Texas Student Is the Artist Behind the 2012 Lights On Afterschool Poster
Collaboration in Afterschool = Engagement in Learning
NH & CA Teens Win National Afterschool Art Contest
12 Afterschool Leaders Chosen as 2012 Afterschool Ambassadors
Afterschool programs are about sports, arts, exploration, friendship and much more. That’s the message of the 2012 Lights On Afterschool poster designed by Felix Sanchez of Pasadena, Texas. Sanchez drew his winning artwork while he was a student in the Communities in Schools-ACE afterschool program. His design was selected from thousands of submissions.
“This is the first competition that I’ve won and I was really surprised,” Sanchez said. “I got the idea for the poster from everything we do in my afterschool program, which includes learning and playing and drawing. I hope that this poster will inspire more kids to participate in afterschool programs.” Sanchez says he has been drawing since he was eight-years-old and learned to draw from his father.
Download the poster on the Afterschool Alliance’s website and use it to promote Lights On Afterschool in your community. When Lights On organizers register their events, the Afterschool Alliance will mail them 10 free posters, planning tips and event updates. Don’t forget the Lights On Afterschool event planning kit, sample materials, graphics, timelines, case studies and more that are available online.
“Afterschool programs are all about our students,” said Afterschool Alliance Executive Director Jodi Grant. “So it’s only fitting that we use kids’ artwork on the poster for Lights On Afterschool. This year’s poster is a wonderful depiction of the activities quality afterschool programs provide to help children and youth learn, stay healthy, and build friendships and social skills. We’re extremely proud to share Felix’s beautiful drawing with people all across the country.”
For years, the federal investment in afterschool has lagged far behind the need for programs. In 2007, the No Child Left Behind Act authorized $2.5 billion for 21st Century Community Learning Centers, the chief federal funding stream for afterschool. Yet federal funding stands at less than half that today. Congress is currently considering legislation that would allow afterschool funds to be directed to other uses.
A significant body of research demonstrates that students who attend 21st Century Community Learning Centers regularly do better in school, and are more likely to graduate. More than 15 million school-age children, more than one in four kids in the United States, are unsupervised after the school day ends. The parents of 18 million children say they would enroll their kids in afterschool programs—if programs were available.
For more information about Lights On Afterschool, click here.
How afterschool programs and community partnerships work together to support student success was the subject of a Capitol Hill briefing earlier this month. A panel of education experts, afterschool providers and community partners discussed how afterschool programs can help schools move beyond the constraints of the traditional school day and embrace the community, capitalizing on the resources, assets, and perspectives of organizations and individuals outside the school.
Afterschool Alliance Vice President of Policy and Research Jen Rinehart said that quality afterschool programs that involve strong partnerships between schools, community-based organizations and corporations help young people master 21st century skills, give them positive educational experiences, and prepare them for college and careers. Regina Schofield, corporate engagement and education outreach director at Battelle, echoed those sentiments and said: “It’s out-of-school time that enhances learning.”
Patricia Rodgers, a high school student from Bristol, New Hampshire, spoke eloquently about how becoming involved with an afterschool program saved her life. Patricia said she was struggling in middle school, both academically and socially, but when she started attending the afterschool program, she found stability as well as friends and people who understood her. “I don’t know what I’m going to do when I graduate high school. I really love my afterschool program,” Rodgers said.
The panel also included: Dr. Sharon J. Washington, executive director, National Writing Project; Dr. Diane Waff, director, Philadelphia Writing Project; and Elizabeth Colby, afterschool director, Newfound Area School District, New Hampshire, and an Afterschool Ambassador.
The National Writing Project and the Newfound Area School District offered examples of successful local partnerships formed between afterschool programs and community organizations like museums, churches, schools, and local businesses. Speakers said that, in New Hampshire and across the country, these partnerships offer youth expanded learning opportunities that complement and enrich the school day, but also allow students to explore their communities.
The briefing was hosted by the Afterschool Alliance and the National Writing Project and was sponsored by the Senate Afterschool Caucus. Read more about it on the Afterschool Snack blog.
