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JAN
22
2018

STEM
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Stay informed about STEM with the Afterschool STEM Hub newsletter

By Leah Silverberg

Brought to you by the Afterschool STEM Hub, a project of the Afterschool Alliance, the Afterschool Lab Report is dedicated to continuously providing advocates with the tools they need to make the case for out-of-school time STEM learning. The Afterschool Lab Report is sent each quarter, and includes the latest policy updates, new resources, upcoming opportunities for advocacy, and new research in the field. Written by the subject area experts at the Afterschool Alliance, the Afterschool Lab report is your one-stop-shop for STEM education advocacy needs.

Who should subscribe?

Short answer: anyone with an interest in afterschool STEM education! While the tools are geared towards advocacy, our talking points, and communications materials can be used by anyone to effectively make the case about why afterschool STEM learning is important. If you run a program, build local or state systems, conduct research, or design policy, the Afterschool Lab Report has something for you.

October's Lab Report included:

It is not too late to stay informed and sign up to receive the January edition of the Afterschool Lab Report to your inbox! You can also check out the past editions and the rest of the Afterschool STEM Hub website any time online.

NOV
30
2017

LIGHTS ON
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Health & Wellness partners got communities active & moving during Lights On 2017

By Faith Savaiano

This year we were blown away with the number of Lights On Afterschool 2017 events that celebrated our official Health & Wellness theme through creative, educational activities that got kids active and learning about healthy habits. These events were great examples of everyday work that takes place in afterschool programs across the country, empowering students to be and feel healthier across many aspects of their lives.

There was no shortage of creative Health & Wellness-themed event ideas this year, including:

  • A climbing competition put on by After-School All Stars New York, which celebrated how health, nutrition, and determination can allow you to succeed in physical endeavors. Water, fruits, and healthy snacks were enjoyed by all at the event!
  • Healthy cooking demonstrations for the families at the 21st Century Community Learning Center program at Perrymont Elementary in Lynchburg, VA. The event was run in partnership with the Virginia Cooperative Extension, and afterwards there was a “farmers’ market” where families could take home the produce and ingredients they saw in in the demonstration.
  • A “’Fall’ into Health & Wellness” event put on by the Boys & Girls Club of Rutherford County in Tennessee, which featured an anti-bullying rally, hula hoop and jump rope competition, zumba, smoothies, and glow-in-the-dark sports games!

Many of these events and programs wouldn’t exist without the help of our fantastic Lights On Afterschool Health & Wellness partners. We’re deeply appreciative for the work done by Voices for Healthy Kids, the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, Camp Fire USA, the Food Research and Action Center, the National Recreation and Park Association, and all of our other partners who work hard to ensure afterschool is a place where children are active and healthy!

NOV
27
2017

RESEARCH
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Experts weigh in on the value of afterschool

By Nikki Yamashiro

Last month, we saw afterschool programs across the country open their doors to host Lights On Afterschool events, providing a firsthand look at the broad array of fun, enriching, and engaging activities students take part in at the program and the vital role programs play in their community. A newly-released research report from RAND is a fantastic complement to Lights On Afterschool, offering a research-based look at The Value of Out-of-School Time Programs.

The principal takeaway from the report, which made possible in part by The Wallace Foundation, is that there are measurable benefits to students and families when participating in afterschool and summer learning programs — but the quality and intentionality of the program, as well as a student’s regular participation in the program, influences those benefits. 

Also of note in the report is that it calls attention to the nuanced issue of what is and is not measured in afterschool and summer learning programs when evaluating a program’s success. The authors find that some of the key benefits of afterschool (such as providing students with new and differing learning experiences, helping close the opportunity gap, and supporting parents) are rarely, if ever, measured.

NOV
21
2017

LIGHTS ON
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STEM partners helped ignite curiosity during Lights On 2017

By Charlotte Steinecke

Afterschool STEM learning was one of our top themes for this year’s Lights On Afterschool, and with good reason. Afterschool programs provide an ideal space to connect kids to exciting, hands-on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) experiences, helping them engage deeply with these concepts in fun, inspiring ways!

Lots of afterschool programs used STEM as a centerpiece in their Lights On events. Here are a few of the ways programs celebrated STEM on October 26:

  • Students got ready for blast-off at the Mississippi Library in Fridley, Minn., with an activity to build their own rockets. Students and families designed and constructed their out-of-this-world space shuttles with a combination of science and art skills, led by library and afterschool program staff.
  • kidscommons Children’s Museum in Columbus, Ind., offered free museum admission for families with children age pre-K through 6th grade, with science, technology, engineering, art, and math activities available throughout the museum.
  • Think Together Liberty Elementary in Victorville, Calif. held a family night with student-taught 30-minute activity rotations, so students and parents could participate in mad scientist STEM unit lessons, including making moldable goo, engineering and testing different paper airplane designs, and creating monsters out of pipe cleaners and other materials.

This year’s Lights On Afterschool wouldn’t have been the success it was without the help of our amazing STEM partners. We’d like to give a big thank-you to STAR_Net, Association of Science - Technology Centers (ASTC), National Girls Collaborative, WGBH, STEMfinity, 4-H National Youth Science Day, and everyone else in the STEM world who contributed to a fantastic celebration!

NOV
2
2017

LIGHTS ON
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Where were we during Lights On Afterschool 2017?

By Charlotte Steinecke

At the Afterschool Alliance, we spend a substantial part of our year focusing on Lights On Afterschool; when it finally happens, we’re running to keep up! We couldn’t wait to head out of the office (and sometimes out of the state) to explore the amazing programs and events that opened their doors to celebrate on October 26.

