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22

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Weekly Media Roundup  April 22, 2015

By Luci Manning

STEM’s Goal: Attract Girls (Daily News, New York)

Fifty girls at Energy Tech High School are getting free lessons in computer coding through the new Women in STEM (Win STEM) afterschool program. Girls who volunteer for WinSTEM classes learn about coding through hands-on coursework in robotics. Despite significant barriers for females in the tech world, the WinSTEM participants are determined to make a difference. “There are not enough women in STEM,” Energy Tech sophomore Linda Alvarado told the Daily News. “It’s rare, but I’m hoping to change it.” WinSTEM is funded through a $20,000 grant from Verizon.

Walpole Grade Schoolers Will Cross Marathon Finish Line (Walpole Times, Massachusetts)

Students from more than eight Boston communities crossed Boston Marathon finish line this weekend as part of the 19th annual Boston Athletic Association (BAA) Relay Challenge. Youngsters from the running clubs ran different legs along the Boston Marathon route, a culmination of weeks of training. The running programs for elementary and middle school students teach the proper form and technique for running, along with important life skills and healthy habits. “I liked learning about the basics of running and nutrition,” Bird Middle School seventh-grader Sarah St. George told the Walpole Times. “I also learned that running can be fun.”

180 Degrees Program Finds Success in Turning Lives Around (Kansas City Star, Missouri)

An afterschool program in the Kansas City School District is helping put at-risk students back on track. The pilot program, 180 Degrees, serves middle and high school students struggling with truancy and academic issues. For three hours a day, four days a week, students receive homework assistance and dinner and learn lessons on personal accountability, responsibility and good decision making. “This program is for students who need a push in the right direction,” program coordinator Max Mendoza told the Kansas City Star. “Some may be on the verge of being expelled from school or are on the way to juvenile detention. This program provides another option.”

Mermaid-Themed Running Club Encourages Girls to Swim Upstream (Sacramento Bee, California)

Low-income girls in Sacramento are learning about teamwork and boosting their self-confidence through the Mini Mermaid Running Club. The afterschool program helps young girls embrace positive feelings about themselves through fitness, community service and healthy eating. The program is run by teachers, parents and community members and is currently in place at six Sacramento area schools. Program founder Heidi Boynton said she started the club because she believed that fitness and girl-powered camaraderie could help young women see their self-worth. Marriage and family therapist Susie Morgan, who helped develop the Mini Mermaid curriculum, agrees. “Having healthy movement in your life as well as healthy practices, and being in a group of women that support one another, all those things are extremely valuable in developing a core sense of self,” she told the Sacramento Bee.

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15

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Weekly Media Roundup  April 15, 2015

By Luci Manning

Students Showcase Robotic Creations for Medical Use (Bristol Press, Connecticut)

At this year’s Bristol Middle School Robotics Challenge, themed “Med-Bots: Robot Transfer, Transport and Transplant,” teams of fifth through eighth graders in afterschool robotics clubs programmed robots to perform heart transplant surgery, guide an ambulance to pick up a patient, and move patients in a hospital to the appropriate departments. The students worked through trial and error to guide their robots through mazes and to perform surgery simulations. Although they didn’t always succeed the first time, that’s not necessarily a bad thing, according to Northeast Middle School technology teacher Vince Jennetta. “In engineering terms failure is an important thing, but how you work through it – that’s how you get the grit and determination,” he told the Bristol Press.

Circle de Luz Helps Latina Girls Aim Toward College (Charlotte Observer, North Carolina)

Circle de Luz, a mentoring program in Charlotte, is trying to reverse the trend of Latina high school dropouts. Each year, the program selects a group of middle school girls who need assistance and continues mentoring them throughout high school with monthly in-school and afterschool programs. The activities include art and educational enrichment, as well as life skills like cooking, financial literacy and health and wellness. Circle de Luz also aims to inspire Latina students to head to college by pairing the girls with adult mentors who guide them the application process. Program manager Mary Kathryn Elkins told the Charlotte Observer that it is a six-year process that begins with “teaching (the girls) what college is and then having them believe it can be part of their future.”

Education Program Spreads Love of Music (Visalia Times-Delta, California)

A 12-week afterschool program is teaching violin to 25 second graders at Woodville School – very slowly. It wasn’t until week four that the students even got to hold an actual violin. They had been spending nearly two hours every day learning rhythm with clapping and egg shakers, singing to learn notes, and exploring the parts of the violin on blue “paper violins.” The Tulare County Symphony HEARTstrings afterschool program aims to reach rural children who rarely get a chance to play music. “The goal is not merely musical skills, but life skills,” Tulare County Symphony music director Bruce Kiesling told the Visalia Times-Delta.