The artwork of budding student artists in San Francisco, California, and Bristol, New Hampshire, is on display in coffeehouses and kitchens throughout the country, promoting flavorful beverages and serving a good cause as well. This fall, Torani Sugar Free French Vanilla and Torani Raspberry are sporting new, limited-edition art labels designed by students in afterschool programs. The students’ artwork was selected from hundreds of entries submitted by afterschool students around the country.
Torani’s Sugar Free French Vanilla syrup label was designed by 16-year-old Elora Scimone from Newfound Regional High School’s Art Club and the Raspberry syrup label was designed by Benny Tran. At the time the drawing was submitted to the contest last spring, Tran attended the afterschool program at Aptos Middle School in San Francisco. He currently attends Pacifica High School.
“Year after year we are so impressed by the fantastic art created by youth in afterschool programs,” said Lisa Lucheta, Torani principal and family-owner. “Torani has a long history of bringing splashes of color and creativity into people’s everyday lives. We are thrilled that our partnership with the Afterschool Alliance and the Art for Kids contest allows us to brighten many more lives, and helps young people throughout the country participate in exciting, colorful experiences after the school day ends.”
“We have been saddened to see so many schools cut back on the arts and limit creative opportunities for students as budgets have tightened. Afterschool programs have always embraced the arts, often supplementing or even replacing arts programs in schools,” said Afterschool Alliance Executive Director Jodi Grant. “Sadly, recent cuts have meant that, in many school systems, afterschool programs are one of the few outlets left to nurture the creative talents of students. That is why we are especially happy to be able to partner with Torani on Art for Kids. These colorful labels provide a perfect way to showcase the talent nurtured in afterschool programs. This contest and Torani’s remarkable generosity support afterschool programs that keep kids safe, inspire them to learn and help working families.”
In New Hampshire, due to budget constraints, some art classes have been cut at Newfound Regional High School for the 2012-2013 school year. Since the Art Club is funded through a separate funding stream, the afterschool program has been able to continue to offer high-quality art instruction.
Scimone said that participating in Art Club was the first time since elementary school that she had been involved with an afterschool program. She praised the Art Club’s flexibility – allowing high school students to drop in at will. She said that she was surprised when she heard she had won the national contest. “I couldn’t wait to get home to tell my parents that I won the contest. I knew they would be excited too!”
Before participating in Art Club, Scimone was “bored a lot” after school. She wasn’t old enough to have a job, so would go home alone. “Art Club gives me something productive to do with my time. I’m not just sitting at home. It helps me get help in furthering my art skills,” she added.
“When Elora first began attending Art Club, she was shy and only attended infrequently, but thanks to the confidence she’s gained from participating in Art Club and in a week-long summer art program, Elora is all over the art room, interacting with other students and learning new skills,” said Art Club leader Laura Hutchins. “Art Club has really brought Elora out of her shell.”
Torani’s Art for Kids contest supports afterschool programs which offer young people safe, enriching, fun and engaging places to spend their afternoons. Youth in afterschool programs have been shown to perform better in school and have greater expectations for the future, while children who are unsupervised in the afternoons are at greater risk of becoming involved with crime, substance abuse and teenage pregnancy.
Afterschool programs are under intense pressure. The Afterschool Alliance’s Uncertain Times survey project, the only research effort to examine how the economy affects afterschool programs, found that nearly two in five afterschool programs (39 percent) report that their budgets are in worse shape today than at the height of the recession in 2008. More than three in five afterschool programs (62 percent) report that their funding is down “a little or a lot” from three years ago. Even in communities where local economies and program funding are faring better, program leaders express significant concern about their financial outlook and their inability to reach all children who need afterschool.
Torani, the number one specialty syrup in North America, will donate five percent of sales of Torani Sugar Free French Vanilla and Torani Raspberry with limited edition labels from September through December to the Afterschool Alliance. This is the eighth year that Torani has sponsored the Art for Kids contest in support of afterschool.
About Torani/R. Torre & Company: For more than 85 years, familiar Torani labels in bold shades of red, gold and blue have been visible in coffeehouses, restaurants and consumer kitchens. Torani, the premier brand of R. Torre & Company, is the number one flavored specialty syrup in North America and its products have spanned generations and inspired creativity.
