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OCT
20
2017

STEM
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New commitments to equity, engagement at the CSforALL Summit

By Stephanie Rodriguez

“Power is the ability to write and author the American story… and that requires ambition to be nurtured; it requires the administration of an infrastructure that can do this.”

These words come from Dr. Kamau Bobb of Georgia Institute of Technology, explaining how institutes of higher education are, can, and should be supporting the effort to get computer science education to ALL of the Nation’s students. Dr. Bobb spoke on a panel during the CSforAll summit, addressing how the computing initiative is at the forefront of what equity in the coming century will ultimately be and offering a salient framing for why more than 400 cross-sector advocated gathered in St. Louis to celebrate successes and design for action toward achieving CSforAll. More than 170 organizations, including the Afterschool Alliance, committed to various activities and supports to bring high quality computer science to all students.

Throughout the day of celebration on October 17, advocates shared resources, policies, and coalitions that have been vital to the ongoing success of the CSforALL movement. Many hammered home how reaching CSforALL will require utilizing the complete learning ecosystem, and reaching kids in all of the places they learn. Some highlights are described below; check out the recording for more!

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learn more about: STEM Computer Science Girls
OCT
18
2017

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup: October 18, 2017

By Luci Manning

How Important Is Time? Upcoming Event Shines Light on After-School Program (Dothan Eagle, Alabama)

The Boys & Girls Club of Hawk-Houston is hoping to engage the Dothan community with its afterschool program by hosting its tenth annual Lights On Afterschool event next Thursday. “We want to shine a light on the importance of the afterschool program in the community,” CEO Altha Newman told the Dothan Eagle. “The program needs the support of the community for us to be able to grow it, to serve more kids and their families.” The club provides students with a safe environment between the hours of 3 PM and 6 PM, a place where they can work on homework, exercise and receive a healthy meal.

Henderson Children’s Center Draws Praise from Governor (Henderson Gleaner, Kentucky)

Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin visited the one-year-old Audubon Kids Zone last week to see the afterschool program in action. The program was founded a year ago in the poorest neighborhood of Henderson, according to the Gleaner, and aims to help students in need succeed academically and in life by building lasting relationships and supporting them in their goals. “This is a gem,” Bevin told the staff during his visit. “This should be celebrated and replicated in other communities.”

Little Free Library Has New Best Friend – Girl Scouts (Youth Today)

For the past several years, the nonprofit Little Free Library has helped bring free books to children and communities across the country, partly through a partnership with the Girl Scouts. More than 500 of the libraries that have been built were set up by Girl Scouts, according to Little Free Library program manager Margaret Aldrich. “Community service is a core value of Girl Scouting. Girl Scouts establishes a sense of learning for girls,” and they want to extend that to others, Girl Scouts of Southwest Texas chief development and communications office Stephanie Finleon Cortez told Youth Today.

Annual Lights On Afterschool Brings Law Enforcement and Kids Together (KNOP, Nebraska)

The North Platte Kids Klub at Wild Bills held its Lights On Afterschool celebration this past Friday. Youths in the program bowled and played laser tag with Lincoln County law enforcement officers, giving students the opportunity to build a positive relationship with police officers at a young age. “They help the community,” Kids Klub member Brooklyn Fries told KNOP. “They save the people who are getting hurt by bad guys.” 

OCT
10
2017

IN THE FIELD
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Success Story: Girls on the Run

By Faith Savaiano

Twenty years ago in Charlotte, N.C., a young woman began the first Girls On the Run (GOTR) team as an individual effort. But when the program was covered in Runner’s World, a running-focused magazine, the demand for this girls-specific running program exploded. Today, GOTR has more than 200 councils across all 50 states, serving more than 200,000 girls each year.

The program’s rapid growth presented the young organization with the challenge and opportunity to develop a more structured curriculum, according to Dr. Heather Pressley, senior vice president of mission advancement.

“The team at headquarters realized that the organic growth was great but it was very fast, [and] we needed to look into the quality and consistency of the program across sites where it was being offered,” Pressley said. “We took the original concept of building confidence through running and created an intentional curriculum with measurable physical, social, emotional, and life skills outcomes.”

SEP
20
2017

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup: September 20, 2017

By Luci Manning

Best Speaks in Support of After-School Programs (Branson Tri-Lakes News, Missouri)

Last Tuesday, Branson Mayor Karen Best spoke at a congressional briefing organized by the Afterschool Alliance in support of federal funding for afterschool programs. Best emphasized afterschool programming’s benefits for childhood development. “I firmly believe if you have a passion, it’s your duty and obligation to fight for that passion,” Best told Branson Tri-Lakes News. “As the mayor of Branson, it’s my obligation to fight for the kids in our community.” After the panel, Best had a chance to meet with Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) and Reps. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Billy Long (R-Mo.) and Ann Wagner (R-Mo.).

