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MAY
26
2017

IN THE FIELD
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Not The Onion: Horses, surfboards, and cyberattacks in afterschool

By Jodi Grant

Photo by Pete Markham

Despite a wealth of research showing the importance of afterschool and widespread popularity with parents, students, teachers and community leaders, programs have never been more threatened. This week the President decided to double down on his call to eliminate afterschool funding in his 2018 budget proposal, leaving 1.6 million kids’ with no where to go after school. It’s a serious matter with implications for Americans across the country.  The cut has caught the attention of major national media, local media across the country, and late night comedians and Saturday Night Live.  

The Afterschool Alliance isn’t exempt from the heightened publicity. On Monday, we had our first mention in The Onion, which wrote a satirical piece on the Secretary of Education’s new plan to replace 21st Century Community Learning Centers with afterschool polo programs across the country.

I was flattered to be mentioned, but as in all great satire, the piece contained a lot of truth. If the Secretary of Education did call me, I’d be thrilled to tell her about pretty amazing afterschool programs. I haven’t heard of afterschool polo yet, but given the creativity and ingenuity local communities across the nation have developed, I would not be surprised. Afterschool programs keep kids safe, boost student success, and help working families – and quite often, they also blow your mind.

MAY
9
2017

IN THE FIELD
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Join the Popsicle Project this weekend and celebrate afterschool!

By Charlotte Steinecke

  

Show your community what your garden grows by participating in the Popsicle Project from May 12 to 14. Created by Greenville ISD ACE as a springtime celebration of afterschool, the project encourages participants to plant paper flowers attached to popsicle sticks in an outdoor location to illustrate how many children are impacted by their afterschool programs.

Interested? All you need is a plot of earth, a few craft supplies, and a social media presence! Here’s how to join:

  1. Gather enough supplies for every child in your program: “OST Grows People” front and back flower templates, large popsicle or craft sticks, school bus yellow cardstock, and packing tape.
  2. Print your flowers and the description of the Popsicle Project double-sided on your yellow cardstock.
  3. Cut out the flowers and adhere them to the popsicle sticks. 
  4. Plant the popsicle sticks, one per child, in a spot where students, parents, and your community can view them. Be sure to get permission from the landowner before your plant your sticks!
  5. Take pictures and share them on your social media! Be sure to use the hashtags #PopsicleProjectOST and #AfterschoolWorks.
  6. Remove the flowers by May 15.

This Mother’s Day, grow some support for afterschool and let your community see how many students benefit from afterschool programs!

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learn more about: Afterschool Voices Arts
MAY
1
2017

LIGHTS ON
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Cast your vote in the 2017 Lights On Afterschool poster contest!

By Rachel Clark

Over the last few months, we’ve received hundreds of impressive submissions for the 2017 Lights On Afterschool poster contest. Using paint, crayons, colored pencils, mixed media, and even digital design tools, students of all ages from communities nationwide shared a wide variety of creative interpretations illustrating what afterschool means to them.

Given the volume of artwork we received, it was challenging to narrow down all of these submissions and select our finalists. After much debate, we’ve chosen four designs to advance to our round of online voting. Our finalists are:

  • Angela, an 11th grader from the Youth Policy Institute at Camino Nuevo HS – Miramar in Los Angeles, Calif.
  • Malisa, an 8th grader from the 21st Century Learning program in Kapolei, Hawaii
  • Pamela, an 8th grader from the Valley View Middle School Texas ACE Program in El Paso, Texas
  • Marquez, Ethan M., Andrew, Ethan B., Takhia, Gabby, and Janasia, a team of artists in grades 9 to 12 from BCHS 21st CCLC Afterschool Program in Bay Minette, Ala.

You can see previews of the finalist designs above—be sure to head over to our Facebook page to pick the winner! To vote, simply click “like” (or another reaction) on the image with your favorite artwork. You can vote for multiple designs if you’d like, but we encourage you to stick to picking one favorite—remember, voting for more than one design dilutes the power of your vote.