The Afterschool Alliance announced the selection of 12 afterschool providers and advocates from around the nation to serve as 2012-2013 Afterschool Ambassadors this month. The dozen local leaders hail from 12 different states. Each Ambassador will continue directing or supporting a local afterschool program while also serving a one-year Afterschool Ambassador term organizing public events, communicating with policy makers, and building support for afterschool programs.
“Quality afterschool programs are essential to students, families and communities,” said Afterschool Alliance Executive Director Jodi Grant. “These programs keep kids safe during the afternoon hours, help working families and inspire students to learn by offering hands-on science, math and other activities as well as homework help, mentoring opportunities, and much more. But in Washington, D.C. and all across the country, the afterschool programs that families rely on are being threatened by budget cuts and efforts to divert afterschool funds to other programs. As Afterschool Ambassadors, each of these talented local leaders will bring great energy to the work to build even stronger support for afterschool programs among parents, business and community leaders, lawmakers and others. I look forward to working with each of them this year.”
This year’s class of Afterschool Ambassadors is the 13th group selected for the honor. Past Ambassadors include a variety of state and local afterschool leaders – more than 175 in all who are still active in the field.
The 2012-2013 Afterschool Ambassadors are:
The Robert Bowne Foundation is sponsoring the Ambassadorship of Patrick Pinchinat of New York; Bright House Networks is sponsoring the Ambassadorship of Jacalyn Francisco of Florida; and the Noyce Foundation is sponsoring the Ambassadorships of Kasey Blackburn of California and Victoria Raya of Washington.
Each Ambassador will organize a major event for Lights On Afterschool. Read more about the Afterschool Ambassadors online.
Last month’s issue of the Afterschool Advocate contained data from the Afterschool Alliance’s Uncertain Times: Afterschool Programs Still Struggling in Today’s Economy report, which found that afterschool programs are struggling in the aftermath of the recession.
Consider submitting a letter-to-the-editor to a local newspaper with findings from the study, and localize it with information about unmet need for afterschool programs in your community. Most letters can be submitted by email or online to the letters-to-the-editor section of your local newspaper. Be sure to cut and paste text into your email, rather than sending it as an attachment.
To the Editor:
Reducing the federal deficit is certain to remain a big issue in the months ahead. I wish that when the candidates shared their ideas for deficit reduction, they would give us specifics: What programs will they cut? When? By how much?
Specifics like those matter a lot to families. [The afterschool program where I work is facing tough times, largely because] the tight economy has put a squeeze on parents’ wallets, charitable giving, and government funding all at the same time. A new report from the Afterschool Alliance, aptly called Uncertain Times 2012, shows that our problems are shared nationwide. According to the report, nearly two in five afterschool programs (39 percent) report that their budgets are in worse shape today than at the height of the recession in 2008, and 62 percent describe their funding as down “a little or a lot” from three years ago.
In January, if Congress doesn’t act, a new round of automatic budget cuts is set to take effect, likely resulting in an across-the-board cut that could put out of operation any number of afterschool programs that rely on federal support. We need those programs to keep our kids safe, inspire them to learn, and help working families. The well-being of our children, families and community depend on them.
[your name, affiliation, phone number]
The Afterschool Alliance’s website has numerous resources for afterschool providers looking for new ways to raise money for their programs, including tips for initiating relationships with funders and businesses, and for identifying funding opportunities.
Do you have an idea for a school/community native plant garden, a forest improvement project, a streamside restoration plan, a recycling program, or an energy conservation project for your afterschool students? Project Learning Tree GreenWorks! grants are available at two levels: a maximum of $1,000, and $3,000 (for registered Project Learning Tree GreenSchools). Free registration and more information is online. The deadline is September 30.
Gladys Marinelli Coccia Awards
Nominations are open for the Gladys Marinelli Coccia Awards, administered by Youth Service America. The awards will recognize two young social entrepreneurs, ages 13 to 22, whose efforts serve the common good and apply business practices to achieve positive social change. Winners will receive $2,000 for their social enterprises. More information is available here and the deadline for submissions is September 30.
