UpMetrics in the Desert: BOOST Conference 2018

The UpMetrics team attended the 2018 BOOST Conference in Palm Springs—here are the key takeaways from a week under the sun

Spend more than 10 minutes walking the exhibit hall, and it’s obvious that the BOOST Conference is the main event for afterschool professionals on the West Coast.

It’s a place where the people who are often the most under-appreciated, and yet vitally important, on school campuses can come together, reflect on what works, and take a minute to pat one another on the back. It’s also where the most innovative problem solvers and technological tools built for the space are readily available.

Here are some key takeaways from the UpMetrics team.

On the overall experience of attending the BOOST Conference:

“Tons of energy at the event, and people are in a good headspace to talk about getting better- essential in being responsive to solutions more readily.” — Stephen Minix

“BOOST is a fantastic opportunity to connect with afterschool professionals who are all committed to the following: Increasing access to and creating quality out of school time experiences for all children. From staff on the frontlines to senior leadership, the attendees come together to learn from and with one another in an effort to have greater impact on the lives of kids. — Maureen McCaffery Coleman

On learning from like-minded people and organizations working in the OST space, from around the country:

“I loved the opportunity to sit in on Beyond the Bell Los Angeles presentation. Their team presented on the importance of incorporating the context of the greater community as it relates to connecting with kids during afterschool programming. We watched videos—recorded on smartphones—that captured the morning commute to school sites in an effort to demonstrate the unique dynamics that impact every kid before/after school. They talked about reading local news and understanding what is happening in the community so you can truly understand where kids are coming from. They also talked about the importance of connecting with school teachers and staff so that students know you are a team. Afterschool and school time should be a united front. It was wonderful to see how this fantastic organization is thinking about how they can best support kids and work with other leaders in their community to have more impact.” — Maureen McCaffery Coleman

“It was great to see Anna [Harutyunyan] from Nashville After Zone Alliance speaking about the importance of data in afterschool. NAZA is so influential on the national stage—having one of their senior staff speak about data for program development is crucial for the longterm. Being able to play even a small part in that feels amazing.” — Stephen Minix

The UpMetrics team at BOOST, 2018

Key learnings from the week:

“The people working in the out-of-school time space are fully committed to this essential work. BOOST is a wonderful outlet for them to connect with other people doing great work in the space, learn new best practices, and recharge to continue supporting kids.” — Maureen McCaffery Coleman

“Other vendors can be partners. There’s plenty of room for collaboration among vendors and we were happy to see that potential with many of the people and organizations around the exhibit hall.” — Darrell Stewart

In short, it was well worth the trip—not only were the UpMetrics team members able to connect with old friends in the community, but the message about the importance of data and analytics in the OST space has never resonated more. ^DFG

You can learn more about how NAZA is making use of data to drive program design in Nashville via the link below:

Story by Bryan Kitch for the UpMetrics journal, Data For Good.

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Athlete, artist, writer. Content Marketing Manager at @cerego. Twitter: @bryankitch