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Afterschool Snack, the afterschool blog. The latest research, resources, funding and policy on expanding quality afterschool and summer learning programs for children and youth. An Afterschool Alliance resource.
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APR
4

POLICY
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It's appropriations season: 2015 appropriations process continues in House and Senate

By Erik Peterson

On the heels of the president’s FY2015 budget request submitted to Congress last month, the House and Senate appropriations subcommittees have begun the process of setting spending levels for FY2015.  While the House has their own proposed budget blueprint to work from, the Senate is using the budget agreement worked out in December as a guideline for FY2015 spending decisions.

Despite the differences, House and Senate appropriations committees have begun holding hearings on the FY2014 spending bills and will hear testimony from Education Sec. Arne Duncan this month.  

With regard to funding for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) initiative, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) led efforts to organize ‘Dear Colleague Letters’ asking appropriators to support funding for 21st CCLC. According to the Harvard Family Research Project, the 21st CCLC initiative has been a major factor in helping to close the socioeconomic gap in afterschool participation. While afterschool participation rates have increased at every level of family income nationwide, lowest income youth have shown the greatest increase in participation due in large part to the access provided to quality programs through 21st CCLC.

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learn more about: 21st CCLC Afterschool Caucus Budget Congress Federal Funding
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MAR
21

IN THE FIELD
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The driving force behind our work

By Jodi Grant

On Monday, the National AfterSchool Association released their list of the top 25 most influential people in afterschool.  I was honored to be included on that list, along with our wonderful board members Terry Peterson and Lucy Friedman. The recognition provided a nice moment to step back and celebrate the hard work of our team, and to reflect on why this work is so important, and why we are so determined to expand afterschool resources nationwide.

We are dogged in our work because the people and programs in the afterschool field are nothing short of amazing.  Afterschool programs are changing lives; saving a child from hunger; creating innovative approaches to learning; and developing our next generation of leaders, citizens and scientists. And they are doing it on a shoestring budget with a will that won’t quit and a mind for innovation. 

There are hundreds of stories and people that come to mind, but I thought I’d share just a few examples of what drives us to get up and work as hard as we possibly can to give voice to the afterschool field.  I’d love to hear your afterschool inspirations, too, so please take a moment and send in your thoughts in the comment field below.

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learn more about: Advocacy Afterschool Voices Inside the Afterschool Alliance
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MAR
13

STEM
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The FY2015 budget request and how it might impact afterschool STEM programs

By Anita Krishnamurthi

The Administration released its budget request for FY2015 last week and STEM education has fared quite well overall.  Although the reorganization of STEM education programs across various federal agencies has been proposed again, this year’s version is less drastic and doesn't suggest transferring funds between agencies.  Thirty-one programs across nine agencies, totaling $145 million, would be consolidated or eliminated under the plan, which is a much smaller number than the 78 programs proposed in last year's budget request.  See the high-level list and explanation here (pgs. 153 and 157). 

The overall federal STEM funding level would be $2.9 billion under the request, an increase of 3.7 percent over the FY2014 enacted level.  Some of the funding for STEM education at agencies such as NASA, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the National Science Foundation (NSF) would be restored, which is very good news for informal science education programs and providers.  

At the Department of Education, $110 million is requested for STEM Innovation Networks; the funds would be used to “award grants to school districts in partnership with colleges and other regional partners to transform STEM teaching and learning by accelerating the adoption of practices in P-12 education that help to increase the number students who seek out and are well-prepared for postsecondary education and careers in STEM fields.”  If the program and funds materialize, there may be opportunities here for afterschool networks and providers to collaborate with school districts.

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learn more about: Budget Department of Education NASA Obama Science
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MAR
10

FUNDING
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Guest blog: Summer nutrition programs--providing energy and enrichment

By Alexis Steines

Signe Anderson is the senior child nutrition policy analyst at the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC).

 

Summer should be an exciting time for all children, yet millions of low-income students lose access to healthful meals and enrichment opportunities when the school year ends. In summer 2012 only 1 in 7 low-income children who participated in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) had access to free summer meals. The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) could assist summer programs in filling both voids of lost nutrition and lost enrichment opportunities for children who participate. Your program may be eligible to receive federal funding to provide healthful meals to children 18 years or younger in addition to the activities youre already providing. To be eligible, summer programs must be located in or near an elementary, middle, or high school where 50 percent or more of the students qualify for free or reduced-price meals. Once qualified, the program can provide meals to all participating students. Census data can also be used to qualify your program site for the meal program. A summer meal program site can exist anywhere children congregate during the summer months such as parks, pools, churches and schools.

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learn more about: Federal Funding Guest Blog Nutrition Summer Learning
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MAR
7

POLICY
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New House Budget Committee report fails to recognize recent 21st CCLC research and effectiveness

By Erik Peterson

On March 3, just one day before the president released his FY2015 budget proposal, the House Budget Committee issued a report on federal spending related to federal antipoverty efforts entitled The War on Poverty: 50 Years Later.  Among the 92 federal programs reviewed in the report is the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) initiative.   

