RSS | Go To: afterschoolalliance.org
Get Afterschool Updates
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
Afterschool Snack Bloggers
Select blogger:
Recent Afterschool Snacks
NOV
28
2017

IN THE FIELD
email
print

Promising practices: EVOLUTIONS prepares students for college and careers

By Leah Silverberg

Afterschool programs across the country are working with students to prepare them for future jobs. Of programs focusing on high school students, we see students getting real-world job experiences in afterschool, including paid internships, professional development training, practice building skills they will need in the workforce, and exposure to colleges and possible future career pathways. One of the programs highlighted in our latest issue brief, Building Workforce Skills in Afterschool, Evoking Learning and Understanding Through Investigations in the Natural Sciences (EVOLUTIONS) does all of this and more with their students. While talking with the program’s manager of public and youth engagement, Andrea Motto, we were impressed not only with what EVOLUTIONS does with its students, but how. 

EVOLUTIONS is located in New Haven, Conn., and is a part of Yale University’s Peabody Museum of Natural History. The program was created in 2005 in response to community focus groups identifying that the museum could do a better job engaging with the local community. As part of these focus groups, the community expressed that they did not view the museum as a resource that was accessible to them. Listening to these community concerns, EVOLUTIONS was born. By starting with youth, the museum could invest in bridging the gap, bringing youth into the museum in an attempt to increase community access.

NOV
14
2017

RESEARCH
email
print

"Building Workforce Skills in Afterschool" highlights promising practices for all ages

By Nikki Yamashiro

The next generation of the American workforce is growing up right now and afterschool programs are vital partners in helping young people discover new passions and work towards their dreams. As in so many other subjects, the variety and versatility of afterschool programming offers opportunities for different kids at different ages and stages of development to benefit, whether the focus is on social and emotional learning, teamwork and communications skills, or concrete experience at paid internships.

In the Minneapolis Beacons afterschool programs, elementary school students learn and play collaboratively in groups, practicing active listening, considering and respecting different perspectives, and reaching consensus in a group setting. On the other side of the spectrum, high schoolers in Sunrise of Philadelphia’s afterschool program create five-year road maps for themselves, participate in mock interviews, and have the opportunity to work in a variety of paid internships.

Programs are helping students discover potential career pathways, connecting students to real-world workplace experience, and guiding students to build the foundational skills that will benefit students in school and when they enter the workforce. Afterschool Alliance’s new issue brief, Building Workforce Skills in Afterschool, examines the ladder of supports that afterschool programs provide students to help them thrive beyond school, as they grow into adults into their future careers.

AUG
4
2016

STEM
email
print

The Next Generation Science Standards: what do they mean for afterschool?

By Robert Abare

The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) offer a powerful new vision for American science education for the 21st century. NGSS brings long-needed reforms to national and state K-12 science education standards, incorporating decades of new research on how students best learn science—by actively investigating topics and solving real-world problems, just like real scientists and engineers do!

So far, NGSS has been adopted by 16 states and the District of Columbia, as well as several individual schools and districts. If it hasn’t already, NGSS will soon be influencing how your students are expected to learn STEM. To help program providers understand how afterschool fits in to the NGSS, the Afterschool Alliance has developed a new guide, Getting Started with the Next Generation Science Standards.

Key components of our new NGSS guide

  • An explanation and history of how NGSS was developed and who the key collaborators were.
  • The underlying philosophy of the NGSS, which encourages kids to learn science by doing.
  • An overview of the standards themselves.
  • How afterschool providers can work with partner schools and use NGSS as a way to improve their practice.

Back in April, we hosted a webinar that digs into the research behind the standards, and offers a couple examples of how afterschool programs are thinking about NGSS. Watch the recording, and stay tuned for our next NGSS-related webinar in September.

In the meantime, we hope you’ll enjoy Getting Started with the Next Generation Science Standards, and share it with other educators who might find this resource useful!

share this link: http://bit.ly/2alw9Ah
learn more about: Issue Briefs School Improvement Science
MAR
23
2016

IN THE FIELD
email
print

Drumroll please! And the winner of the Dollar General Afterschool Literacy Award is...

By Nikki Yamashiro

Executive Director of Redhound Enrichment Karen West receives the Dollar General Afterschool Literacy Award from Dollar General's Community Initiatives Administrator Lindsey Sublett

We are thrilled to announce the winner of the 2016 Dollar General Afterschool Literacy Award and $10,000 prize:  Redhound Enrichment afterschool program! The Corbin, Kentucky based afterschool program was recognized today at the National AfterSchool Association’s annual convention at the conclusion of the general session.

Redhound Enrichment stood out from more than 150 nominations for this year’s award through its holistic approach to learning and ability to find fun and engaging avenues to integrate literacy into its programming. Executive director of the program Karen West spoke about strategies Redhound Enrichment implements in a workshop during the convention, Creating Year-Round Literacy Opportunities.

In conjunction with the announcement of the award winner, the latest Dollar General afterschool literacy issue brief, Taking a Year-Round Approach to Literacy, was also released. Check out the issue brief to find out more about the award winning program, as well as learn the variety of ways programs across the country are taking advantage of after school hours and summer months to build students’ reading, writing and critical thinking skills.

Stay tuned for details about an upcoming webinar this April featuring programs highlighted in the issue brief who will discuss how they are helping develop their students’ reading and writing skills, as well as create meaningful connections to literacy.

FEB
24
2016

STEM
email
print

How the engineering design process is changing STEM learning

By Erin Murphy

As we celebrate Engineers Week, we'd like to highlight five new research briefs from the Relating Research to Practice (RR2P) project that help us further understand why and how engineering design is valuable to our students. 