The voting period will close at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, May 10. The finalist with the most likes and reactions at that time will be your 2017 Lights On Afterschool poster! The winning artist (or team of artists) will see their masterpiece featured on tens of thousands of posters at more than 8,000 Lights On Afterschool celebrations nationwide and take home $500 for their afterschool program.

The exemplary artwork we’ve seen this year not only demonstrates the amazing artistic talent being fostered in afterschool programs across the nation, but also how much students love their afterschool programs. Congratulations to this year’s finalists!

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learn more about: Arts
MAR
1
2017

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup: March 1, 2017

By Luci Manning

New Arapahoe Programs Boost Schools’ Test Scores (Riverton Ranger, Wyoming)

Students in the Fremont County School District have improved their performance on key academic assessments, thanks in part to a new series of reading, math and afterschool programs. The schools’ 21st Century Community Learning Centers program aims to improve graduation rates and to combat alcohol abuse, while a special committee to improve academic performance in the district funds swimming lessons, recreation programs and more. “We give our students the opportunity to succeed, and they shall,” school district Board of Trustees chair Charlene Gambler-Brown told the Riverton Ranger.

Youth Program Shines Light on Richness of Nation’s African American Past (Anderson Herald Bulletin, Indiana)

Students from the Anderson Girls and Boys Club helped educate the public about African American culture at a special Black History Month program this week. The event featured individual and group performances from several Girls and Boys Club members and groups, and was attended by Mayor Thomas Broderick and other city leaders. “The importance of this is for our youth to learn about our history and our culture,” afterschool program director Larry McClendon told the Anderson Herald Bulletin.

Four Years after Oscar, Young Artist Still Paints (San Diego Union Tribune, California)

A San Diego afterschool program helped a young homeless girl nurture her artistic talent in a journey that led her all the way to the Academy Awards. Four years ago, then 16-year-old Inocente Izucar won an Oscar for best documentary short for a film based on her own life as a young woman who used art to create an alternate reality free of abuse, homelessness and poverty, according to the San Diego Union Tribune. She now produces films and sells her artwork, but always makes time to visit A Reason to Survive (ARTS), the afterschool program that helped her thrive and helps other youth cope with adversity through painting and other artistic endeavors.

Davis’ Next Gig: Inspiring Detroit Girls (Detroit Free Press, Michigan)

World champion figure skater Meryl Davis may not be competing in the 2018 Winter Olympics, but she is nurturing the next generation of young figure skaters. Figure Skating in Detroit is a new program inspired by former skater Sasha Cohen’s program of the same name in Harlem, meant to inspire young girls of color to learn to skate and find their passion in life. The program will provide free skates, equipment and training for 300 girls in its first year through introductory workshops, a summer day camp and a year-round afterschool program. “The program will help expose young girls of color, who may not have traveled much further beyond their neighborhood, to skating, education and leadership,” director Geneva Williams told the Detroit Free Press. “It’s about girl power.”

FEB
1
2017

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup: February 1, 2017

By Luci Manning

Students Empower Children’s Futures (Reflector: Mississippi State University, Mississippi)

Mississippi State University students are acting as homework helpers and positive role models to low-income students in Starkville through the Brickfire Mentoring Program. The Brickfire Project helps low-income families through childcare, afterschool programs and job training. The program has proved beneficial for both youth and college students, according to Mississippi State senior Holly Travis. “I fell in love with the kids and saw an opportunity to have a lasting impact on the students,” she told the Reflector.

Girls Explore Science, Technology, Math with Help from Lieutenant Governor (Lexington Herald Leader, Kentucky)

Kentucky Lt. Gov. Jenean Hampton is trying to boost the number of women in STEM fields through a new afterschool initiative, the Lieutenant Governor’s STEM Challenge for Girls. The program involves 33 students from two Fayette County middle schools and aims to eventually expand statewide. Students will participate in six afterschool sessions working on STEM projects and hearing from professionals in various scientific fields. Melissa Graham, science department chairwoman at Leestown Middle School, told the Lexington Herald Leader that the program is “going to show girls that it doesn’t matter what your gender is, that you can be successful in a STEM occupation.”

