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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 Guest Blogger
SEP
29
2017

IN THE FIELD
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Pro sports can connect kids to afterschool STEAM learning

By Guest Blogger

By Jesse Lovejoy, director of STEAM Education for the San Francisco 49ers and managing partner of EDU Academy. More information on 49ers STEAM programming is available here

On its best days, informal and afterschool education is cool. It’s different. It lights fires. For many kids, it’s a window into new way of thinking about subjects they either don’t know or think they don’t like. Sports can be a powerful connector of kids to content—one on which the San Francisco 49ers capitalize, through the organization’s education work in the Bay Area.

“Some kids think learning isn’t cool,” said George Garcia, lead STEAM instructor for Santa Clara Unified School District, “but you tie it into something they enjoy or see on TV and all of a sudden kids sit up straighter in the classroom and almost forget they’re learning.”

SEP
28
2017

LIGHTS ON
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America's #HealthiestSchools: 3 ways to team up for Lights On Afterschool

By Guest Blogger

By Daniel W. Hatcher, MPH, director of Community Partnerships at Alliance for a Healthier Generation.

The 2017 America’s #HealthiestSchools campaign is grounded in the shared belief that every child deserves a healthy school. Afterschool leaders are essential partners for healthy schools.

America After 3 PM tells us that 73 percent of families report that their child’s afterschool program is located in a public school building. That is some serious overlap! As afterschool programs across the country prepare to celebrate Lights On Afterschool, this is the perfect time for school and afterschool to collaborate.

 

SEP
22
2017

STEM
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Guest blog: Have recent investments in afterschool STEM improved student outcomes?

By Guest Blogger

By Dr. Gil G. Noam, Dr. Patricia J. Allen, and Bailey Triggs at The PEAR Institute: Partnerships in Education and Resilience.

Percentage of youth reporting positive change in STEM-related attitudes and 21st-century skills

U.S. policymakers have prioritized boosting student interest in science, engineering, technology and math (STEM) to prepare the nation’s youth for an increasingly STEM-focused workforce. High-quality STEM afterschool programs are helping to fill this growing need. The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation and the Noyce Foundation (now STEM Next) played a critical role in helping states across the country to develop systems of support for these quality afterschool STEM programs so that they can share research and best practices.

To support this effort, we at The PEAR Institute (Partnerships in Education and Resilience) at McLean Hospital and Harvard University partnered with Dr. Todd Little and IMMAP (Institute for Measurement, Methodology, Analysis & Policy) at Texas Tech University to conduct one of the first large-scale evaluations to measure the impact of afterschool programs on students’ STEM-related attitudes, social-emotional skills, and 21st-century skills. Our report was made possible through a collaboration of researchers, practitioners, funders, and 11 statewide afterschool networks.

SEP
15
2017

IN THE FIELD
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Guest blog: Standing up for immigrant kids

By Guest Blogger

By Sil Ganzó, executive director of ourBRIDGE for KIDS

Based in Charlotte, North Carolina, ourBRIDGE for KIDS is an afterschool program focused on helping newly-arrived and first-generation American children achieve academic success and integration into the community through innovative instructional methods and a celebration of cultural diversity. Our students represent more than 20 cultures from Southeast Asia, Africa, Middle East and Latin America.

In my role as executive director, I often have the opportunity to present our work to representatives of various corporations and foundations and meet potential advocates, volunteers, and donors who will further our mission of creating a community that embraces refugees and immigrants. The questions, feedback, and constant surge of ideas improves our program and makes my job truly exciting, and I love it. I like to think of myself as a fearless, outspoken advocate, but recently this notion was put up to the test.

SEP
11
2017

IN THE FIELD
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How afterschool can help Hurricane Harvey relief

By Guest Blogger

By Heidi Ham, Vice Presidenct, Programs and Strategy at the National AfterSchool Association. This article was original published on September 5, 2017 on the National AfterSchool Association's website.

It's back to school (and afterschool) for most of the United States, but in Texas, Hurricane Harvey has shuttered hundreds of school districts.

According to the Texas Education Agency (TEA), Hurricane Harvey has had devastating effects on the education community of the Gulf Coast. More than one million students have been affected in some way. Formal and informal educators nearby and across the country are asking how they can help.