SHINE for Girls: Middle School Students Dance Their Way to Better Math Scores (Pensacola News Journal, Florida)

The SHINE for Girls program aims to inspire confidence and improve math scores for middle school girls by helping them learn through dance. The program is run by two Pensacola High School seniors and gives students the opportunity to partake in interactive lessons rather than working through books or worksheets. “The idea of our program is to make it so that girls are able to do math problems and to know that just because they don’t understand right now doesn’t mean they won’t be able to in the future,” Laura Hagy, 17-year-old executive director of the Florida chapter of SHINE, told the Pensacola News Journal. Students in the program have improved their test scores by an average of 50 points.

Kids Klub Climbs into Saddle with Mid-Plains Rodeo Team (North Platte Telegraph, Nebraska)

Students in the Kids Klub Rough Riders afterschool program are learning about horse care, behavior, anatomy, nutrition and safety through a partnership with Mid-Plains Community College, Dusty Trails LLC and the West Central Research and Extension Center. Last week, Kids Klub students met with the MPCC Rodeo Team for a hands-on rodeo lesson and dinner with the crew. “This was an impressive lineup of programming and a night they won’t forget,” Kids Klub executive director Carrie Lienemann told the North Platte Telegraph. Thanks to a grant from the Nebraska Department of Education, students will participate in horseback riding lessons and other activities centered around animals and agriculture throughout the fall.

Students Turn Classroom Lessons into Musical Masterpieces (Bowling Green Daily News, Kentucky)

Adairville Elementary School assistant principal Jonathan Stovall is helping students learn classroom lessons through music in a unique summer and afterschool program. Stovall and local musicians work with students Wednesday evenings at NF Records to produce songs with original rhythms and lyrics on topics from the water cycle to the U.S. Constitution. “I wanted to build something that was engaging to kids and met kids where they’re at,” Stovall told the Bowling Green Daily News.

 

SEP
8
2017

RESEARCH
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Evaluating afterschool: What my toddler taught me about evaluation

By Guest Blogger

By Allison Riley, PhD, MSW, Senior Vice President, Programming and Evaluation at Girls on the Run International. Girls on the Run is a physical activity-based positive youth development program that inspires girls to be joyful, healthy, and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum that creatively integrates running.

The Afterschool Alliance is pleased to present the seventh installment of our "Evaluating afterschool" blog series, which answers some of the common questions asked about program evaluation and highlights program evaluation best practices. Be sure to take a look at the firstsecondthirdfourthfifth, and sixth posts of the series.

My two-year-old daughter and I like to take walks together when I get home from work. Whether we are headed to see the neighbor’s chickens or visit a friend, we always have some goal in mind when we walk out of the door, though my toddler typically doesn’t take the most direct path. Even if I try to rush her along so we can more quickly reach our destination, she is sure to pause when a good learning opportunity comes her way. When I follow my daughter’s lead, our walks are purposeful yet flexible, and I always learn more, too.

As it turns out, my daughter’s approach to a walk translates well to my workday world. As someone who’s spent my career evaluating youth programming, I have learned the importance of having a clear purpose and goals for a project while being flexible and responsive to information gathered during the evaluation process. Let’s look at a recent Girls on the Run study as an example.

SEP
5
2017

IN THE FIELD
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Girls Who Code Clubs: Prepare girls in your community for the future

By Leah Silverberg

Girls Who Code, a national nonprofit working to close the gender gap in tech, wants to work with you! Through their afterschool Clubs Program, 6th-12th grade girls use computer science to impact their community and join a sisterhood of supportive peers and role models. Clubs can be hosted by many kinds of youth-serving organizations, including schools, community centers, faith-based organizations, universities, libraries, and other nonprofits.

All materials from Girls Who Code are provided for free, including:

  • 120+ hours of curriculum, activity sets, and an online learning management system
  • Recruitment materials, including student, and volunteer flyers
  • Program management support, including field trip and grant opportunities
  • Facilitator trainings, resources, and real-time support

 

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learn more about: STEM Computer Science Girls
AUG
23
2017

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup: August 23, 2017

By Luci Manning

Jamal Collins Gives Youths Lessons in Graphic Design, Life (Plain Dealer, Ohio)

An afterschool program at King Kennedy Boys & Girls Club is giving young people their first taste of graphic design, thanks to program leader Jamal Collins. Collins teaches the students about the intersection of art and coding while instilling in them life skills like self-promotion, storytelling and how to think creatively. “I can see the impact I have with these kids, so I know I’m doing it right,” Collins told the Plain Dealer. “I’m trying to get them to understand there’s no limitations on what they want to do.”

