By Luci Manning
Starting in September, 78,000 middle schoolers will have access to afterschool activities in 562 schools across the city, from 3 to 6 p.m., five days a week, thanks to the mayor’s $145 million afterschool expansion. “This year, what this mayor is doing – nobody has done this before, anywhere, ever,” Manhattan Youth afterschool program director Theseus Roche told the Downtown Express. Manhattan Youth is receiving six new contracts for additional afterschool programs for middle school students thanks to the influx of funding. Manhattan Youth’s afterschool programs include literacy, STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math), physical activity and leadership development tracks for students.
The Detroit Bus Company, a business started by buying old school buses from Ferndale Public Schools, is getting ready to launch a new venture—transporting kids in Southwest Detroit to afterschool programs. Detroit Bus Company founder Andy Didorosi told the Metro Times, “We're acting as both a ride home and a new opportunity for kids to get to these after-school programs and then get home safely. Before, you basically had to choose between your after-school program or your ride home.” This is first year that the program is integrated with Detroit Public Schools.
Last week some 100 afterschool students “shopped” for school supplies at the Chesapeake Multicultural Resource Center’s Back to School Night. Students honed both financial literacy and reading skills by choosing and purchasing their own school supplies. In addition to shopping for school supplies, representatives from the local Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Talbot Community Center’s ice skating programs, the YMCA and Chesapeake College’s English as a Second Language classes gave parents additional information. “By the end of the evening, students had new friends in the wings, new hobbies to try, opportunities to test aptitude and skill, along with plenty of stuff to take to the first day of school,” the Easton Star Democrat reports.
By Taylor Moore
In an August graduation ceremony for this summer’s program in New York City, AT&T announced a $1 million contribution to Girls Who Code. This generous gift will allow Girls Who Code to expand afterschool clubs and their summer immersion program to more cities, including Austin, Chicago, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.
Check out our newest resource, a visually appealing four-pager that makes the case for afterschool STEM by pulling together research on the importance of STEM learning in afterschool. It demonstrates how afterschool is a critical component in a child’s overall education, and describes how afterschool STEM uniquely impacts youth.
We hope you’ll find this handout useful in your advocacy efforts with elected officials, funders and potential community partners. When accompanied by a compelling description of your own program and evidence of your program’s impact, you can help stakeholders understand that afterschool must be an integral partner in any efforts to reform or improve STEM education. In addition to the Web version, you can also download a high-resolution print version, which prints as a booklet on 11"x17" paper. Make sure to adjust your printer settings to print double-sided, flipped on the top edge.
The handout is based on the papers “Examining the impact of afterschool STEM programs” (July 2014) and “Defining youth outcomes for STEM learning in afterschool” (January 2013).
If you’re looking for more guidance on effective advocacy, check out our advocacy toolkit, “Making the case for STEM afterschool.”
By Luci Manning
“With school starting again, it’s a good time to remember the important role after-school programs play in helping students succeed,” Afterschool Ambassador and Vice President of Youth Development Services at the YMCA of Greater Kansas City Pam Watkins wrote in a letter to the editor in the Kansas City Star. She continued, “Quality after-school programs, such as the YMCA of Greater Kansas City Y Clubs, are a lifeline for working parents. They give our youth a chance to engage in hands-on, experimental learning in a safe and structured environment, exposing students to possible careers in the sciences or other fields, teaching them the value of community service and providing them with mentors, meals, physical activity and more… Many more students in the Kansas City area should have after-school programs available to them. We need lawmakers and others to fund after-school programs so all our children can have access to the support they need.”
Albany Crime Stoppers board members learned about human trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation of children and some tips for preventing trafficking at abuse. David McCleary, a representative of Rotary International, gave an overview of how young at-risk girls can fall prey to predatory adults. “McCleary said communities can help guard against the threat of human trafficking by providing mentors for the children, summer lunch programs, after school programs and homeless shelters,” the Albany Herald reports.
United Martial Arts Center (UMAC) in Ardsley is celebrating its first anniversary next month. In addition to the full course of Taekwondo training for all ages, UMAC Ardsley also offers an afterschool program with transportation for local elementary students. "We have a Martial Arts Reading Program, where the children are reading at home, and relating the books to Taekwondo values," master instructor Vinny Bellantoni told the Rivertowns Daily Voice. He continued, "Every 10 books that they read, they earn a ‘next level’ patch, eventually becoming a ‘black belt’ in the Martial Arts Reading Program. The reason has even more purpose than just to get children excited to read, it actually helps them start to understand how these values relate to their every day lives."
The bipartisan STEM Education Act, H.R. 5031 introduced by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), passed the House last month and is now in front of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. The bill has three goals:
- It expands the definition of STEM education as it pertains to federally funded programs to include disciplines such as computer science
- Grows programs at the National Science Foundation (NSF) to support informal STEM education activities
- Extends eligibility for NSF’s Noyce Teacher Fellowship program to teachers pursuing master’s degrees in their fields
Of particular interest to the out-of-school field, the bill gives a directive to NSF to continue awarding grants and using funds to support informal and out-of-school STEM learning with the goal of increasing engagement in STEM and improving learning outcomes. Grants and funding would support existing and new programs in places such as museums and science centers.
