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JUL
26
2017

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup: July 26, 2017

By Luci Manning

After-School Unicycle Program Gains Traction across Texas Schools (Daily Texan, Texas)

Austin schoolteacher Jimmy Agnew is teaching students self-confidence and team-building skills through a unique activity – unicycling. Agnew’s nonprofit, One Wheel Many Children, grew out the Uni-Saders afterschool program he started back in 2009, and he now teaches students across Central Texas how to unicycle, building up other skills along the way. “Learning to unicycle is about a balance of cognitive thinking and physical awareness, and we teach kids to learn together as a team,” Agnew told the Daily Texan. “It’s the same thing we want to teach kids in the classroom, to problem-solve and challenge themselves.”

Young Activists March for Hunger (Boston Globe, Massachusetts)

About 200 children marched by the Massachusetts State House last week raising awareness of food insecurity among children and urging support for federal food programs. The students are part of the Freedom Schools summer programs in Boston and Somerville, which are inspired by the Civil Rights Movement and aim to close achievement gaps and reduce summer learning loss while focusing on global and domestic social issues. Event organizers say protests like last week’s march teach children how to lead and take action to effect change. “It’s been fun because a lot of us want to help people who don’t get a meal everyday,” 10-year-old Emilly Gomes told the Boston Globe.

What’s Working: Learning Is Just as Important in the Summer (Huffington Post)

Allan Golston, president of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation U.S. Program, wrote in the Huffington Post praising summer learning: “Every summer, students are at risk of losing two to three months in reading and about two months of math skills. For low-income youth, this risk often becomes the reality…. Summer is first and foremost about allowing kids to explore, have fun, and explore their passions. But as SOWA [School’s Out Washington] and other organizations show us, there’s no reason we can’t combine play and learning. Students are better for it in the end.”

Summer Program Helps Students Explore Heritage and History (Santa Fe New Mexican, New Mexico)

More than 100 elementary and middle school students are spending their summer learning about New Mexico’s history and culture through project-based, hands-on learning experiences. Hands on Heritage takes students on field trips and encourages them to read and participate in STEM projects to explore the architecture, agriculture, food, and prehistoric life of the region. “I believe social studies gets put on the back burner a lot these days, because it’s not tested,” Ed Gorman, El Camino Real history teacher and a leader of the program, told the Santa Fe New Mexican. “Something like this helps kids get out and learn about New Mexico’s culture and history, to learn about this wonderful melting pot that New Mexico is.” 

JUL
19
2017

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup: July 19, 2017

By Luci Manning

Don’t Miss Out on Many Portland Learning Programs That Combat ‘Summer Slide’ (Press Herald, Maine)

“Summer is an opportunity for students to enjoy long, lazy days of fun, relaxation and new experiences. But if learning isn’t a part of those experiences, students are at risk of the ‘summer slide.’ Research shows that summers without quality learning opportunities put youth at risk of falling behind in core academic subjects such as math and reading,” wrote Portland Public Schools Superintendent Xavier Botana in the Press Herald in support of Summer Learning Day last week. He continued, “I am proud of the Portland Public Schools’ many partners, who are committed to working with us to ensure our students continue learning and thriving during the summer break.”

Letter: Worthy Reading Program on Chopping Block (Union-Bulletin, Washington)

A letter-to-the-editor in the Union-Bulletin from Walla Walla’s Sue Parish calls for continued funding for 21st Century Community Learning Programs “to give all our students a strong future.” She wrote: “This past week, the country celebrated National Summer Learning Day with events at learning programs for kids throughout the country. Luckily for our kids in Walla Walla, there are currently over 400 kids involved in amazing summer learning opportunities, at a multitude of different sites around town. Not only do these activities keep kids safe and engaged when school is out, but they keep students math and reading skills sharp, working to avoid the loss of skills that the student worked so hard to gain throughout the school year…. Sadly, the current administration’s budget proposes to eliminate all funding for this worthy program. Please stand up for all kids and urge our senators and representatives in Congress to reject this proposal, and instead protect funding for this program.”

Pint-Sized Ornithologists Work Towards Closing Achievement Gap In Pinellas County (WUSF, Florida)

Nearly 8,000 Pinellas County students are participating in Summer Bridge, a six-week summer learning program that is teaching students from Maximo Elementary School all about birds, including hands-on learning opportunities with field trips to Seaside Seabird Sanctuary. Shana Rafalski, Executive Director of Elementary Education for Pinellas County Schools, told WUSF that the district believes that the Summer Bridge program is worthwhile and valuable. She said, “We’ve got data that does support that children who attend do fare better as they enter into the new school year.”

