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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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MAR
23

POLICY
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House and Senate budget resolutions propose significant spending cuts

By Erik Peterson

Last week, the House and Senate Budget Committees unveiled their ideas for FY 2016 federal spending.  Both chambers plan to pass budget resolutions to serve as blueprints for the upcoming Appropriations process.

House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price (R-GA) released his FY 2016 budget resolution last Tuesday morning.  The plan would balance the federal government’s budget in eight years by cutting domestic spending.  It cuts $5.5 trillion from the budget over ten years.  For nondefense discretionary (NDD) spending—which includes education, juvenile justice, and Health and Human Services funds that support afterschool programs—the budget maintains the FY 2016 sequester.  Locking in sequester cuts means spending increases will be unlikely for such programs in the coming year.  Starting in FY 2017, the budget cuts NDD spending each year below the sequester caps.

Specific program spending levels are not detailed in the budget proposal. With regard to K-12 education, the budget documents state the following:

“Our budget places a strong emphasis on returning the power to make education policy decisions to state and local governments, to families, and to students, rather than allowing choices to be made by bureaucrats in Washington. It eliminates unsuccessful and duplicative K-12 programs in order to increase efficiency and effectiveness. It promotes innovation and choices that provide for flexibility and innovative teaching methods.”

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MAR
19

RESEARCH
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New afterschool infographic: Helping kids get healthy and stay healthy

By Nikki Yamashiro

To complement last week’s release of Afterschool Alliance’s America After 3PM special report, “Kids on the Move: Afterschool Programs Promoting Healthy Eating and Physical Activity,” and in conjunction with our participation in MomsRising’s #WellnessWed TweetChat yesterday, we just released a brand new infographic that illustrates the important role that afterschool programs play to keep kids healthy and active during the after school hours.  Based on responses from our national household survey, this infographic shows that parents want healthy options for their children after school, and among parents who have a child in an afterschool program that offers healthy foods or opportunities for physical activity, satisfaction is high.

This infographic—the third in our series of afterschool infographics—is another simple, but powerfully engaging way to make the case of the importance of afterschool programs. 

Help us spread the word about why we need afterschool programs and post, tweet or pin this!

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MAR
18

RESEARCH
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Afterschool programs keep kids on the move toward good health

By Jodi Grant

This post was originally published at MomsRising.org. Find out more about how afterschool programs are keeping kids healthy on MomsRising’s #WellnessWed TweetChat today at 2pm.

These days, keeping our children healthy and fit sometimes seems like an unwinnable war. Getting kids to eat their spinach, drink water or low-fat milk instead of soda, and put down the video game console can test the will of even the most determined mom or caregiver.

Fortunately, we have a strong ally in our collective mission to support our children’s health and wellness: our country’s phalanx of afterschool programs.

new special report shows that parents with children in afterschool programs are overwhelmingly satisfied with the job afterschool programs are doing to provide kids with nutritious snacks and opportunities for exercise. To many parents, afterschool programs deserve an A+ for their work in this vitally important area.

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MAR
18

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup  March 18, 2015

By Luci Manning

Ukelele Program Strikes a Chord (San Diego Union-Tribune, California)

In Pablo Cantua’s ukulele class at Ocean Views High School, everyone is smiling, laughing and tapping their feet. It’s happiness playing out in four simple chords, three times a week for more than two dozen students in the fledgling afterschool program. After just a month of practice, the youngsters are able to strum their way through “I’m Yours” and “La Bamba.” Cantua believes having music programs in schools allows students to expand their minds into other areas. “If they can learn to learn, they can apply that to any subject,” he told the San Diego Union-Tribune. Principal Neil Egasani said the confidence students are building in the program is already carrying over into the classroom.

After-School Program Teaches Stock Market (Murfreesboro Daily News Journal, Tennessee)

Students participating in the afterschool program at Patterson Park Community Center have five weeks to get the best return they can on $100,000 in investments. The students are playing a condensed version of the Stock Market Game, where they work in teams to invest a hypothetical $100,000 in listed stocks, bonds and mutual funds. Throughout the game, they learn the value of saving and investing as they work together to maximize the return on their portfolio. “They may not think it’s something they need to know now, or that they’re even interested in, but they’ll have a lot of fun if they embrace it,” Jerome Azbell, supervisor of the community center’s Myrtle Glandon Lord Library, told the Murfreesboro Daily News Journal.

Knitting Club Provides Refuge for Teens From High-Crime Neighborhoods (Chicago Tribune, Illinois)

Four years ago, Better Boys Foundation CEO Mary Visconti took an unconventional approach to keeping her North Lawndale students out of trouble: knitting. The communities where many of her students grow up are impoverished, and crime rates are high, but she sees knitting as a way to build community and keep kids safe. The afterschool program, KnitLAB, operates like a small business. Students are paid $325 stipends for a 10-week session to create hats, scarves, rugs and quilts. The items are sold and the money is reinvested in knitting supplies for the program. KnitLAB instructor Ana Spencer calls her students “employees” and expects them to make up any missed time, which she said instills life skills and gives them a sense of self-efficacy. In the end, the kids are proud of what they’ve produced. “The fact that I could be wearing or using something that I actually made myself is a good feeling,” 14-year-old Arteuna Dotson told the Chicago Tribune.

