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FEB
25
2016

POLICY
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Acting Ed Secretary John B. King says he's a believer in afterschool

By Jillian Luchner

This week, elected officials in the House of Representatives Committee on Education and the Workforce had an opportunity to ask their questions to Acting Secretary of Education John B. King regarding the newly passed federal education law, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), and its implementation at a hearing entitled “Next Steps for K-12 Education.”

About an hour and a quarter into the hearing, the conversation turned to marshmallow pizzas and afterschool.

Representative and afterschool champion Lou Barletta (R-PA) asked the Secretary about the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) program in Title IV of the law, highlighting the program as “the only federal funding source for our nation’s afterschool programs which students and working families rely on each and every day”. Barletta provided details about the SHINE (Schools and Homes in Education) afterschool program in his home state of Pennsylvania, mentioning that the program was 49 percent supported by 21st CCLC. Barletta had recently visited a program where students were using computer software to design a profitable restaurant, and where he was able to create and consume a marshmallow pizza as a result.

SEP
10
2014

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup - September 10, 2014

By Luci Manning

Commentary: The Importance of Afterschool Programming (The Palm Beach Post, Florida)
Mayors Karl Dean and Betsy Price are asking their fellow mayors, city council members and other community leaders to take action to make afterschool programs a priority. In The Palm Beach Post, Dean and Price write, “Participating in high-quality afterschool programs has been shown to promote positive behaviors such as school attendance, and may help boost academic achievement, civic engagement and self-confidence, while reducing such dangers as obesity and juvenile crime…we need more cities to get on board. We urge city leaders to bring together key stakeholders to talk about—and take action on—local afterschool needs.  Mayors and city council members can lead key players to work together effectively.  And we need cities, businesses and private funders to invest more in afterschool.  Such an effort will change young lives, help families and strengthen neighborhoods.”  Mayors Dean and Price are on the Afterschool Alliance Board of Directors and received funding from The Wallace Foundation to expand afterschool opportunities in Nashville, Tenn., and Ft. Worth, Texas.

Theresa Horton Aces Courtrooms and Kitchens (Greenville Online, South Carolina)
An afterschool program from Resurrection Power Ministries in Travelers Rest is teaching children, ages 6 to 10, how to be self-sufficient in the kitchen.  In the program’s first year, students learned how to boil an egg, chop vegetables, and ultimately made a Nicoise salad at the end of term for their parents.  Instructor Theresa Horton tells Greenville Online that she’s teaching the young kids about nutrition and cooking, one skill at a time.  She said the afterschool program shows students “order and caring and discipline and that work is part of life.”

Flamingos in Payette (Independent Enterprise, Oregon)
Payette Primary School’s teachers have people flocking to donate to their cause. Educators are helping raise money to support the Payette Primary School 21st Century Community Leaning Center kindergarten program and fix the school playground by temporarily migrating a flock of flamingos to yards across Ontario. These quirky birds will roost in anyone’s yard for a day or two if a friend pays the school to place the birds there, the Independent Enterprise reports.

TPS Seeking to Expand Community Hubs (The Blade, Ohio)
Despite funding cuts, Toledo Public Schools and United Way of Greater Toledo are trying to continue expanding the successful “community hubs” they created three years ago.  The community hubs coordinate afterschool programs, medical and dental health programs, and social services to address the whole scope of problems that can inhibit a child’s ability to learn.  Last week leaders at United Way held a strategic planning session to develop a sustainable way to spread community hubs throughout Toledo.  George Chapman, former chief executive of Health Care REIT Inc., has been pitching donations for the concept, saying this money would make a real difference and told The Blade, “Equal opportunity is what this country is about.”

MAY
30
2014

CHALLENGE
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Preeminent afterschool researcher and 10 state education leaders honored as Afterschool Champions

By Sarah Simpson

As part of the Afterschool for All Challenge, last week Judge Glenda Hatchett joined some 250 parents, children, educators, lawmakers and advocates from around the country at the “Breakfast of Champions” on Capitol Hill to honor Members of Congress and state champions for afterschool programs. We were proud to give our National “Afterschool for All” Champion Award to Dr. Deborah Lowe Vandell, founding dean of the School of Education at the University of California-Irvine, for her powerful and growing body of research that has been used to improve programs and measure their impact.

Dr. Vandell was one of the first researchers to assess afterschool programs and has been presenting findings to her peers on afterschool choices and outcomes for more than 20 years. She has released more than 30 papers and articles reviewing the academic and social outcomes associated with participation in quality programs. She is a preeminent researcher on afterschool programs and outcomes, and her work has informed program and policy development at the national, state and local levels.

MAY
21
2014

POLICY
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Experts to share the latest afterschool research and outcomes at Congressional briefing

By Erik Peterson

We know the achievement gap is real—73 percent of fourth graders scoring below the 25th percentile in math are eligible for free or reduced-price school lunch. Now we have research that offers a solution: participating in afterschool activities—consistently across the elementary school grades—improves the math achievement of children from low-income families. In fact, taking part in these programs can help eliminate the gap in math achievement between low-income and high-income children by grade five.