Marilyn Mosby Invests in Youth, Community Engagement Amid Baltimore Violence (Baltimore Sun, Maryland)

Baltimore State Attorney Marilyn Mosby kicked off her Junior State's Attorney program recently, with a pinning at its opening ceremony. The six-week summer program takes young people on tours of various aspects of the criminal justice system, including meetings with Baltimore’s mayor and judges and a law school-style mock trial competition at the program’s end, the Baltimore Sun reports. This year, the program’s third, more students were accepted and the city’s YouthWorks program are paying teens to participate.

JUL
12
2017

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup: July 12, 2017

By Luci Manning

A Life-Changing Summer for Every Boston Kid (Boston Globe, Massachusetts)

The Boston Globe editorial board praised Boston’s investments in citywide summer learning programs last week: “The program is a valuable investment in Boston kids that deserves a broader base of support so that more students can participate…. The success has been remarkable: In 2015, the city had capacity for only 6,500 students; this summer, the city has a total of over 12,000 kids enrolled in more than 100 fully or partially subsidized summer programs…. The Boston summer learning model, which is paid for with a combination of public and private funds, is worthy of replication…. Rewarding summer experiences shouldn’t be reserved for wealthy families alone.”

Girls of Summer Kicks Off at CCGA (Brunswick News, Georgia)

A four-week summer enrichment program for rising middle school girls kicked off earlier this month at the College of Coastal Georgia. The Girls of Summer camp aims to help young women build their confidence, have good manners and maintain positive self-esteem, assistant director Marcyline Bailey told the Brunswick News. The program will also give students a head start on what they’ll be learning during the school year, offering supplemental instruction in math, language arts and reading.

A Summer Camp for Refugee Children Sprouts in St. Louis, Freeing Parents to Take English Classes (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Missouri)

When the International Institute of St. Louis, a refugee resettlement and assistance agency, noticed a consistent drop-off in summer enrollments for adult English classes, the agency found a creative solution: It organized a summer camp for children so that parents could be free to attend their English lessons. The free camp’s curriculum mirrors what parents are learning in their English classes so that families can review the material together at home. “This is a chance for family to be in a safe learning environment together where the parents don’t have to worry about their children and can focus on their English,” director of education Anita Barker told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

16 Schools Reopen for Summer as Recreation Centers (Detroit News, Michigan)

This week, 16 Detroit public schools opened as “Summer Fun Centers,” giving students free access to places where they can swim, play basketball, work on arts and crafts projects and more under adult supervision throughout the summer. The addition of the Summer Fun Centers supplements the 11 full-time recreation centers already in place throughout the city. “Too many times, kids, if you don’t give them something positive to do, they’ll find something negative to do,” Detroit Parks and Recreation Department interim director Keith Flournoy told the Detroit News. “This is an opportunity to provide kids with something positive.” 

JUL
6
2017

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup: July 6, 2017

By Luci Manning

Young Inventors: Students Learn STEM Skills in Summer School Class (Logansport Pharos-Tribune, Indiana)

Sixty-five students from Lewis Cass and other area high schools are dismantling VCRs, building catapults and learning about how to grow vegetation on other planets as part of a STEM-focused summer program. The classes give kids a chance to create inventions using household items and increase their independence and creativity. “STEM is good for every kid,” program organizer Cindy LeDuc told the Pharos-Tribune.

Annual Summer Meals Program Kicks off in Philly (CBS Philly, Pennsylvania)

South Philadelphia’s Aquinas Center kicked off its annual Summer Meals program last week. “The city of Philadelphia is looking to provide activities and encourage active healthy lifestyles and educational opportunities as part of the fun, safe, Philly summer and out of school time initiatives,” Mayor Jim Kenney said. More than 1,000 free food centers throughout the city will offer summer meals to all kids under the age of 18, regardless of household income or other factors, according to CBS Philly.

Circuit Boards, Web Development and Summer Fun (Castle Rock News-Press, Colorado)

The University of Colorado South Denver has partnered with Coding with Kids to bring coding and STEM instruction to Denver students between the ages of 5 and 16 this summer. Kids learn everything from the basic concepts of coding to game development, robotics and web development. “Not only are these skills transferable in other aspects of their lives, but they also give these kids something to be passionate about,” Coding with Kids regional director Hardy Bora told the Castle Rock News-Press. “We want to share our passion for coding and lifelong learning with these kids. We want to teach them how to learn, not what to learn.”

New Albany Students Blend Classroom and Kitchen (Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, Mississippi)

A unique program at New Albany Middle School is blending math and cooking for about 30 students this summer. Kids in Integrating Math Through Cooking, part of the 21st Century Community Learning Center program, learned how fractions and proportions can be applied outside the classroom by analyzing recipes and multiplying portions four mornings a week this June. They also learned basic kitchen skills. “It’s amazing to see how much the children learned that they’ll use for the rest of their lives,” program director Maia Miller told the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal. “I can see we have some budding chefs in the making.”
 

