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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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JAN
13
2016

POLICY
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ESSA: What does it mean for afterschool and summer learning?

By Erik Peterson

With the passage late last year of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), many in the afterschool field have been asking about the impact of the new law on afterschool programs and the children served by programs providers. Join the Afterschool Alliance and a number of partner organizations for a webinar on January 20th when we seek to answer the question “what does ESSA mean for afterschool and summer learning program providers?”

This overview webinar seeks to break down what the new law says regarding funding and policy for afterschool and summer learning programs, whether through the 21st Century Community Learning Centers initiative, STEM afterschool provisions, full service community schools, or other programs. This introductory webinar will be the first in a series of five webinars to be held in the coming months that will go into depth on a variety of programs and topics in ESSA relevant to afterschool programs and providers. Bring your questions and join us on January 20, 2016, from 1PM ET – 2 PM ET. Register here.

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NOV
9
2015

IN THE FIELD
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Nine Performance Partnership Pilots (P3) selected and comments solicited for a next round

By Jillian Luchner

Performance Partnership Pilots (P3) are the scissors designed to cut federal red-tape and allow communities to provide coordinated, streamlined services to youth ages 14-24 who are not engaged in school or work or are at a high-risk of becoming disengaged (known as “opportunity youth" or "disconnected youth”). Under the pilot, funding streams between six federal agencies can be blended, eligibility between programs can be fused, data can be shared, and reporting can be consolidated – with the goal of saving time and money for service providers and allowing them to refocus on effective outcomes for youth. To learn more about the history of the effort that brought P3 to into being, read here.

In the first round of projects, nine communities/sites received the green-light to pilot these initiatives. They are: Chicago Department of Family & Support Services, Children's Services Council of Broward County, City of Baton Rouge/Parish of East Baton Rouge, City of Indianapolis, City of Los Angeles, Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Programs, Oklahoma Department of Human Services, Workforce Development Council of Seattle - King County and Ysleta del Sur Pueblo. P3 is not a new funding stream, however each pilot location will receive $700,000 in startup funds to implement their programs.

Many of these communities have existing sites that support 21st Century Community Learning Centers, which can play an important role in helping reconnect youth with opportunities in work and education during afterschool and summer programming.

A new Notice of Proposed Priorities asks for input on how to make these pilots even stronger and more impactful for different designated groups, including youth in rural and tribal communities, youth with a disability, English language learners, homeless youth, youth in foster care, immigrants and refugees and youth involved in the juvenile justice system. Emphasis is also placed on paid work-based learning experiences and on rigorous evaluations of outcomes. Comments are being solicited now until November 23, 2015.

AUG
26
2015

POLICY
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How do Americans define effective schooling? By measures of engagement and student hopefulness

By Jillian Luchner

On Monday, August 24, Gallup/PDK released the 47th Annual Poll of the Public’s Attitudes toward the Public Schools, a nationally representative poll including a phone and web survey of more than 4,000 Americans. The poll focused substantially on perceptions of standardized testing but also touched on issues such as school choice, teacher quality, funding, and the roles of different levels of federal, state, and local government. Overall, the public seems to understand what the research has shown, that learning occurs best when tied to curiosity, interest and relationships.

Gallup/PDK Findings:

Engagement matters: Americans prefer to see student engagement and student hope for the future prioritized in schools.

  • 81% of public school parents believe “the percent of students who feel hopeful about their future” ought to be a very important measure of school effectiveness and 80% felt the same about student engagement.
  • The national public at large shared the sentiment with 78% listing engagement and 77% listing hopefulness as very important.
  • Meanwhile, 67% of public school parents surveyed felt there is too much emphasis on standardized testing and only 14% believe that standardized test scores can measure the effectiveness of the public schools.
MAR
5
2015

POLICY
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Guest blog: Former Secretary of Education emphasizes importance of afterschool in education reform

By Guest Blogger

Cathy Stevens is the Program Director for the White-Riley-Peterson Policy Fellowship at the Richard W. Riley Institute at Furman University.

Former U.S. Secretary of Education and South Carolina Governor Dick Riley told an audience of decision-makers charged with undoing decades of educational inequities in South Carolina that afterschool and expanded learning are a key part of the comprehensive, “collective impact,” education reform needed for rural and poor school districts.