Chess Club Benefits Students (Philadelphia Daily News, Pennsylvania)

When science and math teacher Jason Bui started the Minor Threats chess club, he – and the students who joined – had no idea that chess would have such an impact on their minds, their attitudes and their families. Bui said the members have gained increased focus, enhanced confidence and mended temperaments, and many of them have improved their academic performance. Chess teaches the kids to handle defeat and find solutions to problems. “[Chess] helped me to interact more at school,” 11-year-old Tahvon, who described himself as “not the nicest person” before he joined the club, told the Philadelphia Daily News. “I’m still a little to myself, but I’m getting better with it. Chess is helping me more.” 

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8

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Weekly Media Roundup  April 8, 2015

By Luci Manning

Thorp Discovery Lab Learns Drums (Ellensburg Daily Record, Washington)

Each Thursday, ten students from kindergarten to fifth grade learn to play half notes, quarter notes and eighth notes on an upside-down bucket. Afterwards, they move onto body drumming, which includes foot stomping, shoulder slapping, clapping and tap dancing. The students take classes four days a week through Discovery Lab at Thorp School, an afterschool program focused on STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math). According to Discovery Lab founder Tosha Woods, the art component is crucial. “Studies show art is incredibly important and supports all of STEM,” she told the Ellensburg Daily Record.

A New Kitchen and Organic Garden to Teach Healthy Cooking (Philadelphia Inquirer, Pennsylvania)

Students in the twice-weekly afterschool cooking class at Philadelphia Montessori Charter School recently learned to prepare baked chicken wings with potatoes, carrots and parsnips as an alternative to less-healthy fast food. They trimmed and separated the wings, washed and sliced the potatoes and prepared a marinade. Most of the students signed up for the class to learn to eat healthier or help around the kitchen at home. “I want to express myself through cooking and have people enjoy what I cook,” 11-year-old Beinushi Jean-Pierre told the Philadelphia Inquirer. Over the next few months, the school is building an upgraded teaching kitchen to house the program and planting an organic garden for the students to tend.

Newton’s Attic Teaches Kids Engineering through Hands-on Fun and Games (Lexington Herald-Leader, Kentucky)

Bill Cloyd was inspired to become a mechanical engineer through his childhood of building go karts and mini bikes from spare parts. Now, the former high school physics teacher runs Newton’s Attic, a five-acre facility that offers summer, spring break and afterschool classes that allows kids to learn engineering, physics and technology by creating their own toys. Last week, kids ages six to 18 were using a giant catapult to hurl pumpkins, building and flying drones, creating robots and learning about gravitational force by riding an enormous bungee-powered roller coaster. “The whole idea is fun with physics,” Cloyd’s wife Dawn told the Lexington Herald-Leader. “Play is the ultimate learning tool.” 

Cabrillo High Launches Ivy League Mentorship Program (Long Beach Press-Telegram, California)

Cabrillo High School recently began an afterschool program called Reach to the Stars, which aims to generate student interest in attending Ivy League schools and other top universities. According to the Long Beach Press-Telegram, the program “organizes visits from industry leaders in science, technology, literature and the arts to the West Long Beach campus.” One recent guest was MIT alum John Underkoffler, who spoke to the students about how technology is used in films. Underkoffler has been a science and technology advisor on films such as “Minority Report,” “Hulk” and “Iron Man.”

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1

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Weekly Media Roundup  April 1, 2015

By Luci Manning

Tapping Their Potential: Sports Mentorship Academy Serves Winona Youth (Winona Daily News, Minnesota)

Twice a week, 10 middle-school boys practice shooting, passing, layups and free throws as part of the Sports Mentorship Academy (SMA); a free afterschool program teaching young people to make better choices through basketball. Students with behavioral and performance issues are referred by school staff to the academy. SMA intern Mike Iyobhebhe was recruited from Winona State University to serve as a mentor, so the boys could see that someone like them can make it to college. “I see them as untapped potential,” Iyobhebhe told the Winona Daily News. “They just need something they can relate to.” Staff members discuss social issues with the kids and act as tutors and mentors, leading study hall sessions that teach the boys how to take notes, study, and manage time.