JUN
28
2017

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup: June 28, 2017

By Luci Manning

Schools Let Students Take Laptops Home to Stop the 'Summer Slide' (NPR)

Topeka Public Schools has joined many other school districts in the country by allowing children to take home school-issued computers over summer break, with the hope that access to the devices will reduce disparities between higher- and lower-income students. Some see the laptops as a way to offer learning opportunities to students who may not have the resources to go to summer camps or family vacations like some of their peers. “It has opened up a huge educational resource to our kids who may not have access otherwise,” principal Kelli Hoffman told NPR.

Peacebuilders Camp Focuses on Human Rights, Relationships (Youth Today)

Each summer, kids ages 11 to 14 spend a week on a farm in Georgia learning about the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, participating in lively discussions about the morality of hunting, serving in the military and more. Peacebuilders camp will host three week-long sessions this summer, with each day of the session focused on a different article from the Universal Declaration. “What we go for is openness and discussion and finding how to be in a relationship even when we disagree,” co-founder and curriculum director Marilyn McGinnis told Youth Today.

Local Girl Scout Shares Her Love of Math via Summer Learning Program (Newark Advocate, Ohio)

Girl Scout and math aficionado Ava Wandersleben decided to earn her Girl Scouts’ Silver Award – an honor that requires 50 hours of community service work – by creating a summer math program for elementary schoolers. Each Wednesday, she leads youths in kindergarten through fifth grade in math-themed games meant to improve their math skills and learn to enjoy a subject many of them find uninteresting. “Her idea for giving back was getting kids to like math,” Ava’s mother, Christina, told the Newark Advocate. “That way they could do well on their math tests in the fall.”

A Week of Touring for Local Students to Help Their Careers (Daily Nonpareil, Iowa)

A group of 22 high school students got a firsthand look at potential future careers as part of a summer program sponsored by a 21st Century Community Learning Centers grant. Students attended different career seminars at the University of Nebraska at Omaha each day of the program, then toured a representative workplace in the afternoon, according to the Daily Nonpareil. “The purpose is to showcase different opportunities students can have,” 21st Century Community Learning Center site facilitator Julia Hartnett said. “It’s to [pique] interest in a field that maybe they never considered.” 

JUN
21
2017

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup: June 21, 2017

By Luci Manning

Trump Education Cuts Could Hurt Local Students (Newbury Port News, New Hampshire)

Afterschool professionals in Seabrook, New Hampshire, are worried about how President Trump’s proposed budget cuts to the 21st Century Community Learning Center grant program will affect the kids who partake in their programs. Afterschool Ambassador Forrest Carter Jr. runs Seabrook Adventure Zone, which hosts programs for 174 kids after school and in the summer, giving kids a safe place after school and learning opportunities. “People need to be politically active and to be vocal,” he told Newbury Port News. “They need to reach out and contact their federal representatives and request they support this grant program.”

Stratford Grad Looks at After-School (Pauls Valley Democrat, Oklahoma)

Recent Stratford High School graduate Gia Fires had the opportunity to share her afterschool experience with her U.S. senators and representatives last week as part of the Afterschool for All Challenge. She was one of six afterschool students selected to attend the event and meet with her elected officials to urge them to support funding for afterschool programs. “This trip was a whole new experience for me,” she told the Pauls Valley Democrat. “I loved meeting new people from all over the country and getting a chance to speak with Representative Tom Cole and Senators James Lankford and James Inhofe about how the SAFE C3 program had such a positive impact on my life.”

Columbus State Program Helps Immigrant, Refugee Kids Acclimate After School and in Summer (Columbus Dispatch, Ohio)

Several ESL afterschool programs, run by the Columbus State Community College, are helping ease the transition for area refugee and immigrant students. “We’ve all heard the adage, ‘It takes a village to raise a child,’” Prairie Norton Principal Mike Gosztyla told the Columbus Dispatch. “Well, I say it takes the community.” Over the past 13 years, the ESL Afterschool Communities have helped 2,326 immigrant and refugee children build social and academic skills through a myriad of activities. On any given afternoon, students can be found working on writing persuasive letters, learning about wildlife conservation from a local zookeeper or running through soccer drills.

After-School Programs for Poor: Boost for Kids or a $1 Billion Boondoggle? (Sun-Sentinel, Florida)

About 8,000 children in South Florida, many from low-income families, participate in federally-funded afterschool programs, many of which are in danger under President Trump’s budget proposal. The programs offer learning opportunities in art, writing, computer coding, physical fitness and more. Many single parents like Briget Louis, who sends her son to the Boys and Girls Club in West Palm Beach, rely on afterschool programs to occupy their children before they get home from work and worry about the potential budget cuts. “How can I manage my financial life, my career, be able to provide for him?” she told the Sun-Sentinel. “If he’s not in a safe place, how can you do that as a single parent?”