Partnership to Take Learning in Detroit Beyond Classroom (Detroit News, Michigan)

A collaboration between Detroit schools and a variety of arts and science venues is expanding learning opportunities for students throughout the city. The participating organizations—including the Detroit Institute of Arts, Belle Isle Nature Center and Detroit Symphony Orchestra—will engage students and families in afterschool events focused on STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math). “Our families and students need these experiences, and what happens inside the classrooms needs to be supported by what happens outside the classroom,” interim Detroit Schools Superintendent Alycia Meriweather told Detroit News.

Highlands Resident Working to Preserve After-School Program (Tucson Explorer, Arizona)

After the afterschool program Project YES lost one of its major grants, a local woman decided to take supporting the program into her own hands. Dot Santy, who has volunteered for and donated to Project YES for the past ten years, is now trying a variety of methods to raise $35,000 so that the program can boost its enrollment from 19 to 85 students. She believes the program provides huge benefits to the community and the children it serves. “Success early encourages them to continue with their education and become contributing citizens to our community,” she told the Tucson Explorer

JAN
18
2017

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup: January 18, 2017

By Luci Manning

‘Hidden Figures’ Stars Encourage Girls to Pursue STEM Careers During LA Screening (EdSource)

Approximately 10,000 middle and high school girls from the Los Angeles area had a chance to attend a special screening of the new film ‘Hidden Figures’ and hear from some of the film’s stars about why it’s important for women of color to pursue careers in STEM fields. The event was organized by the LA Promise fund, a nonprofit that helps middle and high school girls prepare for college and careers, and featured Grammy winner Pharrell Williams, Oscar winner Octavia Spencer and actors Janelle Monáe and Aldis Hodge. “Our goal here is to kill that very old-school mentality that math, science, technology and engineering are made for the male mind,” Williams told EdSource

A Splash of Tropic Sunshine (Coeur d’Alene Press, Idaho)

Students at the Sorensen Magnet School of the Arts and Humanities are taking a break from winter to visit Hawaii – without leaving their afterschool classroom. The school’s artist-in-residence, Bria Zan Thompson, is spending two weeks teaching students about Hawaiian dance, legends, environment and culture. The two-week unit will culminate with a big dance production at the end of the week, with different grades responsible for different dances. According to the Coeur d’Alene Press, the artist-in-residence program brings in an outside professional to teach something students wouldn’t normally learn during the school day.

Alumnae Expose High School Students to Art, Stained Glass Making (Temple News, Pennsylvania)

Students in a Philadelphia afterschool program are learning to create art that can last a lifetime. The middle and high school students involved in the Stained Glass Project learn stained glass window-making from two Temple University alumnae. In the 11 years the program has been running, the students have donated at least 115 stained glass windows to schools and centers around the world, including a primary school in South Africa and a Native American reservation in Minnesota, according to Temple News. “When in [the student’s] lives do they have a chance to do something and … donate it?” Joan Myerson Shrager, one of the women in charge of the program, said. “I think there’s a lot of pride in our students that they have created something very beautiful that they then donate.”

Volunteers, Students Work to Bridge Generation Gap (Herald-Dispatch, West Virginia)

Teens and seniors came together over Bingo this MLK Day as part of President Barack Obama’s national call-to-service initiative, United We Serve. More than 100 students from the Westmoreland Teen Center and 31 AmeriCorps volunteers played games at nursing and retirement homes and passed out gift bags filled with compression socks, lip balm and lotions. “(I hope they learn) there isn’t really a difference between the populations,” teen center director Dawn Baumgardner told the Herald-Dispatch. “They are just like us. There is a lot that they can learn from the older generation. Hopefully it will encourage them to help out and volunteer more when they see the older population.” 

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learn more about: Science Service Arts Community Partners
DEC
12
2016

FUNDING
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Your arts program could win $10,000 and an invitation to the White House

By Rachel Clark

Des Moines Public Schools students showed off their artistic talents at their 2016 Lights On Afterschool celebration.

