RALEIGH, NC (July, 22 2020) – The Public School Forum’s NC Center for Afterschool Programs (NC CAP) will virtually host its 16th annual Synergy Conference on July 28-31, 2020. This year’s conference theme is Future in Focus.

The Synergy Conference brings together hundreds of afterschool and expanded learning program directors, staff, K-12 educators, and college faculty to share research-based information, as well as relevant strategies for engaging students and parents in the afterschool environment to help strengthen students academically, socially and emotionally. 

This year’s four-day virtual conference will kick off on Tuesday, July 28 and Wednesday, July 29, as the NC Department of Public Instruction facilitates the 21st Century Community Learning Center (CCLC) Statewide Technical Assistance Meeting for current 21st CCLC Programs.

On Thursday morning, July 30 Amber Rupinta, an anchor for ABC11 Eyewitness News, will facilitate a Youth Voices Panel with youth and teens participating in afterschool, before school or summer programs statewide. At noon on Thursday, awards will be distributed to recognize individuals and organizations that have served as champions of afterschool programs, and whose collective efforts have helped to bridge the gap for youth across North Carolina in regards to access to out-of-school time programs, initiatives and policy. Kari Pardoe of the Charles S. Mott Foundation will make remarks at the awards ceremony. The final live plenary of the day will feature a keynote address by Greg Jackson of HEAL Charlotte, titled ‘The Fight Before the Healing.”

Friday, July 31 will kick off with a keynote address from NASA Astronaut Christina Koch, entitled “The Wonder of Space.”. During her address, Koch will discuss her journey to NASA and her experiences living in space for almost a year aboard the International Space Station. At noon on Friday, the NC Center for Afterschool Programs will host a kickoff panel for their newly launched STEM Coalition. The STEM Coalition, or STEMco, is the intentional convening of individuals from various sectors to discuss the barriers related to diversity, equity, and inclusion within STEM careers and to develop strategies that will ensure more youth, especially girls and minorities, are involved in STEM as early as Kindergarten. The STEM Coalition Kickoff Panel will feature individuals from various sectors with a vested interest in STEM. Specifically, panelists include Sharmi Albrechtsen, SmartGurlz; Jose’ Garcia, Greene County Schools; Eskabonna Henderson, Kinetic Minds Inc.; Pam Hyatt, The Dream Center; Alfred Mays, Burroughs Wellcome Fund; Ron Ottinger, STEM Next; and Sesha Woodard, Dropping Seeds in Motion. Eric Rowles and Fred Baker from Leading To Change will conclude the conference’s live plenaries on Friday afternoon with their fast paced, interactive plenary entitled ‘Leadership Re-Learned’. In addition to the series of live plenaries, this year’s virtual conference features 60 pre-recorded workshop sessions comprising a range of topics that include arts & literacy, college & career readiness, mentoring, and STEM and youth development; there will also be access to vendors and networking opportunities.

The 2020 Synergy Conference is open to the public and stakeholders who are interested in learning more about out-of-school time opportunities and how they help strengthen student success in school and life. Space is limited, and registration closes July 24, 2020.

For more information or to register for the conference, please visit www.ncafterschool.org/synergyconference2020/. For media inquiries, please contact Dr. Sheronda Fleming at sfleming@ncforum.org or 919.781.6833 x135.

About the North Carolina Center for Afterschool Programs (NC CAP)

As North Carolina’s only center dedicated to serving the afterschool and expanded learning community, the North Carolina Center for Afterschool Programs (NC CAP) leads and supports a network of over 6,000 providers. NC CAP is a part of the Public School Forum of North Carolina. Our work impacts 160,000 K-12 students in the afterschool community throughout the state. We support the afterschool and expanded learning community by advocating and helping to shape policy, providing professional development opportunities, and bringing together state and national stakeholders. Follow us on Twitter @ncafterschool and visit our website at www.ncafterschool.org. The Synergy Conference is the only statewide conference that convenes providers of out-of-school time programs, educators and community stakeholders.


About the Public School Forum of North Carolina

Since 1986, the Public School Forum of North Carolina has been an indispensable and nonpartisan champion of public schools and the most trusted source in the state for research and analysis on vital education issues. We bring together leaders from business, education and government to study education issues, develop ideas, seek consensus, and ultimately inform and shape education policy. We do that through research, policy work, innovative programs, advocacy, and continuing education for educators and policymakers. Follow us on Twitter @theNCForum and visit our website at www.ncforum.org.



For more information:

Dr. Sheronda Fleming

NC CAP/Public School Forum of NC

919-781-6833 x135

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