At the Afterschool Alliance, we have always been aware of the challenges facing afterschool programs in rural areas. In 2007, we released an issue brief specifically addressing the unique viewpoint of rural programs and last year we published America After 3PM: From Big Cities to Small Towns, which highlights the major differences in all aspects of afterschool participation among rural, urban and suburban populations.
- Improved school grades;
- Improvedattitudes towards and engagement in school;
- Decreased behavioral problems;
- Increased academic test scores;
- Decreased drug use; and
- Improved school attendance
By Luci Manning
In a Rapid City Journal op-ed, Afterschool Ambassador Carla Allard writes about the need for afterschool programs in South Dakota. The Afterschool Alliance’s America After 3PM report found that nearly 49,000 young people in the state are responsible for taking care of themselves in the afternoon.
“But South Dakotans understand the value of afterschool programming, as we made clear at Mount Rushmore last fall when 300 adults and children rallied in support of this type of educational service” during Lights on Afterschool, Allard writes. “The central message was that afterschool programs do much more than occupy kids' spare time. They keep children safe, and are structured to inspire students to continue learning after 3 p.m.”
Ambassador Krina Lemons talked with the Statesman Journal about budget cuts that are threatening afterschool programs in the Salem-Keizer school district. The district’s afterschool programs serve more than 5,000 students, including many who are considered at-risk.
The Salt Lake Tribune highlighted the benefits of community partnerships in providing afterschool opportunities for students. “The Community Education Partnership of West Valley City, Inc., for example, helps to support 16 afterschool programs, most of them at Granite schools.” Afterschool Ambassador Margaret Peterson is the Partnership’s executive director.
For more information about Afterschool Ambassadors, click here.
Full disclosure – I often wonder whether locations for conferences are selected based on their utter lack of allure and intrigue (the less there is to distract us, the more time to spend participating in conference activities… right?). Well, that genius theory of mine was thoroughly disproven by my last trip, because I was whisked off to one of the most beautiful (and distracting!) places imaginable: Juneau, Alaska for the Alaska 21st Century Community Learning Center & Alaska Association for Community Education Winter Conference!
By Susan Rohwer
We have seen a year of unprecedented challenges for the afterschool field in 2010. Recent policy developments and the painful economic downturn have combined to make this a very difficult year for afterschool programs and the children, families and communities they serve.
We at the Afterschool Alliance are working intensively with our partners at the national, state and local levels to bring resources to those most in need, and to emphasize the crucial role played by afterschool programs nationwide.
But, as we enter 2011, significant challenges loom. The 112th Congress will consider an appropriations bill that threatens to cut funding for afterschool programs, at precisely the time when children and families need them the most. We will continue our efforts to help programs keep their doors open, and will collaborate closely with the Obama administration, U.S. Department of Education and Congress to ensure that afterschool is part of future education reform.
We need your help to continue this critical work, and are asking you to consider including the Afterschool Alliance in your new years giving. Any amount you can provide is greatly appreciated. All funds raised will go toward ensuring that America’s children and youth have access to quality, affordable afterschool programs. Donations can be mailed or made through our website at afterschoolalliance.org.
Last week, I was in my hometown of Union, New Jersey at Kean University for an education symposium with education leaders, school representatives and school building designers from the United Kingdom and United States. At the event, best practices concerning general education, productive learning environments and extended services were shared to promote increased collaboration and better educational outcomes in both countries. The symposium focused on a number of additional key themes including school improvement, extending the school day, summer learning and school design. Twelve leading educators, principals and designers from both countries were on hand to share their visions of educational improvement during a procession of presentations at Kean University's new Science, Technology and Mathematics Education building.
