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SEP
4

STEM
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Kick off the new school year with STEM collaboration through The Connectory

By Rachel Clark

A brand new year means new opportunities to make your STEM programming better than ever. Get off to a strong start by joining The Connectory!

The Connectory is a free online collaboration tool that gives STEM program providers a chance to find partners based on interests, share resources, and showcase STEM opportunities to families. The Connectory also offers families a free resource to connect the kids in their lives to exciting local STEM learning opportunities—it’s a win-win for providers and parents.

Thousands of programs in all 50 states have already been listed in The Connectory since its launch in April, spanning a full range of STEM topics, from coding to aerospace to math. The programs and events cover everything from tarantula feedings to genetic engineering! Once you’ve signed up, your program’s unique opportunities will be showcased alongside these to connect with families and partners.

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learn more about: Science
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SEP
4

IN THE FIELD
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Arts Education Partnership turns 20

By Jillian Luchner

AEP held an art contest to celebrate this year's national forum. Cathy, a high school senior, won with this impressive watercolor embodying Unity.

The Arts Education Partnership (AEP) held its national forum in Washington D.C. this week celebrating 20 years of collaboration sustaining federal programming and prioritization for the arts. AEP has published an action agenda for the next five years with one overarching goal: By the year 2020 every young person in America….will have equitable access to high quality arts learning opportunities both during the school day and in out of school time.

Established in 1995 through interagency agreement between the Department of Education and National Endowment for the Arts, AEP has been critical in sustaining major policy wins such as maintaining the arts as a core academic subject under ESEA, enabling Title I dollars to be spent on arts curriculum and support and maintaining the Arts in Education program through the Department of Education.

Attendees shared stories of innovation in art education with examples such as Linked Learning in California, the Innovation Districts in Tennessee, teacher training initiatives and Turnaround Arts schools among many others. However, a common theme was the de-prioritization of arts spending at the district and school levels due to pressure to concentrate resources on tested subjects. One principal stressed that while arts are “allowable” uses of Title I funds, they are not always “encouraged.”

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learn more about: Department of Education Events and Briefings Arts
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SEP
2

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup: September 2, 2015

By Luci Manning

Teens Decorate Fence to Be Placed at Frederick Douglass Park with Inspirational Messages (The Brockton Enterprise, Massachusetts)

Several dozen 14- and 15-year-olds in the Brockton Area Workforce Investment Board’s WAVE (Work, Achieve, Volunteer and Experience) six-week job-readiness program spent their summer beautifying the Frederick Douglass Park. Community organizer Lynn Smith described the park as a “wasteland” before the teens worked on it – now the park features flowers, informative signs about Frederick Douglass’ abolitionist legacy and a free lending library in a large, well-decorated birdhouse. While working on improving the park, students also received lessons on interview skills and how to manage their money. “This is an awesome program that helps teens reach full potential so they can get paying jobs next summer,” Mayor Bill Carpenter told The Brockton Enterprise.

Ward 7 Youth Beat Summer Learning Loss at D.C. Tech Camp (Afro-American News, Washington, D.C.)

More than 75 African American youth experienced science in new ways this summer at the Richard England Boys and Girls Clubhouse in Northeast D.C. At the STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) camp, local startup Clearly Innovative taught young people how to code and helped them create their own websites. The students also had the opportunity to work with professionals in tech industries and visit local tech-based co-working spaces. “We’re hoping to cultivate some STEM careers and really have our members reach for the stars because that’s really where the world is going,” branch director Denieka Wicker told the Afro-American News.

Kinsey Students Learn with Baseball (Arizona Daily Sun, Arizona)

Students across Arizona will be participating in a fun, educational nine-week afterschool program this fall that teaches the science behind America’s favorite pastime—baseball. Through Science of Baseball, members of the Arizona Diamondbacks will travel to 63 Arizona schools and lead activities teaching kids about the angles of a pitch, timing runners and batting averages. “They learn about exercise, nutrition and it teaches the science of each part of the sport,” afterschool program coordinator Rebecca White told the Arizona Daily Sun.

Students Create Health-Themed Mural (The Hanford Sentinel, California)

A new nutrition-themed mural was unveiled last week at Lincoln Elementary School. About 100 students in the school’s READY afterschool program designed at least two tiles for it, each featuring a design of fruits and vegetables or physical activity. “We asked students what health means to them and this mural is their answer,” Slyvia Rios, health aid with KCAO’s Nutrition Education and Hunger Prevention department, told The Hanford Sentinel. The mural is one of several projects funded by the Kings Community Action Organization (KCAO), a group aiming to help low-income people eat healthier.

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learn more about: Health and Wellness Nutrition Science Summer Learning Arts Community Partners
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SEP
2

LIGHTS ON
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Celebrate the power of play during your Lights On Afterschool event!

By Lindsay Damiano

We are an official partner of Nickelodeon’s Worldwide Day of Play this Sept. 26, and we couldn’t be more thrilled about it! For the last 12 years, the Worldwide Day of Play (WWDoP) has celebrated the value of physical fitness and active play—and we love to see afterschool supporters get involved and get active.

