Snacks by Molly Tomlinson
By Molly Tomlinson
Afterschool students at the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster’s Embryology Program watched and learned as Herman, Henry, Chickie, Chiquita and Butterscotch grew from eggs into fluffy, yellow chicks. The students monitored the temperature and humidity of the incubators, fed the chicks and take turns holding the newly hatched chicks. Club Executive Director Donata Martin told the Worcester Telegram & Gazette that the afterschool program uses a curriculum which “integrates the concepts of embryology into easy-to-use math, science and language arts lesson plans.” She plans to repeat the program in the fall.
This week General Motors Co. (GM) launched GM Student Corps, a new program that is providing paid summer internships to 110 Detroit-area high school students who will work on community service projects. The program is “designed to help prepare teens for leadership and careers, as well as aid Detroit as it continues to evolve as a city where young professionals want to live and work,” The Detroit News reports. Teams of students are creating service projects, like cleaning up local parks or establishing a food bank or community garden in Detroit area neighborhoods. The students are responsible for budgeting, planning and implementing the projects over the summer, and they will be mentored by GM retirees and employee volunteers.
Afterschool programs in Lacey, funded by a North Thurston Public Schools’ 21st Century Community Learning Center grant, are transforming schools into a fun place to be after the school day ends. “On a recent afternoon, a group of students prepared mango mint salsa with fresh vegetables from the school’s garden, while others played math and reading games, worked on art projects, played computer chess and other programs in the library, and ran drills on the soccer field,” The Olympian reports. Program coordinators say that they’ve also seen academic gains in students and are hoping that the afterschool program can continue after the grant ends.
Afterschool students from programs at 22 schools across five counties premiered their short films at The State Theatre in Modesto last week. The films shown at the Reel Life Film Festival addressed a range of topics, like bullying, welcoming new students and sticking up for others. Students’ responsibilities weren’t limited to filming; students also had to pitch their story to “producers” (the afterschool program staff), develop plot lines and characters, figure out chronology and sequencing, and more.
By Molly Tomlinson
At GRLZ Radio in Dorchester, a radio station and afterschool program run by St. Mary’s Center for Women and Children, teens learn radio production and communication skills while gaining an outlet for self-expression. GRLZ Radio is partnering with WERS and providing regular programming on its sister station ETIN
, and “soon the teens will be anchoring newscasts, assembling radio pieces, and handling production duties,” the Boston Globe Magazine
“Children in the Tag, You’re It! after-school program at Lincoln Elementary School in Wausau are having so much fun playing versions of the popular chase game that they might not even realize how many calories they are burning,” the Marshfield News Herald reports. The popular programs emphasize getting kids active and moving, playing well together and learning about healthy eating. At the end of the six-week session, afterschool students will take home a packet with how many calories they burned and other ideas for fun fitness activities.
A mentoring program that started with five teens in Angela Nash’s Columbus living room is expanding to an afterschool program that will eventually serve at least 50 at-risk youth. A Chosen Generation “matches volunteer mentors with at-risk youth as identified by teachers, school counselors and parents, and seeks to improve their performance in school and discuss problems the students are experiencing outside the classroom,” The Dispatch reports. It aims to reduce the academic achievement gap between minorities and low-income students and their peers, increase job readiness and employability and reduce risky behaviors for teens.
The Girls on the Run afterschool program at Roseboro Elementary School in Clinton was the inspiration behind the town’s 5K May Day run. One of the race organizers, Jessica Eason, told The Samson Independent that the program, “teaches the girls that it is okay to be yourself. You don’t have to be a follower. You can step out of the box and be who you are.” The proceeds raised from the race will help fund the afterschool program next year.
By Molly Tomlinson
Two C.K. McClatchy High School seniors, John Spurlock and Keenan Harris, took first place in the policy debate division at the national Tournament of Champions last month. The win was unexpected because the C.K. McClatchydebate team is an afterschool program and has a significantly smaller budget than the private schools it was competing against. “What we feel is important is hard work and showing teams like us that are without gigantic coaching staffs or huge travel budgets that success is possible,” Harris told the Sacramento Bee.
The D.C. Council unanimously voted this week to increase funding for summer school by $4 million and to continue teaching as many city students as possible over the summer. The council added the extra funds after D.C. public schools said it would scale back summer classes this year. “The council also approved an ‘emergency’ declaration stating that all students who need extra instruction should be able to enroll in summer school,” the Washington Post reports.
