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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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JUL
15

RESEARCH
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The essential elements of citywide afterschool networks

By Jillian Luchner

The Wallace Foundation has published a must-read report for all policy makers and afterschool advocates. The new report, Growing Together, Learning Together updates a popular 2008 Report on citywide approaches to afterschool and summer learning. The update highlights four essential components of building a successful citywide system of afterschool support: strong leadership, coordination that fits the local context, effective use of data, and a comprehensive and inclusive approach to quality. While the report contends, “a well-built system is more than just the sum of its parts,” sustaining these collaborations has been challenging in the past. These systems require necessary conditions to ensure public support, dedicated funding and institutionalized policies and practices.

Fortunately, there are allies working to help citywide systems become more sustainable.  In particular, statewide afterschool networks and afterschool intermediaries were found to be “the most likely to play an important role in passing legislation to support better policies and more funding.” These exemplary policies will likely include some or all of the four components of afterschool system success that The Wallace Foundation highlights. A useful infographic on these elements of success can be found here.

Currently, 77 of the 275 largest U.S. cities have some type of system in place to coordinate afterschool programming. The Wallace Foundation focused specifically on nine cities to develop these findings. In its next round, the foundation plans to look at broader cross-sector partnerships with higher education, business and philanthropy as well as “collective impact” initiatives. 

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learn more about: State Networks Community Partners
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JUL
14

IN THE FIELD
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Webinar recap: Moving from awareness to action in bullying prevention

By Rachel Clark

Afterschool programs have a key role to play in addressing bullying in their communities—it’s critical that afterschool professionals feel prepared and empowered to stop bullying. To share important resources and strategies, the Afterschool Alliance joined the Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration to co-host a bullying prevention webinar on June 24.

Webinar attendees heard from Erin Reiney, Director of the Injury and Violence Prevention Division of Child, Adolescent and Family Health at HRSA/Maternal and Child Health Bureau; and Dr. Susan Limber, Dan Olweus Professor at the Institute on Family & Neighborhood Life at Clemson University. The expert presenters showcased the StopBullying.gov Training Module and Community Action Toolkit and reviewed basic research about bullying affecting youth at every age. To help spread the word, participants also came away from the webinar prepared to educate other community leaders about bullying prevention and to organize an awareness-building event in their communities.

If you weren't able to join the webinar (or just want to refresh your memory!), don't worry—a recording of the presentation, including all of these key resources, is available for you to access anytime.  

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learn more about: Events and Briefings Youth Development
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JUL
14

IN THE FIELD
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Deadline extended: One more week to answer a short survey and a chance to win a $200 prize!

By Nikki Yamashiro

Photo via Cumberland County 4H.

A huge thank you to all of the rural afterschool program providers who have completed our survey and shared with us the unique opportunities and challenges they face in their rural afterschool programs. The response to the survey has been so great—with responses from afterschool programs in nearly all 50 states—that we don’t want to stop just yet. 

We have extended the deadline for the survey by one week. You now have until Wednesday, July 22 at 11:59 p.m. EDT to complete a short survey that will help us better understand the needs of rural afterschool program providers and that will give you a shot at winning a $200 Amazon gift card. To be eligible for the drawing for the $200 Amazon gift card, respondents must:

  • Be a rural afterschool program provider and
  • Complete the full survey.

Again, please one survey response per afterschool program.

It will take less than 10 minutes of your time to let us know about the great work you are doing for the children and families in your community and what supports are necessary for your program to better meet the needs of your community.

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JUL
13

POLICY
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New legislation focuses on out-of-school opportunities for Native youth

By Jillian Luchner

Photo via Kaibab National Forest.

On July 9th, Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT), vice-chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs and a former school music teacher, introduced The Extracurricular Programs for Indian Children Act of 2015 (S. 1745) to amend the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act adding grant funding for out-of-school time programs and facilities that serve Native youth.

Programs serving populations with 10% or more Native students would be eligible for a minimum of $50,000 per year to provide no-cost before, after, and summer opportunities to Indian or Alaska Native students. Funding would be available to programs for 3 and 5 years. Total authorizations would begin at $2 million in 2016 and grow incrementally to $10 million by 2020. Another funding stream of $6 million would also be available annually for infrastructure.

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learn more about: Congress Federal Funding Federal Policy Legislation
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