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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 Diana Delfin
DEC
8

RESEARCH
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Student-Centered Learning in Afterschool: Putting Students' Needs and Interests First

By Diana Delfin

 
The Afterschool Alliance, in partnership with the Nellie Mae Education Foundation, presents a new issue brief highlighting different ways in which student-centered approaches to learning are incorporated into afterschool programming.  The beauty of this type of learning is that there is no wrong way to create and expand student-centered, individualized opportunities. Moreover, teachers and caring adults in the community can work together to secure safe places for youth to pursue their own curiosities. However, whether or not students have access to this approach to learning depends on the intention of the program and staff. 

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learn more about: Digital Learning Issue Briefs Technology
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SEP
13

FUNDING
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Race to the Top Winner Delaware Utilizing Funds to Support Afterschool and Summer Learning

By Diana Delfin

It seems the role of afterschool programs is seen as an effective way to utilize Race to the Top (RTT) funding and meet state reform goals. See a comprehensive list of implementation plans from each of Delaware's school districts. Delaware is directing some of their RTT funding to support the creation and expansion of local afterschool and summer programming. In fact, according to their plans posted online, each one of Delaware’s school districts are reinforcing Delaware’s requirement for Local Education Agencies (LEAs) to support increasing learning time with enriching activities.  Here are some of the initiatives and innovations school districts in Delaware plan to implement RTT funds:

Appoquinimink ($65,000; 2011-2012) has proposed dual enrollment options for high school students through SpringBoard, a new program aimed to increase participation in AP and honors courses.  The SpringBoard program also includes field trips to colleges in Delaware and a tour of an out of state regional college.
 
Brandywine ($1,609,582; 2011-2012) has proposed to expand summer AP courses and a Summer Bridge Program for all students. By providing additional support through acceleration and remediation strategies for students, the Brandywine school district hopes to motivate and prepare students for long-term success.  

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learn more about: Competition Federal Funding Race to the Top School Improvement State Policy Summer Learning
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AUG
16

POLICY
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Supporting Afterschool Through School Improvement Grants

By Diana Delfin

Earlier this year the U.S. Department of Education approved School Improvement Grant (SIG) proposals for the nation’s persistently low-achieving schools.  As funding was rolled out to local school districts, teachers, local leaders and communities embraced the opportunity to implement new and expanded learning opportunities for their students.  Now SIG grantees are taking the next steps to implement quality afterschool and summer programming.

SIG and afterschool in the news:

  • Toledo Public Schools was awarded $6 million in SIG funding to boost student achievement in persistently low-performing schools.  In the upcoming school year, local leaders plan to use SIG dollars to support enriching afterschool programming and a six-week summer camp.
  • Duquesne Elementary and Middle School in Pennsylvania received SIG funds to expand their extended day program to include music, dance and arts enrichment—generating excitement among students as well as new opportunities for increased parent and community engagement.

In an effort to support state and local leaders, the U.S. Department of Education has launched the School Turnaround Learning Community website to provide access to helpful resources and networks for individuals to learn from peers and experts.  This website is highly recommended for those wanting to stay up-to-date with increased learning time and SIG funding at both the state and district level.  Further information on approved SIG grants and the Department of Education’s list of persistently low-achieving schools can be found on the Department’s website.

Stay tuned to the Afterschool Snack for new blog posts on SIG and afterschool as communities and schools implement programming for the new school year.  We would love to hear more about your own SIG success stories!  Post your comment below or share on our Facebook and Twitter pages! 

 

 

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learn more about: Education Reform School Improvement
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JUN
10

FUNDING
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Webinar with David Kirp Discusses Importance of Strong Community Partnerships

By Diana Delfin

On June 3, David L. Kirp, education policy expert and author of Kids First: Five Big Ideas for Transforming Children’s Lives and America’s Future, discussed his new book in a webinar with the Director of Coalition for Community Schools, Martin J. Blank.

In the webinar, Kirp mentions that policy makers should follow a youth-centered version of the Golden Rule: “Every child deserves what’s good enough for a child you love.”  He went on to state that kids ought to have access to healthcare, social services and enriching learning opportunities including quality afterschool and summer programs.  With a system of support in place for kids, Kirp believes communities and community schools can play a major role in helping youth to succeed. 

Kirp highlighted the great work of community schools—more specifically, the importance of creating a range of strong partnerships between schools, community-based organizations, local nonprofits and public agencies.  For example, he emphasized the positive impact of engaging an array of allies such as parents, volunteers, the local police department and public libraries.

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learn more about: Equity School Improvement
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MAY
9

LIGHTS ON
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Calling all afterschool artists! Design the 2011 Lights On Afterschool Poster!

