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Sparking Joy…Districtwide

As an out-of-school time professional, having vetted education content at your fingertips — for free — can be a huge help. And that’s what you’ll find in Mizzen: a searchable, easy-to-use platform to plan, create, and schedule exciting learning experiences on almost any topic your youth can imagine. 

Say your youth want to study climate change and our Earth’s oceans, mountains, cities, or arctic ecosystems. Look no further. Mizzen just published new content by The Nature Conservancy that’s packed with STEM lessons, community projects, and stories from scientists working on climate issues around the globe.

Or, maybe your youth are looking to channel their inner storyteller. With the Pulitzer Center, Mizzen launched a series of new digital and media literacy modules that’ll equip them to explore what good journalism should look like, why important stories go underreported, and how they can call attention to stories that matter to their communities.

Or perhaps youth in your program need to reconnect, refuel, and recharge through team-building games and movement. We’ve got you. Mizzen just added 25 new fun-filled games, icebreakers, and team-builders by !MPact Players, and a collection of joyful, standards-aligned movement activities by PowerUp Fitness.

If youth can dream it, you can help them realize it, with Mizzen.

But let’s face it, out-of-school time teaching is, and has always been, a team sport. It takes groups of talented and dedicated people, working together, to create meaningful, life-changing programs, camps, and learning experiences.

So how does a whole team co-plan exhilarating programs, camps, lessons, and activities? That’s what Community School Coordinator Kayla Ambesi and her colleagues at Schenectady City School District sought to figure out as they prepared to host STEAM Camps in early winter and spring, led by multiple teams of site leaders, teachers, and support staff.

They found a solution in Mizzen for Teams, the organizational version of Mizzen’s platform. They knew that district staff with an individual Mizzen account already had access to the platform’s full array of learning content, but Mizzen for Teams unlocked all of its collaborative features, from bookmarking and content sharing to co-planning, scheduling, and capacity-building. 

“We used Mizzen for Teams for our April and February STEAM Camps, which we ran at five different locations,” Kayla Ambesi says.

“Our staff was able to utilize the app beforehand,” she adds. “They went through and bookmarked all the different activities that they wanted to do, and then there was some collaboration between buildings and between teachers within the same building. They worked together; they shared out. When it came to doing different rocket launches, there was some content sharing between the different buildings so that the students could see which rockets went the farthest [and] which rockets went the highest. And it became a nice district-wide competition.”

“The students had a great time,” Kayla says. “They really enjoyed working together. I think that’s something that we’d lost during COVID.”

“By the middle of the week, they were coming up with a class design, so the class had to work together as a whole and then hold the competition at the school level,” she explains. “This gave students not only the opportunity to be proud of their work but also to work on communication skills and sharing out in a large group.”

“Kids were able to connect with other kids that they hadn’t necessarily met before," Kayla says. “And they left with some new friends as well as some really great educational experiences.”

Experiences like STEAM Camp that inspire connection, creativity, joy, and next-level collaboration are crucial to Kayla and her colleagues.

“We need to be able to connect with our students,” says Simone Miranda, Assistant Director of Innovation, Equity and Engagement at the district. “Student voice is very important. Our world is changing and we need to spark joy. Students need to be creative, to be themselves, to be authentic. That’s the world we’re living in and out-of-school time provides that space for students,” she says.

For Kayla and Simone, ensuring that everyone on their team has access to high-quality content helps their district realize that vision.

“Educators already do so much during the day,” Kayla says, “so when it comes to out-of-school time, being able to have well-trusted, easy-to-use educational content that is turnkey gives teachers the ability to have fun with their students, but also ensure that the academics are strong and the students are receiving what they need. With Mizzen for Teams, you’re able to work together to curate what your afterschool program is going to look like.”

Learn how Mizzen for Teams can help you take collaboration to a new level.