Since January, afterschool students at Hoover Elementary in Crawfordsville have been training for a 5k run. The students started running after school through a partnership of Fuel Up to Play 60, Chartwell’s and Prairie Farms, The Paper of Montgomery County reports. Even after the afterschool program ended, the students kept running and training for a 5k race on Saturday. Proceeds from Saturday’s run will help the school buy equipment and fund next year’s afterschool program.
Afterschool students from Hoffman Elementary School were left scrambling when minutes before the Texas Solar Race Car Event at Gustafson Stadium, their entry was accidentally crushed by a fellow competitor. The students, with the help of their coach, stripped the wheels from a decommissioned car, applied superglue liberally, and returned to the track to place first in their heat and advance to the semi-finals. The team’s coach Patrick Ware told the San Antonio Express-News, “The most important thing I think they get out of it is how to work together. Things we have to learn as adults they're learning right there.” The afterschool students dedicated the past two months to their goal of engineering the fastest miniature solar car in the competition.
By Molly Tomlinson
Kujanga Jackson, head of the Zone afterschool program for at-risk and under-performing students at Mark Twain Elementary in Tulsa, says he can see positive changes in students who have participated in the program. “I have a performance report that shows the students we've had in our program have improved academically, socially, behaviorally,” Jackson told the Tulsa World. “Socially, we're seeing the kids learn to function better in the classroom, better with their peers.”
Afterschool students at Lebanon High School competed in a taste-off last week. The afterschool students were challenged with finding nutritious recipes to create a complete meal. The winning recipe, mango chicken, will be served for lunch in the high school cafeteria! Organizers also announced that the runner up, Spanish chicken, will be served later this month.
and Dallas AfterSchool Network (DASN) CEO Tanya McDonald told the Dallas Business Journal
that the Network is looking to expand area afterschool programs without sacrificing quality. The network helps 145 afterschool and summer programs in Dallas County achieve national quality standards. “As we help to create quality programs in the community, we want to work with those organizations to expand their capacity to serve more kids," McDonald said. "But we want to make sure that as spaces are added, they are high quality."
Fourteen afterschool students from the Teen Producers Academy at the Maysles Institute in Manhattan created a 20-minute film about the role gun violence has played in their Harlem community. "Triggering Wounds" premiered last week at the Tribeca Film Festival. It was nominated for Best Documentary in the "Our City, My Story” youth showcase.
By Molly Tomlinson
Mayors and city council members from across the country co-authored a piece on the importance of afterschool programs in Education Week. It said: “For our cities to remain beacons of hope, it is our responsibility as municipal leaders to help young people develop the skills and talents they need to find gainful employment and become successful adults in a knowledge-based economy. City leaders must work together with schools, parents, and others to help young people thrive, with a shared understanding that their success will determine the success of our cities. Maximizing the after-school hours is one important way in which city governments can improve educational outcomes for children and teenagers and reinforce what they learn in the classroom.” The op-ed was signed by Mayors Christopher Coleman (St. Paul, Minn.), Karl Dean (Nashville, Tenn.), and Betsy Price (Fort Worth, Texas) and City Council Members James Mitchell Jr. (Charlotte, N.C.) and Ronnie Steine (Nashville, Tenn.).
Using data from a survey of young people, associate director of the Center for Education Policy Research Angelo Gonzales and his colleagues at the University of New Mexico, “have identified a strong relationship between students who are involved in activities outside of school and those who engage in less risky behaviors,” the Albuquerque Journal reports. “Specifically, students who said they were involved in extracurricular activities reported lower levels of attempts to commit suicide, smoking, binge drinking, drug use and sexual activity…and significantly higher rates of daily physical activity.” The New Mexico-specific data is from the 2011 state Youth Risk and Resiliency Survey of middle and high school students.
Students from the Whitney Community Center afterschool program are walking around the playground with Boise City Council member TJ Thomson as part of a local initiative to encourage physical fitness, the Idaho Statesman reports. Boise Mayor David H. Bieter has pledged to walk 150 miles in honor of the city’s sesquicentennial.
The the Worcester Technical High School Robotics and Automation Technology Team, one of 420 teams from 23 countries, won the 2013 VEX Robotics World Championships trophy over the weekend. Worcester Polytechnic Institute President and CEO Dennis Berkey told the Telegram & Gazette, “Their world championship award reinforces the power of STEM [science, technology, engineering and math] education, specifically as it applies in robotics, and especially the highly effective curriculum and dedication of the faculty and staff at ‘the other’ Worcester Tech.”
