RSS | Go To: afterschoolalliance.org
Subscribe to the Afterschool Advocate newsletter
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.
Afterschool Donation
Afterschool on Facebook
Afterschool on Twitter
Blogs We Read Afterschool Snack Bloggers
Select blogger:
Recent Afterschool Snacks
JUN
30

FUNDING
email
print

New mini-grants are supporting digital badges in five states

By Nikki Yamashiro

Congratulations to the Rhode Island Afterschool Plus Alliance, the Maryland Out of School Time NetworkOregonASK, the Michigan After-School Partnership and the Ohio Afterschool Network for being awarded mini-grants of $10,000 to pilot digital badge projects in their states! 

Over the course of the next year, these five statewide afterschool networks will pilot new badge systems to offer digital badges to youth in afterschool and summer programs and/or offer digital badges to afterschool professionals.  

At the Afterschool Alliance, every day we hear stories of the range of activities and learning experiences students participating in afterschool programs are exposed to.  For instance, hands-on activities—such as creating and testing computer simulations of how a disease might spread; learning about health and wellness, as well as environmental science, through the cultivation of a community vegetable garden; and developing leadership skills through group projects that focus on collaboration and effective communication.  We also continuously review research demonstrating the multitude of positive outcomes associated with regular participation in quality afterschool programs. 

share this link: http://bit.ly/TJIDo2
learn more about: Digital Learning Inside the Afterschool Alliance State Networks
Comments: (0)
JUN
29

IN THE FIELD
email
print

2 events, 2 days, 2 great opportunities for afterschool

By Jodi Grant

What an incredible way to start the summer!  Two events, two days and two great shout-outs for our afterschool and summer learning programs.

White House Summit on Working Families

On Mon., June 23, the White House hosted its first ever White House Summit on Working Families.  The event featured celebrities, journalists and Members of Congress, as well as Dr. Jill Biden, Vice Pres. Joe Biden, Pres. Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, and pulled out every stop to showcase and highlight the challenges facing our working families.

While every speaker mentioned the need for high-quality childcare, I cheered loudest for Vice Pres. Biden, whose impassioned speech kicked off with a tribute to the power and impact of afterschool programs.  Defining families as more than just parents, the vice president spoke about how afterschool programs make a tremendous difference not only for working families, but also for the students who are at the gravest risk during the hours of 3 to 6 p.m.  The vice president even gave a shout-out to many of the community-based organizations that help to provide care during the afterschool hours. 

share this link: http://bit.ly/1sPOSqq
learn more about: Advocacy Afterschool Voices Department of Education Equity Events and Briefings Federal Policy Obama Summer Learning Working Families
Comments: (0)
JUN
29

STEM
email
print

Supporting Afterschool STEM Act introduced to support technical assistance for afterschool providers

By Anita Krishnamurthi

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) has introduced a bill aimed at providing the supports afterschool practitioners need to offer high-quality science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education programs.  Titled the Supporting Afterschool STEM ActS.2543 will create a grant program that state and regional afterschool and STEM networks can tap into to help afterschool providers in their area give students engaging and high-quality STEM learning experiences. 

As STEM programming grows in afterschool settings, the need for technical assistance and professional development is also rising.  However, most funding is usually allocated to develop and implement programs.  This important legislation recognizes the need to provide resources that will help afterschool practitioners with their professional development and quality improvement efforts. 

The Supporting Afterschool STEM Act authorizes the National Science Foundation (NSF) to award three-year grants to existing afterschool or STEM networks, with 20 percent of all funding reserved to develop new afterschool or STEM networks in states or regions where they don't yet exist.  This bill will enable afterschool networks as well as STEM networks to provide the infrastructure needed for supporting high-quality afterschool STEM programs regionally.  It rightly draws on existing networks and their experience and expertise to assist new and existing afterschool STEM programs and increase the effectiveness of existing federal investments.  The effort would help afterschool programs nationwide develop activities and programming that works in other communities in their state.  The bill also encourages mentorship between students and federal STEM research grantees, and provides hands-on learning and exposure to STEM research facilities for young people.

share this link: http://bit.ly/1x1A0nt
learn more about: Congress Federal Funding Legislation Science State Networks Sustainability
Comments: (0)
JUN
25

STEM
email
print

Guest blog: Recognizing learning

By Sarah Simpson

Mary Sutton is the executive director for the Michigan After-School Partnership (MASP).  MASP provides statewide leadership to build and sustain high quality, after-school programs for children and youth in all communities throughout Michigan.

 

Don’t you just love it when some of the diverse multitudes of things we work on throughout the year seem to fall into place in a strategic way?  Here in Michigan we’re happy to take advantage when there’s a “perfect storm” like that.  Like lots of you, we work with many partners to help ensure that all children have the opportunity to experience high-quality and engaging activities to help them become excited and prepared adults, ready for careers and to contribute to their communities.  However, exploring ways to connect more strategically with the formal education system and looking for avenues for recognition as imperative partners in helping kids succeed has been a challenge in our work. 