The event, co-hosted by the New Jersey School Age Care Coalition (NJSACC) and The British Council for School Environments, was kicked off by an interesting discussion of global education and its relationship to developing technologies by Kean University’s Dr. Michael Searson. Afterword, a procession of New Jersey afterschool advocates, and others linked to improving learning outcomes, discussed the American perspective on developing educational opportunities. Diane Genco, executive director of NJSACC, discussed the US’s 21st CCLC program funding stream and afterschool programs’ importance in broadening learning experiences for youth. Diane cited numbers from our America After 3PM study to show the great demand for programs in New Jersey and throughout the country. Afterword, NAA President and CEO Dr. Paul Young conferred his ideas about how schools and afterschool program coordinators can better collaborate to promote expanded learning opportunities, and later, Chris Perez of the NJ Charter Schools Association discussed the role of charter schools in broadening education options for families. The US presentations ended with a discussion of improvements in school design, and then all attendees participated in an educational networking lunch.
On October 20, I traveled to Chicago with our Executive Director Jodi Grant to kick-off this year's Lights On After School and release data from our new report sponsored by JCPenney, America After 3PM: From Big Cities to Small Towns.
A week earlier in Des Moines, Iowa Jen Rinehart our VP of Policy and Research released the first part of this important research report, revealing the differences in afterschool participation and care among rural, urban and suburban children. In Chicago, Jodi introduced the second part of the report that details afterschool participation in four major U.S. cities: New York City, Los Angeles, Dallas and Chicago.
The event was graciously hosted by Maggie Daily’s successful After School Matters program and emceed by After School Matters Executive Director David Sinski. We also heard remarks from the President of JCPenney Afterschool Jodi Gibson, Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, Commissioner Mary-Ellen Caron and President of the YMCA Neil Nicoll. The speakers praised afterschool programs in Chicago and data shows that Chicago has done well in supporting its youth:
· Chicago kids participate in afterschool programs at a rate of 27%; nearly double that of the national average of 15%.
· Chicago parents overwhelmingly support afterschool programs with more than 9 in 10 Chicago parents support funding for afterschool (91%).
· However, there is some room for improvement: 30% of Chicago children are still unsupervised after school, compared with 26% nationwide.
By Susan Rohwer
- 1,634 and counting...supporters are signing the petition We Rely on Afterschool Programs - Don't Deny or Divert Afterschool Funds! Sign online and download a pdf to distribute at your event
- New data released with JCPenney Afterschool: America After 3PM: from Big Cities to Small Towns
- Rsvp for our Facebook Lights On Afterschool online rally and post your pics, video or comments
- Mt. Rushmore lit up Oct 16 and the Empire State Building will light Oct 21 for Lights On Afterschool
- 50 Governors have proclaimed Oct 21 Lights On Afterschool day and the US Senate passed a resolution on Lights On Afterschool
- We’re Tweeting about #LOA2010, are you following the action? http://twitter.com/afterschool4all
By Luci Manning
Nearly 60,000 Dallas kids Unsupervised After School (Dallas Morning News ISD Blog, Texas)
The Afterschool Alliance and JCPenney Afterschool today released new data from the America After 3PM: From Big Cities to Small Towns report as part of Lights On Afterschool. It includes city-level data on four cities: Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, and New York City. It found that 27 percent of schoolchildren in Chicago and Los Angeles, and 28 percent of New York City schoolchildren, participate in afterschool programs - nearly twice the 15 percent national participation rate. But just 14 percent of students in Dallas attend afterschool programs. To learn more, click here.
Rally for After-School Programs (Cincinnati Enquirer, Ohio)
More than 35 afterschool programs in Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky will participate in Lights on Afterschool tomorrow. Their planned events include open houses, drawing contests, concerts, and writing petitions to policy makers. More than 7,500 sites across the country are participating in Lights on Afterschool. To learn more or find an event near you, click here.
Vice President Makes Surprise Appearance at Redwood City School (San Jose Mercury News, California)
Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) visited an afterschool program at Taft School in Redwood City on Tuesday, and brought a surprise guest with her: Vice President Joe Biden. The pair visited the Boys & Girls Club of the Peninsula’s “Center for a New Generation” because they wanted to see an afterschool program funded by the federal 21st Century Community Learning Center initiative.
Dinner Bell Follows Class Bell at Some D.C. Schools (Washington Post, Washington, D.C.)
D.C. public schools have expanded their free and reduced-price breakfast and lunch program to include an early dinner. Officials hope the program will draw more students to afterschool programs, where they can receive academic help, in addition to fighting childhood hunger and reducing obesity.