Following up on the release of our first issue brief of the year, we hosted our first webinar of the year featuring three afterschool programs highlighted in the Common Core issue brief: Bridge the Gap College Prep in Marin City, California, Baltimore Urban Debate League (BUDL) in Baltimore, Maryland, and Raising Expectations in Atlanta, Georgia. The issue brief was only able to broadly discuss the unique and interesting ways these programs are supporting learning around the Common Core, and the webinar served as a platform for the programs to expand on their work and share with the field in greater detail about how they’ve tailored their programs to be more intentional about connecting to the Common Core.
The Wallace Foundation has released two great new videos that make a clear and compelling case for investing in afterschool programs and the city systems needed to support them.
"Afterschool: Hours of Opportunity" features the data and images of powerful afterschool experiences, demonstrating the importance of afterschool programs in providing opportunities to expand and deepen learning, to complement the school day with fun and engaging projects, and to close the opportunity gap. As featured expert Robert Balfanz of Johns Hopkins University says, "Afterschool is where the community can help the school push back against the hungry bear of poverty."
“Better Together: Boosting Afterschool by Building Citywide Systems” hits on the elements essential to supporting programs: systems that address data, quality, leadership and coordination.
Have you heard the news? This week, the National Institute on Drug Abuse is holding the third annual National Drug Facts Week. In this video, teens from three Maryland youth programs—TEENWORKS, Voices for Change, and DrugFree's Teen Advisory Council—share their thoughts on drug abuse.
Every day, teens are bombarded with conflicting messages that may leave them feeling confused and unsure of who to ask for information about drug use. With 7% of teens reporting abuse of prescription drugs in the past year and 22% of 12th graders reporting using marijuana in the past month, it’s crucial to reach teens with the facts.
Wondering how you can take part? There are plenty of ways to get involved and help shatter the myths about drug use for teens:
- Host a local event in your community—don’t forget to register online
- Distribute the "Drugs: Shatter the Myths" booklet or other helpful resources to teens and parents in your community
- Take the National Drug IQ Challenge
- Help spread the word
For more ideas and the latest news, visit the National Drug Facts Week website.
We’re inviting teachers, afterschool leaders and educators everywhere to celebrate Digital Learning Day by accepting the #make4DLDay challenge, a set of digital storytelling activities that allow youth and adults to be makers for Digital Learning Day.
Both the maker education and digital learning movements are grounded in the belief that kids learn best by doing. From cardboard and clay to circuits and computers, kids can use a variety of analogue and digital tools to tell their story. The #make4DLDay challenge is about sharing ideas among educators, and experimenting with modern ways of engaging youth in making and digital storytelling.
Accepting the #make4DLDay challenge is easy—here’s how:
- Choose your level. We’ve got multiple activities for educators with varying levels of experience using digital tools. Choose your level based on the tools most readily accessible to you.
- Pick a relevant topic. Digital storytelling can be applied to almost any topic, from geography to STEM. Design your activity around a topic of interest to your students.
- Share your work. On Feb. 5, share your photos, videos and links to students’ work with other innovative educators by using the hashtag #make4DLDay.
On Feb. 5, thousands of educators will take part in the third annual Digital Learning Day, a nationwide celebration of common sense, effective applications of digital learning that support educators, improve learning and provide opportunities for students to achieve at their highest potential. As part of this celebration, we’re excited to announce the #Make4DLDay challenge and want you to join the fun!
Thanks to digital media and technology, our education system is undergoing a major shift in how, where and what students are learning. The organizations collaborating in this challenge—the Afterschool Alliance, Edutopia, and the National Writing Project (via its Educator Innovator Initiative and Digital Is platform)—share a common belief that this shift should reflect connected learning principles, including interest-driven, production-centered learning opportunities for youth, in school and out. These principles allow youth to collaborate with peers and mentors in person and via the Web as they become producers of digital artifacts and not just consumers.
To that end, we’re inviting you to join us in accepting the #Make4DLDay challenge—a set of digital storytelling activities that allow youth and adults to be makers for Digital Learning Day.
By Luci Manning
In my previous blog post, I covered researchers’ insights into what tweens want in and expect from an afterschool arts program. Based on hundreds of hours of interviews, focus groups and analysis, the authors of “Something to Say: Success Principles for Afterschool Arts Programs from Urban Youth and Other Experts” shared the barriers that keep tweens from participating in afterschool arts programs and program aspects that tweens are most drawn to.
This week I want to take a look at the second part of the report that details what afterschool arts programs can do to address the needs and demands of urban tweens and better engage this hard to reach group. For this section of the report, authors conducted a literature review of afterschool arts programs; interviewed program providers, administration staff and researchers; and visited the sites of eight programs to create case studies for the report. Based on the collective information, 10 principles for effective, high-quality afterschool arts programs emerged: