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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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JUL
5
2017

POLICY
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Experts and education professionals defend summer learning in Hill briefing

By Marco Ornelas

Summer isn’t a vacation for everyone. Every year, low-income students from underperforming schools find themselves experiencing a loss of knowledge freshly obtained during the school year. To address this important issue, the National Summer Learning Association (NSLA) hosted a briefing on Capitol Hill for Congressional staff and others to bring awareness to the importance of summer learning programs and to make the case for continued federal support of these programs.

A panel of experts, program providers, and advocates agreed that the faucet of resources available to our nation’s youth during the school year is turned off during the summer, creating a funding issue for vital programs across the country. The gap between school time and summertime resources becomes more problematic in communities of color and low-income neighborhoods. To combat the lack of resources, many organizations and school districts have formed partnerships to ensure every child gets the support they need.

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learn more about: 21st CCLC Extended Day Federal Policy
JAN
20
2015

RESEARCH
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New report: Findings on expanded learning time in four states

By Nikki Yamashiro

Last week, the Center on Education Policy (CEP), based at George Washington University’s Graduate School of Education and Human Development, released “Expanded Learning Time: A Summary of Findings from Case Studies in Four States,” a report examining the strategies being used by schools and school districts to expand learning time, as well as the impact, challenges and successes of expanded learning time (ELT) initiatives.  While the report includes a number of insights regarding what ELT looks like at various sites and how schools and districts have implemented ELT, a central takeaway of the report is that ELT is just one way schools can help improve student achievement.  Authors of the study, as well as education leaders interviewed for the study, agree that although ELT can have a positive effect on student achievement in school if it is a part of school improvement efforts, it should be one of an assortment of strategies to improve student achievement. 

The report focuses on 17 low-performing schools within 11 school districts that have implemented expanded learning time.  The four states in which the school districts are located—Connecticut, Colorado, Oregon, and Virginia—have been granted Elementary and Secondary Education (ESEA) waivers, which means that they have greater flexibility on how to use certain federal funding streams for increased learning time, and a majority of the schools either received School Improvement Grant (SIG) funding or were identified as a “priority” school under ESEA waivers.  The report’s authors conducted site visits of all 11 school districts and a majority of the schools, interviewing close to 50 education leaders, including education officials, district leaders and school principals.  Below are key findings from the report:

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learn more about: Extended Day
NOV
19
2014

POLICY
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Texas publishes statewide plan for expanded learning opportunities

By Sophie Papavizas

The Expanded Learning Opportunities (ELO) Council was established by the Texas Legislature in 2013 in order to improve quality and access to expanded learning opportunities in the state, including afterschool and summer programs. On November 1, the ELO Council published its first report, 2016-2017 Statewide Strategic Plan for Expanded Learning Opportunities, with the support of the Texas Partnership for Out of School Time (TXPOST). In the report, the council states that “high-quality ELO programs provide safe places, support economic growth, and help close the academic achievement gap by offering supplemental activities that support but do not replicate the general education program.”

NOV
12
2014

IN THE FIELD
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The opportunity equation: helping make the case for high-quality afterschool programs everywhere

By Jodi Grant

Kudos to Eric Schwartz, founding CEO of Citizen Schools, for authoring a book that highlights the value of the afterschool space and boldly points out that the greatest disparity of opportunity between students lies in unequal access to enrichment and learning opportunities outside of the traditional school classroom.

In his recently released book, The Opportunity Equation: How Citizen Teachers Are Combating the Achievement Gap in America's Schools, Eric argues that the real achievement gap between low-income students and wealthier students stems from what they do with the time they spend outside of school. Upper-middle-class students are exposed to a variety of enrichment activities, and because of their parents, they have multiple opportunities to interact with leaders and role models.  Lower-income students have limited access to any such resources.

DEC
9
2013

IN THE FIELD
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School Improvement Grants data analysis shows increased student proficiency rates

By Michelle Cravez

The newly-released School Improvement Grants (SIG) analysis and assessment data shows that schools receiving such grants have increased proficiency rates in math and reading since the program was implemented two years ago.  The SIG Program is a major component of the Department of Education’s game plan to help turn around the nation’s lowest performing schools.  SIG funds are awarded by state education agencies to local education agencies to close, transform, restart or turn around low performing schools.  Afterschool is mentioned in Department of Education guidance as part of turnaround and transformational strategies.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan commented on the progress and said “To build on this success in our disadvantaged communities, we must expand the most effective practices to accelerate progress for students and prepare them for success in college and careers.”  