Stop Bullying Video Challenge
United States Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is calling on the country’s youth to take the Stop Bullying Video Challenge. Youth ages 13-18 can create a 30 to 60 second video to inform and motivate youth to prevent bullying, showcase ways teens are taking action against bullying, and promoting a culture of kindness and respect in their communities. The winner will receive $2,000, and two runners-up will receive $500. Learn more at http://stopbullying.challenge.gov/. Enter by October 14 to be considered for the challenge.
CVS Caremark Community Grants
CVS Caremark is awarding community grants of up to $5,000 to inclusive programs for youth under age 21 with disabilities; academic and enrichment programs at public schools; and programs that provide access to quality health care services and health education for at-risk and underserved populations. Organizations must serve communities where CVS Caremark operates; this includes organizations in the U.S. and Puerto Rico with the exception of Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Oregon, South Dakota, Washington and Wyoming. The deadline to apply for the grants is October 31. More details are online.
“Students are back behind their desks for a school year that will bring new and imposing challenges. It is in everyone’s best interests for local schools to succeed. Somehow, in the midst of budget battles last spring, that concept was buried under an avalanche of accusations and insults… The students don’t know much about the politics and pressures that are plaguing our districts. They only know the reality they are dealing with: canceled courses and field trips, fewer sports and extracurricular options, new tests and class requirements, transportation changes and stressed teachers… How can we support the teachers so they know we value their very essential role in shaping young lives?... How can we make up for the after-school programs that have been lost? How can we make sure our students still have art and music to stimulate their minds and souls? How can we assure that each student will be protected, nourished, encouraged?... This is not about money; this is about solutions. We have caring community-service organizations and sports fans and parents groups and retirees who can come up with innovative ideas.”
—“Editorial: Help Schools Recover From Cuts,” Plattsburgh (NY) Press-Republican, September 11, 2012
“If you want to make a difference, start with yourself. That could be the message from Gang of One, a program from the Hickory Police Department. It’s a gang intervention and prevention program… The police department is launching a new part of its after-school program, Gang of One-Ridgeview. It gives youth in grades six through 12 a place to come after school to get help with homework, learn more about the Hickory Police Department, develop age-appropriate basic life skills, and meet new people… We like this program. We think it can be useful everywhere. Many gangs of one can create a team that gets things done and make a difference. It’s a way to break down barriers instead of building walls. We commend the police department for its initiative, but the real gratitude and praise goes to those who take advantage of this Gang of One.”
—“Our View: Look Forward With Gang of One,” Hickory (NC) Daily Record, September 5, 2012
Voices from the Afterschool Storybook…
“The most fulfilling part [about working with the afterschool program] was learning. Learning from the students and watching them learn something new, especially when it comes to programming the robot for the robot game. I am learning because I have a way that I think the mission should go and they think of a whole other way that works better.”
— Andre Jackson, Clinton, MD. Jackson is a systems engineer/analyst for SAIC. After school, he coaches a FIRST® LEGO® League team.
Zero Hour, an afterschool program focusing on improving academic achievement, providing homework help and giving teachers time to build relationships with students, helped Cheyenne Mountain Junior High School in Colorado Springs win the 2012 School of the Year runner up award. According to The Gazette, judges were impressed by the school’s academics and the systems it has put in place to support all students. “We are really excited about the honor,” Principal Lori Smith said. “The programs we offer are a huge reason our test scores are high and we have sustained achievement.” The award was bestowed by the National Association of Middle School Principals.
On September 17, First Lady Michelle Obama met with about 40 elementary school-aged girls at Girls Place Inc. in Gainesville. The program provides afterschool programs for economically disadvantaged girls. Ms. Obama also danced and sang the educational song, “Tooty Ta,” with the students. “You know I’m all about girl power,” Mrs. Obama said at the event.
An innovative South Carolina afterschool program helping to teach students self-awareness, how to manage their emotions, responsible decision-making, and relationship skills is expanding into Georgia. The WINGS for Kids program has served 3,100 elementary school children in the Charleston area over the past 16 years. WINGS CEO Bridget Laird told the Associated Press how pleased she is that there “are now movements to get social and emotional learning standards in districts, and people are buying in.” WINGS is expanding thanks to a $1 million donation from a board member. The group is fundraising so it can expand to other cities as well.