Jim Jeffords: A founder of the movement to expand afterschool programs, a hero to children and families
By Jodi Grant
This post was originally published on Huffington Post's Education Blog. Read the original post and share your thoughts with the HuffPost community.
Before former Sen. James Jeffords of Vermont introduced the first legislation to provide federal funding for afterschool in 1994, the federal government played essentially no role in providing meaningful support and programming for young people in the hours after the school day ended and before parents arrived home from work. Sen. Jeffords, who passed away on Aug. 18 at the age of 80, was a pioneer in the national afterschool movement. He worked tirelessly to build congressional and presidential support for a national afterschool and summer learning program infrastructure that lives on today as the 21st Century Community Learning Centers initiative (21st CCLC).
Sen. Jeffords had many proud accomplishments, including chairing the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee and helping to shape the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the No Child Left Behind Act and the Higher Education Act. But advocates for afterschool remember him best as one of the original authors of the legislation that created the 21st CCLC.
By Luci Manning
The Sarah Burke House in the Bronx serves as a safe haven for kids and their moms to start a new life free from domestic violence. There, the children participate in theater, dance, yoga classes, and do arts and crafts after school and during the summer because as Ted McCourtney, director of the shelter, told the Daily News, “I think it is really important that we address the clinical aspects of what is happening in the children, but also that we just provide a fun, memorable, normal summer experience for these kids.” Mothers attend job training sessions while their children engage in safe surroundings, fostering the healing process.
High school students from Columbia Academy had a summer to remember as they travel
led to different locales as part of a summer learning programs geared toward s exploring the students’ passions, reports the Daily Herald. One student travel led to Los Angeles to study fashion, another went to North Carolina to study oceanography, while others traveled to Austria and Italy to learn more about history and European culture. The program was a smashing success as the globetrotting students returned inspired and more aware of what they want their future careers to look like.
Syracuse University opened its doors this summer to promote talented seventh and eighth grade girls
’ interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) curricula. “The idea is that a lot of girls at that age turn away from science and math,” Project Engage Summer Program Coordinator Carol Stokes-Cawley told the Citizen, explaining how Project Engage is there to show the girls that STEM is for them. The students explored STEM topics to a greater depth of what they would in their schools’ science labs, pushing the limits of nanoparticles to determine their breaking points and creating prosthetics out of ordinary objects, afterwards calculating their properties, volume, flexibility , and strength.
Fifteen rising second graders from Jessie Mae Monroe Elementary sang proudly at their Seaside Teaching and Reaching Students (STARS) summer program graduation ceremony this week. The six week program, hosted by Seaside United Methodist Church, helped young students develop a love of reading. Program Director Mary Ellen Good boasted to the Brunswick Beacon, “The changes I saw in their reading ability, their desire to read. When they first came in reading was the last thing on their mind. Toward the end of the program they were asking to read. They found joy in going to the library each week. They were so proud of the fact that they had library cards.”
By Luci Manning
This year, New Mexico State University’s STEM Outreach Center expanded, giving more students the opportunity to participate in fun summer STEM activities. Susan Brown, director of the NMSU STEM Outreach program, explained to Las Cruces News how crucial it is to get kids excited about STEM, and that out of school programs are the way to truly engage them because, “summer camps give students a real-project based, problem-solving, inquiry-based approach to the STEM fields.” NMSU STEM also runs an afterschool program during the school year.
Two rising sixth graders at Desert Academy are doing all they can to help the environment through their Global Warming Express! Marina Weber and Joanna Whysner created Global Warming Express and enlisted supportive adults to raise awareness about climate change. The camp takes a hands-on approach to teaching elementary students about biology, earth science and sustainability and public speaking, so students can effectively advocate for their cause. So far the students have gotten their school to remove a vending machine to cut down on plastic bottle waste and presented before Environmental Protection Agency officials in Denver, the Santa Fe New Mexican reports. They hope to expand the camp into an afterschool program.
Kids at the Jessye Normal School of Arts are getting a library! The school teamed up with The Book Tavern to collect books this month to build a school library. Collin Segura, counselor and publicity representative for the school, told the Augusta Chronicle that “the reading program would be a good way to prevent summer brain drain,” and has already been successful in getting its 27 participants to read 63 books in just three weeks.
The award winning Teens as Teachers program helped nearly 300 elementary and middle school students throughout South Dakota to “Take A Stand” against bullying, reports the Rapid City Journal. Teens taught younger students about conflict-resolution including lessons on communication, teamwork, social skills, empathy and cultural awareness and gained valuable inisight into teaching as a career. The South Dakota State University Extension 4-H Youth Development partnered with the South Dakota Coordinated School Health and the South Dakota 21st CCLC on the anti-bullying program.