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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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FEB
5

RESEARCH
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Leveraging the Power of Afterschool and Summer Learning for Student Success

By Nikki Yamashiro

This morning I was lucky enough to be a part of the 500-person crowd at the National Press Club to celebrate the release of Expanding Minds and Opportunities: Leveraging the Power of Afterschool and Summer Learning for Student Success.  The impressive compendium includes studies, reports and commentaries by more than 100 authors and is edited by Terry Peterson, Afterschool Alliance’s board chair and director of the Afterschool and Community Learning Resource Network.

Bill White, president and CEO of the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation kicked off the release with a rousing speech about the impact of afterschool and summer learning programs.  He shared with the audience his belief that if you can educate, enrich and mentor youth in the afterschool and summer hours, they have a significantly better chance of having positive life outcomes.  His remarks earned him a standing ovation from the crowd.

He then introduced the man of the hour, Terry, who took the stage and spoke about afterschool programs across the country—from New York to Florida to Texas—that were creating new and exciting ways for children to learn, such as through botany, the arts, robotics and fitness. 

Terry stressed that because kids spend between 75 and 80 percent of their time outside of school, it is up to afterschool and summer learning programs to help students “catch up and keep up.”  If afterschool and summer learning programs continue their work to create a spark of excitement for children to learn, partner with local schools, build on their community partners and engage families, there is a truly great opportunity to make expansions in the area of out-of-school time.

To close, Terry rallied the crowd of educators, researchers, policy makers and advocates with a call to action, stating that the evidence is in and the time is now to help spread this dream of quality afterschool for all.

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learn more about: Education Reform Evaluations Events and Briefings Summer Learning Academic Enrichment Youth Development
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JAN
30

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup - January 30, 2013

By Luci Manning

The Nampa Firefighters Union and the Nampa Police Association have pledged at least $1,000 to help the Nampa School District bus 250 children to afterschool programs at the Boys & Girls Club of Nampa, Nampa Recreation Center and Salvation Army, the Idaho Statesman reports. The Firefighters Union and Police Association are asking community groups to help contribute as well. The busing program costs about $8,000 a month.
 
In Prairie Ridge, students are building tilt-a-whirls, airplanes, helicopters, and drag racers after school. In the Bricks 4 Kidz afterschool program, students learn the principles of physics and engineering through LEGO building exercises.  Typically in each session the students build a new complex machine and are given a brief history lesson on its origin and an age-appropriate physics lesson. Organizers credit the hands-on building and learning with keeping students interested in the program, the Bonney Lake and Sumner Courier-Herald reports.
 
Singer-songwriter Shawn Stoddard will donate the proceeds from his song, “Further Down That Road,” to two charities, including one that supports area afterschool programs. The Fender Music Foundation provides instruments to classrooms, afterschool programs and music therapy programs. Stoddard told North County Now, “By writing and performing music I am able to give back to the community and hopefully inspire others.” To purchase Stoddard’s songs, including “Further Down That Road,” click here.
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learn more about: Celebrities Robotics
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JAN
24

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup - January 24, 2013

By Luci Manning

Students at Our Lady of Lourdes Regional School in Coal Township created the second edition of a comic book developed as part of the Teens in Innovative Educational Structures (TIES) afterschool program. The second installment The Adventures of Kid Feedback: Creatures of the Deep features hero Kid Feedback faced with the challenge of saving the fictional city of Seamokin. In the afterschool program the students learned sketching, blending and other drawing techniques to illustrate the comic book in pencil, ink, colored pencils and watercolors.
 
MyCentralJersey.com reports afterschool students are working to implement Project Sticker Shock—a statewide youth initiative that engages student volunteers who visit participating merchants to place brightly colored stickers on alcoholic products that appeal to underage drinkers. The students are part of Perth Amboy’s Youth Community Leadership Academy, an afterschool program offered at Perth Amboy High School in partnership with the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence of Middlesex County Inc. The program aims to educate the public and change community attitudes about selling and serving alcohol to anyone under 21.
 
At Como Elementary School about 65 students stay three hours after school to study music theory and to learn how to play an instrument, but next fall the afterschool program will expand into the school day. Late last year Fort Worth school district officials announced that the The B Sharp Youth Music Program became the district’s first elementary “Gold Seal Program of Choice,” and as such will be expanded into the school day next fall, the Star-Telegram reports. The afterschool elementary students involved in the B Sharp program make up the district's only elementary-level symphonic orchestra.
 
