build higher-quality OST STEM programs by giving frontline staff the skills they need to create positive STEM learning experiences with youth.

Empowering Afterschool Professionals in Digital Learning: This report published by The National Afterschool Association, with support form Google, presents the competencies needed by afterschool professionals to support digital learning and makes recommendations on strategies for strengthening professional capacities.

Funding for Research Action Center: The Funding for Research Action Center (FRAC) is the leading national nonprofit organization working to improve public policies and public-private partnerships to eradicate hunger and undernutrition in the United States. FRAC offers Afterschool Meals Matter conference calls and webinars, as well as information on how to utilize the Federal food programs.

Virginia STEAM Academy: Virginia STEAM Academy offers engaging, interactive professional development to anyone interested in the mathematical lives of middle and high school students.


Reading Rockets: A national multimedia initiative from PBS that provides resources to elementary educators in areas of literacy, concentrating on struggling readers.  (literacy, professional development, elementary school)

Read, Write, Think: Provide educators and afterschool professionals with access to the highest quality practices in reading and language arts instruction by offering the very best in free materials. Thier professional development resources include strategy guides, online webinars and more.

Virginia Association of Journalism Teachers and Advisors: Professional Organization which provides information and professional development events for Journalism teachers.

Physical Education and Nutrition

Alliance for a Healthier Generation: Offers free virtual training courses on healthy eating and physical activity for professionals to use in their youth programming. At the end of these lessons, users will be able to identify concrete action steps that can be taken for implementation, as well as identify where to go to find additional resources.

Shape America: Society of Health and Physical Educators, SHAPE America’s, mission is to advance professional practice and promote research related to health and physical education, physical activity, dance, and sport. They offer a wide variety of professional development opportunities, including standards-based workshops, webinars, timely podcasts and events for preK-12 educators, college/university faculty, coaches, and researchers. One of the five components of their Comprehensive School Physical Activity Program consists of physical activity during out-of-school time through physical activity programs.