In late 2014, after a 21-year lawsuit, Abbeville v. State, the South Carolina Supreme Court ruled that the state is failing to provide its students with an minimally adequate education as required by the state’s constitution. To say this was a long time coming is putting it mildly. In response to this lawsuit, a new 17-member legislative task force began meeting in February to develop plans for revamping the school system, especially for the 33 largely poor and rural plaintiff school districts. Former U.S. Secretary of Education and South Carolina native, Richard W. Riley, opened the task force’s first meeting on February 23rd with commentary that emphasized the value of afterschool and expanded learning as part of the broader legislative response.

“Engaging, hands-on academic enrichment opportunities are needed in each elementary and middle school to help struggling students. Such opportunities also should leverage the inspiration of master teachers and the community spirit of mentors and tutors from youth, arts, culture, faith-based, science, community and business organizations,” he emphasized.

NOV
7
2014

POLICY
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Midterm election 2014: the potential impact on federal support of afterschool programs

By Erik Peterson

After more than a year of anticipation, the 2014 midterm elections finally came and (mostly) went this week. With a few races still not officially decided, the headline is that the Republican Party will take over as the majority in the Senate in the next Congress with at least 52 seats, and they also added to their majority in the House. The 114th Congress, when it is sworn in early next year, will be one half of a divided government in Washington, opposite President Obama in the White House.  

The shift in control of Congress is potentially historic. In the House, the Republicans increased their majority to at least 243 seats, with Republican candidates leading in several undecided races. It is possible the Republican Party will control as many as 250 seats in the House, the largest Republican House majority since 1928.

NOV
3
2014

POLICY
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Going to the polls for afterschool

By Sophie Papavizas

Don’t forget to get out and vote tomorrow!  No matter the results of the midterm elections, we can expect a number of new faces in public offices across the country, from local school boards to governor’s mansions to Congress.  We know from the recent America After 3PM data that an overwhelming majority of parents, 84 percent, support public funding for afterschool programs including 91 percent of Democratic parents and 80 percent of Republican parents. Education is among the portfolio of issues being mentioned by candidates.

This winter will be the perfect time to educate newly elected officials and their incoming staff on the importance of quality afterschool programs for all students.  You can even bring the new America After 3 PM data with you to let officials know the afterschool landscape in their state.  For more guidance on post-election follow up see the Afterschool Alliance’s toolbox on Making Afterschool an Election Issue.

OCT
17
2014

RESEARCH
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Guest blog: Why the afterschool learning context matters when using technology with at-risk students

By Guest Blogger

Kamila Thigpen is the Digital Learning Policy and Advocacy Manager at Alliance for Excellent Education.

 

The nation’s 23.8 million minority students comprise nearly half of the school population, and many of them are underserved by their school systems. Try walking into one of these schools and you’ll notice very little changes in modern classrooms and those from more than a century ago. Although SMART Boards may have replaced black boards and a handful of computers may be visible around the room, in most cases there are few differences in the actual teaching and learning process.

After the school day and school year ends, disparities in access to technology are further compounded. Only 3 percent of teachers in high-poverty schools agree that “students have the digital tools they need to effectively complete assignments while at home,” compared to 52 percent of teachers in more affluent schools. As students get older and afterschool participation decreases, opportunities to engage in high-quality digital learning are few and far between for high-school aged students who need it most.

OCT
16
2014

RESEARCH
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Which states made the top 10 list for afterschool?

By Nikki Yamashiro

A huge congratulations to California, D.C., Florida, Vermont, Massachusetts, Arizona, Oregon, Nebraska, Tennessee and Hawaii for making America After 3PM’s “Top 10 States for Afterschool”! 
 
These states made the list because they have some combination of strong afterschool participation rates, high parent satisfaction with their child’s afterschool program, and low rates of children who are alone and unsupervised after school.  For example, California, which secured the number one spot, has an afterschool program participation rate of 25 percent, third highest in the nation, and a participation rate higher than the national average of 18 percent.  America After 3PM also found that the Golden State has strong parent satisfaction when it comes to their child’s afterschool program.  Nine in 10 California parents are satisfied with their child’s afterschool program and 92 percent are satisfied with the program’s quality of care.  
 
There are a handful of familiar states that were on the top 10 list from our 2009 edition of America After 3PM, but there are also a few newcomers to list, including Washington, D.C.  This is the first time in the three rounds of America After 3PM that we were able to report on the District of Columbia.