Afterschool students at Boynton Beach’s Poinciana Elementary School in Boynton Beach built a robot that can help the elderly by retrieving medicine bottles and flipping switches and levers. Gloria Gibson, the afterschool program director, said students spend two hours after school each day working with Brickit, a foot-long robot made of Legos, and the students have to learn computer programming, work with decimals and familiarize themselves with various angles. The students had to build a robot around the theme of "senior solutions" in order to compete in the FIRST Lego League Tournament, the Sun-Sentinel reports.
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learn more about: Robotics Service Arts
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NOV
21

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup

By Luci Manning

First Lady Michelle Obama Honors Community Youth Programs in The Arts and Humanities (Washington Post, District of Columbia)

A White House ceremony hosted by Michelle Obama honored 12 community-based afterschool programs that reach underserved youth with national arts and humanities awards. The First Lady said the programs teach kids skills like problem solving, teamwork and self-expression that are also critical in the classroom and workplace. Mrs. Obama also thanked educators, artists and leaders for working with tight budgets and putting in late hours. The 2012 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards are hosted by the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities in partnership with three national cultural agencies. This year’s winners were chosen from more than 350 nominations.

Students Design Video Game to Help Stop Abuse (Boston Globe, Massachusetts)

Middle school students participating in afterschool programs in Rhode Island have helped design a new video game that promotes healthy relationships and aims to help stop teen dating violence. Sojourner House, an advocacy and resource center in Providence for domestic violence victims, premiered ‘‘The Real Robots of Robot High’’ on Monday at Highlander Charter School. The game and accompanying curriculum were developed by Sojourner House in partnership with afterschool programs in Providence, Pawtucket and Central Falls; the youth advocacy organization Young Voices; the state education department; and a publisher of ‘‘social impact’’ video games.

Students Clean Up School’s Grounds, Bad Reputation (Schenectady Daily Gazette, New York)

About 50 students from Schenectady High School participated in an after school cleanup, which extended beyond school grounds into streets surrounding the campus. The Schenectady high school, which has been listed on the state’s “persistently dangerous” schools list from 2008 to 2011, also viewed the cleanup as a way to revitalize the school’s image. Many of the volunteers were part of clubs such as the Anime Club, Junior ROTC, Key Club, Student Ambassadors, Community Service Club and the Gay-Straight Alliance.

Atlanta Music Project Gains Steam (Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Georgia)

The Atlanta Music Project, which gives quality instruments and daily classical training to more than 87 inner-city children participating in three sites, recently won a $122,801 grant from the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, the biggest grant in its two-year history. The grant will be used to create the Atlanta Music Project Academy, which will give private lessons to the top 22 players in the project and offer them master classes, opportunities for recitals and quality instruments.

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learn more about: Afterschool Voices Robotics School Improvement Arts
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NOV
9

STEM
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Tackling Real-Life Problems in Afterschool with FIRST LEGO League

By Melissa Ballard

Jon W. Dudas is president of FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), a not-for-profit organization that inspires an appreciation of science and technology in young people.  FIRST designs accessible, innovative programs to build self-confidence, knowledge and life skills while motivating young people to pursue opportunities in science, technology and engineering. With support from three out of every five Fortune 500 companies and nearly $16 million available in college scholarships, FIRST hosts four robotics programs for students K – 12 and the annual FIRST Championship.  For more information, visit www.usfirst.org.

I can remember when afterschool activities meant meeting the neighborhood kids for a game of kick ball in the street or at the local playground.  Most of us stayed outside until our parents called us in for dinner.  However, in today’s fast-paced society with many parents working outside the home—and even more negative influences preying upon our children—kickball and playgrounds no longer suffice.  Parents are looking for more structure to keep their kids safe, to inspire learning, and to ignite new passions and interests.  Parents want to get (and keep) their kids on the right path, and they need structured and engaging afterschool programs to achieve this.  Unfortunately, the need for such solutions outpaces the supply.  In communities nationwide, 15 million children are alone or unsupervised after school.

More than ever, today’s kids need a place to go after school where they can not only unwind but also recharge.  They need activities that are enriching, constructive, and rejuvenating.  At FIRST®, we believe our mix of robotics programs —for kids ages 6 to 18—is the answer.
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learn more about: Guest Blog Robotics Science
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NOV
7

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup - November 7, 2012

By Luci Manning

A new afterschool program in Tumwater is not only teaching students how to repair a flat tire, adjust a bicycle seat and safety skills, but also promoting physical fitness and environmental education, The Olympian reports. When students complete Intercity Transit’s two-day Bike PARTners workshop they can receive their own newly refurbished bike. About 200 children have earned bikes since the program began in January 2010.
 