Our STEM work over the last several years, facilitated by our Noyce Foundation grant, has created deeper and stronger relationships, and opened avenues of communication to help move these conversations forward.  At a time when our governor has proclaimed a need for an education system that recognizes learning “Any time, any place, any space and any pace”—joined with the Department of Education’s focus on competency-based education and Michigan’s recent acceptance as an Achieve state—conversations began focusing on new pathways to help achieve the goal that all students graduate from high school ready for college, careers and citizenship.  The premise of Achieve is that by enabling students to master skills at their own pace, competency-based learning systems create multiple pathways to graduation, make better use of technology, support new staffing patterns that utilize teacher skills and interests differently, take advantage of learning opportunities outside of school hours and walls, and help identify opportunities to target interventions to meet the specific learning needs of students.  This emerging Department of Education interest—joined with our work with the Michigan STEM Partnership and the Michigan Mathematics and Science Centers Network—gave us the opportunity to combine these conversations into the potential development of a digital badge pilot system that was met with great enthusiasm by everyone. 

share this link: http://bit.ly/UJRZky
learn more about: Digital Learning Equity Guest Blog Science State Networks Youth Development
Comments: (0)
JUN
20

STEM
email
print

Guest Blog: 8 things to remember when integrating STEM

By Taylor Moore

Anna Padget Crocker is the project associate for afterschool and community initiatives at the Franklin Institute Science Museum, where she manages the NSF-funded project STEM 3D: Integrating Science into Afterschool, Home and Community. She specializes in developing curricular resources and training modules designed to build capacity in facilitators new to science education. Her background includes writing field-based environmental education curriculum and evaluating family, school, and community partnerships.

 

This post originally appeared on the National AfterSchool Association’s Tip of the Week page.

 

Feeling like integrating STEM into your current curriculum is an unsolvable equation? STEM doesn't have to intimidate or overwhelm you; it's an essential component of every afterschool program. So to help, here are eight tips to help you start the process.

share this link: http://bit.ly/1jDsG9b
learn more about: Guest Blog Science Youth Development
Comments: (0)
JUN
11

NEWS ROUNDUP
email
print

Weekly Media Roundup - June 11, 2014

By Luci Manning

Kids Out Of School Also Missing Subsidized Lunch (PBS Newshour)

Of the 21 million students who receive free and reduced price lunch during the school year, only 3 million receive federally funded meals during the summer.  While that figure shows that only a fraction of the students who would benefit from the summer nutrition programs are getting the support they need, Jim Weill, president of the Food Research and Action Center, told PBS Newshour that there has actually been a 6 percent increase between 2012 and 2013 in the amount of students receiving federally funded meals during the summer. In the interview, Weill said there needs to be a greater effort to help these students attain quality, nutrient-dense meals in order to avoid the rise in hunger and obesity that typical occurs during the summer months.

King’s Summer Program Offers Musical Training (Des Moines Register, Iowa)

For some students at King Elementary School, the afterschool program they attend during the year doesn’t end when summer vacation begins.  Thanks to a partnership with the nonprofit Jane Foundation and a 21st Century grant, the school is able to offer music lessons during the summer.  Jane Magers, director and CEO of the Jane Foundation, was so eager to get involved  by providing donated instruments because, as she told the Des Moines Register, the organization “sees music as being critical to a child’s development, not only for the creative aspects but also to foster life skills.”

Applied Learning; After-School Program Reaches Finish Line (Herald and News, Oregon)

Thanks to an outstanding collaboration from businesses, nonprofits, a university and many members of the community, students in the Klamath Falls area have the opportunity to design and race model cars after school. Ponderosa Middle School students are putting the finishing touches on the hand held race cars that they designed in a 3-D modeling program with the help of Oregon Institute of Technology engineering students.  One of the OIT students told the Herald and News that this type of activity is a great way to introduce the students to a lot of different STEM fields, saying “You get basic aerodynamics, you get 3-D modeling, you get a little bit of physics and it seems to be a pretty fun environment where they get to enjoy themselves while doing it.”  The students will race their cars for the science fair at Oregon Tech Thursday.  