Students Launch Transatlantic Balloon (Manchester Union Leader, New Hampshire)

On Friday evening, a group of Windham High School students launched a balloon with a lofty goal: to have it and its electronic payload cross the Atlantic Ocean and make landfall in Europe. jagSAT-4 is the fourth student-designed and engineered high altitude probe sent off by the afterschool program, but the first to focus on distance rather than altitude. jagSAT is one of several afterschool science programs available to Windham students. Although many of the kids involved are already interested in science and engineering, more of them find themselves becoming invested in the projects as the program goes on. “This has been incredible,” student Dan Savukinas told the Manchester Union Leader. “It is everything I love and enjoy about school. It’s educational, hands-on, and a challenge we have never done before.”

Paddle Math: Students Put Math in Motion (Grand Traverse Herald, Michigan)

About a dozen students meet twice a week to put math into motion in an afterschool boat building workshop at Traverse City West Middle School. The program teaches teens basic woodworking skills while helping them learn to work together. Each cut, hole and mark in the plywood of the soon-to-be stand-up paddle board the students are currently working on is also a chance for instructor Adam Burks to show the kids how the math they learn in class can be applied to the real world. Burks said that hands-on woodworking is one of the best ways to reinforce the mathematical concepts in geometry and algebra. “You can’t help but use math when you build boats,” Burks told the Grand Traverse Herald.

After School, These Kids in Ash-West Are Just Getting Crackin’ (Fitchburg Sentinel & Enterprise, Massachusetts)

Meetinghouse Elementary School nurse Marcia Sharkey is teaching kids that having healthy habits can be fun through “Let’s Get Crackin’,” a six-week afterschool program for kindergartners, first-graders and second-graders. Each week, the kids are broken into teams led by Oakmont Regional High School volunteers, and each team performs 40 minutes of exercise followed by a 20-minute health education session. The theme this year is “5-4-3-2-1 & 8,” which Sharkey says stands for different healthy habits students can adopt each day. “Five fruits and vegetables,” she told the Fitchburg Sentinel & Enterprise. “Four glasses of water, three good laughs, two hours of screen time, one hour of exercise and eight hours of sleep.” Last week, the group did Zumba dancing and made yogurt and granola parfaits for their healthy snack. 

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25

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Weekly Media Roundup  March 25, 2015

By Luci Manning

Linton 6th-Graders Work to Help Save Monarch Butterflies (Linton Herald-Times, Indiana)

Two Linton-Stockton Junior High School students are working to create a habitat for monarch butterflies in Indiana. Suzie Rock and Emma Brinson, both 12, formed the afterschool Miner Monarch Club in order to educate fellow students and the community about the dwindling population of monarch butterflies that spend their summers in Indiana. The girls received a $1,000 grant from the Greene County Community Foundation to run the program, which usually has 15 to 20 students at its Thursday meetings. The club recently ran butterfly-related activities and games for Lincoln-Stockton first-graders to educate them about the monarchs. They are also planning to plant butterfly gardens at their school and other locations. “They’re really good planners and doers,” sixth-grade science teacher and club sponsor Cara Graves told the Linton Herald-Times. “They are very passionate about it.”

Mountain Bay Gets a Day with a Packer (Wausau Daily Herald, Wisconsin)

The Mountain Bay Elementary School afterschool flag football club earned a visit from Green Bay Packers wide receiver Jared Abbrederis last week. The school is part of the Fuel Up to Play 60 program, which is sponsored by the National Football League and the National Dairy Association and aims to get students active at least 60 minutes a day. In addition to flag football, Mountain Bay also has a walking club and a healthy eating program. The students tracked their healthy initiatives throughout the year and earned a visit from Abbrederis, according to the Wausau Daily Herald. “Growing up, I remember my mom used to always send me and my two sisters outside – whether it was snowing out, or 20 below or 100 degrees,” Abbrederis told the students. “We had to go out, get our energy out and have fun. That’s important for you guys, too.”

Money Flows to Help Kids in Community (Tulare Advance-Register, California)

Thanks to $2.1 million in grant funding from the U.S. Dept. of Justice, the new Closing the Circle to Reduce Crime and Delinquency program will provide a variety of programs and services to youth to teach them leadership and keep them off the streets.  “We ask ourselves how we can connect students to law in a positive way,” Tulare County Office of Education extended learning director Adam Valencia told the Tulare Advance-Register. “It’s another way to make connections so students can feel like they’re part of something bigger.” By the end of the three year project organizers expect to add law enforcement officers throughout the county and afterschool programs in rural communities.

Hoosiers Give Assist to After-School Program (Omaha World-Herald, Nebraska)

Before their NCAA tournament game last week, the Indiana Hoosiers basketball team visited the Abide Network afterschool program in Omaha to chat with the students about their dreams and goals. About 20 children from kindergarten through sixth grade attend the afterschool program, where they have a meal and study with volunteer tutors. This time, they paired up with the basketball players to talk about what they want to do with their lives. Hoosiers coach Tom Crean said he hoped his players would encourage and inspire the children, who come from some of Omaha’s most dangerous neighborhoods. “These kids are not forgotten,” Crean told the World-Herald. “These kids have a future.” 

