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APR
29

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup  April 29, 2015

By Luci Manning

Save the Children Leads Charge to Protect Kids (Newport Plain Talk, Tennessee)

Each day, 68 million children are away from their parents in school or child care, and yet less than half of American families have an emergency plan or a way to reunite if a disaster were to occur. To fill this gap, Save the Children made disaster preparedness a priority at their Edgemont afterschool program through the Get Ready Get Safe Prep Rally last week. Throughout the week, students learned how they can help their families prepare for emergencies through practical lessons and discussions paired with fun and engaging activities, like the Disaster Supplies Relay Race and Emergency Mad Libs. A Family Night was held at the end of the week, where children shared what they had learned with their parents. “The Prep Rally program makes disasters less scary by giving children the tools they need to prepare and be ready,” afterschool teacher Crystal Chambers told Newport Plain Talk.

A New Twist on the Old Lemonade Stand (Albuquerque Journal, New Mexico)

An afterschool program is using the age-old lemonade stand concept to teach kids how to start and run a business, according to the Albuquerque Journal. About 250 kids from Albuquerque elementary schools will set up dozens of lemonade stands throughout the city on Lemonade Day, May 2. The Rio Grande Collaborative, which runs the Albuquerque branch of the national program, provides students the entrepreneurial curriculum, and then it’s up to the kids to find an investor – usually their parents – and use the money to buy ingredients, make the lemonade and run their sales stand. Kids have to keep track of all their expenses and pay back their investors, just like in the real business world.

Dormont After-School Program Blends Art, Movement (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pennsylvania)

Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre and the nonprofit Art Expression Inc. have teamed up to create an afterschool program focused on the intersection of visual arts, rhythm and movement. Each session of the free six-week program, called “ARTS in Motion,” combines music, dance and visual arts in activities that share a common theme. In a recent session, students made a collage about their feelings then acted out those feelings to a drum beat. The program aims to increase students’ self-esteem, enhance their social skills and improve their self-expression abilities. “We think the combination of what Art Expression can bring in terms of emotional well-being and what we (Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre) can bring in terms of physical well-being is really exciting,” PBT manager of community programs Lisa Auel told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

City May Restore Rec Center Hours (San Diego Union-Tribune, California)

San Diego’s neighborhood recreation centers saw their hours cut significantly between 2003 and 2012, but under Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s new budget proposal, many of those hours may be restored. The budget would increase the weekly hours of the city’s 16 busiest recreation centers from 45 to 60. The rec centers are a hub of activity – hosting youth sports leagues, enrichment classes for preschoolers and senior fitness classes – but many supporters believe the centers’ afterschool programs are what really make a difference. “Recreation centers are particularly important in communities where there aren’t Boys & Girls Clubs and families can’t afford things like YMCAs,” Councilman David Alvarez told the San Diego Union-Tribune. “Our rec centers are really the only place for young people to be active during after-school hours and have a safe place to play.” 

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learn more about: Health and Wellness Arts
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APR
27

STEM
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Celebrating our own Anita Krishnamurthi, an innovator in STEM!

By Jodi Grant

The National AfterSchool Association (NAA) recently recognized a select group of innovators for their 2015 “Most Influential in STEM” awards. Among them is our very own Vice President of STEM Policy, Anita Krishnamurthi!

For these awards, NAA pulled together a diverse group—from higher education, museums, industry, the government, and the non-profit world—who have brought STEM education in afterschool to new levels of creativity and are making a difference in students’ learning.

Anita is a passionate advocate of afterschool STEM, and since joining the Afterschool Alliance, she has played a tremendous role in creating a space for afterschool within national policy discussions and building national partnerships that support the development of high-quality STEM programming. Fun fact: she’s actually an astrophysicist and worked for many years at NASA doing education and public outreach. We are incredibly proud of the work she’s accomplished to better connect the afterschool and STEM communities.  With her STEM background and her infectious enthusiasm for afterschool, it’s no surprise that she’s been so successful in helping bridge the afterschool and STEM communities. 

At the Afterschool Alliance, Anita leads our STEM team on projects that address critical challenges in the afterschool field. The current project she’s most excited to be working on is our “Afterschool STEM Advocacy, Communications and Messaging Hub,” where we’ve brought together afterschool leaders to produce research-based messaging and resources that best tells the story of afterschool STEM.  Anita believes that the field is at a unique moment in time when practice, research, and policy are poised to come together.  She is very hopeful that this initiative will not only increase public understanding of the importance of afterschool, but also translate into broad support and public investments. We’ll be debuting these resources in fall 2015! 