By Diana Delfin

Now is the time to start getting ready for our annual Lights On Afterschool in October,where more than one million people from across the country gather to celebrate afterschool at 7,500+ events and rallies.  Get kids excited by participating in our poster designing contest! 

The winning poster design will be printed on 70,000 posters sent to afterschool programs from coast to coast and featured on our website.  But that’s not it!  Thanks to a generous donation from Destination DC, the winner also receives free trip to Washington, D.C. in honor of our Lights On Afterschool kick-off at the 2011 DC Capital Criterium!  The CapCrit is a racing event for professional cycling superstars that attracts huge crowds of spectators each year.

For even more inspiration, check out submissions from previous years at our online gallery of poster art.  Also take a look at last year's winning design.  Here are the guidelines for submissions.  The deadline for submissions is June 30.  

As you gather tips and ideas for Lights On Afterschool poster designs, tell us more about it and join the afterschool conversation today on ourFacebook and Twitter pages! 

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learn more about: Competition
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MAR
14

POLICY
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President Urges Youth to Enjoy the 'Great Outdoors'

By Diana Delfin

Spring is right around the corner!

Last month, President Barack Obama announced the new report on America’s Great Outdoors Initiative.  He urged everyone to reconnect with nature and spend time outside of the home.  He also emphasized the need to have more youth being active outdoors.  Here is a transcript of his remarks.
As we know, afterschool and summer programs provide a favorable setting for youth to get outdoors and connect with nature. Check out our issue brief highlighting how successful afterschool and summer programs provide a variety of opportunities for youth to learn about and engage with nature. With afterschool and summer programs, youth have more experiential opportunities to pursue an interest inspired by nature.  Hopefully, now that the president himself has stated his support for youth and America’s Great Outdoors initiative, more afterschool programs will consider incorporating outdoor programming.
What creative and innovative ideas do you have in store for your afterschool program this spring season?
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learn more about: Health and Wellness Obama
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FEB
11

POLICY
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Race to the Top States Moving on Expanded Learning

By Diana Delfin

 We’ve been tracking Race to the Top (RTT) winners to see how they are incorporating expanded learning, such as afterschool, summer or extended day programs, into their plans.   The two Phase 1 winners, Delaware and Tennessee, are actively implementing their RTT plans, which include expanded learning.  While the models vary, schools in the states seem to be favoring a mix of tutoring and enrichment programs.  

 
In Delaware, plans by all four “Partnership Zone” schools have been approved.  Highlights of the schools’ plans for expanded learning: 
 
In their proposal, Positive Outcomes Charter School (POCS) writes that it will implement a longer school day schedule by adding 18 minutes per day. By adjusting their school day schedule  POCS is able to create a 7th period for enrichment programming. On top of this, POCS states they will have afterschool tutoring and add a summer program.
 
Stubbs Elementary School plans to add one hour to the school day, and will make room for enrichment opportunities and project-based learning activities. The school plans to increase parental involvement in STEM learning by providing educational packets with STEM enrichment activities catered to each student. Stubbs' proposal also incorporates different ways of learning by embracing partnerships with community organizations and businesses. Stubbs officials hope that students can shadow paraprofessionals and have access to more project-based learning opportunities through these partnerships. The school hopes to implement this "Transformational Model" reform plan by August 2011.
 
Howard High School of Technology in Wilmington plans on creating a Summer Bridge program for incoming 9th graders. Howard High School’s Partnership Zone proposal also mentions the possibility of adding a  “9th period” after regular school hours for remediation and enrichment. 
 
Glasgow High School proposes to extend learning time by increasing access to enrichment programming, internships, and dual enrollment opportunities. Glasgow High School 9th and 10th grade students will also have the option to attend a Summer Acceleration Academy to meet academic goals. The proposal also highlights the use of business partners in the community to help provide project-based learning and shadowing opportunities for students.
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learn more about: Race to the Top School Improvement
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JAN
20

IN THE FIELD
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Doodle 4 Google Registration is Now Open to All Afterschool Artists

By Diana Delfin

  

 
Doodle 4 Google is an artistic contest for K-12th grade youth to redesign Google’s homepage logo. Each submission builds on top of the basic Google template, and then, with a crafty and creative mind, redesigns that logo while simultaneously responding to the theme: “What I’d like to do someday…”
 
This year, Doodle 4 Google shows their support for afterschool, awarding two After School Program Quality Awards.  Winning programs from the Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) and The Girl Scouts of the USA are set to receive 40 netbook computers and $5,000 in educational grants.  Other prizes up for grabs include $5,000 in educational grants, a $15,000 college scholarship and a $25,000 technology grant.  The technology grant can be put towards expanding computer lab access or technology programming after school. Click here for more information on prizes and judging. 
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learn more about: Competition
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