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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.
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OCT
15

POLICY
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Juvenile justice & afterschool: an important connection

By Erik Peterson

Ed. Note: This blog was originally posted as part of the ACT4JJ Campaign's JJDPA Matters Blog Project, a 16-week series that launched Sept. 10, 2013. You can find the full series at the JJDPA Matters Action Center.

 

For almost 40 years, the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA) has supported the work of afterschool programs to protect young people and promote safe communities.  While just one part of the whole JJDPA picture, funding for evidence-based afterschool programs has empowered communities to implement innovative programs that provide opportunities to engage young people in their own futures. This week, JJDPA will be on our minds as more than one million Americans and thousands of communities nationwide celebrate Lights On Afterschool, an annual event that helps to raise awareness about the need for afterschool programs that keep kids safe, inspire them to learn and help working families.

The JJDPA was one of the first federal legislative efforts to clearly link quality afterschool programming to the prevention of youth crime and violence. Within Title V of the law, Incentive Grants for Local Delinquency Prevention Programs fund a range of innovative and effective initiatives that bring together communities to provide mentoring and engaging activities for young people. A cost effective alternative to detention and incarceration, prevention and early intervention efforts like afterschool programs during the peak hours of youth crime (3-7:00 p.m.) keep young people safe while engaging in learning opportunities ranging from dance, gardening and spoken word, to robotics and building solar powered cars. Increasingly these programs are a setting for hands-on, social-emotional learning that help young people develop the skills they need to succeed in school and in life.

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learn more about: Equity Federal Funding Health and Wellness Youth Development
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SEP
4

IN THE FIELD
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Guest Blog: D.C. welcomes its first Maker Faire

By Melissa Ballard

This guest post was written by Cara Lesser, founder of the Kids International Discovery Museum (KID Museum), an emerging museum in Montgomery County, MD. KID Museum’s mission is to cultivate children's creativity, curiosity and compassion through playful exploration of the world with a focus on three core programmatic areas: 1) international culture; 2) science, technology, engineering, art and math, and 3) social responsibility. Learn more about KID museum at www.kid-museum.org.

On Sept. 29, D.C. area families will have a new opportunity to spark their kids’ imaginations when the first official Maker Faire comes to the D.C. region. Maker Faires are family-friendly festivals celebrated as the “Greatest Show (and Tell) on Earth.” Hundreds of thousands of people attend flagship Maker Faire events around the world, where “makers” showcase imaginative creations that will educate and engage people of all ages and backgrounds.

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learn more about: Events and Briefings Guest Blog Obama Youth Development
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AUG
7

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup - August 7, 2013

By Luci Manning

Earlier this week, afterschool students from Karns Middle School helped State Rep. Gloria Johnson focus attention on the need for more programs for budding scientists, engineers and technologists. Rep. Johnson touted the afterschool program’s success in having students compete and place in national competitions. Rep. Johnson said she’d like to raise awareness about the program so that more students can participate and be exposed to biotechnology, architecture, desktop publishing, graphics and video game design, the Knoxville News-Sentinel reports. 
 
Wake County elementary students participating in a summer camp got a visit from NASA Ambassador Marc Fusco last week about the use of technology in space. Fusco spoke with students about NASA’s use of robotics to explore Mars and answered students’ questions about whether people live in space and if there are planets in other galaxies, the North Raleigh News reports. STEM For Kids, which runs camps, afterschool programs and workshops, focuses on engineering and technology.
 
The Rochester City School District is participating in a national study looking at whether programs that blend enrichment activities with traditional academic learning can reduce summer learning loss. “The whole focus is to get enough evidence on the impact of these programs to be able to affect policy,” Caterina Leone-Mannino, who oversees the district’s summer school programs, told the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. Educators and researchers hope that a focus on more enrichment than remedial work may hold the key to closing the achievement gap between students from different racial and economic backgrounds.
 
