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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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JAN
21

IN THE FIELD
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"The First State" leads by example in the push for afterschool

By Jodi Grant

Executive Director Jodi Grant with Delaware House Majority Leader Valerie Longhurst

I will forever remember 2015 as a year of momentous achievement for afterschool. Years of advocacy by the Afterschool Alliance and the afterschool field culminated in President Obama signing the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) into law, protecting the 21st Century Community Learning Centers initiative and strengthening afterschool programs across the nation for years to come.

We can’t rest on our laurels for long. Even as the Department of Education begins determining how to implement ESSA and fund programs like 21st CCLC, too many students—almost 20 million nationwide—are still left without an afterschool program.

With a major national hurdle behind us, one way to continue expanding access to students in need is by renewing our focus on expanding afterschool and summer learning programs with our partners and afterschool advocates at the state level. Delaware, “The First State,” provides a stellar example of one such effort to expand afterschool.

JAN
20

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup: January 20, 2016

By Luci Manning

Lafayette Woman Creates Diverse Library for Youths (Associated Press, Indiana)

Minority children don’t often see themselves represented in children’s books, but one librarian hopes to change that through diversity-focused afterschool and summer learning programs at an innovative new library. Cindy Eberts’ library, known as the Eberts Memorial Library, has collected about 300 books by minority authors and featuring a diverse cast of characters, which play heavily into its academic programs. The afterschool program, run by the Lafayette Urban Ministry (LUM), hopes to both help close the achievement gap and give students a safe space to discuss race-related issues. “Given the many race-related problems in our nation… a place for children to learn about tolerance and diversity, on a regular basis, is a wonderful antidote,” LUM executive director Joe Mincon told the Associated Press.

Study Weighs Youth Service Programs (Corning Leader, New York)

A recent study highlighted the value of Steuben County’s youth service programs, which offer fun activities, nutritious food and academic assistance that students might not otherwise receive. For local afterschool providers, the value of their programs is already obvious. “I think we’re lucky to have the afterschool time programs,” Corning Area Youth Center director Carly Cushing told the Corning Leader. “The work we do serves more children, and that’s really the important thing.” The study, which came out of the Steuben County Youth Bureau, listed four programs as critical to the community: out-of-school time, seasonal recreational activities, youth leadership and empowerment opportunities and substance abuse treatment services.

‘Girls Rock Philly’ Helps Females Find Their Vibe (Philadelphia Daily News, Pennsylvania)

A Philadelphia nonprofit afterschool program is using music to empower young ladies. At Girls Rock Philly, students learn an instrument, form a band and write an original song together, which they perform for their peers at the end of the semester. Throughout the 30-week program, the girls use acting, singing and noise improvisation to become more confident and learn how to manage stress. “Being a young girl in the world is very hard,” program director Diane Foglizzo told the Philadelphia Daily News. “We set up Girls Rock Philly as a way girls could come together instead of tearing themselves down, and as a space to build relationships instead of feeling lost and alone.”

Benefits Work Both Ways as Kids Read to Dogs, Cats (Ventura County Star, California)

Libraries and animal shelters in the Ventura County, CA area are offering programs with dual benefits – nurturing animals while allowing kids who may be struggling at school to improve their reading comprehension. In the Reading to Animals program at the Santa Paula Animal Rescue Center (SPARC), Waggin’ Tales and Bark Buddies at the Simi Valley Library and Paws for Reading at the E.P. Foster Library, kids read books out loud to dogs and cats. The animals are calmed by human voices, helping them get used to people before adoption, and the kids can practice their reading skills in a judgment-free zone. “It gives them confidence to gain a voice,” SPARC volunteer director of educational outreach Denise Ritchie told the Ventura County Star. “They can make a mistake and the dog or cat doesn’t care.” 

