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Afterschool Snack, the afterschool blog. The latest research, resources, funding and policy on expanding quality afterschool and summer learning programs for children and youth. An Afterschool Alliance resource.
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Snacks by Erik Peterson
JUN
23

IN THE FIELD
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NYC expands access to afterschool programs for middle school students

By Erik Peterson

Last week New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio with school and community leaders announced plans to increase the number of New York City middle schools offering quality afterschool programming. The announcement at New Settlement Community Campus in the Bronx included the selection of 271 providers that will oversee expanded afterschool opportunities for middle school students beginning in September.

As a result of a request for proposals (RFP) released in March, New York City middle school students will have access to afterschool programs in 562 schools beginning this fall, a 142 percent increase over the current 231. In the next fiscal year, the number of citywide program openings will jump 76 percent, to more than 79,300. Overseeing the new programs will be 108 eligible community-based organizations, nearly half of which will be new to city afterschool funding: a complete list can be found here.

In addition to expanding afterschool to 85 percent of middle schools in the city, the RFP calls for programs to be open five days per week for 36 weeks during the school year, with providers offering 540 hours of afterschool programming. The proposed price per participant was also increased to $3,000 to cover additional hours and reflect the actual costs providers say will enable them to hire and retain certified staff and offer high-quality programs.

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learn more about: Equity Sustainability Youth Development
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JUN
18

FUNDING
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New report on learning and the Internet emphasizes role of afterschool and informal education

By Erik Peterson

This week the Aspen Institutes Task Force on Learning and the Internet released its much anticipated report, Learner at the Center of a Networked World.  The report and series of recommendations seeks to ensure today’s students are at the center of, and have access to, safe learning inside and outside of the classroom that prepares them for future success. The comprehensive report addresses the serious issues of trust, safety, privacy, digital literacy and accessibility—especially for underserved students. In their recommendations, the task force recommends actions to help all students connect safely and maximize learning experiences online.

The task force—composed of 20 thought leaders with diverse perspectives on learning, innovation and safety, and supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation—finalized the report after a year of study, outreach to stakeholders including the afterschool field, public input and internal deliberations. Former Governor of Florida and Chairman of the Foundation for Excellence in Education (ExcelinEd) Jeb Bush and Co-Founder of Voto Latino Rosario Dawson served as Honorary Co-Chairs.

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learn more about: Digital Learning Equity Evaluations Youth Development
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JUN
9

POLICY
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My Brother's Keeper Task Force reports back to the president

By Erik Peterson

In late February, Pres. Obama appointed a high-level task force to oversee his new “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative “to develop a coordinated federal effort to improve significantly the expected life outcomes for boys and young men of color.” Recently the My Brother’s Keeper Task Force released a report on their first 90 days of actions, including key recommendations for the initiative moving forward.

Since the launch of My Brother’s Keeper initiative, the president’s task force has met with and heard from thousands of Americans through online and in-person listening sessions, including a number of afterschool and summer learning providers.  Cities and towns, businesses, foundations, faith leaders and individuals have made commitments to helping youth get a strong start in school and life and later connect them to mentoring, support networks and specialized skills they need to find a good job or go to college.

The 90-day report laid out cross-cutting recommendations, seven broad themes and specific recommendations.  The importance of afterschool is highlighted in the specific recommendations, which call for expansion of effective afterschool and summer programs to accelerate socio-emotional and academic learning and health.  The recommendations also call for a public-private campaign to recruit high-quality, sustained mentors—an important component of many afterschool programs.  Details on the recommendations are below. 

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learn more about: Afterschool Voices Equity Federal Policy Media Outreach Obama Youth Development
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JUN
3

POLICY
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Bipartisan Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act proposed in Congress

By Erik Peterson

Late last month, a bipartisan group of law makers in the House and Senate introduced the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), a bill that would reauthorize and update the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 and eliminate duplicative programs, improve reporting requirements and develop a set of common performance measures.