Iridescent Founder and CEO Tara Chklovski writes about her experiences mentoring youth, the rewards of working with students and challenges other scientists to get involved in a blog post. In her Huffington Post piece, she writes, “There is a lot of discussion these days regarding the lack of capable, diverse, innovative STEM [science, technology, engineering and math] workforce. The solution is not that hard. It just requires everyone to rally around a common goal—like we did a few decades ago with the race to space. It was cool to become an engineer or a scientist. It is time to rally again and inspire the next generation of innovators and inventors. And to do so can actually be fun and fulfilling.”
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learn more about: Robotics Science Summer Learning
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JUL
24

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup - July 24, 2013

By Luci Manning

“In the absence of school, the Mays Landing branch of the Atlantic County Public Library has stepped up to help, offering summer reading programs for kids aimed at preventing summer learning loss,” the Press of Atlantic City reports. The library has created the “Burrow Into a Book with Me Book Club” to go along with arts and crafts to engage young students and promote learning during the summertime.
 
More than 200 students are participating in summer learning programs in Greenville thanks to a unique partnership between the Phillis Wheatley Association and Nicholtown Missionary Baptist Church. The two groups brought together a variety of community partners to make the program a success. Some partners include: Certus Bank, Great Outdoor Adventure Trips, First Baptist Greenville, Greenville Tech Charter School, Goodwill Industries of Upstate/Midlands South Carolina and the Boy Scouts. Organizers told the Greenville Times that the summer program may lead to an afterschool program this fall.
 
More than a dozen young people from around Nashua took part in a week-long summer program where they learned how to design video games and build and program remote control cars. The camp was organized by Nashua’s RoboTech Center, an organization that provides technology and science-based education programs for students in the summer and afterschool programs during the school year. Program Manager Suzanne Delaney told the Nashua Telegraph that too often “schools need to spend time reviewing reading, writing and basic math skills, and do not have the opportunity to explore more advanced technology with young students.”
 
Splitting cells. Using a mass spectrometer. Learning how chemicals react. These are some of the things 10 South Bend area teens are learning in Project SEED, a summer program from the American Chemical Society that provides economically disadvantaged high school students the opportunity to do paid hands-on research in the chemical sciences, the South Bend Tribune reports. As part of the program the teens are mentored by the scientists with whom they work, learn about college opportunities and write a five-page paper about their summer experience.
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learn more about: Robotics Science Summer Learning Literacy Community Partners
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JUL
12

POLICY
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Rural afterschool programs highlighted, praised at Congressional briefing

By Sarah Keller

Yesterday the Senate Afterschool Caucus hosted a policy briefing highlighting the positive impact on students and communities of rural before-school, afterschool and summer learning programs.  The briefing allowed participants to discuss how the federal 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) initiative greatly benefits rural students and their families.  Participants included Sandy Klaus, Principal of Starmont Elementary School in Arlington, Iowa; Dr. Jennifer Skuza, Assistant Dean of the Center for Youth Development at the University of Minnesota; Dr. Dorothy McCargo Freeman of 4-H in Minnesota; and Shelby Dettinger, Grant Programs Officer of World Vision Appalachia in Philippi, West Virginia.
 
All four panelists keyed in on the theme that afterschool programs are more than just places where students do their homework and stay until their parents get off of work.  They truly are places that positively impact students and the entire community over the long-term.  While panelists detailed academic outcomes of programs, they also called out a number of other important program benefits:
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learn more about: 21st CCLC Afterschool Caucus Afterschool Voices Events and Briefings Nutrition Robotics Rural Working Families
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JUN
19

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup - June 19, 2013

By Luci Manning

“A successful after-school program that stopped running recently after 16 years may soon serve the children of Hesperia again,” the Daily Press reports. The Hesperia Recreation and Park District’s board agreed to reinstate the long-running afterschool program last week. The program was eliminated for the 2011-12 school year after state education standards prohibited the park district to partner with the school district.
 
Leesburg area middle and high school students are spending their summer teaching rising fourth and fifth graders about career and life opportunities that exist in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) programs, the Orlando Sentinel reports. The students are taking part in NASA’s Summer of Innovation, and organizers expect about 130 elementary students to participate in the summer learning program. Students will learn about aeronautics, robotics, the solar system and life sciences. 
 
Earlier this week at a county education summit, Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams said he is looking to double access to afterschool programs in the county. The education summit gathered community, school and government leaders to network and brainstorm about high quality preschool and afterschool programs for low-income and at-risk students. The Deseret News reports that “McAdams said his goal in hosting the education summit was to facilitate dialogue between the various educational entities and service organizations in the county.”
 