The President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities is currently seeking applicants for the 2017 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award. According to the Committee, the award is “the nation’s highest honor for out-of-school arts and humanities programs that celebrate the creativity of America’s young people, particularly those from underserved communities.”

12 outstanding programs from a wide range of communities across the country will be recognized with a $10,000 grant, an invitation to accept the award at the White House, and a full year of capacity-building and communications support to ensure their programming will benefit youth for years to come.

Who’s eligible?

The short answer: many afterschool programs!

The eligibility criteria specify that applicants must operate as ongoing, regularly-scheduled programs for children and youth outside of the school day, using one or more disciplines of the arts or humanities as the core content of their programs, and must concentrate on underserved children and youth. The programming must involve children and youth as active participants, rather than only as an audience for arts or humanities experiences, and must integrate arts and humanities education with youth development goals.

Additionally, programs must have been operational since January 2013 for a minimum of five years, including 2017, and must be a 501(c)(3) organization, state or local government entity, or federally recognized tribal community or tribe.

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learn more about: Funding Opportunity Arts
NOV
22
2016

POLICY
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ESSA offers opportunities for the arts

By Elizabeth Tish

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) officially replaced No Child Left Behind (NCLB) as the guiding, major federal education law in December of 2015. Since implementing ESSA takes time, ESSA’s changes will start taking effect during the 2017-18 school year. ESSA includes several opportunities for states and local school districts to utilize flexible federal funds to provide students with afterschool and summer learning programs, STEM learning, physical activity, and arts education.   

The Arts Education Partnership, working with the Education Commission of the States, recently released ESSA: Mapping Opportunities for the Arts. The new resource can help school and community based afterschool providers and advocates understand how ESSA opportunities can support arts education that contributes to a well-rounded student education.  

Opportunities for the arts in Title I programs

The programs of ESSA's Title I, Part A are designed to ensure that all students have access to a high-quality education. The evidence-based programs supported by Title I funds assist students who are academically at risk, and these programs help close the achievement gap between disadvantaged students and those who enjoy more resources. There are many opportunities to include arts education opportunities that help achieve these goals in Title I, Part A:

State plans. Each state must submit an accountability plan to the Department of Education each year, including at least one indicator of school quality or student success beyond student achievement, graduation rates and English proficiency. This means that states could choose to include an arts-related indicator, such as the number of arts course offerings, the percentage of high school students enrolled in arts courses that provide postsecondary credit, or the proportion of certified arts educators to students.

Local Education Agency (LEA) plans. To receive Title I funding, a district must submit a plan to the state education agency that describes how it will identify inequities in educational opportunities and help close the achievement gap for all students, including a description of how the district will provide a well-rounded education. A district can choose to provide a description of its arts education programs and the role of those programs in providing all students a well-rounded education. LEAs can opt to use their Title I Part A funds to support out of school arts programming as well. 

Schoolwide Programs. To be eligible for schoolwide program funds, schools must have at least 40 percent of their students identified as coming from low-income families and create a schoolwide plan which embraces whole school reform. As a part of a well-rounded education, these plans may incorporate the arts as strategies to provide all students the opportunity to achieve.

Targeted assistance schools. Schools that do not meet the poverty threshold for schoolwide programs can use Title I funding to create programs targeted to help academically at-risk students meet the state’s academic standards. The arts, as part of a well-rounded education, can be included as a potential strategy for meeting the objectives set by schools for the Targeted Assistance Schools programs, using the traditional school day or out-of-school time.

Parent and family engagement. Engaging the families of students is an important aspect of ESSA and appears in several areas of Title I. Examples of family engagement using the arts might include: incorporating arts programming in a back-to-school night, schools providing parents with expectations for their children in arts classes, or encouraging parents to work with their schools in developing schoolwide plans that value the arts as a strategy in closing the achievement gap.

To learn more about ESSA and the arts, read the full report and visit this webpage for additional resources on topics such as accountability, assessments, and state plans.  Have more questions about how ESSA affects afterschool? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions on 21st CCLC and ESSA.

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learn more about: ESEA Federal Policy Arts