In our own words, here’s a small selection of where we were, what we saw, and who we met during this year’s Lights On Afterschool.

Andrews Air Force Base loves afterschool

"I had the pleasure of celebrating Lights On Afterschool with Matrice Brooks and the rest of the Youth Program staff on Andrews Air Force Base," said Shaun Gray, production and office manager. "As parents entered to pick up their kids, local youth programs were set up in the main area to offer sign-ups for sporting, art, and reading programs. McGruff the Crime Dog made an appearance but the highlight of the day was Sparky, a remote-controlled dog in a firetruck that sprays water."

Glowing bright in Tuscon, AZ

"We visited KIDCO, an afterschool program from the Tucson Parks and Rec department that serves 800 students during the school year and 1,200 students during the summer," wrote Andrea Szegedy-Maszak, our field outreach coordinator. "Their event was held in the beautiful Reid Park in Tucson, with an hour of lawn games before each KIDCO site performed a dance routine with a "decades" theme. More than 200 people attended the event, which kicked off with a group countdown until everyone cracked a glowstick and cheered for Lights On Afterschool!"

NOV
1
2017

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup: November 1, 2017

By Luci Manning

Governor Touts Afterschool Program (Daily Inter Lake, Montana)

Last Tuesday, students in the Bigfork ACES and Bigfork Playhouse Children’s Theatre afterschool programs celebrated Lights On Afterschool with Montana Governor Steve Bullock. The event included cookie decorating, choir performances, and a student-led tour of the facility, according to the Daily Inter Lake. Bigfork ACES provides about 500 students with academic support, socialization and meals during the afterschool hours. “Both my wife and I, we couldn’t [have] made it without a solid after-school program,” Bullock said. “What ACES does is provides those opportunities for parents, provides an enriching environment where kids can play, learn and hopefully enjoy yourselves and is a fun place to go after school.”

Boys & Girls Club Helps Raise Awareness for Afterschool Programs (KTVN, Nevada)

The Boys & Girls Club of Western Nevada hosted a Lights On Afterschool event last Thursday that featured students building structures and sculptures with different materials and science experiments. “Every time I come out here, I just get a good feeling in my heart," Carson City Mayor Bob Crowell told KTVN. "I get a feeling that kids are on the road to making good choices, I get a feeling that there's hope for these young kids." Director of Operations for the Boys & Girls Club of Western Nevada and Afterschool Ambassador Matt Sampson encouraged people to call their elected officials to show support for afterschool programs and to volunteer at the Boys & Girls Club to make a difference.

Lights On for Learning (Hammond Daily Star, Louisiana)

The Ponchatoula Community Center celebrated Lights On Afterschool last Thursday with Louisiana First Lady and former educator Donna Edwards. Edwards toured the center and told the Hammond Daily Star, “More than 140,000 Louisiana children return home to an empty house while their parents are working hard to provide for their family. How a child spends those few hours from when school ends and when a parent typically comes home is very important." Students also worked with artist Kim Zabbia to create “Stars of Hope” to send to hurricane victims in Texas and Florida.

Guest Essay: Nazareth College Students Celebrate Mentors (Democratic and Chronicle, New York)

Nazareth College student Kaitlyn Kinney and Rochester Department of Recreation and Youth Services mentor Kirmani Scott celebrated the Nazareth College Community Youth Development’s Lights On Afterschool event and mentors in an op-ed for the Democrat & Chronicle: “Without the guidance and mentoring of youth workers during our academic service-learning and internship experience at their agencies, there could not be a true sense of ‘community’ in Community Youth Developments…. Mentors show us the importance of positive youth-adult relationships in order to change behavior and maybe change lives…. We are in awe of their passion, persistence and sense of purpose for the youth in Rochester – lessons that could not be easily learned from a book or in a classroom.” 

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learn more about: In The News Lights On Afterschool
OCT
31
2017

LIGHTS ON
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Lights On Afterschool 2017 in pictures

By Charlotte Steinecke

Javan Ng Photography

This year might just be our most photogenic Lights On Afterschool yet!

The Empire State Building lit up the night in blue and yellow on the evening of October 26, the Lowry Bridge gleamed on the waters of Hennepin County, and social media buzzed with our amazingly successful “My Light’s On Afterschool” lightbulb challenge.

We saw amazing images taken with drones, the STATE Grill and Bar surprised us with a sweet shoutout, and the youngest afterschool advocate we’ve ever seen showed support for #LightsOnAfterschool. Middle schoolers from LEAP in Brooklyn blew us away with a musical extravaganza all about afterschool!

In the lead-up to October 26, the 50 statewide afterschool networks worked with 44 governors, including New York, Idaho, Florida, and Alaska, to proclaim Lights On Afterschool day. (We’ve got the Delaware and South Carolina proclamations in our office — love them!) We also saw a wonderful post proclaiming Lights On Afterschool day from the office of the mayor of Houston.

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learn more about: Lights On Afterschool
OCT
26
2017

LIGHTS ON
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Today is Lights On Afterschool!

By Charlotte Steinecke

Happy Lights On Afterschool!

Today is a day to celebrate the amazing impact afterschool programs have on the lives of millions of children every day. Thank you for everything you do to keep the Lights On Afterschool!

For the next 24 hours, our home page will be populated with a social media wall, showing all the action online. Join the party by using the #LightsOnAfterschool hashtag and challenge your friends to show their support by participating in the “My Light’s On Afterschool” Challenge.

If you’re not hosting an event today, use our lookup tool to find an event to attend near you!

We would love to see your pictures, as well — please send images of your event loa@afterschoolalliance.org with the name of the program and the location in the subject line.

Enjoy the celebration!

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learn more about: Lights On Afterschool