Tomorrow, Dr. Deborah Lowe Vandell, founding dean of the School of Education at the University of California-Irvine, will present this latest research to an audience of Congressional staff and policy professionals as part of a special briefing co-hosted by the Afterschool Alliance and the Expanded Learning Project. The briefing will feature both research and examples on how participation in afterschool programs is linked to overall improvements in academic achievement, reductions in school absences and improvements in behavioral outcomes.

MAR
26
2014

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup - March 26, 2014

By Luci Manning

Highland Kids, Activists Make Mural of Love (Shreveport Times, Louisiana)

A Highland alley got a colorful upgrade thanks to a group of afterschool students who through art were proudly expressing love for their neighborhood.  The students painted the mural to illustrate the values— friendship, trust and respect between residents—that they learned at Friendship House, part of a larger effort from Shreveport’s Community Renewal program to engage at-risk neighborhoods.  As one student told the Shreveport Times, “the mural shows we love our neighbors and we want to take care of people.”

Ithaca Area Students Campaign Against Tobacco at GIAC Assembly (Ithaca Journal, New York)

Students from the Greater Ithaca Activities Center and Southside Community Center afterschool programs taught adults about the health risks of tobacco and the marketing tactics used by tobacco companies at the third annual Kick Butts assembly in Ithaca.  In addition to displaying collages and posters about the dangers of smoking, students are also drafting a policy that would raise the minimum age for buying tobacco to 19, the Ithaca Journal reports. 

Anti-Bullying Program Gains More Momentum (The Free Lance-Star, Virginia)

Successful women who overcame their own adversities shared their experiences at the Girl Smarts annual leadership panel in Stafford.  The anti-bullying afterschool program was founded in 2009 to help prepare young women for adolescence.  Dianna Flett, founder of the program, told The Free Lance-Star that “our teachers have so much on their plates, so many critical skills that they need to deliver during the day, that having this sort of opportunity as an after-school program rounds out the total approach in supporting the growth of our girls into middle and high school.” 

First Lady Crissy Haslam Establishes New Field Trip Program for Tennessee Students (Cleveland Daily Banner, Tennessee)

Tennessee First Lady Crissy Haslam welcomed students from the Bransford Pride Afterschool Program into the governor’s residence last week to kick off a new field trip program, reports the Cleveland Daily Banner.  The program, which aims to get kids excited to learn about Tennessee history, offers students an opportunity to tour the Tennessee Residence grounds and tend its garden.

JAN
28
2014

POLICY
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Afterschool leader praises 2014 budget, lauds Congress for 'prioritizing children and working families'

By Jodi Grant

Statement of Jodi Grant, Executive Director, Afterschool Alliance

“The omnibus appropriations bill that Congress passed this week is a welcome step in the right direction toward prioritizing children and working families, as the country makes hard spending choices. 

In restoring nearly $60 million in sequester cuts to the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) initiative, Congress signaled that keeping kids safe, inspiring them to learn, and helping working families are priorities. That is very good news, as is the funding level of $1.149 billion, now in place for the remainder of FY2014. The 21st CCLC is the nation’s chief federal funding stream for afterschool and summer learning programs, providing badly needed programs to 1.1 million students, many of whom would otherwise be unsupervised and at-risk when schools are closed. 

This appropriations bill is also a step forward in terms what it does not contain—language that would allow 21st CCLC funds to be diverted for purposes other than providing the afterschool, before-school and summer programs children so urgently need. 

JAN
27
2014

IN THE FIELD
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Video: Arnold Schwarzenegger goes undercover to promote afterschool programs

By Sarah Simpson

In case you missed it, last week the Governator posed as a trainer at a Gold's Gym to promote physical activity and raise money for the afterschool program he founded, the After-School All-Stars.

JAN
22
2014

POLICY
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Nation's leading afterschool advocate lauds Gov. Cuomo's education priorities

By Jodi Grant

Statement of Jodi Grant, Executive Director, Afterschool Alliance. Read full press release here.

Gov. Cuomo’s announcement this afternoon is welcome news for afterschool programs across New York, and the children, working families and schools that rely on them. Afterschool programs keep kids safe, inspire them to learn, and help working families by relieving parents of worries about whether their children are safe, supervised, and engaged in enriching, educational activities after the school day ends. But in recent years, in New York and across the country, these programs have suffered due to budget cuts and reductions in private contributions. 

The need for afterschool programs remains huge. According to the Afterschool Alliance’s America After 3 PM study, 779,000 students in New York are on their own after school. The parents of 1.1 million New York kids say their children would participate in an afterschool program if one were available. Too often, it hasn’t been – but Gov. Cuomo aims to change that with the initiative he announced today. 

Like the vast majority of parents, educators and the public, Gov. Cuomo made clear that he recognizes that afterschool programs are essential to giving our children the start they deserve. Combined with his new pre-K initiative, he has introduced a powerful package of supports for children and families. We commend his priorities, which will benefit New York families immeasurably.