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JUL
23

IN THE FIELD
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It's back! Nominate a program today for the Dollar General Afterschool Literacy Award

By Nikki Yamashiro

For the second year in a row, the Dollar General Literacy Foundation and the Afterschool Alliance are thrilled to present the Dollar General Afterschool Literacy Award. We need your help to find the next Dollar General Afterschool Literacy Award winner that will receive $10,000 for their program, be recognized in a joint Dollar General Literacy Foundation and Afterschool Alliance issue brief, and be featured in upcoming webinars and national conferences.  

This year we are searching for afterschool programs that provide year-round support to help improve their students’ reading, writing and critical thinking skills. In a departure from last year’s eligibility requirements, we are opening up the award to afterschool programs that serve students of any age, including elementary, middle and high school students.

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learn more about: Funding Opportunity Literacy
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JUL
22

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup: July 22, 2015

By Luci Manning

Karate Kids: Students Learn Self-Defense (Jackson Sun, Tennessee)

Jackson students are getting a workout and learning strategies for self-defense and crisis management in the Fudoskinka Dojo’s karate summer program. Throughout the summer, kids learn the history of various forms of martial arts, watch classic martial arts movies and practice origami and calligraphy. Each morning starts with tai chi, a Chinese martial art that promotes good cardiovascular, respiratory and central nervous systems health. “What I have witnessed is that kids who have a regular cardiovascular program… I find that it’s a lot easier for them to concentrate when they’re physically pushed,” sensei and program leader Sherwin Moore told the Jackson Sun. The karate lessons continue throughout the year as an afterschool program with a focus on academics – students with good grades can win prizes from the “Dojo Store.”

Canton Man Invites Summer School Group to Fishing Pond (Ogdensburg Journal, New York)

Some 30 kids had the opportunity to fish for perch, bullhead and large and small mouth bass in a man-made pond as part of the three-week Cornell Cooperative Extension of St. Lawrence County Summer Fishing Camp. This is the third year William Locy has hosted the summer program at his private pond, which he stocked with a wide variety of fish for their visit. “You have a life experience on how to fish and how to catch fish and get them off the hook,” student Isaac LaRock told the Ogdensburg Journal. “I really like it.” All the kids relished having the chance to get away from school for a day and learn a new life skill they can carry with them for years.

Summer Chess Camp Hooks Local Kids on the Game (Chambersburg Public Opinion, Pennsylvania)

Teacher James Doyle has spent his summer teaching Franklin county students the tactics and strategies of how to defeat their opponent in a chess match. The twice-weekly summer chess camp is a pilot program that has allowed about 20 students to learn the game and improve their skills by playing with peers. The program gives students a productive way to spend lazy summer days and can provide a boost to their critical thinking and problem-solving skills. “(The game) helps build focus and concentration, even in children who have trouble sitting still and concentrating on tasks,” Doyle told the Chambersburg Public Opinion. Although currently Doyle only runs a summer program, he’d like to see chess integrated into local curricula, and hopes to open an afterschool chess club for all area students this year.

Young Readers Revel at Superhero Training Camp (Sierra Vista Herald, Arizona)

More than 90 kids channeled their inner superhero at Sierra Vista Library’s Superhero Training Camp this weekend, participating in hero-centric crafts, games and challenges as part of the library’s summer reading program. The library has been hosting special weekend activities and regular reading events in line with the year’s theme – “Every Hero Has a Story” – to keep kids reading throughout the summer. “It’s about preventing kids from falling into what we call the summer slide, where they basically fall behind in the summer because they don’t keep up with their reading,” librarian Sierra Baril told the Sierra Vista Herald

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learn more about: Health and Wellness Rural Summer Learning
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JUL
16

POLICY
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Senate ESEA bill, the Every Child Achieves Act, passes Senate and strengthens afterschool programs

By Erik Peterson

For the first time since 2001, the U.S. Senate passed a federal K-12 education bill to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), approving the bipartisan Every Child Achieves Act (S. 1177) by a vote of 81 to 17 and sending a message that No Child Left Behind should be replaced. The legislation passed with strong bipartisan language reauthorizing and strengthening the federal 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) initiative which supports local school-community partnerships that provide effective before-school, afterschool and summer learning programs to more than 1.6 million students in all 50 states. The next step in the process will be a conference committee between the House and Senate with the goal of producing a compromise bill that can pass both chambers and be signed into law by the President.   