For more research on out-of-school time STEM, follow the RR2P project on Twitter and Facebook

Does the engineering design process help students apply math and science content?

Science education reformers have recommended that engineering be introduced into the K–12 curriculum, arguing that engineering activities and lessons help students apply science and math content in real-world context. In this paper, Berland, Steingut and Ko characterize students’ participation in and understanding of the engineering design process and how it creates—or reduces—opportunities for students to apply math and science content. The authors used UTeachEngineering’s curriculum Engineer Your World to examine student understanding of the engineering design process. They reflect on the implications of these findings for engineering curriculum design and implementation.

KEYWORDS: Learning progressionsMathematicsQuestioning strategiesScientific practices


A connected learning approach to an engineering design challenge

In this paper, Evans, Lopez, Maddox, Drape and Duke investigate how five intentionally designed features of an out-of-school time program, Studio STEM, influenced middle school youths’ engagement in their learning. These features include: using engineering design and problem-based learning, integrating of new media, encouraging peer interaction, an “open-studio” environment, and the use of alternative assessment methods.

KEYWORDS: Afterschool/OSTEnvironmental awarenessMiddle schoolNSF-fundedProgram designTechnologyYouth engagement


share this link: http://bit.ly/1QdH20n
learn more about: Issue Briefs Science
OCT
20
2015

IN THE FIELD
email
print

The end of bullying begins with me: October is National Bullying Prevention Month

By Robert Abare

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, more than 20 percent of students aged 12 to 18 report being bullied in school settings during the school year. After school time is particularly vulnerable to bullying behavior, as cell phones start emerging from kids’ pockets and rumors can easily spread. You can take steps to ensure your afterschool environment is bully-free by participating in National Bullying Prevention Month this October. There are a number of resources you can explore to learn more about bullying and how to build a safe and inclusive environment after school.

Launched in 2006 by Parent Advocacy Coalition for Educational Rights (PACER), National Bullying Prevention Month unites communities nationwide to raise awareness of bullying and bullying prevention tactics. You can participate in this year’s theme, “The End of Bullying Begins with Me,” through PACER’s website: sign the campaign petition, register your school or organization as a Champion Against Bullying, or start conversations in your community about the importance of bullying prevention.

You can also stay ahead of bullying by watching a recent anti-bullying webinar cohosted by the Afterschool Alliance and the Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). The webinar recording features lessons from experts like Erin Reiney, Director of the Injury and Violence Prevention Division of Child, Adolescent and Family Health at HRSA’s Maternal and Child Health Bureau. The webinar also walks through anti-bullying community training resources made available by StopBullying.gov.

In 2011, The Afterschool Alliance investigated afterschool’s critical role in bullying prevention through an issue brief published in partnership with MetLife Foundation. Titled “Afterschool: A Strategy for Addressing and Preventing Middle School Bullying,” the brief explains how afterschool programs that provide access to understanding adults in comfortable, out-of-school time settings allow kids to feel confident and safe while preparing them to deal with bullies.

Don’t delay in joining National Bullying Prevention Month this October—and in continuing the movement against bullying year-round.

NOV
10
2014

IN THE FIELD
email
print

Guest Blog: Inclusive Out-of-School Time

By Guest Blogger

This blog post was originally published on the National Center on Health, Physical Activity and Disability’s (NCHPAD) blog, which promotes information sharing around increased participation in physical activity among people of all abilities.  Nora Niedzielski-Eichner, executive director of the New York State Afterschool Network (NYSAN), is a contributing author to this blog post and works to raise the profile of the OST field in New York and strengthen OST programs across the state, including promoting the importance of inclusion of youth with disabilities in afterschool, expanded learning, and out-of-school time opportunities.  For additional information regarding afterschool programs providing an inclusive environment where students of all abilities can learn and grow side-by-side, read “Afterschool Supporting Students with Disabilities and Other Special Needs,” a joint issue brief by MetLife Foundation and the Afterschool Alliance.

The purpose of this article is to promote inclusion of youth with disabilities in after-school, expanded learning, and out-of-school time programs. For the purposes of this article, the term “include” and “inclusion” embodies the values, policies, and practices that support all youth, those both with and without disabilities, to participate in a broad range of out-of-school time activities.

OCT
31
2014

IN THE FIELD
email
print

Focusing on the role of afterschool programs during bullying prevention month

By Erik Peterson

While Bullying Prevention Awareness Month concludes today, thousands of afterschool programs nationwide will continue to play an important role in helping to combat bullying among students.  One of our 2011 MetLife Foundation issue briefs outlines strategies that schools and communities can use to help combat bullying through quality, effective afterschool programs. The brief, entitled “Afterschool: A Strategy for Addressing and Preventing Middle School Bullying,” exhibits how afterschool programs that provide access to caring adults and offer a more informal environment that is distinct from the school day allow children to feel safe from peer pressure, build confidence and learn how to deal with bullies.  

The brief delves into every aspect of bullying, including cyber-bullying, and displays the potentially damaging future effects that peer intimidation can have on both the person being bullied and the bullies themselves. In particular, it highlights how dangerous the middle school years can be for children, showing that middle school students—who are undergoing physical, social and emotional transitions—are particularly vulnerable to teasing and intimidation. However, the brief counters with successful examples, showing that afterschool programs can have immense benefits on children’s social and emotional well-being by offering them a sense of community, a chance to develop leadership skills and a safe place to go once the school day ends. Beneficial programs across the country are aiding in the fight against bullying and teaching children that aggressive and detrimental behaviors are not something to be taken lightly.