So what are some of these effective practices?  Of the three programs highlighted in the department’s press release two weeks ago, two grantees used expanded learning time within school and/or afterschool programs within their turnaround plans.  Using SIG funds for expanded learning time ensures other funding streams like the 21st Century Community Learning Centers initiative can support afterschool, summer learning and before-school programs.  

NOV
13
2013

POLICY
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Fighting for afterschool programs with brawn and brains: Mr. Schwarzenegger comes to Washington

By Erik Peterson

In late October former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger came to Washington, D.C., to shine a light on the importance of federal funding for afterschool programs. Through meetings hosted by leadership in both the House of Representatives and the Senate with both Republicans and Democrats, as well as a meeting with Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and a stop at the new D.C. After-School All-Stars program, Gov. Schwarzenegger made clear the importance of afterschool programs in keeping young people safe and supported, inspiring learning for children and youth, and helping working families.

The focus of Gov. Schwarzenegger’s meetings on Capitol Hill was to express strong support for continued federal funding for afterschool programs through the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) initiative. The governor urged Members of Congress to find a separate funding stream for lengthening the school day or school year so that it doesn't compete with funding for afterschool programs. He also called for supporting the 21st CCLC program so that afterschool programs become an expectation, not an afterthought.

AUG
28
2013

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup - August 28, 2013

By Luci Manning

Community partnerships and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) learning were singled out as two important education trends for Iowans to follow during the 2013-2014 school year. “Schools in Iowa are increasingly teaming up with community organizations to provide students with extra learning opportunities before, after and even during the school day,” the Des Moines Register reports. In addition, Iowa students will likely see their exposure to the STEM subjects grow during in- and out-of-school time thanks to $4.7 million from the state legislature for STEM instruction for nearly 1,000 schools, museums, clubs and other educational organizations. The Des Moines Register also notes Iowa’s upcoming teacher leadership program, the rollout of statewide education standards, and school security in the wake of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary are other trends to follow.
 
Letters: Extending the School Day, Innovation Calls for New Ways to Use Time for Learning (Boston Globe, Massachusetts)
Nicholas C. Donohue, president and CEO of The Nellie Mae Education Foundation wrote a letter to the editor responding to a Boston Globe editorial on longer school days. He wrote: “The inclusion of an extended school day in Governor Patrick’s budget and the work the Time to Succeed coalition is doing on behalf of the initiative are critical steps forward in education reform. But the central issue is not just about more time, it’s how we use it — specifically, to support new, equitable, and innovative approaches to learning. More personalized, student-centered approaches are sprouting up in school districts across the country, including tailored learning opportunities in environments that expand learning beyond the confines of school walls and school calendars; blended learning that makes the most of new educational technologies; and performance assessments that measure progress based on mastery of complex, real-world skills and knowledge. Not all of these efforts require more time, but they all do require time to be used differently.”
 
Barstow Police Activities League’s afterschool programs recently moved to a new location and by doing so renewed the afterschool program’s focus on education. The program’s new facility houses a small library, separate rooms for homework and reading and a computer lab equipped with six computers in addition to a television, leather sofas, two separate video game stations and a foosball table, the Desert Dispatch reports.
 
Chris Alfano, the co-founder and chief technology officer of Jarvus Innovations, a web software engineering firm, has been declared the winner of Philadelphia’s Philly311 Widget Contest, the Philadelphia Business Journal reports. The city was looking for software that will allow users of the City of Philadelphia’s Philly311 Mobile App to access a directory of afterschool programs and activities. Alfano will not win any prize money for designing the After School Programs Widget, but the city will officially adopt his widget and distribute it to the 15,000 users of the Philly311 Mobile App.
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learn more about: Extended Day Science Community Partners
JUL
19
2013

POLICY
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VIDEO: Partisan ESEA reauthorization bill passes House, Rep. Kildee champions afterschool

By Erik Peterson

The Republican Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) reauthorization bill passed the House of Representatives this morning by a vote of 221 to 207, with 12 Republicans joining House Democrats in opposing the bill.

HR 5, the Student Success Act, does not reauthorize the 21st Century Community Learning Centers initiative, which could lead to more than 1.1 million students losing access to desperately needed afterschool, before-school and summer learning programs that keep students safe, inspire learning and provide a lifeline for our hard working families.  While the bill does create the Local Competitive Grant Program that would fund “supplemental student support activities such as before, after, or summer school activities, tutoring, and expanded learning time;” it allows the same Grant Program to also support school day activities, such as academic subject-specific programs, adjunct teacher programs, extended learning time programs, dual enrollment programs and parent engagement. At a time when local and state funding is declining, it is likely that this grant would predominantly be used to fund activities during the school day.