RSS | Go To: afterschoolalliance.org
Subscribe to the Afterschool Advocate newsletter
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.
Afterschool Donation
Afterschool on Facebook
Afterschool on Twitter
Blogs We Read Afterschool Snack Bloggers
Select blogger:
Recent Afterschool Snacks
JUN
9

POLICY
email
print

My Brother's Keeper Task Force reports back to the president

By Erik Peterson

In late February, Pres. Obama appointed a high-level task force to oversee his new “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative “to develop a coordinated federal effort to improve significantly the expected life outcomes for boys and young men of color.” Recently the My Brother’s Keeper Task Force released a report on their first 90 days of actions, including key recommendations for the initiative moving forward.

Since the launch of My Brother’s Keeper initiative, the president’s task force has met with and heard from thousands of Americans through online and in-person listening sessions, including a number of afterschool and summer learning providers.  Cities and towns, businesses, foundations, faith leaders and individuals have made commitments to helping youth get a strong start in school and life and later connect them to mentoring, support networks and specialized skills they need to find a good job or go to college.

The 90-day report laid out cross-cutting recommendations, seven broad themes and specific recommendations.  The importance of afterschool is highlighted in the specific recommendations, which call for expansion of effective afterschool and summer programs to accelerate socio-emotional and academic learning and health.  The recommendations also call for a public-private campaign to recruit high-quality, sustained mentors—an important component of many afterschool programs.  Details on the recommendations are below. 

share this link: http://bit.ly/1qj2Yvo
learn more about: Afterschool Voices Equity Federal Policy Media Outreach Obama Youth Development
Comments: (0)
JUN
3

FUNDING
email
print

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)

share this link: http://bit.ly/SqoKSm
learn more about: Evaluations Federal Policy Guest Blog Nutrition Summer Learning Community Partners
Comments: (0)
MAR
14

IN THE FIELD
email
print

National League of Cities and Department of Education team up for afterschool

By Jen Rinehart

Photo Credit: Youth Today—Read their coverage of the announcement.

Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to talk with a room full of mayors, city council members and education/policy advisors about the role of federal policy in local afterschool efforts.  With a crowd like that, I certainly felt like I was standing on the wrong side of the podium!

It was a dynamic discussion about how federal policies related to 21st Century Community Learning Centers grants, Child Care Development funds and newly proposed initiatives—like Race to the Top-Equity and Opportunity—may impact local afterschool initiatives. 

Many of the city leaders in the room were first drawn to afterschool because they recognized it as a strategy to keep their communities safe.  After learning more about afterschool, they readily saw how keeping youth safe also supports working families, which is linked to worker productivity and therefore economic development.  This necessitates a skilled workforce of the future, which brings you right back to education and safety again.  In short, they were quickly sold on the importance of afterschool. 

I’d like to take credit for the participants’ excitement about afterschool, but in truth it was most likely the result of an announcement made earlier that morning.  Saint Paul, Minnesota, Mayor Chris Coleman, president of the National League of Cities, and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan laid out a plan detailing how they would work together to boost partnerships among federal and local governments, schools, families, faith-based organizations, businesses, nonprofits and universities to advance learning, enhance student engagement and improve schools in cities across the country.

share this link: http://bit.ly/1gjPCaP
learn more about: 21st CCLC Afterschool Voices Department of Education Education Reform Equity Events and Briefings Federal Policy Inside the Afterschool Alliance Community Partners
Comments: (0)
MAR
7

POLICY
email
print

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. 

share this link: http://bit.ly/1hT9W6U
learn more about: 21st CCLC Budget Congress Evaluations Federal Policy Obama
Comments: (0)
FEB
24

FUNDING
email
print

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

share this link: http://bit.ly/1h55zIN
learn more about: Advocacy Afterschool Voices Events and Briefings Media Outreach
Comments: (0)
FEB
21

IN THE FIELD
email
print

Strong partnerships for strong afterschool programs

By Alexis Steines

Strong community partnerships are vital to the long-term sustainability of all afterschool programs. With local and state budgets including sharp cuts to education and youth development programs and federal policy challenges threatening the integrity of afterschool programs, community support is more important than ever. Partnerships between schools and afterschool programs also play an important role in Common Core implementation and other activities to help students improve academically.

Last week, I addressed this topic in breakout sessions at the Beyond School Hours Conference, hosted by Foundations, Inc. The sessions focused on the key ingredients in forming successful community partnerships. These components include:

  • Establishing consistent and honest communication from the start of the partnership;
  • Allowing ownership of issues for all partners;
  • Matching the strengths of each partner with an identified need;
  • Valuing and respecting all partners, no matter the size of their contribution to the partnership;
  • Ensuring coordination and communication with teachers and school administrators.
share this link: http://bit.ly/1fFNwlJ
learn more about: Funding Opportunity Sustainability Community Partners
Comments: (0)
FEB
18

POLICY
email
print

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.

share this link: http://bit.ly/1j8HyhI
learn more about: 21st CCLC Federal Policy Issue Briefs Obama Working Families
Comments: (0)
JAN
30

POLICY
email
print

'Today in America, a teacher spent extra time with a student who needed it' - Pres. Obama

By Erik Peterson

On Tuesday, Pres. Obama delivered his fifth State of the Union (SOTU) address.  As anticipated, the speech focused largely on policies to address income disparity in the United States, with special attention to education, workforce development and opportunities to learn.  Featured prominently were a number of the White House’s existing education policy issues including the early childhood education initiative, the need to make college more accessible and affordable and support for more and better workforce and job training programs to put more Americans to work in better jobs. 

Education was at the forefront in the president’s speech: he led with, “Today in America, a teacher spent extra time with a student who needed it, and did her part to lift America’s graduation rate to its highest level in more than three decades.” Among his examples of work done to increase learning opportunities for young people was the recent College Opportunity Summit, where 150 universities, businesses and nonprofits made concrete commitments to reduce inequality in access to higher education. 

In his speech, the president laid out multiple education priorities saying, “Of course, it’s not enough to train today’s workforce. We also have to prepare tomorrow’s workforce, by guaranteeing every child access to a world-class education.”  He hailed the success of the Race to the Top initiative, saying the program “has helped states raise expectations and performance...Teachers and principals in schools from Tennessee to Washington, D.C., are making big strides in preparing students with skills for the new economy—problem solving, critical thinking, science, technology, engineering and math.”

share this link: http://bit.ly/1fBjtgE
learn more about: Budget Congress Economy Education Reform Equity Events and Briefings Federal Policy Legislation Obama Youth Development
Comments: (0)