JAN
20

POLICY
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Bipartisan Child Nutrition Reauthorization bill proposes to streamline afterschool and summer meals

By Erik Peterson

This morning, the Senate Agriculture Committee marks up the Improving Child Nutrition Integrity and Access Act of 2016, which would reauthorize the federal child nutrition programs, including the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and Child and Adult Care Feeding Program (CACFP) At-Risk Afterschool Meals.  

The newly proposed bipartisan bill, crafted by Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), includes a compromise on school lunch nutrition standards as well as changes to the way school lunch applications are verified. From an afterschool and summer learning perspective, the bill does the following:

JAN
20

IN THE FIELD
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Join us in the Sunshine State for NAA16!

By Rachel Clark

The National AfterSchool Association’s 27th annual convention is just two months away. On March 20-23, we’ll be in Orlando presenting workshops, exhibiting, and serving as a proud sponsor of the event. We hope to see many of you there!

NAA will be announcing a full schedule of more than 170 sessions in February, but you can download a preview now. You can also check out NAA’s top ten must-see workshops—we’re honored to have our workshop on effective afterschool STEM messaging included among them. Anita Krishnamurthi, Afterschool Alliance Vice President for STEM Policy and an NAA Most Influential in STEM honoree, will join the Frameworks Institute's Jennifer Nichols to guide you through new afterschool STEM data and how you can use it to tell a story. It’s an excellent chance to learn to make the case for afterschool STEM.

In addition to dozens of engaging workshops, NAA16 will offer more than 20 hours of networking opportunities, more than 100 exhibitors, and several engaging keynote speakers. Among them is Dr. Angela Duckworth, a cutting-edge researcher and MacArthur Fellow. Dr. Duckworth will lead an engaging discussion on “grit,” the skill she believes is most closely tied to lifelong success. It's certain to be a thought-provoking talk exploring how afterschool can help students succeed in school and in life.

Don't miss the premier event for afterschool professionals. Be sure to register by February 1 to take advantage of the early bird rate. We'll see you (and 1,500 colleagues from across the country) in Orlando!

JAN
19

IN THE FIELD
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A new TV show inspires youth to engage in community service

By Robert Abare

Yesterday evening, Nickelodeon debuted the first episode of the inspirational new series “The HALO Effect.” The series features the stories of real teens, or “Champions,” who are Helping And Leading Others to make our world a better place for all. Each month, the show will challenge viewers and their families to get involved in a community-building project started by a HALO Effect Champion.

Yesterday’s episode featured the story of Jessica Collins, a 16-year-old from Shelbyville, Ky., who started the organization A Place to Sleep at age 10. By delivering bedding supplies to children in need, Jessica’s organization has since helped over 700 kids get beds of their own since she launched the project.

Jessica supports A Place to Sleep through a “Pajama Walk-and-Run” fundraiser, which brings together people in her community for a fun day of exercise in sleepwear, all while raising money and awareness for children who lack the proper materials to get a good night’s sleep.

share this link: http://bit.ly/1ZyDSsn
learn more about: Youth Development Community Partners
JAN
15

IN THE FIELD
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Meet Tiereny Lloyd, our new Director of Health and Wellness Initiatives!

By Tiereny Lloyd

Hello, Hello, Hello! I am Tiereny Lloyd, the new Director of Health and Wellness Initiatives at the Afterschool Alliance. As the Director of Health and Wellness Initiatives, in collaboration with the Policy team, I am charged with directing a national, state and local level effort to progress health and wellness policy for children and youth in afterschool, summer learning and early care and education programs. In this role, I have the unique opportunity to not only work on behalf of the out-of-school time community but also support the early childhood community as well.

I have a deep commitment to advancing the comprehensive health and wellness of children, particularly those most at risk. Before coming to the Afterschool Alliance, I implemented a national physical activity program for Head Start children while working at the National Head Start Association, managed an oral health campaign to decrease pediatric dental disease while working at the National Children’s Oral Health Foundation, and most recently served as the Senior Manager of Strategic Relationships at SHAPE America for Let’s Move! Active Schools. Although those roles afforded me a national perspective of child health and wellness’ standards and practice, it was through my previous roles as a local pre-school teacher and director that often grounds, influences, and provides practical meaning to my advocacy work. 