With regard to youth programs, WIOA would:

  • Require 75 percent of youth funding to support out-of-school youth, of which 20 percent is prioritized for "work-based activities." This would include funding career pathways development, dropout recovery efforts, skills training, and education and training leading to a recognized postsecondary credential.
  • Provide youth with disabilities the services and support they need to be successful in competitive, integrated employment.
  • Reauthorize the YouthBuild program; stipulating an independent evaluation of activities is conducted at least every four years for the purposes of improving the management and effectiveness of related programs and activities. The bill includes language that also allows the YouthBuild program to expand into additional in-demand industry sectors or occupations specific to its region, in recognition of the "changing demands of the economy."
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learn more about: Congress Federal Funding Legislation Youth Development
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MAY
29

CHALLENGE
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Personal experience and research share the stage at Congressional afterschool briefing

By Erik Peterson

On May 22—in conjunction with the 13th annual Afterschool for All Challenge—the Senate Afterschool Caucus, the Afterschool Alliance and the Expanded Learning Project joined forces to host a Capitol Hill briefing featuring compelling stories and encouraging research that point to the success and potential of afterschool and summer learning programs. 

Dr. Deborah Lowe Vandell, founding dean of the University of California-Irvine School of Education, shared new data that shows how quality afterschool programs can help close the achievement gap. She emphasized findings that show afterschool programs are particularly effective at improving achievement and positive behavior among low-income students. She noted that afterschool researchers and advocates have data that show that the long-term outcomes associated with afterschool participation are positive and compelling and should move the discussion about the benefits of afterschool beyond the safety and good behaviors conversations.  In addition, Vandell stated that in recent years the research tools and findings have facilitated the incorporation of measures of intensity, duration and quality. 

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learn more about: 21st CCLC Advocacy Afterschool Caucus Afterschool Voices Equity Events and Briefings Academic Enrichment
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MAY
21

POLICY
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Experts to share the latest afterschool research and outcomes at Congressional briefing

By Erik Peterson

We know the achievement gap is real—73 percent of fourth graders scoring below the 25th percentile in math are eligible for free or reduced-price school lunch. Now we have research that offers a solution: participating in afterschool activities—consistently across the elementary school grades—improves the math achievement of children from low-income families. In fact, taking part in these programs can help eliminate the gap in math achievement between low-income and high-income children by grade five.

Tomorrow, Dr. Deborah Lowe Vandell, founding dean of the School of Education at the University of California-Irvine, will present this latest research to an audience of Congressional staff and policy professionals as part of a special briefing co-hosted by the Afterschool Alliance and the Expanded Learning Project. The briefing will feature both research and examples on how participation in afterschool programs is linked to overall improvements in academic achievement, reductions in school absences and improvements in behavioral outcomes.

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learn more about: Advocacy Afterschool Champions Congress Equity Evaluations Events and Briefings
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APR
21

FUNDING
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Time is running out to serve meals this summer

By Erik Peterson

Warm weather has returned and that means the kick-off of the Summer Food Service Program is just around the corner. This federally-funded program allows summer learning providers to serve free meals to eligible children when school is out for the summer.

Although many children qualify for this program, very few participate.

During fiscal year 2013, the National School Lunch Program provided an average of 21.5 million children a free or reduced-priced lunch each school day. When schools let out for summer, less than 10 percent of those students participate in the Summer Food Service Program.

Luckily for families who are struggling, the Summer Food Service Program is working with school districts, nonprofits and cities this summer to keep school cafeterias open and having community centers provide a site where children can get a delicious free meal.

The Summer Food Service Program also helps to draw children into safe and fun activities filled with learning opportunities. The program encourages communities to provide safe places for children to be with other children and supportive adults. Children benefit nutritionally by receiving complete, wholesome meals. Parents benefit from some help in stretching their food dollars and by knowing their children are engaged in supervised activities.

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learn more about: Funding Opportunity Nutrition Summer Learning Sustainability
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APR
13

POLICY
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Thanks for making #3to6 Day a success!

By Erik Peterson

On March 26 (3/26) more than 3 million parents, young people and supporters of afterschool were reached through an online campaign that raised awareness about the value of afterschool programs and called for Congressional support of the Afterschool for America’s Children Act: S. 326 and HR 4086. 

Every afternoon between the hours of 3 to 6 p.m. children nationwide should have the opportunity to participate in engaging afterschool programs that support their learning and development and spark their passions and creativity.  In recognition of the afterschool hours of opportunity from 3 to 6 p.m., on 3/26 friends of afterschool programs took to their social media networks to promote afterschool and build support for the Afterschool for America’s Children Act. 

The bipartisan Afterschool for America’s Children Act, S. 326 and HR 4086—led by Sens. Boxer, Murkowski and Murray in the Senate and by Reps. Kildee and DeLauro in the House—would reauthorize and strengthen the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) initiative—the nation’s chief federal funding stream for afterschool and summer learning programs—by supporting innovative advances that support student success.

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learn more about: Advocacy ESEA Inside the Afterschool Alliance Legislation Media Outreach
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