Check out Anita and the full list of STEM influencers in the spring 2015 issue of AfterSchool Today.

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learn more about: Science
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APR
23

STEM
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Guest blog: New informal STEM professional development resource now available

By Anita Krishnamurthi

Lindsay Bartolone is Lead for the Informal Education Working Group of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate (SMD) Education and Public Outreach Forums as well as a co-investigator on two of the forums: Astrophysics and Heliophysics.

Afterschool professionals consistently rank professional development as one of their major needs.  The Informal Education Working Group of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate (SMD) Education and Public Outreach Forums conducted a nationwide survey of the professional development and resource needs of informal science educators to determine 1) how, when, where, and for how long informal educators prefer to receive STEM professional development and 2) what kind of workshops and materials they need and can use with their audiences.  This information was collected to inform NASA education and public outreach programs and resource development for the informal education community, but the findings are applicable beyond NASA.

Anita Krishnamurthi from the Afterschool Alliance serves on this working group and we tried to ensure that the afterschool voice was represented in this effort.  The survey was distributed widely to the afterschool community and your responses are included in the report.   

The results of this survey are now publicly available, and available for your reference as you prepare resources or professional development opportunities for the informal educators you serve.

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learn more about: Guest Blog Science
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APR
22

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup  April 22, 2015

By Luci Manning

STEM’s Goal: Attract Girls (Daily News, New York)

Fifty girls at Energy Tech High School are getting free lessons in computer coding through the new Women in STEM (Win STEM) afterschool program. Girls who volunteer for WinSTEM classes learn about coding through hands-on coursework in robotics. Despite significant barriers for females in the tech world, the WinSTEM participants are determined to make a difference. “There are not enough women in STEM,” Energy Tech sophomore Linda Alvarado told the Daily News. “It’s rare, but I’m hoping to change it.” WinSTEM is funded through a $20,000 grant from Verizon.

Walpole Grade Schoolers Will Cross Marathon Finish Line (Walpole Times, Massachusetts)

Students from more than eight Boston communities crossed Boston Marathon finish line this weekend as part of the 19th annual Boston Athletic Association (BAA) Relay Challenge. Youngsters from the running clubs ran different legs along the Boston Marathon route, a culmination of weeks of training. The running programs for elementary and middle school students teach the proper form and technique for running, along with important life skills and healthy habits. “I liked learning about the basics of running and nutrition,” Bird Middle School seventh-grader Sarah St. George told the Walpole Times. “I also learned that running can be fun.”

180 Degrees Program Finds Success in Turning Lives Around (Kansas City Star, Missouri)

An afterschool program in the Kansas City School District is helping put at-risk students back on track. The pilot program, 180 Degrees, serves middle and high school students struggling with truancy and academic issues. For three hours a day, four days a week, students receive homework assistance and dinner and learn lessons on personal accountability, responsibility and good decision making. “This program is for students who need a push in the right direction,” program coordinator Max Mendoza told the Kansas City Star. “Some may be on the verge of being expelled from school or are on the way to juvenile detention. This program provides another option.”

Mermaid-Themed Running Club Encourages Girls to Swim Upstream (Sacramento Bee, California)

Low-income girls in Sacramento are learning about teamwork and boosting their self-confidence through the Mini Mermaid Running Club. The afterschool program helps young girls embrace positive feelings about themselves through fitness, community service and healthy eating. The program is run by teachers, parents and community members and is currently in place at six Sacramento area schools. Program founder Heidi Boynton said she started the club because she believed that fitness and girl-powered camaraderie could help young women see their self-worth. Marriage and family therapist Susie Morgan, who helped develop the Mini Mermaid curriculum, agrees. “Having healthy movement in your life as well as healthy practices, and being in a group of women that support one another, all those things are extremely valuable in developing a core sense of self,” she told the Sacramento Bee.

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learn more about: Health and Wellness Science Academic Enrichment
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APR
22

STEM
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New Department of Education post highlights STEM in afterschool programs

By Sophie Papavizas

A new blog post by the Office of Innovation and Improvement at the Department of Education highlights the new and expanding partnerships between 21st Century Community Learning Centers and STEM-rich federal agencies. 21st Century Community Learning Centers in states across the country are partnering with NASA to complete challenges based on the Summer of Innovation, with the National Park Service to take part in hands-on biology and ecology projects and with the Institute of Museum and Library Services to provide maker-focused curriculum to students.  We previously wrote about the partnerships in a February 3rd blog post.

