RSS | Go To: afterschoolalliance.org
Subscribe to the Afterschool Advocate newsletter
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.
Afterschool Donation
Afterschool on Facebook
Afterschool on Twitter
Blogs We Read Afterschool Snack Bloggers
Select blogger:
STEM Snacks
JUN
30

STEM
email
print

State university in Michigan receives $5 million endowment for summer STEM camps

By Melissa Ballard

On the heels of National Summer Learning Day, there’s great news for kids in Michigan.  Starting next year, Saginaw Valley State University (SVSU) will host summer STEM camps for middle and high school students, thanks to a gift from the Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation.  The foundation awarded the university a $5 million endowment to establish the Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow STEM Scholar Network, which will support SVSU’s summer camps, as well as sponsor undergraduate research projects.  The four-week, 160-hour middle school camp will reach 60 students and target those who are struggling academically. SVSU will also host three 80-hour high school camps reaching 36 students, with the goal to encourage more to pursue college degrees in science, technology, engineering and math.  SVSU students and school staff will serve as mentors in the summer camp, a model based on a 2012 pilot program at a local middle school.

Afterschool and summer STEM programs engage and excite kids with real-world, hands-on learning, giving them opportunities to think about the STEM fields in new ways.  Not only will SVSU’s summer camps help students avoid losing skills they’ve gained during the school year, but they will also help build interest and new capabilities in STEM.  We hope to hear great things from this initiative!

share this link: http://bit.ly/TJHXiu
learn more about: Science Summer Learning Community Partners
Comments: (0)
JUN
29

STEM
email
print

Supporting Afterschool STEM Act introduced to support technical assistance for afterschool providers

By Anita Krishnamurthi

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) has introduced a bill aimed at providing the supports afterschool practitioners need to offer high-quality science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education programs.  Titled the Supporting Afterschool STEM ActS.2543 will create a grant program that state and regional afterschool and STEM networks can tap into to help afterschool providers in their area give students engaging and high-quality STEM learning experiences. 

As STEM programming grows in afterschool settings, the need for technical assistance and professional development is also rising.  However, most funding is usually allocated to develop and implement programs.  This important legislation recognizes the need to provide resources that will help afterschool practitioners with their professional development and quality improvement efforts. 

The Supporting Afterschool STEM Act authorizes the National Science Foundation (NSF) to award three-year grants to existing afterschool or STEM networks, with 20 percent of all funding reserved to develop new afterschool or STEM networks in states or regions where they don't yet exist.  This bill will enable afterschool networks as well as STEM networks to provide the infrastructure needed for supporting high-quality afterschool STEM programs regionally.  It rightly draws on existing networks and their experience and expertise to assist new and existing afterschool STEM programs and increase the effectiveness of existing federal investments.  The effort would help afterschool programs nationwide develop activities and programming that works in other communities in their state.  The bill also encourages mentorship between students and federal STEM research grantees, and provides hands-on learning and exposure to STEM research facilities for young people.

share this link: http://bit.ly/1x1A0nt
learn more about: Congress Federal Funding Legislation Science State Networks Sustainability
Comments: (0)
JUN
25

STEM
email
print

Guest blog: Recognizing learning

By Sarah Simpson

Mary Sutton is the executive director for the Michigan After-School Partnership (MASP).  MASP provides statewide leadership to build and sustain high quality, after-school programs for children and youth in all communities throughout Michigan.

 

Don’t you just love it when some of the diverse multitudes of things we work on throughout the year seem to fall into place in a strategic way?  Here in Michigan we’re happy to take advantage when there’s a “perfect storm” like that.  Like lots of you, we work with many partners to help ensure that all children have the opportunity to experience high-quality and engaging activities to help them become excited and prepared adults, ready for careers and to contribute to their communities.  However, exploring ways to connect more strategically with the formal education system and looking for avenues for recognition as imperative partners in helping kids succeed has been a challenge in our work. 

Our STEM work over the last several years, facilitated by our Noyce Foundation grant, has created deeper and stronger relationships, and opened avenues of communication to help move these conversations forward.  At a time when our governor has proclaimed a need for an education system that recognizes learning “Any time, any place, any space and any pace”—joined with the Department of Education’s focus on competency-based education and Michigan’s recent acceptance as an Achieve state—conversations began focusing on new pathways to help achieve the goal that all students graduate from high school ready for college, careers and citizenship.  The premise of Achieve is that by enabling students to master skills at their own pace, competency-based learning systems create multiple pathways to graduation, make better use of technology, support new staffing patterns that utilize teacher skills and interests differently, take advantage of learning opportunities outside of school hours and walls, and help identify opportunities to target interventions to meet the specific learning needs of students.  This emerging Department of Education interest—joined with our work with the Michigan STEM Partnership and the Michigan Mathematics and Science Centers Network—gave us the opportunity to combine these conversations into the potential development of a digital badge pilot system that was met with great enthusiasm by everyone. 

share this link: http://bit.ly/UJRZky
learn more about: Digital Learning Equity Guest Blog Science State Networks Youth Development
Comments: (0)
JUN
20

STEM
email
print

Guest Blog: 8 things to remember when integrating STEM

By Taylor Moore

Anna Padget Crocker is the project associate for afterschool and community initiatives at the Franklin Institute Science Museum, where she manages the NSF-funded project STEM 3D: Integrating Science into Afterschool, Home and Community. She specializes in developing curricular resources and training modules designed to build capacity in facilitators new to science education. Her background includes writing field-based environmental education curriculum and evaluating family, school, and community partnerships.