By Molly Tomlinson
“Detroit Public Schools plans to provide preschool to all of the city's 4-year-olds, offer music and art after school and allow schools to house educational and social services for 12 hours every day as part of an ambitious effort to attract and retain students,” the Detroit Free Press reports. The new plan also calls for a longer school day and a longer school year and for turning some of Detroit’s schools into community schools. Detroit Public Schools has lost two-thirds of its enrollment in the past decade and has a deficit of about $76 million and long-term debt of about $400 million. The district is hoping its reform efforts will enable it to keep its students and its per-pupil funding so that it won’t be forced to close more schools.
The Herald-Standard reports that California State Rep. Peter J. Daley (D) recently visited the Charleroi Elementary Center’s 21st Century Community Learning Centers afterschool program to read to students from Brownsville, Connellsville and Charleroi area school districts. The afterschool program has partnered with California University of Pennsylvania. The program includes daily skill development, individual tutoring, physical education, cultural and technology enrichment.
Some students from Access 21, an afterschool program at Haverhill High, are spending two afternoons each week painting “images of native plants such as sumac trees, and cattails as well as animals such as deer, foxes, coyotes, great blue herons, eagles, seagulls, geese, beavers, turtles and turkey vultures” on 12 4-by-8-foot panels for the Merrimack River Rail Trail, the Haverhill Gazette reports. The panels will be mounted on the back wall of a hardware store abutting the rail trail, creating an 80-foot-long by 20-foot-high mural for all to see.
By Molly Tomlinson
Children at Risk president and CEO Dr. Robert Sanborn wrote a column in the El Paso Times urging legislators to expand learning opportunities for students. He writes, “Expanded learning opportunities are nationally recognized as a key strategy to improve academic achievement and the overall success of youth. Texas has the opportunity during this 83rd legislative session to continue the dialogue on expanded learning opportunities for our students, following Lt. Gov. Dewhurst's interim charge from last session to study after-school and extended learning time programs.”
Agricultural Corporation Monsanto has donated $500,000 to the National 4-H Council to expand the group’s National 4-H Volunteer Initiative, which provides the organization’s 540,000 volunteers with training, and will fund pilot volunteer-related programs in Illinois and Iowa, the St. Louis Business Journal reports.
This week the York Daily Record profiled the Mighty Dantz Team, an afterschool program that offers dance and life lessons to girls in fifth to eighth grade in York. The program was started after New Hope won a GoGirlGo! Pennsylvania Grant from the Women's Sport Foundation and The Hershey Co. in December. Three days a week, in addition to dance training, the girls get to talk about a range of issues from body image to family issues to peer pressure. Organizers are hoping to enroll about 20 more students before the end of the school year.
Afterschool students attending Modesto City School’s After School Education & Safety (ASES) programs are staying “on track and out of trouble, with statistics showing fewer juvenile crimes committed in afternoon hours where the programs are in place,” the Modesto Bee reports. Mark Twain Junior High Principal Mike Berhorst said he sees the afterschool program making a difference for students. “I do see a difference in the culture. Higher expectations, more support. This is something they cherish.”
By Molly Tomlinson
Students in Anderson’s Park Place Community Center’s After School Fun program are using photos and videos to capture their lives. The students then write stories to go with their photos. “Amrutha Pulikottil, operations manager of Fireside, said they want the students to leave with better communication skills crucial to doing well not only in the classroom and future workplace, but life,” and promote students’ self-discovery and self-confidence, The Herald Bulletin
reports. At the end of the program, students will post their photos and videos in a blog for the public to view at www.storytellersofanderson.tumblr.com.
Afterschool students in J.J. Jones Intermediate School’s 21st Century Community Learning Center program use the Iditarod to learn how to work together as a team and hosted their own mini-Iditarod on the school’s walking trail. Students followed news of the race online using GPS trackers and hosted their own version of races—Simon Says with musher commands, warm clothes relay race, checkpoints to monitor the dogs’ health, and more.
To raise awareness and money for the Sussex Family, YMCA 61-year-old Jack Vassalotti walked the width of Delaware last week. Vassalotti is a board member of the YMCA and heads its Strong Kids campaign, which raises more than $100,000 annually to provide financial assistance for underprivileged children to participate in the nonprofit’s youth activities.