Afterschool students on the robotics team at Sycamore Elementary School and Central Middle School have been challenged to come up with ideas to help senior citizens become more independent, engaged and connected as part of a robotics tournament. The students plan to pitch their idea for portable stairs to help seniors get in and out of cars on Nov. 17 at the FIRST LEGO League qualifying tournament at Purdue University, the Kokomo Tribune reports. The robots the students build will also earn points by having their robots performing activities and tasks that a senior citizen might be found doing, fixing a LEGO chair, exercising, quilting, picking up a pill bottle, and more.
 
Eight teams of afterschool students from elementary programs from Trinidad to Carlotta worked with local mentor chefs to create original salsa recipes emphasizing fresh, local ingredients and competed in the third annual North Coast Youth Culinary All Stars Salsa Recipe Competition. The “Most Marketable” award went to South Fortuna Elementary for their “Viva Las Veggies Salsa.” The salsa will be produced commercially and distributed throughout Humboldt County, the Times-Standard reports.
 
The Tiger Bay Club sponsored a forum on youth violence last week in Bradenton. Boys & Girls Clubs of Manatee County President Carl Weeks said that young students become uninterested in school and get attracted to gangs. He said that safe afterschool programs and mentoring from quality adults can be a positive outlet for young people, the Bradenton Herald reports. “It all goes back to prevention with our young people,” said Weeks.
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learn more about: Health and Wellness Nutrition Robotics
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OCT
10

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup - October 10, 2012

By Luci Manning

Thanks to an outpouring of donations from the community, Bluefield’s Wade Center, which offered afterschool programs and other resources for area families and youth, will remain open. The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources ordered the Wade Center to meet licensing requirements, so the center had to raise $81,000 over a three month period or face possible closure. In an editorial, The Bluefield Daily Telegraph wrote: “We congratulate the Wade Center on reaching its campaign goal, and look forward to seeing students back at the old school participating in the important after-school programs. And we applaud our community for coming together in support of this all-important campaign.”
 
To get students excited about a new virtual reality afterschool program in Cedar Falls, nearly 50 elementary and junior high students took a field trip to Iowa State University to learn more about it. One of the afterschool program’s partners told the Waterloo Courier that through the Virtual Reality Education Pathways program afterschool students will “finally apply the basic concepts they are learning in school… The virtual reality takes the math concepts you learn, the art concepts, and starts to combine those into something you can experience and see.”
 
After losing some equipment in an apparent break-in last month, Continentals of Omega Boys & Girls Club got seven new laptops from Team Superstores on Monday. Club Executive Director Wendy Jones told the Vallejo Times Herald that the laptops will be available for doing homework and other educational projects, like starting an eBay store where children can raise money for the club by selling donated items.
 
“More than 600 students across San Mateo County will learn critical science, technology, engineering and math [STEM] skills thanks to more than $100,000 in grants awarded by the Board of Supervisors and Workforce Development Services,” the San Jose Mercury News reports. Thanks to the grants students will have a chance to learn computer programming, analyze Earth’s environment, study robotics and explore science through microbe and plant experiments.
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learn more about: Digital Learning Robotics Science
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SEP
7

LIGHTS ON
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Throw a Successful Lights On Afterschool Event on a Shoestring Budget

By Sarah Simpson

In today’s tough economic climate, it’s more important than ever to increase awareness about how important afterschool programs are to children, parents and communities.  But even though some afterschool program budgets are shrinking, it’s still easy to plan a successful Lights On Afterschool celebration on a shoestring budget.  Lights On Afterschool celebrations don’t need to take a lot of time, money or resources to be great; a creative, low-key event with a well thought out guest list can have just as much impact as a larger event.  What matters is taking a moment to recognize the important, positive benefits of afterschool programs and sharing that with your community—with or without the confetti! 

There are lots of ways to celebrate Lights On Afterschool by highlighting what’s special about your afterschool program without breaking the bank. Below are two event ideas that can work for any program.  You can find more planning tips and easy event ideas in our Lights On Afterschool Event Planning Kit. 

Host an open house

One way to raise awareness and stretch each dollar to the max is to host a Lights On Afterschool open house.  An open house is just that—a time for parents, community and business leaders, local dignitaries, policy makers, reporters, and others to peek behind the curtain and get a glimpse of the enriching learning opportunities available after the school day ends.  Open houses are a great way for guests to see a representation of the fun and educational activities available to children who participate in quality afterschool programs.

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learn more about: Advocacy Budget Economy
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