Afterschool Alliance Executive Director Jodi Grant issued a statement in support of passage of the bill, stating in part:

The Senate today took a huge step to strengthen our children’s future by preserving dedicated funding for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) in its Elementary and Secondary Education Act reauthorization, the Every Child Achieves Act. Strong, bipartisan support for the afterschool, before-school and summer learning programs that keep kids safe, inspire them to learn, and help working families made this outcome possible.

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learn more about: 21st CCLC Congress ESEA Federal Funding Federal Policy Legislation
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JUL
16

POLICY
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ESEA day 6: Nearing the finish line

By Erik Peterson

The Senate neared the end of its consideration of the Every Child Achieves Act (ECAA) (S. 1177) yesterday, voting 86-12 to invoke cloture and start a 30-hour clock on debate that would end with a final vote on the bill Thursday, July 16. Four amendments were voted on late in the afternoon yesterday and all four failed to pass, including SA #2161 offered by Sen. Kirk (R-IL) to ensure that States measure and report on indicators of student access to critical educational resources and identify disparities in such resources, and SA #2241 offered by Sen. Murphy (D-CT) to change the ECAA’s accountability requirements by increasing subgroup accountability for underperforming groups. Twenty one amendments deemed non-controversial passed by unanimous consent.

The stage is set for a final vote later today, preceded by votes on about 19 additional amendments, including SA # 2100 offered by Sen Brown (D-OH) that would authorize the Full Service Community Schools grant program.

Stayed tuned for additional updates on the blog later today, and follow the latest on Twitter at @afterschool4all. And as always, all Senate action is broadcast on C-SPAN2 here and afterschool supporters can continue reaching out to Senators in support of afterschool and summer learning programs being strengthened by the Every Child Achieves Act.

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learn more about: 21st CCLC Congress ESEA Federal Funding Federal Policy Legislation
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JUL
16

IN THE FIELD
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Celebrate the power of parks in keeping kids active during Park and Recreation Month this July!

By Lindsay Damiano

This is the 30th year of celebrating July as Park and Recreation Month, and the National Recreation and Park Association is recreating like it’s 1985 with events across the country.

For decades, local parks and recreation departments have been providing kids with a safe place to stay active and programming that encourages them to explore. The National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) finds that access to parks leads to more active communities, and park programs are among the 80 percent of afterschool and summer programs that provide kids opportunities for physical activity. Last year, Carmel Clay Parks & Recreation’s Extended School Enrichment Program won the Lights On Afterschool photo contest, showcasing park programs’ diverse opportunities including helping kids explore nature and helping them capture it on camera!

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JUL
15

STEM
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National Research Council releases long-awaited report on successful out-of-school STEM

By Anita Krishnamurthi

The National Research Council (NRC) recently released a long-awaited report, Identifying and Supporting Productive STEM Programs in Out-of-School SettingsThe National Science Foundation (NSF) sponsored this report as a follow-up companion study to the Successful K-12 STEM Education report that examined effective approaches to STEM education in schools. 

As afterschool and other out-of-school-time STEM programs have grown in number over the past decade, the interest in measuring their effectiveness and impact has also grown. The recent America After 3PM study revealed that 10.2 million children participate in afterschool programs in the United States, up from 6.5 million a decade ago.  Further, 69% of parents with children in afterschool programs say that some form of STEM activities are included in these programs.

NSF charged the Board on Science Education and the NRC Committee on Successful Out-of-School STEM Learning to conduct a landscape study and review and synthesize existing research in order to outline the criteria that policy makers, program developers and other stakeholders can use to identify effective out-of-school STEM settings and programs. More information is available on the project website

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learn more about: Science
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JUL
15

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup: July 15, 2015

By Luci Manning

Alice Cooper Unveils Computer Lab at Teen Center (Arizona Republic, Arizona)

Rock star Alice Cooper’s Solid Rock Teen Center recently opened a new technology center to enhance the center’s afterschool tutoring program and give disadvantaged teens better access to technology. In addition to the computer lab, the teen center provides music, dance and cooking lessons as well as vocational training in the arts and entertainment industries. “What we want is for kids to have a creative outlet,” Cooper told the Arizona Republic. “Not all of them are gonna be players or dancers…. As long as there’s some creativity going on, that’s the ticket.” Since its opening in 2012, the center draws about 100 teens a week. According to Cooper, they’re currently planning to build a full art studio and a recording studio.