Suburban Teens Are On a Mission to Boost City Schools (Journal Sentinel, Wisconsin)

Two ambitious high school students from a Milwaukee suburb are stepping up to help their fellow students through a tutoring program they started called Kids4Kids.  The weekly program, which takes place at Milwaukee College Prep’s Lloyd Street Campus, is gaining in popularity as students from additional suburbs sign on to be tutors to inner city students. Chandlar Strauss, one of the co-founders, told the Journal Sentinel that she is hopeful that Kids4Kids can help “close the educational gap that exists between the city and suburbs and build a relationship between the communities.”  

share this link: http://bit.ly/1xK5SOS
learn more about: 21st CCLC Health and Wellness Nutrition Science Summer Learning Arts Community Partners
Comments: (0)
JUN
11

CHALLENGE
email
print

Youth advocates hone their skills at the Afterschool for All Challenge

By Melissa Ballard

We welcomed more than 30 youth from across the country to this year’s Afterschool for All Challenge. Half came from science center afterschool programs, thanks to our partnership with the Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC). Youth from this year’s MetLife Foundation Afterschool Innovator Award-winning programs also attended. These young advocates visited Congressional offices along with their state teams and shared personal stories of how afterschool has impacted their lives. But before they got started, we helped prepare them in an intensive workshop.

The workshop started with the students brainstorming ideas about what advocacy is and how it’s done. The group focused in on one aspect of advocacy—that it gave voice to those that don’t have one—thinking about other kids in their home communities. Then, we discussed what kinds of "asks" state teams would make and how advocacy through Capitol Hill visits fits into the legislative process (and of course, we had to show the classic School House Rock video).

To prepare for their turn to speak in the next day’s Capitol Hill meetings, we spent time crafting and practicing talking points. The task was to come up with a short, succinct way to describe what they did in their afterschool programs; why it mattered to them; and to concretely describe the effect participation has had on their interests, behaviors, knowledge and skills. Our last task for the workshop was to translate these talking points into a memorable document to leave behind with Congressional staff after the meetings. Check out all the youth’s handouts in America’s Afterschool Storybook.

Feedback from both the youth and their adult leaders was overwhelmingly positive. Leaders reported that the youth’s compelling personal stories were a great impact at each office they visited. ASTC is currently working on a video capturing the reactions of the science center youth—we’ll post that next week. We’re looking forward to an even bigger and better Afterschool for All Challenge in 2015!

share this link: http://bit.ly/1oUB7R3
learn more about: Advocacy Afterschool Voices Congress Events and Briefings Inside the Afterschool Alliance MetLife Innovator Awards Youth Development
Comments: (0)
JUN
5

NEWS ROUNDUP
email
print

Weekly Media Roundup - June 5, 2014

By Luci Manning

Ballard Helps Kick Off Summer Reading Program (WISH-TV, Indiana)

Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard read Good Night Moon to students Wednesday morning to kick-off the Indianapolis Public Library’s summer reading program.  As part of the Read in Any Language theme of this summer’s program, the students will map out their “race” around the world reading books with a global perspective.  Mayor Ballard told WISH-TV about how valuable programs like this are, saying that “I always liked to read as a kid, but I think it’s the summer program that kids can really advance on their own.  The Summer Reading Program is designed to make it easy for the kids and give them the opportunity to see what is available to them and have a lot of fun doing it.”

A Higher Key: Music Program Helps Kids Learn New Skills (StarTribune, Minnesota)

The sound of classical music fills the halls of Nellie Stone Johnson Community School in the afternoons as students in the afterschool music program learn to play instruments like violins and cellos.  El Sistema, an afterschool club founded in Venezuela 40 years ago dedicated to social justice and crime prevention, offers much more than music lessons to students in north Minneapolis.  While the program teaches the students to play classical instruments, it also promotes the ideals of cooperation and strong study skills.  El Sistema is just finishing up its second year in north Minneapolis, and it has already produced real results – the students in the program tested as faster readers and as more empathetic and creative than their peers, the StarTribune reports.

Canine Training Reaches Hearts of Young Offenders (Santa Cruz Sentinel, California)

For five residents at the Santa Cruz Juvenile Hall, their hard work training and socializing abandoned dogs paid off as the young residents graduated from the “Canines for Compassion” program.  The objective of the program is twofold. The students who train these previously neglected dogs learn empathy and patience and the dogs are taught basic commands and good behavior, increasing their likelihood of being adopted.  While the dogs have made great strides in confidence and skills, the trainers gained valuable life skills.  One of the longer-term residents told the Santa Cruz Sentinel how much the program means to him, “More than anything, (George the Rottweiler and Labrador mix he trained) been a friend.  I actually gained a friend in here. I really liked this whole program. It brought me some feelings, some emotions.”

Alexandria Library’s Summer Reading Program Also Gets Kids Excited About Science (Town Talk, Louisiana)

Fizz, Boom, Read. The theme of this year’s Alexandria Westside Regional Library’s Summer Reading Program aims to interest young people in reading and science.  Students will get a chance to engage in experiments, many involving mixing chemicals that create loud pops and fizzing bubbles.  Some of the experiments and scientific phenomena the students will learn about are included on the program’s summer reading list, the Town Talk reports.  

share this link: http://bit.ly/1pagB04
learn more about: Science Summer Learning Arts Literacy
Comments: (0)