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JUN
9

RESEARCH
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New Report: Connecting out-of-school time to classroom success among young black males in D.C.

By Nikki Yamashiro

Making learning relevant, incorporating workforce development into programming, emphasizing healthful eating and physical activity, providing a safe and supportive environment, and engaging parents are just a few of the key components of effective out-of-school-time programs highlighted in a new report by the D.C. Children and Youth Investment Trust Corporation.

Building Bridges: Connecting Out-of-School Time to Classroom Success Among School-Age Black Males in the District of Columbia” takes a look at policies and practices afterschool programs can adopt to best support the success of young black males in D.C.  The report demonstrates the need for targeted support for young black males in D.C., beginning with an overview of the data on black men and boys in the District of Columbia.  This includes data on graduation and dropout rates, grade school retentions, disability diagnosis, suspensions, household structure, employment, and household income.  For example, the report found that in Washington, D.C., the dropout rate for black males is 14 percent, compared to less than 2 percent for white males.  Another sobering statistic is the wealth gap that has grown in D.C.  In 1990, just less than 3 in 10 black children in D.C. were being raised in families living in poverty and approximately 7 in 10 white children were being raised in families in “comfortable homes”—or in families with an income more than five times the rate of poverty.  In 2011, approximately 4 in 10 black children in D.C. were living in poverty, compared to 9 in 10 white children who were living in a comfortable home.

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learn more about: Equity Evaluations Working Families Academic Enrichment Youth Development
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JUN
3

FUNDING
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Guest blog: Summer food participation grows across the nation

By Alexis Steines

This guest blog was co-written by Signe Anderson and Kate Sims. Anderson is a Senior Child Nutrition Policy Analyst and Sims is a Child Nutrition Policy Analyst, both with the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC)

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learn more about: Evaluations Federal Policy Guest Blog Nutrition Summer Learning Community Partners
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MAY
21

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.

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learn more about: Advocacy Afterschool Champions Congress Equity Evaluations Events and Briefings
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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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FEB
19

RESEARCH
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New report: Taking a Deeper Dive into Afterschool

By Nikki Yamashiro

Research and evaluation are critical to understanding, improving and growing a policy, a program or an organization.  Federal, state and local government; as well as foundations and other public and private sector funding agencies are increasingly asking for this information that will give them greater insight into outcomes and the impact of their investment.  Afterschool Alliance understands the importance of research and evaluation in the afterschool field and “Taking a Deeper Dive into Afterschool: Positive Outcomes and Promising Practices” synthesizes the findings of research covering hundreds of afterschool programs.  The report highlights the positive results of these programs on the students who participate in them and outlines the promising practices associated with quality programs.

The report is divided into three sections: the first section reviews evaluations that assess outcomes of students who participate in afterschool programs, the second section presents a summary of promising practices of afterschool programs based on a synthesis of existing research, and the third section provides detailed examples of afterschool programs implementing each promising practice.

Outcomes reviewed in the first section are: 
  • School engagement, including attendance and likelihood of staying in school;
  • Student behavior, including participation in at-risk behaviors, such as criminal activity, gang involvement, drug and alcohol use, or sexual activity; and
  • Academic performance, including test scores, grades, graduation rates and college enrollment.
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learn more about: Equity Evaluations Community Partners
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FEB
18

POLICY
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Moving toward a more family friendly nation with afterschool for all

By Erik Peterson

This month marks the 21st anniversary of the enactment of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the historic legislation signed into law by Pres. Clinton in 1993 that has done so much to support working families. Given the new focus in Washington on supporting working families, it is worthwhile to revisit another legacy of the Clinton administration that has also been tremendously helpful for millions of working mothers and fathers during the past decade: the 21stCentury Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) initiative.

Quality afterschool and summer learning programs funded through the 21st CCLC initiative provide a safe and engaging place for more than 1.6 million children and youth while their parents are at work.  We know that parents with children in afterschool programs are less stressed, have fewer unscheduled absences and are more productive at work.  However, with 15 million school-age children unsupervised between the hours of 3 and 6 p.m. on weekdays, the need for afterschool programs far outstrips the availability.  As detailed in our 2011 issue brief, “Afterschool and Working Families in Wake of the Great Recession,” the gap between work and school schedules amounts to as much as 25 hours per week, which presents working parents whose children are not served by 21st CCLC or another afterschool program with the expensive challenge of finding someone to care for their children while they are at work.

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learn more about: 21st CCLC Federal Policy Issue Briefs Obama Working Families
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FEB
12

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup - February 12, 2014

By Luci Manning

After-School Activities Empower Kids (The Hill, District of Columbia)
A recent nation-wide study from Deborah Lowe Vandell, researcher at the University of California-Irvine School of Education, reaffirmed that high quality afterschool programs give children incredible opportunities to succeed.  In an op-ed for The Hill, Vandell writes: “Participating in after-school activities–consistently, day in and day out–improves student achievement for kids from low-income families.  In fact, taking part in these programs can help close the gap in math achievement between low-income and high-income children.”

Statewide Network Pushes After-school Efforts (The Tennessean, Tennessee)
Afterschool programs in Tennessee are starting to coordinate their efforts, so that students from across the state can have access to high quality care.  Mary Graham, United Way of Tennessee president, emphasized to The Tennessean the “need to improve access all across the board, including the gap populations, like the middle school population, more programs for at-risk (children) and more for rural areas.” The United Way of Tennessee is coordinating the new Tennessee Afterschool Network. 

See How a Partnership Increases Attendance at Boys and Girls Clubs Afterschool Programs (MLive, Michigan)
Thanks to a new partnership with Dean Transportation, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Grand Rapids is able to help more students.  The transportation service, which comes at no cost to the clubs or the school district, will enable Grand Rapids to take on children who recently had their afterschool programs cut.  Nicole Rodammer, director of development at the Boys & Girls Club, told MLive that they are hoping to add 90 more children to the 300 they already serve at three different locations.  The clubs provide a variety of activities from homework help and academic support to extracurricular activities.

L.A. Unified Students Pitch in to Help the Homeless (Los Angeles Times, California)
Three hundred passionate students from 36 high schools throughout the Los Angeles Unified School District gave back to the community’s homeless last weekend at an event coordinated by the Beyond the Bell afterschool program.  Alvaro Cortes, executive director of Beyond the Bell, explained to the Los Angeles Times that the day of service was an effort to empower students to make a difference.  The students served meals, sorted clothes, cleaned and painted, while gaining a valuable perspective from the personal stories of the homeless men and women they met.
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learn more about: Evaluations Service State Networks Community Partners
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FEB
11

RESEARCH
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The Hill op-ed: After-school activities empower kids

By Sarah Simpson

In his recent State of the Union address, President Obama called for preschool programs for every 4-year-old—an idea that 30 states are funding. Providing early education for youngsters who haven’t started school is an idea whose time has come. So is supporting after-school programs for elementary school students. Researcher Deborah Vandell explains why.

Read the full op-ed published by The Hill.

Vandell, founding dean of the School of Education at the University of California-Irvine, is a distinguished education researcher focusing on issues of P-20 education and longitudinal studies of development.

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learn more about: Evaluations Media Outreach Obama
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