In Iowa, students are getting a jump start on celebrating Lights On Afterschool. Families in Clinton rallied last week for the city’s 11th annual Lights On Afterschool event at Ashford University Field. Afterschool program director Loras Osterhaus, an Afterschool Ambassador, told the Clinton Herald that the event not only showcases the community’s support for afterschool programs, but also serves as a kickoff for the Clinton School District’s yearly program. More than 500 parents and community members participated in this year’s rally.
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan visited Kansas and said the U.S. must work to close an “opportunity gap” among students if children are going to reach their potential. He urged states to see education as an investment, not just a line on a budget sheet. The Associated Press reports that Duncan also criticized efforts to cut state spending on education, such as early childhood and afterschool programs. Duncan was visiting the Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site in Topeka on September 18 as part of his 10-day, nationwide bus tour.
The National Science Foundation has announced that it will provide $7.4 million to improve STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education over five years in nine elementary schools in Baltimore. The new project includes professional development for teachers, curricular enhancements, and more. Its goal is to enable afterschool providers to enhance STEM learning by providing additional STEM-related activities in the community. The project is led by Johns Hopkins University with support from several partners in the community.
An afterschool program offering tutoring, nutrition education, mentoring and nutritious meals to children at risk of hunger kicked off its third year in Rockingham. Kids Café program coordinator J.C. Watkins told the Richmond County Daily Journal: “We’re seeing that children are being exposed to a lot of nutritious foods that they wouldn’t necessarily get at home. They’re getting fruit and milk and things that are good for the body.”
This year the Utah State Fair is taking place at the same time as the 100th anniversary of 4-H in Utah, a youth development program that serves about 75,000 children in the state through clubs and afterschool programs. Kevin Kesler, Utah’s director of 4-H and youth programs, told the Deseret News, “While most people associate 4-H with junior livestock, cooking and sewing competitions, Utah clubs offer experiences in more than 100 curriculum areas, including robotics and movie making.” The state fair is the culmination of each year’s 4-H activities, and winners of the county fairs compete against one another. While grand championships and blue ribbons are sought-after rewards, Kesler said the 4-H program aims to teach skills that youth can use throughout their lives.
Youth Service America has released a resource to engage young people in the political process by connecting with their peers, voters and candidates. ServiceVote challenges young people to learn more about our government and political system, and to think critically about how they can affect issues through service during elections. The campaign has 12 ways youth can get involved this election season, including: host a service stop to engage candidates, educate voters by developing voter guides, and hold a mock election for youth.
After-School Programming Kit
Codecademy, the leading online source for learning computer programming, launched a new curriculum to teach high school students computer programming after school. The After-School Programming Kit contains a full curriculum, flyers, letters to parents, and more. The lessons are self-paced, so the curriculum is successful even if the afterschool leader is not yet an expert programmer. Sign up for the free After-School Programming Kit online.
More than 12 million children are at risk of going hungry each day in America. Afterschool programs can—and do—play an important role in promoting healthy lifestyles for youth, in part by proving a nutritious snack or meal in the afternoon or breakfast in the morning.
Help the Afterschool Alliance better understand the landscape around providing meals before and after school by completing a brief survey before September 29. It should take less than 10 minutes to complete the survey. Direct questions about the survey to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on afterschool meals, nutrition education and physical activity, in the afterschool setting check out Active Hours Afterschool.
A recent report from Child Trends found that extending the school day or year and expanding learning opportunities during out-of-school time hours can be effective in improving educational outcomes for students – but, the report says, the evidence base is limited because much of the research is based on quasi-experimental studies that vary in quality. Researchers advise care and thoroughness when deciding to implement and/or fund extended day programs.
“Expanding Time for Learning Both Inside and Outside the Classroom: A Review of the Evidence Base” reviews nearly 150 evaluations of extended school day models, extended school year models, and expanded leaning opportunity programs (ELO or afterschool, before-school and summer learning programs). It concludes that more research is needed.