 

This post originally appeared on the National AfterSchool Association’s Tip of the Week page.

 

Feeling like integrating STEM into your current curriculum is an unsolvable equation? STEM doesn't have to intimidate or overwhelm you; it's an essential component of every afterschool program. So to help, here are eight tips to help you start the process.

share this link: http://bit.ly/1jDsG9b
learn more about: Guest Blog Science Youth Development
Comments: (0)
JUN
4

STEM
email
print

Afterschool programs exhibit at the White House Science Fair

By Melissa Ballard

Last week, the White House Science Fair hosted more than 100 students from across the U.S. to showcase their inventions and projects. Students, either individually or in teams, had won a variety of national and regional competitions in everything from rocketry, robotics and electric vehicles. Two of these teams represented afterschool programs! Pres. Obama toured the fair, meeting all of the students, and then announced new components of the Educate to Innovate initiative, including an expansion of the STEM AmeriCorps program and a national STEM mentoring effort. 

share this link: http://bit.ly/1tIyvak
learn more about: Events and Briefings Obama Robotics
Comments: (0)
MAY
30

STEM
email
print

Strong STEM presence at the Afterschool for All Challenge this year

By Anita Krishnamurthi

This year at the Afterschool for All Challenge, we had a particularly strong STEM presence at the workshops as well as during the visits with policy makers. 

Thanks to our partnership with the Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC), nearly 20 young people and their adult chaperones joined us from the New Jersey Academy of Aquatic Sciences in Camden; the Newark Museum in Newark, N.J.; The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, Penn.; the National Aquarium in Baltimore, Md.; and the Natural History Museum of Utah in Salt Lake City.  Check out the blog ASTC has posted about their experience.  We envisioned this year's participation as a pilot effort and hope to make it even bigger next year with more science centers participating in the Afterschool for All Challenge.  A big thank you to our ASTC partners for working with us to make all of this happen.  Join the ASTC STEM Afterschool Community of Practice if you'd like to engage in this conversation with us. 

share this link: http://bit.ly/1kudeQZ
learn more about: Advocacy Afterschool Voices Congress Events and Briefings Inside the Afterschool Alliance Obama Science State Networks
Comments: (0)
MAY
9

STEM
email
print

Remembering Alan Friedmann

By Anita Krishnamurthi

As many of you have heard by now, the informal science education (ISE) field recently lost one of its greatest champions—Dr. Alan Friedmann, a physicist, former director of the New York Hall of Science, a trustee of the Noyce Foundation, a former board member of the National Assessment Governing Board (NAGB); his credentials make for a long list.  There have been many wonderful op-eds, blogs, and tributes paid to him already—see for example, the moving “Thinking of Alan” page at the New York Hall, the New York Times article, and the blog post from the Coalition for Science After School.  They all serve to not only celebrate his life and accomplishments but also underscore just how deep our loss is and how much of an impact he had on the ISE field and the individual people in this field.  

I had known of Alan for a long time but started working with him only when I came to the Afterschool Alliance in 2010 and started working closely with the Noyce Foundation.  In my new role as an advocate for afterschool STEM education, I learned a great deal about advocacy from him.  He was such an enthusiastic and tireless advocate for ISE and afterschool that he gave me hope and much-needed support when I felt demoralized and lonely in the fight.  I treasured how gentle and humble he was for such a distinguished scholar and how unfailingly kind he was to me and all who met him. 

share this link: http://bit.ly/1kYgJuY
learn more about: Afterschool Voices Education Reform Inside the Afterschool Alliance Science Youth Development
Comments: (2)
MAY
8

STEM
email
print

Afterschool and the Next Generation Science Standards

By Melissa Ballard

Last week, we hosted a webinar addressing the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). As the first of what will likely be an ongoing series of webinars, we started with a brief outline of the standards and heard from one afterschool program on what they were doing around NGSS.

Katelyn Wamsted, director of programs at Girlstart, explained why they have aligned their curriculum with NGSS. Despite being located in Texas, a state that has not adopted Common Core or NGSS, Girlstart believes it's important to demonstrate their commitment to high quality STEM education, which they believe is reflected in the NGSS. Girlstart also participates in national conversations about out-of-school-time programming. Katelyn walked us through two examples of how they align curriculum to both NGSS and the Texas State Standards (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills or TEKS).

Afterschool can play a key role in helping schools plan for and implement NGSS. The quality and strength of partnerships emerged as an important theme within the webinar. Katelyn gave her best practices for partnering with schools and described how Girlstart hosts internships for preservice teachers to facilitate their afterschool and summer programs.

share this link: http://bit.ly/RuLEay
learn more about: Education Reform Events and Briefings Science Academic Enrichment
Comments: (0)