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MAR
18

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Weekly Media Roundup  March 18, 2015

By Luci Manning

Ukelele Program Strikes a Chord (San Diego Union-Tribune, California)

In Pablo Cantua’s ukulele class at Ocean Views High School, everyone is smiling, laughing and tapping their feet. It’s happiness playing out in four simple chords, three times a week for more than two dozen students in the fledgling afterschool program. After just a month of practice, the youngsters are able to strum their way through “I’m Yours” and “La Bamba.” Cantua believes having music programs in schools allows students to expand their minds into other areas. “If they can learn to learn, they can apply that to any subject,” he told the San Diego Union-Tribune. Principal Neil Egasani said the confidence students are building in the program is already carrying over into the classroom.

After-School Program Teaches Stock Market (Murfreesboro Daily News Journal, Tennessee)

Students participating in the afterschool program at Patterson Park Community Center have five weeks to get the best return they can on $100,000 in investments. The students are playing a condensed version of the Stock Market Game, where they work in teams to invest a hypothetical $100,000 in listed stocks, bonds and mutual funds. Throughout the game, they learn the value of saving and investing as they work together to maximize the return on their portfolio. “They may not think it’s something they need to know now, or that they’re even interested in, but they’ll have a lot of fun if they embrace it,” Jerome Azbell, supervisor of the community center’s Myrtle Glandon Lord Library, told the Murfreesboro Daily News Journal.

Knitting Club Provides Refuge for Teens From High-Crime Neighborhoods (Chicago Tribune, Illinois)

Four years ago, Better Boys Foundation CEO Mary Visconti took an unconventional approach to keeping her North Lawndale students out of trouble: knitting. The communities where many of her students grow up are impoverished, and crime rates are high, but she sees knitting as a way to build community and keep kids safe. The afterschool program, KnitLAB, operates like a small business. Students are paid $325 stipends for a 10-week session to create hats, scarves, rugs and quilts. The items are sold and the money is reinvested in knitting supplies for the program. KnitLAB instructor Ana Spencer calls her students “employees” and expects them to make up any missed time, which she said instills life skills and gives them a sense of self-efficacy. In the end, the kids are proud of what they’ve produced. “The fact that I could be wearing or using something that I actually made myself is a good feeling,” 14-year-old Arteuna Dotson told the Chicago Tribune.

Columbia Police Officers Work to Build Relationships with Local Kids (ColaDaily.com, South Carolina)

“The gym at Columbia’s Hyatt Park was filled with the voices of more than a dozen young people and nearly as many police officers, but no one in the gym was in trouble with the law,” ColaDaily.com reports. During the Hyatt Park afterschool program, a joint effort by the Columbia Police Department and the South Carolina Attorney General’s office, officers joined elementary school kids in playing games to create a bond between officers and kids.  The program also aims to provide students with successful role models and teach them about leadership and respect. “These kids aren’t seeing cops,” South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson told ColaDaily.com. “They’re seeing mentors, coaches, and big brothers and big sisters.”

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MAR
11

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Weekly Media Roundup : March 11, 2015

By Luci Manning

After School Programs Promoting Healthy Lifestyles For Kids (WNEW, District of Columbia)

After school activities are beginning to emerge as an effective weapon in the battle against childhood obesity, according to a new survey conducted for the Afterschool Alliance.  Afterschool Alliance executive director Jodi Grant told WNEW’s Chuck Carroll that 95 percent of parents surveyed in D.C. said their child’s after school program involves some sort of physical activity.  The percentage was lower in Virginia and Maryland, with 87 percent and 77 percent of parents saying the same, respectively.  Despite these statistics, only about one out of five students is actually involved in an after school program.  The obesity rate among children continues to skyrocket, with one out of every three kids considered obese, but the survey suggests a simple solution could help curb that epidemic – after school programs.

Fitness Progress Tied to Nebraska After School Programs (WOWT, Nebraska)

A new household survey indicates that afterschool programs are an effective tool in the effort to prevent childhood obesity in Nebraska and nationwide.  The survey was conducted by Shugoll Research for the Afterschool Alliance.  A special report was included in the survey titled "Kids on the Move: Afterschool Programs Promoting Healthy Eating and Physical Activity."  In the survey, most Nebraska parents (73 percent in Nebraska and 72 percent nationally) report that their child’s afterschool program provides children with beverages, snacks and/or meals, and 88 percent in Nebraska are satisfied that the food served is healthy.

