FORT HALL, Idaho (KIFI) – The Idaho Out of School Network gathered Friday with hundreds of educators from around the state.

Many leaders and speakers want to make sure children have unlimited access to programs that can help them thrive outside of school.

“Children spend 80% of their waking hours and out-of-school time. And so it’s really important that we all have the skills and knowledge and ability to support these youth in these programs. So we bring together nontraditional educators to really network and collaborate with one another and learn about different programs that can best serve the youth in their programs,” Idaho Out of School Network director Anna Almerico said.

Topics focused on how after school care, transportation and extracurricular activities can help students in their daily lives.

Many shared their own past experiences from competing in athletics.

“Playing sports, I had a lot of adults around me and it helped me interact with them. And I think one of the things that we need to do better is interact with our youth and help our youth understand that it’s okay to talk to adults and it’s okay to to confide in adults,” Pocatello Mayor Brian Blad said.

STEM programs and additional tutoring are other great out of school programs.

One local high school senior remembers how her own great grandmother needed something more to learn what some of her classes were trying to teach.

“Although she suffered from things in the residential school, which she never spoke about, she used her hands to heal, which I think is important, which is why I like to decolonize education by bringing in more kinesthetic learning, because with our teachings there is so much more behind it,” Sho-ban High School Senior Teagan Larkin said.

Organizers for the network are working to get this information to school districts in the next few weeks.

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