The Budget Committee report seeks to examine the effectiveness of Pres. Lyndon B. Johnson’s "War on Poverty" that was launched 50 years ago. According to the report, there are at least 92 federal programs designed to help lower-income Americans, including education and job-training programs, food-aid programs and housing programs.

The report does include a brief entry on the 21st CCLC initiative, the only coordinated federal effort that supports afterschool, before-school and summer learning programs delivered by local schools and community-based organizations. 21st CCLC programs provide students attending high-poverty schools with academic enrichment activities; a broad array of additional services designed to reinforce and complement the regular academic program such as hands-on experiments to excite children about science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), access to physical activity, drug and violence prevention programs, counseling programs, art, music, opportunities to be creative, and technology education programs; as well as literacy and related educational development services to the families of children who are served in the program.  In addition, afterschool programs provide an infrastructure to bring in other resources to our children including access to mentors, tutors, and nutritious snacks and meals. 

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learn more about: 21st CCLC Budget Congress Evaluations Federal Policy Obama
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MAR
4

POLICY
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Updated: The afterschool and summer learning perspective on the president's 2015 budget

By Erik Peterson

Today Pres. Obama released his budget request for the upcoming 2015 fiscal year, which begins this October.  With regard to support for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) initiative, the president requested $1.149 billion—reflecting the same level for 21stCCLC as was in the FY2014 omnibus bill that passed in January. As was the case in his budget request last year, the president proposes to radically change 21st CCLC to a competitive grant at the federal level as well as to prioritize 21st CCLC grant funding for new purposes including adding time to the traditional school day or year, and for teacher planning and professional development.

According to the discussion of the budget request for the Department of Education:

Funds would support competitive grants to states, local education agencies, nonprofit organizations, or local governmental entities for projects that provide the additional time, support, and enrichment activities needed to improve student achievement, including projects that support expanding learning time by significantly increasing the number of hours in a regular school schedule and by comprehensively redesigning the school schedule for all students in a school. Projects could also provide teachers the time they need to collaborate, plan, and engage in professional development within and across grades and subjects.

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learn more about: 21st CCLC Budget Congress Department of Education Federal Funding NASA Obama Science Vista
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FEB
24

FUNDING
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Updated: Need ideas to advocate for afterschool? Check out these webinars

By Alexis Steines

As afterschool professionals, we understand the importance of raising awareness of our programs and afterschool in general. With local and state budgets including sharp cuts to education and youth development programs and major federal policy challenges threatening the integrity of afterschool programs, advocacy is more important than ever. While we can speak about the work afterschool programs do to provide children with opportunities to participate in hands-on, interactive learning, it’s important to include other voices in our advocacy efforts.

This year, through the generous support of the Robert Bowne Foundation, the Afterschool Alliance is hosting a series of webinars on how we can engage parents, students and communities in advocacy. Last Tuesday, we held our first webinar in this occasional series. The first installment focused on engaging parents in afterschool advocacy. Esther Grant-Walker, director of School Age and Family Engagement Services at the Isaacs Center Afterschool Program in New York City, shared how she engages parents and prepares them to be effective afterschool advocates through hands-on training and other initiatives. Student engagement was the focus of our second webinar on Feb. 18.  Alberto Cruz, Senior Director of Youth and Family at the YMCA of Greater New York, along with Patrick Pinchinat and Marlena Starace of the Queens Community House discussed how they involve students in advocating for afterschool.

Using social media to advocate will be the subject of the final webinar of this series on March 27. Deepmalya Ghosh, Director of Youth Development at the Child Center of New York, Inc. will share how he engages the public in afterschool advocacy through social media. Visit our webinars page to register

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learn more about: Advocacy Afterschool Voices Events and Briefings Media Outreach
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FEB
24

POLICY
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Increasing access to quality afterschool programs at the state level

By Erik Peterson

While the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act continues to be bogged down in Congress, policy activity relating to education and expanding access to afterschool and summer learning programs at the state level has picked up—especially in New York, California and Kansas.

New York

In late January, Gov. Andrew Cuomo released his FY2015 state budget. Included in the plan were proposed investments in children and families through support for statewide universal pre-kindergarten, afterschool programs and increased funding for child care. The governor pledged $720 million over five years to support the expansion of afterschool programs for middle school students. The proposed funding could expand access to afterschool programs for up to 100,000 additional students in the first year. The announcement followed the proposal of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio to increase access to afterschool programs for middle school students in New York City. The governor’s budget also proposed an increase in New York’s investment in child care by increasing funding for the Child Care Development Block Grant by $21 million. Child care subsidies are at least $80 million less today than in 2010-2011, when New York benefitted from stimulus funds. For more information on the afterschool proposal in New York, including testimony at a recent hearing, visit the website of the New York State Afterschool Network.

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learn more about: Congress ESEA State Networks State Policy Community Partners
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