Study Finds Afterschool Programs Help Promote Healthy Eating (Motherhood Through My Eyes, Florida)

Going back to my grammar school days, I recall staying in afterschool programs with one of my brothers because our school days ended at 2:30 pm and our mom worked across the street until 4:30, sometimes 5.  Aside from the obvious getting homework done, we had time to socialize and communicate with classmates.  Our parents would either pack us some snacks or we would save one or two from lunchtime.  One thing is for sure, whoever was watching us always made sure we kept busy and ate something.  Afterschool programs are still around today and, according to a special report from Afterschool Alliance, parents have expectations for these programs.  More than 70% of Florida parents said their child’s afterschool program provides beverages, snacks, and/or meals for the children in the programs.  In addition, 78% of them are satisfied that the food being served is healthy.

Healthy Habits: Afterschool Programs (Motherhood Moment, Minnesota)

Evidence is mounting that afterschool programs are an effective tool in the effort to prevent childhood obesity in Minnesota and nationwide, according to a household survey conducted by Shugoll Research for the Afterschool Alliance.  In the survey, most Minnesota parents (79 percent in Minnesota and 72 percent nationally) report that their child’s afterschool program provides children with beverages, snacks and/or meals, and 82 percent in Minnesota are satisfied that the food served is healthy.  Similarly, a strong majority of parents (82 percent) agree that afterschool programs should offer opportunities for physical activity, and 91 percent of Minnesota parents with a child in an afterschool program report that the program does just that.

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4

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Weekly Media Roundup  March 4, 2015

By Luci Manning

All ACEs for Students as They Earned Scholarships (Polk County Democrat, Florida)

At the ACE (Architecture, Construction and Engineering) afterschool mentoring program annual banquet, half a dozen students won scholarships ranging from $1,000 to $2,500 each. Teams comprised of the 30 students in the program made presentations to judges on their project for the year – a remodeling of the Bartow High School Culinary Arts Academy, complete with a model using architectural LEGO bricks. The teams were judged on their exterior scale model, their concept level drawings, the use of sustainable elements, the structural narrative and the proposed building schedule. Culinary Arts Academy instructor Rosalind Chan was impressed with the students’ ideas. “I love all the designs and see how any one of them could make our facilities so much better,” she told the Polk County Democrat. “They all did a great job and provided solutions to all the problems we proposed to them.”

Africa, Overlooked by Syllabus, Is Focus of Club (Riverdale Press, New York)

By the end of seventh grade, Whitney Wyche, whose family is of African descent, had learned about Ancient Greece and Rome, British kings and French monarchs – but not about African civilizations. When she heard about a new afterschool program focused on African history, she signed up. “I thought it would be great to see where I come from,” she told the Riverdale Press. Each week, about 10 students meet to discuss everything from African history to current events. While most of the elementary school curriculum focuses on the slave trade and other tragic elements of Africa’s history, the class is a place to dispel misconceptions. The program will culminate with a week-long trip to Ghana in the spring, which students have been preparing for by learning about Ghanaian culture and communicating with pen pals.

Boyle Teens Flip Out to Teach KSD Students (Danville Advocate-Messenger, Kentucky)

The room is anything but quiet with squealing students running and preparing for their afterschool gymnastics class at the Kentucky School for the Deaf. The elementary-age program is led by Boyle County High School sophomore Ellie Begley and junior Maddi Karsner. “It’s a great opportunity for the Boyle County students to work with our students – it’s a cultural exchange,” KDS staff interpreter Sarah Williams told the Advocate-Messenger. The teens rely heavily on the help of interpreters, parents and teachers to communicate with the children, but they’re learning some words and phrases in American Sign Language from the students. The program has helped the KSD students gain confidence, stamina and much more.

Gift Buoys Tutoring Program (Clayton News-Star, North Carolina)

Local philanthropist Durwood Stephenson recently donated six computers to the afterschool Next Level Tutoring program at First Missionary Baptist Church in Smithfield. More than 30 students of all ages come to First Missionary for help with their homework. First Missionary also works with a food bank to feed kids and has woven exercise into its afterschool program with help from the U.S. Tennis Association. Pastor Larry Honeyblue said the goal of the program is to reduce poverty by making sure children succeed in school and receive the education they need to thrive. “Believe it or not, if you educate a child, they’ll change their outlook because their opportunities change,” he told the Clayton News-Star. “Doors open that wouldn’t open, and it makes children feel better about themselves.” 

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