To help you incorporate active play into your Lights On Afterschool event, Nickelodeon WWDoP is offering a prize pack to afterschool programs that register their Lights On Afterschool event by Thursday, Sept. 10! WWDoP water bottles will keep active kids hydrated during the Oct. 22 Lights On celebration. If you need ideas on how to keep kids and adults playing during your event, check out our ideas page, and get afterschool students involved in the planning!

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learn more about: Health and Wellness
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AUG
31

IN THE FIELD
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Exciting new opportunity to partner with your local library

By Dan Gilbert

We all know that libraries can be fantastic partners for afterschool providers, and we’re excited to announce that we have a great new opportunity for programs to partner with local libraries to teach STEM! Through our partnership with STAR_Net, a national initiative to bring museum-quality exhibits into libraries, public libraries around the country have been invited to apply to host one of three science- and technology-focused traveling exhibitions focusing on STEM fields like technology, space, and earth science.

Developed by the National Center for Interactive Learning at the Space Science Institute, STAR_Net has released three new traveling exhibitions:

  • Explore Earth: Our Changing Planet
  • Explore Space: Our Solar System and Beyond
  • Explore Tech: Engineers Make a World of Difference
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learn more about: Science Community Partners
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AUG
28

POLICY
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Back to school (and afterschool!) for students and Congress

By Jillian Luchner

Students are returning to classrooms this fall to continue their studies, just as Congress plans to return on September 8th with its own need for continued learning. This fall Congress has big decisions on its plate about the future of the federal role in American schools and federal support for afterschool programs. They need to hear from you about how afterschool programs in your community are helping young people succeed in school and in life!

As students across the country get out their textbooks and begin their homework, use a few minutes of your own “homework time” to make sure you reach out to educate Congress on the essential need to keep afterschool programs authorized and funded to ensure high quality, safe, engaging places for students afterschool.

Students know their work outside of the classroom pays off and so will yours! Acting now by emailing Congress and spreading the word on social media will help preserve and strengthen the federal 21st Century Community Learning Centers initiative that provides afterschool programming for 1.6 million children. Taking two minutes to assist 1.6 million lives and the parents and communities around them will be sure to earn you a gold star. 

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learn more about: 21st CCLC Advocacy Congress ESEA Federal Funding Federal Policy Legislation
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AUG
27

RESEARCH
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Set students up for success this year with insights from The Wallace Foundation

By Rachel Clark

As we head back to school—and back to afterschool—we have a new year ahead full of new opportunities to support the next generation’s success in school and in life. To make the most of these opportunities, The Wallace Foundation’s “Foundations for Young Adult Success” report provides key insights for afterschool professionals—social and emotional learning heated up this summer and won’t be cooling off as the temperatures drop.

Though afterschool programs have an important role to play in supporting academic achievement, academics alone aren’t enough to ensure kids’ success in life. “Foundations for Young Adult Success” identifies building blocks for success in all aspects of life, including self-regulation, knowledge and skills, mindsets, and values. The report also lays out a framework for cultivating these qualities, including which qualities are especially important to develop during certain stages of childhood.

To get an in-depth walkthrough of the report and its key findings, check out our Foundations for Young Adult Success webinar. Experts from The Wallace Foundation, the University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research, and TASC joined us to unpack this exciting research and help schools and OST professionals think about how to design practices and experiences to reach important goals for youth development.

How are you planning on setting students up for success this year? Share with us on Twitter using the hashtag #Back2Afterschool!

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learn more about: Youth Development
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AUG
26

LIGHTS ON
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On October 22, the Empire State Building will keep the Lights On Afterschool!

By Rachel Clark

We’re excited and honored to announce that for the ninth year in a row, the iconic Empire State Building will light up the New York City skyline in support of Lights On Afterschool! On October 22, the skyline will glow yellow to illuminate the important work afterschool programs are doing to keep kids safe, inspire learning and help working families.

With more than two months until this year’s national celebration, now is the perfect time to register your Lights On Afterschool event! You still have plenty of time to plan a celebration that will light up your community just like the Empire State Building will light up Manhattan. Tools from our planning kit make it simple to plan a successful celebration, big or small, that will rally all of your friends and neighbors in support of afterschool programs.

To help spread the word and get your community ready to celebrate with you, we’ll send you ten free Lights On Afterschool posters once you’ve registered. If you register by August 27, we’ll also enter you to win a Lights On Afterschool Ultimate Gift Pack to light up your event with 100 strobe buttons, 100 awareness bracelets, use of an 8-foot Lights On balloon, and 100 extra posters!

We’re honored to have a national landmark like the Empire State Building celebrating afterschool programs with us for the ninth year in a row. Will you join us, the Empire State Building, and thousands of programs around the world to keep the Lights On Afterschool this year? Register today to make this year’s Lights On Afterschool celebration the biggest and best yet!

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learn more about: Light Up a Landmark
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