JUN
14
2017

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Weekly Media Roundup: June 14, 2017

By Luci Manning

Inside and Outside the Classroom, After-School Programs Work (PennLive, Pennsylvania)

Several Pennsylvania state representatives and Pennsylvania Statewide/Afterschool Youth Development Network Director Laura Saccente argue in favor of afterschool funding in a PennLive op-ed: “Pennsylvania’s 21st CCLC programs provide mentors to students that have no place to go after the school day…. In 21st CCLC programs, students have the opportunity to learn and explore some of the most innovative technology available today through STEM activities…. The worst thing we can do is take these programs away from the kids and families who depend on them. Supporting afterschool is a healthy, smart investment in our kids, our families and our communities. Let’s protect that investment in Pennsylvania.”

Grad Empowers Girls in Wake of Nasty Politics (Cincinnati Enquirer, Ohio)

Frustrated by what she saw as a negative climate for women in last year’s presidential election, recent high school graduate Nico Thom started She Became, an afterschool program meant to empower young girls to follow their dreams. Through the free, twice-monthly program, the third- through fifth-grade students have heard from female photographers, nurses, CEOs, layers and dentists about how to achieve their lofty goals. “There is a big lack in public schools of girl-centered confidence-boosting activity,” Thom told the Cincinnati Enquirer.

M*A*S*H* Actress Teaches Wendell Kids About Theater (Times-News, Idaho)

Students in Wendell School District’s Kids 4 Broadway afterschool program received special acting lessons from former M*A*S*H* actress Connor Snyder last week. The theater program combines lessons in the performing arts and STEM – students will perform a play on Friday about a family visited by a number of famous scientists from the past to explain their inventions and help them solve a technological problem. Many Wendell students come from low-income families and have not been exposed to theater in the past. “They’re learning there’s just this whole other world out there beyond Wendell, Idaho,” 21st Century program direct Jennifer Clark told the Times-News.

Monadnock Officials Find Way to Continue Before- and After-School Program (Keene Sentinel, New Hampshire)

Despite a loss of federal grants and other funding sources, Monadnock Regional School District officials worked out a way to keep the doors open to the popular ACES 93 and Back to Basics afterschool programs. The programs at several elementary schoosl will merge and fees will be raised for some students in order to make up for the funding losses, according to the Keene Sentinel. Approximately 435 students in kindergarten through eighth grade participate in the two programs.   

JUN
8
2017

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup: June 8, 2017

By Luci Manning

After-School Programs Are a Lifeline for Kids and Parents (Boston Globe, Massachusetts)

Former Treasury Secretary and Harvard University President Emeritus Lawrence Summers and Citizen Schools CEO Emily McCann argue that afterschool programs are a key part of America’s educational system in a Boston Globe op-ed: “We need to recognize as a nation that education is about more than the school day and school year. It is about what happens before children are ready to enter school, what happens during half the days in the year when they are not in school, what happens after school ends and before a parent comes home, and about how students transition from school to work…. The reality is that a significant majority of Americans support federal funding for after-school programs because those programs measurably benefit students, working families, and the broader economy – and that’s good for all of us.”

Trump’s Proposed Budget Targets After-School Program in 12 St. Louis-Area School Districts (St. Louis Public Radio, Missouri)

Under President Trump’s budget proposal, some 600 students in the St. Louis area would lose out on tutoring, healthy meals, educational opportunities and more benefits of a popular afterschool program. Judy King, the leader of St. Louis Public Schools extracurricular activities, told St. Louis Public Radio that afterschool programs “provide just a really safe place for our kids to be, keeps them off the streets, gives them some place to go.” The program relies on federal funding, which is in jeopardy under the president’s budget.

Money Well Spent: Area Before- and After-School Programs Are Worth the Investment (Keene Sentinel, New Hampshire)

A Keene Sentinel editorial urges local school districts to continue funding afterschool programs: “Before- and after-school programs offer students from kindergarten thought middle school a chance for extra learning and homework help, raising test scores and academic skills…. at a time when federal and state support of public education seems shaky, at best, programs that give students – and parents – a needed boost are more important than ever.”

After-School Programs Investment in Safety and Security (East Bay Times, California)

In an East Bay Times op-ed, Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley and retired U.S. Coast Guard vice admiral Jody Breckenridge urge California legislators to prioritize funding for afterschool in the state’s FY 2017-18 budget: “After-school programs make us safer and stronger in the short term, by keeping kids off the streets and in productive and healthy environments during peak hours for crime by and against children. Over the long term, these programs improve attendance and keep students on track to graduate – increasing the odds that they will become productive, law-abiding citizens.… The safety and security of our communities in Alameda County and across the state depends on keeping after-school programs adequately funded.”