The Janesville School District expanded its summer meals program, serving 75,000 meals (breakfast and lunch) this summer, up from 57,000 last summer and 20,000 the summer before. This year the program will continue to serve meals into August and past the end of summer school in July. Jim Degan, the district’s food services and nutrition manager, told the Walworth County Today that he was happy to expand the program to meet the needs of the community. “I wish we were in a society where children would not miss meals and not go hungry, but that’s not the way of the world,” he said.
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learn more about: Nutrition Summer Learning Youth Development
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MAY
28

STEM
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Guest blog: The importance of STEM in rural afterschool programs

By Melissa Ballard



Sherry Comer is the director of afterschool services in Camdenton, Missouri, and a former Afterschool Ambassador.  Her school’s FIRST Robotics team went to the FIRST Robotics World Championships in St. Louis, Missouri, this year.

Every day in Camdenton, Missouri, R-III afterschool programs, change is happening.  Students are developing 21stcentury skills that will carry them into the future to be successful in an ever-changing global economy.

Through FIRSTRobotics, 4th through 12th grade students in our rural community have gotten excited and engaged in what is often referred to as “the hardest fun ever!”  Our teachers and technical mentors push them to use science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) to go over, under, around and through walls that society says they can’t penetrate.  FIRST is designed to create an atmosphere where students combine the excitement of sports with the rigors of STEM.  Under strict rules and with limited resources and tight time limits, teams of students are challenged to raise funds, design a team "brand," hone teamwork skills, and build and program robots to perform prescribed tasks against a field of competitors.  It’s as close to "real-world engineering" as a student can get.

Below, watch the Camdenton 4-H LASER team's winning robot in action! 

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learn more about: 21st CCLC Afterschool Ambassadors Guest Blog Robotics Rural Community Partners
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APR
24

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup - April 24, 2013

By Luci Manning

Mayors and city council members from across the country co-authored a piece on the importance of afterschool programs in Education Week. It said: “For our cities to remain beacons of hope, it is our responsibility as municipal leaders to help young people develop the skills and talents they need to find gainful employment and become successful adults in a knowledge-based economy. City leaders must work together with schools, parents, and others to help young people thrive, with a shared understanding that their success will determine the success of our cities. Maximizing the after-school hours is one important way in which city governments can improve educational outcomes for children and teenagers and reinforce what they learn in the classroom.” The op-ed was signed by Mayors Christopher Coleman (St. Paul, Minn.), Karl Dean (Nashville, Tenn.), and Betsy Price (Fort Worth, Texas) and City Council Members James Mitchell Jr. (Charlotte, N.C.) and Ronnie Steine (Nashville, Tenn.).
 
Using data from a survey of young people, associate director of the Center for Education Policy Research Angelo Gonzales and his colleagues at the University of New Mexico, “have identified a strong relationship between students who are involved in activities outside of school and those who engage in less risky behaviors,” the Albuquerque Journal reports. “Specifically, students who said they were involved in extracurricular activities reported lower levels of attempts to commit suicide, smoking, binge drinking, drug use and sexual activity…and significantly higher rates of daily physical activity.” The New Mexico-specific data is from the 2011 state Youth Risk and Resiliency Survey of middle and high school students.
 
Students from the Whitney Community Center afterschool program are walking around the playground with Boise City Council member TJ Thomson as part of a local initiative to encourage physical fitness, the Idaho Statesman reports. Boise Mayor David H. Bieter has pledged to walk 150 miles in honor of the city’s sesquicentennial.
 
The the Worcester Technical High School Robotics and Automation Technology Team, one of 420 teams from 23 countries, won the 2013 VEX Robotics World Championships trophy over the weekend. Worcester Polytechnic Institute President and CEO Dennis Berkey told the Telegram & Gazette, “Their world championship award reinforces the power of STEM [science, technology, engineering and math] education, specifically as it applies in robotics, and especially the highly effective curriculum and dedication of the faculty and staff at ‘the other’ Worcester Tech.” 
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learn more about: Afterschool Voices Health and Wellness Robotics Science Community Partners
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