The post is written by Ellen Lettvin, the Robert Noyce Senior Fellow in Informal STEM Learning—click here to check it out.

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learn more about: 21st CCLC Department of Education Science
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APR
21

FUNDING
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Labor Department seeks YouthBuild grant applications

By Rachel Clark

As reported in Education Daily today, the Department of Labor has announced the availability of $76 million in YouthBuild grant funds, with a goal of awarding 76 projects nationwide and serving nearly 5,000 participants.  Grants will range from $700,000 to $1.1 million and require a 25 percent match from applicants, with this match "using sources other than federal funding."

The YouthBuild program helps at-risk youth aged 16-24 who left school early complete high school or state equivalency degree programs.  Additionally, it offers youth opportunities to learn critical job skills in demand in the construction, health care, information technology and other industries, often while serving their communities by building or rehabilitating housing for low-income and homeless residents.

According to the notice, "DOL will award grants through a competitive process to organizations to oversee the provision of education, occupational skills training, and employment services to disadvantaged youth in their communities while performing meaningful work and service to their communities."

The application window will close on June 5.  Learn more about YouthBuild and apply for this opportunity at Grants.gov.

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learn more about: Federal Funding
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APR
21

STEM
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Join Click2SciencePD & NGCP for the Connecting with Community Partners webinar

By Rachel Clark

With the launch of The Connectory, it's easier than ever for STEM program providers to connect and collaborate.  Since we know that high levels of collaboration increase program capacity and thus increase STEM opportunities for youth, this is a critical advance for the field.  However, collaborating and developing partnerships are skills that take work and training to do effectively—to make the most of this new resource, join the National Girls Collaborative Project and Click2SciencePD for the "Connecting with Community Partners" webinar on Thursday, April 23 at 11:00 a.m. PT (2:00 p.m. ET).

The webinar will guide participants through using The Connectory to find partners in their community.  Additionally, it will introduce participants to best practices for partnership building by exploring Click2SciencePD's wealth of professional development resources.

Date: Thursday, April 23, 2015

Time: 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. PT (2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. ET)

Location: Online – Connection details will be provided upon confirmation

Don't miss this valuable opportunity to learn about strengthening your program through collaboration and partnership building: Sign up now!

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learn more about: Events and Briefings Science Youth Development Community Partners
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APR
20

POLICY
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Every Child Achieves Act passes Senate HELP Committee, includes 21st CCLC afterschool program

By Erik Peterson

The Senate HELP Committee concluded its three day mark-up of the bipartisan Every Childs Achieves Act of 2015 last week, unanimously passing the new ESEA reauthorization bill and sending it to the Senate floor for consideration later this spring or in early summer. The bill now includes Sen. Murkowski’s (R-AK) bipartisan 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) amendment that passed by unanimous consent earlier last week—a significant step towards ensuring that 1.6 million young people will remain in the afterschool and summer learning programs they currently attend.

The 21st CCLC amendment that was included in the Every Child Achieves Act is based largely on the bipartisan Afterschool for America’s Children Act (S. 308) introduced by Sens. Murkowski and Boxer (D-CA) that is the product of five years of discussion with afterschool providers, parents, young people, national youth development groups, state education agencies, and other stakeholders. The amendment strengthens the 21st CCLC initiative by emphasizing better data sharing between schools and community based organizations; updating allowable uses to include STEM, physical activity, nutrition education, financial literacy, workforce development programs and more; expands program performance measures; adds a role for external intermediary organizations; and highlights professional development for program staff.

The inclusion of 21st CCLC is a true win for young people, parents and communities, and is a result of the strong bipartisan support of Sens. Murkowski, Murray (D-WA), Franken (D-MN), Sanders (I-VT), Cassidy (R-LA), Collins (R-ME), Baldwin (D-WI), Boxer , Warren (D-MA) and others, as well as the outpouring of  support from so many stakeholders – including 17,400 individuals who signed a petition supporting 21st CCLC; 560+ local, state and national groups who signed a letter of support; and more than 5,000 emails that were sent to Senate and House offices since January when draft legislation released by Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee first proposed to eliminate 21st CCLC.

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learn more about: 21st CCLC ESEA Legislation
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