Columbia Police Officers Work to Build Relationships with Local Kids (ColaDaily.com, South Carolina)

“The gym at Columbia’s Hyatt Park was filled with the voices of more than a dozen young people and nearly as many police officers, but no one in the gym was in trouble with the law,” ColaDaily.com reports. During the Hyatt Park afterschool program, a joint effort by the Columbia Police Department and the South Carolina Attorney General’s office, officers joined elementary school kids in playing games to create a bond between officers and kids.  The program also aims to provide students with successful role models and teach them about leadership and respect. “These kids aren’t seeing cops,” South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson told ColaDaily.com. “They’re seeing mentors, coaches, and big brothers and big sisters.”

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MAR
16

CHALLENGE
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Hundreds of afterschool advocates take to Capitol Hill; Congress listens

By Rachel Clark

Last week, more than 400 afterschool advocates and youth stormed Capitol Hill for the 15th Afterschool for All Challenge. Taking more than 250 meetings with Members of Congress and congressional staff, advocates cultivated new allies for afterschool—and got results: 

Friends of afterschool also took action from across the country.  Supporters who couldn't join us in Washington, D.C. sent more than 200 emails to Congress on Tuesday alone and more than 650 emails during the week of the Challenge, bringing us to a total of nearly 4,000 emails to Congress this year.  We're now nearly 40 percent of the way to our goal of sending 10,600 emails on behalf of the 1.6 million kids with 21st CCLC programs at risk—email your representatives in Congress now to help reach that goal.

More than 270 supporters also took part in our Thunderclap campaign, reaching nearly 225,000 members of their social networks.  Many supporters also joined our advocacy efforts on social media throughout the day by posting and tweeting at their Members of Congress to emphasize the importance of afterschool, with a few Members of Congress chiming in themselves—get a recap of the conversation on Storify.

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MAR
13

IN THE FIELD
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Schwarzenegger to host afterschool summit: Tune in March 24

By Rachel Clark

On Tuesday, March 24, leaders from education, afterschool, government, business, and nonprofits from throughout the United States will convene at the University of Southern California (USC) to discuss the importance of comprehensive afterschool programs in K-12 education, outcomes being achieved and the needs yet unmet.  The aim of the Summit, organized by the USC Schwarzenegger Institute, the Afterschool Alliance and the After-School All-Stars, is to acknowledge the important work being done in the field, and encourage greater support for afterschool programs from cities, states, federal government and the private sector. 

With a record high 10.2 million children and youth participating in afterschool programs, the Summit will spotlight how afterschool programs are the most cost-effective and impactful way to address the critical challenges facing education, like preventing juvenile crime, reducing high school dropout rates, and ensuring college and workforce preparedness.  With a proven track record of success, afterschool programs are a key tool to help students succeed in school and in life, as well as an undeniably smart investment of taxpayer dollars—every $1 invested in afterschool leads to a savings of $9.

Join Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, mayors from across the United States, and innovative industry leaders for this exciting conversation by tuning into a live webcast of the National After-School Summit on March 24 at 9:30AM PST—get more details on the USC Schwarzenegger Institute website.

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MAR
13

STEM
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The latest in STEM learning research: March 2015

By Melissa Ballard

In this month’s batch of research briefs from the Relating Research to Practice (RR2P) project, we’ve got new research on scaling up effective education programs; understanding how youth learn across in-school and out-of-school settings; and more! One brief from Afterschool Alliance VP of STEM Policy Anita Krishnamurthi covers research on why and when we become interested in STEM.

Follow the RR2P project on Twitter and Facebook


Exploring the causes of initial interest and retention of interest in STEM

Researchers Maltese, Melki, and Wiebke investigated when lasting interest in STEM is sparked and how it is maintained by comparing the experiences of adults who did and did not persist in STEM. Both groups said that they became interested in STEM early, usually by Grade 6. Those who persisted in STEM were more likely than those who did not to say that they had always been interested in STEM. Parents and teachers were early influences for those who stayed in STEM fields.

KEYWORDS: Families, Learning progressions, Motivation.

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MAR
13

RESEARCH
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What does health and wellness in afterschool look like in your state?

By Nikki Yamashiro

Thanks to new state maps on our interactive Web dashboard, the answers to this question are right at your fingertips.  Building off of the recent release of our America After 3PM special report, “Kids on the Move: Afterschool Programs Promoting Healthy Eating and Physical Activity,” the updated dashboard gives you a state-level look at a number of health and wellness findings, including the role parents believe afterschool programs should play providing healthy foods and keeping kids active and how afterschool programs are faring in meeting the needs of their students and families in these areas.

Color-coded maps, as well as bar graphs, make it easy to see how parents in Montana feel about afterschool programs providing healthy foods compared with parents in Missouri.  It turns out 3 in 4 parents in both states agree that afterschool programs should provide healthy foods. 

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learn more about: America After 3PM Health and Wellness Nutrition
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