Child Trends researchers did find a stronger base of evidence supporting afterschool, before-school and summer learning programs, but also recommend additional evaluations for those programs. Many of the researchers’ takeaways on afterschool programs are in line with recommendations from the Afterschool Alliance, such as:
The report was commissioned by The Wallace Foundation. Read more on the new report on the Afterschool Snack blog.
The Afterschool Alliance released a new MetLife Foundation Issue Brief discussing the benefits the arts bring to children’s lives and the importance of preserving time and space for arts education in and out of school.
Despite overwhelming support for the arts, ensuring that students’ school experiences are rich in arts education remains challenging. “Arts Enrichment in Afterschool” says: “As schools face budget cuts at the federal, state and local levels, providing a robust and comprehensive arts education during the school day becomes increasingly challenging. Afterschool programs are perfectly situated to bolster the efforts of schools and ensure that a wide breadth of arts learning experiences are available to students—offering an environment where students can build on music and art lessons learned during the school day, learn new art forms that may not be available at their schools and deepen their connection to the art world.”
The Issue Brief highlights examples of successful afterschool programs that:
It concludes: “The arts have the remarkable ability to positively affect a child in his or her entirety—influencing his or her developmental, behavioral, social and intellectual capacities. Afterschool programs are helping schools and communities ensure that their children have access to the arts and are able to benefit from all the arts have to offer.”
“Arts Enrichment in Afterschool” was released at the Arts Education Partnership’s Fall 2012 National Forum in Chattanooga, Tenn. It is the latest in a series of Issue Briefs examining the critical issues facing middle school youth and how afterschool programs can address these issues. The first brief in the series, “Afterschool: An Ally in Promoting Middle School Improvement,” was released earlier this year. The remaining Issue Briefs will address: digital learning opportunities; and family engagement.
The MetLife Foundation provides generous support for the series.
Read the new Issue Brief on arts enrichment here.
October 11, 2012
Asia Society’s Partnership for Global Learning is offering a webinar on project-based global learning on October 11 at 8:00 PM EDT. Internationalize your classroom with projects that engage students in meaningful, real-world work to address global issues. Learn how to implement student-driven learning and use e-technologies to build authentic, humanizing connections between students and the world. Jennifer Klein, professional development and outreach coordinator at TakingITGlobal for Educators and Honor Moorman, professional development and curriculum associate director at the Asia Society, will present. Register online.
October 15, 2012
Early bird registration for Beyond School Hours XVI will close on October 15. The conference will be held February 20-23 at the Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront in Florida. Participants will learn how to successfully engage older youth, see best practices in action and connect with education leaders. Ron Clark, the 2000 Disney American Teacher of the Year and two-time New York Times bestselling author, will be the conference’s keynote speaker. More information is available online.
October 18, 2012
The Afterschool Alliance will sponsor the 13th annual Lights On Afterschool, raising awareness about the benefits that afterschool programs offer to families and communities across the country. Lights On Afterschool is the only national rally for afterschool programs, and in recent years it has included some 7,500 events throughout the United States and at U.S. military bases worldwide. Be a part of it! For more information, to plan a Lights On Afterschool event or share your plans, and to sign up for free materials, click here.
October 22-24, 2012
The National Summer Learning Association will host its 2012 Summer Changes Everything national conference in Pittsburgh at the Westin Convention Center. It is the only national conference devoted entirely to summer learning programs. With nearly 60 workshop sessions, the conference will cover a variety of current topics, from health and nutrition to engaging middle school youth to policy trends. Educators can learn about developing staff to teach STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and how to perform hands-on STEM activities. The conference will also feature: a specific STEM-focused Summer Sparks session on how afterschool providers can leverage free STEM educational resources; hands-on science investigations specifically designed for afterschool and summer programs; an online curriculum of interactive and kid-friendly engineering projects; and more. For more information and to register, click here.
October 25, 2012
Join the Asia Society’s Partnership for Global Learning on a webinar to hear from educators who are employing project-based global learning. Learn how educators have implemented a school-wide global learning program that incorporates projects and service learning across the curriculum. Teachers and the school leader from the Academy of Global Studies at Winton Woods High School in Cincinnati, Ohio will share their struggles and successes to help guide webinar participants on October 25 at 5:30 PM EDT. Register online.