Norton’s After-School Program Takes Art into Community (Palm Beach Post, Florida)

The Norton Museum of Art’s Afterschool Arts Outreach program not only introduces some 600 students to art, music and literature – a recently completed evaluation shows that it also helps boost their self-confidence, the Palm Beach Post reports. The program teaches students to think critically, handle challenges and formulate solutions. “Children and teens believed that the program helped them to accept making mistakes, feel better about themselves, talk to adults and teachers, work cooperatively with peers, and be proud of their artwork, all indicators of self-efficacy,” Dr. Martha A. Brown wrote in her evaluation. “The evaluation also produced strong evidence that the program has a very positive impact on students’ learning about art. When asked, most students said that the classes make them feel creative and give them opportunities to express themselves.”

With Hammers and Glue, Girls in Lowell Program Explore Potential (Lowell Sun, Massachusetts)

A dozen girls are learning the ins and outs of the real estate business through the Xchange Experience summer program. The program is the result of a partnership between Lupoli Companies and Girls Inc. of Greater Lowell, and introduces the young women to the various career paths available in the industry, including marketing, property development and architecture. “At the end of this eight week program, I hope that some of these career paths will resonate with the girls and that maybe in 10 years, one or two of them may come back to me and say, ‘Because of the Xchange Experience program, I became an architect,’ or ‘I became an engineer,’ or ‘I became a marketing specialist for commercial real estate,’” Lupoli Companies vice president and director of real estate Karen McShea told the Lowell Sun.

Charlotte Gets $1 Million for After School Programs (WBTV, North Carolina)

Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts announced this week that the city will expand its afterschool programs for students in need, thanks to a $1 million grant from the Gambrell Foundation. The money would allow 600 to 1,000 middle school students from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School District to access afterschool programs, making a dent in the 8,000 students currently on waiting lists throughout the city. “It gives children hope and courage to go to college,” Greater Enrichment Program Executive Director Bronica Glover told WBTV. “It exposes them to a variety of experiences they would never get if they weren’t in an after school [program] and it keeps them safe.” 

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learn more about: Arts Girls In The News
AUG
2
2017

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup: August 2, 2017

By Luci Manning

If You Think This Camp’s Unusual, You’re Dead Right (Riverdale Press, New York)

A cemetery may not seem like an obvious location to host a summer camp, but for some 20 students from the Bronx, it has been the perfect place to spend time outside while learning about the history of their community. The summer program hosted by the Woodlawn Cemetery teaches students about the art and architecture in the graveyard, and introduces them to some of the people buried there, including famous figures like Miles Davis and salsa singer Celia Cruz. “If you don’t get young people to be stewards of a historic site, who’s going to care for it?” Woodlawn director of historical services Susan Olsen told the Riverdale Press.

Hundreds of Maryland Students Get to Know Careers That Could Follow High School (Washington Post)

More than 400 Montgomery County teenagers spent the past three weeks shadowing employees at health care centers, police departments, research labs, construction companies and more through a new program that gives students a glimpse into possible future careers. At Summer RISE (Real Interesting Summer Experience), students worked an average of 20 hours a week and earned a $300 stipend while learning about what paths they could take after high school or college. “Not only is this great for the kids to give them something to do, but also to show them that opportunities exist and they don’t have to live somewhere else to get an interesting job,” program director Will Jawando told the Washington Post.

STEMMING the Tide, Broadening Possibilities (Jackson Clarion-Ledger, Mississippi)

A Jackson summer camp is working to close the gender and racial gaps in STEM fields by empowering dozens of young black girls to explore engineering and other technical fields. The Summer Engineering Experience for Kids (SEEK Jackson) is an all-female STEM camp for third- through fifth-graders that engages students in hands-on, team-based engineering activities under the guidance of mentors. The program builds girls’ confidence and increases their comprehension of basic engineering and math concepts that will help them later in life. “A lot of boys become engineers but SEEK proves that girls can accomplish just as much,” participant Karis McGowan told the Jackson Clarion-Ledger.

From Skyhook to STEM: Kareem Abdul Jabbar Brings the Science (NPR)

NBA Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul Jabbar is trying to narrow the opportunity gap for Los Angeles youths through his Skyhook Foundation and Camp Skyhook. The nonprofit offers public school students access to a free STEM-focused summer camp in the Angeles National Forest, where they’re able to interact with nature up close by taking water temperatures, studying soil and forest samples and learning about local wildlife. “We try to give them an idea that they are all worthy of going on and doing great things in chemistry and biology and physics and math and all those things…. They’re curious about it, so we try to get them to keep making inquiries and sniffing up that tree,” Abdul Jabbar told NPR