Michelle Pina from NAA's Texas Affiliate, the Texas AfterSchool Association (TAA), said, "The sun is shining but so many are still being rescued and evacuated after Harvey. Houston Independent School District (IDS) announced today that school would not resume until September 11 and surrounding districts are tentative for September. Many districts to the south have no start date because they are still without power. An organization in other states reached out to the TEA to see how afterschool programs can help Houston and other cities in Texas."

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learn more about: Afterschool Voices Take Action
SEP
8
2017

RESEARCH
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Evaluating afterschool: What my toddler taught me about evaluation

By Guest Blogger

By Allison Riley, PhD, MSW, Senior Vice President, Programming and Evaluation at Girls on the Run International. Girls on the Run is a physical activity-based positive youth development program that inspires girls to be joyful, healthy, and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum that creatively integrates running.

The Afterschool Alliance is pleased to present the seventh installment of our "Evaluating afterschool" blog series, which answers some of the common questions asked about program evaluation and highlights program evaluation best practices. Be sure to take a look at the firstsecondthirdfourthfifth, and sixth posts of the series.

My two-year-old daughter and I like to take walks together when I get home from work. Whether we are headed to see the neighbor’s chickens or visit a friend, we always have some goal in mind when we walk out of the door, though my toddler typically doesn’t take the most direct path. Even if I try to rush her along so we can more quickly reach our destination, she is sure to pause when a good learning opportunity comes her way. When I follow my daughter’s lead, our walks are purposeful yet flexible, and I always learn more, too.

As it turns out, my daughter’s approach to a walk translates well to my workday world. As someone who’s spent my career evaluating youth programming, I have learned the importance of having a clear purpose and goals for a project while being flexible and responsive to information gathered during the evaluation process. Let’s look at a recent Girls on the Run study as an example.

AUG
18
2017

RESEARCH
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Guest blog: Q&A with an afterschool researcher, part II

By Guest Blogger

Welcome to part II of our Q&A with Neil Naftzger, American Institutes for Research (AIR), about his evaluation work related to 21st CCLC programs specifically and the afterschool field broadly. Below are answers to oneof the questions we asked, with our emphasis added in bold, which establish that there is in fact clear evidence demonstrating that 21st CCLC work for students. To read part I, click here.

What changes would you like to see in terms of 21st CCLC data collection and evaluation?

This is a big question. First, I think we need to be clear around the purposes we’re trying to support through data collection and evaluation. Normally, we think about this work as falling within three primary categories:

  1. Data to support program staff in learning about quality practice and effective implementation
  2. Data to monitor the participation and progress of enrolled youth
  3. Data to assess the impact of the program on youth that participate regularly in the program

States have done an amazing job over the span of the past decade to develop quality improvement systems predicated on using quality data to improve practice (purpose #1). Effective afterschool quality improvement systems start with a shared definition of quality. In recent years, state 21st CCLC systems have come to rely upon formal assessment tools like the Youth Program Quality Assessment (YPQA) and the Assessment of Program Practices Tool (APT-O) to provide that definition, allowing 21st CCLC grantees to assess how well they are meeting these criteria and crafting action plans to intentionally improve the quality of programming. Use of these tools typically involves assigning a score to various program practices in order to quantify the program’s performance and establish a baseline against which to evaluate growth. A recent report completed by AIR indicates approximately 70 percent of states have adopted a quality assessment tool for use by their 21st CCLC grantees. Our sense is that these systems have been critical to enhancing the quality of 21st CCLC programs, and any efforts to modify the 21st CCLC data collection landscape should ensure program staff have the support and time necessary to participate in these important processes.

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learn more about: 21st CCLC Evaluation and Data
AUG
1
2017

IN THE FIELD
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Guest blog: Afterschool-law enforcement partnership gives justice-involved youth a new path

By Guest Blogger

By Rachel Willis, research project manager at the Kansas Enrichment Network.

  

After celebrating early successes, the Spartan Explorers afterschool program will continue through the 2017-2018 school year. Begun in January 2017, the program is a partnership between Emporia High School and the Fifth Judicial District Community Corrections in Emporia, Kansas, developed to better engage high school youth who are involved with the judicial system, truant, or on probation.

Both school administrators and community correction officers recognized the need to keep youth safe and busy between the hours of 3 and 6 p.m., when juvenile crime is most likely to occur. During the 2017 spring semester, 17 youth attended the program where they were given the opportunity to engage in hands-on activities.

“It was important to connect with the students socially, emotionally and educationally,” says Community Corrections Director Steve Willis.