Anacostia Vending Machines Provide a New Snack: Free Children’s Books (Washington Post, District of Columbia)

Children in the Southeast Washington neighborhood of Anacostia are getting more than junk food from the Salvation Army community center’s newest vending machine. The machine, funded by JetBlue airlines, aims to dispense about 100,000 free books this summer to kids under the age of 14. Anacostia has one of the District’s lowest literacy rates and is a “book desert,” with only one age-appropriate children’s book for every 830 kids. JetBlue hopes the machine will be a creative tool to help close that literacy gap. “We wanted to do something that made kids wants to read, and want books,” JetBlue director of corporate responsibility Icema Gibbs told the Washington Post. “This way, they come to the machine, they choose what they like, instead of us deciding what they get and when they can get it.”

Manatee County Children Clean Up 32 Pounds of 'Unseen' Trash at Coquina Bayside (Bradenton Herald, Florida)

About 100 students and volunteers from various summer programs learned a lesson about environmental stewardship last week when they cleaned up 32 pounds of trash and more than 16 pounds of recyclable material at Coquina Bayside on Anna Maria Island. The goal of the 90-minute cleanup, organized by the Nature Academy, was to show kids how much of an impact even “unseen” trash and pollution can have on animals and the environment. In addition, it helped teach them a lesson about personal responsibility. “The environment is like your room, only bigger,” 11-year-old Cayenne Adams told the Bradenton Herald. “You have to keep it clean even if you have a brother or sister that’s making the mess.”

Ag Business 101: Cortez Middle School Students Learn the Business Side of Farming (Cortez Journal, Colorado)

Nine middle school students are learning the ins-and-outs of farming production as part of the four-week Youth Farmers Market Apprentice Program. Throughout the summer, kids will tend an acre of row crops, create budgets, set prices and schedule vegetable harvests. Whatever money the students make selling their produce at the local farmers market will go toward $100 stipends for each participant. “Our hope is that these students choose to be in the Ag elective next year, be advocates for the garden and really help spread enthusiasm,” Cortez Middle School farm production coordinator Danyel Mezzanatto told the Cortez Journal

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learn more about: Science Service Arts Literacy
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JUL
15

POLICY
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ESEA days 4 and 5: Every Child Achieves Act heads to a final vote later this week?

By Erik Peterson

On the afternoon of July 13th and all day July 14th, the Senate resumed consideration of the Every Child Achieves Act (S. 1177). A number of Senators, including Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), Pat Roberts (R-KS), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Ed Markey (D-MA), Steve Daines (R-MT), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Al Franken (D-MN) spoke in support of S. 1177 and previewed amendments they have filed and sought the support of their colleagues. A final vote on the bill could happen before the end of the week.

Yesterday evening on the Senate floor, several Senators acknowledged the importance of the 21st CCLC section included within the bill. Sen. Murkowski (R-AK), co-sponsor of the Afterschool for America’s Children Act and a great champion of afterschool programs, stated the following:

I acknowledge the work that I was able to do with Senator Boxer. Together we worked to craft the support for the Afterschool for America's Children Act. She and I worked on this bill to update and strengthen the 21st Century Community Learning Centers afterschool program across the country. We worked with a number of other Members in the Senate to make sure that this important program--the program that keeps our children safe and engaged after school and during the summer--works for all of our States. We worked with the chairman and ranking member, and after a lot of good negotiation, the Afterschool for America's Children Act, with some amendment, was included in the Every Child Achieves Act, and this was done by unanimous consent in the HELP Committee, which I appreciate.

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learn more about: 21st CCLC Congress ESEA Federal Funding Federal Policy Legislation
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