Given the Afterschool Alliance’s successful track record of afterschool advocacy and true commitment to increasing access to quality programming, it is an honor to become the newest member of the Afterschool Alliance policy team. I am energized and ready to support the out-of-school time and early childhood program providers and organizations with the promotion of campaigns that will advance state health and wellness policy. Together, let’s make our kids healthier!!

JAN
14

STEM
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Travel to a research conference with the R + P Fellowship

By Erin Murphy

The Research + Practice Collaboratory works to build relationships across research and practice by increasing collaboration between STEM educators and educational researchers. To support educators interested in building these connections, the R + P Collaboratory is offering a 2016 R+P travel fellowship of up to $2000, allowing afterschool and summer educators and researchers to attend a 2016 educational conference where they can meet and learn from other STEM educators and researchers.

Afterschool and summer educators may be interested in applying to attend any of the following conferences to meet other educators, engage in educational research, and explore communities of practice:

How to Apply:

Afterschool and summer learning educators, as well as researchers working in these fields, are all encouraged to apply. The application is due by Friday Feb. 12.

If you have questions about the application process contact the R + P Collaboratory at contact@researchandpractice.org

JAN
13

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup: January 13, 201

By Luci Manning

Kids Roller Skate off Extra Pounds (Chicago Tribune, Illinois)

Some 8,000 children in Chicago suburbs are skating their way to better health thanks to Orbit for Kids Skate Free, a national program sponsored by Roller Skating Association International dedicated to fighting childhood obesity. Kids receive two weekly skating passes through the program, and more than 600,000 children across the country are taking advantage of the opportunity. “We know if they skate twice a week, we won’t have childhood obesity,” Orbit Skate Center owner Sandra Levin told the Chicago Tribune. “Childhood obesity is an incredible problem and overweight kids can be lean, mean machines if their parents take them skating each week.”

No Waffling on This After-School Program (Beloit Daily News, Wisconsin)

What do macaroni and cheese, calamari, filet mignon and s’mores have in common? They’re all culinary creations cooked in a waffle iron by students in Merrill Elementary School’s “waffle academy” afterschool program. School counselor Kathy Cerniglia and her friend Eileen Smith, inspired by Daniel Shumski’s book “Will it Waffle: 53 Irresistible and Unexpected Recipes to Make in a Waffle Iron,” created the academy to teach kids how to whip up easy, creative and fun snacks with their families after school. “You can cook anything in it and all you need is a plug,” Smith told the Beloit Daily News.

Students Are Building Their Way to a Better Future (Muscatine Journal, Iowa)

Students ages nine to 14 are helping the environment, learning important STEM concepts and improving their teamwork and problem-solving abilities through the FIRST LEGO League (FLL) afterschool program. Each year of the FLL program contains two main challenges: children design, build and program an autonomous robot, and then they collaborate to solve a real world problem based on a theme. This year’s theme is “Trash Trek,” so each project addresses trash and recycling – for instance, one group partnered with their local Hy-Vee to improve recycling of pizza boxes and plastic bags, while another tested whether no smoking signs decrease cigarette waste at certain intersections. “Besides the team building thing and communications skills, they can learn true technology skills that they can use in the real world,” team leader Chris Hoffman told the Muscatine Journal.

Library Offers Activity-Filled After-School Program (Washington Post, Virginia)

Students in the Cool After School program at the Bridgewater Branch of the Massanutten Regional Library system spent last Tuesday creating “Oobleck,” a fictional sticky substance from a Dr. Seuss book, learning the scientific progress and developing problem-solving skills along the way. The program runs twice a month and uses crafts to bring children’s books, current events and holidays to life for kids in kindergarten through fifth grade. Branch manager Bly Brown told the Washington Post that her favorite part of the program is “just seeing the children’s excitement and challenge. I really love how children and parents work together.”