Hopefully you’ve seen our 2013 study “Defining Youth Outcomes for Afterschool STEM,” which outlines a practitioner-defined framework of youth outcomes that are appropriate and feasible for afterschool STEM programs.
If you haven’t read it yet, or are looking to forward it on to colleagues, we’ve created a quick summary of the study and its major findings.
We’ve also created a guide to using the framework of youth outcomes developed in the study. This Prezi presentation takes you through several ways the framework can strengthen and inform your work.
Let us know how you like these new resources. And as work on outcomes and evaluation continues within the out-of-school-time field, we’ll keep you updated on the latest developments!
By Jodi Grant
For every child enrolled in an afterschool program, two more would enroll if they could, according to parents. That’s among the findings from our new survey, the 2014 edition of America After 3PM spanning 30,000 American households.
In all, 10.2 million children are in afterschool programs, up from 6.5 million in 2004. But the unmet demand for afterschool—parents who want to enroll their child in a program but say they don’t have a program available—has increased over the last decade as well, with the parents of a projected 19.4 million children now saying they would enroll their child in a program if one were available to them. Demand is especially high among low-income, African-American and Hispanic families.
Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, founder of After-School All-Stars, spoke with reporters about the data and commented:
“Due to the fact that most students come from homes where both parents are working, we have a duty to provide safe havens for our children during the crucial hours from 3-6 pm. Afterschool programs do remarkable things for our children, families and communities. Reams of data show it, and I’ve seen it in my own work. These programs help kids with homework, teach them teamwork, engage them in community service, pair them with mentors, help them to be physically fit, involve them in activities like rocketry and robotics, and much more.”
“Afterschool is a wise investment but, unfortunately, we’re not investing nearly enough,” Schwarzenegger added. “America After 3 PM shows that we are meeting only about one-third of the demand for afterschool programs. We need federal, state and local governments, philanthropies, and businesses to step up and provide the resources that will put us on the path to making afterschool available to all.”
Highlights from the new survey:
A recent study conducted by researchers out of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and published in the journal Pediatrics concluded that elementary school students who exercised for about an hour a day in an afterschool program had better brain function and were more focused than students who did not engage in much physical activity.
Researchers conducting the nine-month study of 7- to 9-year-olds randomly assigned 221 students to either a structured afterschool program with a strong physical activity component, or assigned them to a wait list for the program. Children in both groups were tested before and after the study period on a series of cognitive and executive control tasks such as memory, multitasking, and ability to resist distractions while focusing on a specific task, in addition to physical fitness assessments.
Students that participated in the afterschool program attended for two hours per day, with at least 60 minutes spent in moderate-to-vigorous physical activities like tag, soccer or dribbling a basketball through an obstacle course. Researchers required students in the study to wear heart-rate monitors and pedometers, and provided healthful snacks and rest breaks.
By Shaun Gray
Bill Albert is the CEO and owner of STEMfinity. STEMfinity offers thousands of hands-on academic enrichment kits with curriculum to teach PreK-12 students science, technology, engineering, math (STEM), robotics, electronics, alternative energy, rockets and beyond.
This October, STEMfinity is proud to join more than one million Americans and thousands of communities in celebrating Lights On Afterschool, an annual event that helps to raise awareness about the need for programs that keep kids safe, inspire them to learn and help working families.
Supporters of Lights On Afterschool believe that schools can’t do it alone and that meaningful, active collaboration with out-of-school programs are critical. We know that access to an array of quality, informal STEM learning opportunities can make a huge difference in the lives of youth. We also know that strong partnerships between informal learning institutions can help to maximize the use of shared resources and foster creative solutions to community needs.
Guest Blog by Reinaldo Llano, director of corporate outreach and special projects at Bright House Networks. Reinaldo leads community relations at Bright House Networks, one of the nation's largest cable and Internet providers.
Do you know a high school student whose creative genius is aspiring to unfold?
It’s been said that today’s youth are tomorrow’s leaders. They’re also tomorrow’s innovators and inventors. They are OUR future. They are the ones who can help create new opportunities for our local economies to prosper and flourish.
We are proud to support Bright Ideas STEM from Today's Youth, a multi-state competition where students dream up the coolest inventions to make their own life, community or even the world more awesome and show how STEM—that's science, technology, engineering and math—can bring their idea to life!
By Luci Manning
Teen, Mentor Are ‘Prefect Match’ (The Free Lance-Star, Virginia)
13-year-old Aaron Johnson already has the experiences of a world traveler, even though he rarely leaves his hometown. Thanks to his “big brother” Gerald Fennemore and the Rappahannock Big Brother Big Sisters program, Johnson has met people from every continent except Antarctica. However, Johnson is gaining much more than cultural experience. “If you have a big brother, the family is like a second family, and a second home, so you’ll have two homes, and they can support you and help you with anything you have issues with,” Johnson told The Free Lance-Star. Fennemore has not only been teaching and mentoring Aaron, but the duo also love watching football and playing games together. “If you could find at least one other caring adult to make a difference in a kid’s life, that’s all it takes. Another adult might be able to find a spark to nurture something in your child that maybe you don’t see,” Johnson’s mother told The Free Lance-Star.
Computer Science First Opens New World, Opportunities to Students (The Post and Courier, South Carolina)
High School Freshman Monica Washington had no idea what she was in for when she enrolled in the Google After-School Program. Through the afterschool and summer computer science program, Washington has learned how to use Scratch, a fashion design program, and has taken classes on cyber security, yo code and an introduction to computer networking. After discovering a passion for cyber security during the summer, Washington tells The Post and Courier, “I am so thankful that I have the chance to get involved in learning about technology. It’s exciting… It is my hope that many more girls will take advantage of these awesome programs.”
Our Bridge Program Offers Classroom Aid to Immigrant Children (The Charlotte Observer, North Carolina)
Thanks to a 21st Century Community Learning Center grant, Our Bridge, a nonprofit afterschool program in South Charlotte, was able to re-open to provide immigrant and refugee children with a safe and welcoming place to learn English. Our Bridge provides meals and transportation for the kids and celebrates their cultural holidays to make them feel at home, while still learning a whole new language in an unfamiliar country. Program Director Andrew Eastwood told The Charlotte Observer about a recent project on frog hibernation in which students made edible tadpole-winter hibernation exhibits of whipped cream, blue jello, chocolate pudding and gummy worms. “The kids loved learning about it and eating it,” Eastwood added.
Lights On Afterschool, the nationwide celebration of afterschool programs on Oct. 23, is fast approaching! And this year, we're adding a very exciting component to the celebration—a partnership with the Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC) to offer STEM programming in science centers around the country to celebrate Lights On Afterschool.
Thanks to a generous grant from the Noyce Foundation, we were able to work with ASTC to offer mini-grants of $1500 each to 20 science centers around the nation to form partnerships with afterschool providers in their communities. They will work together to design and implement an afterschool STEM programming experience as part of their Lights On Afterschool event. There will be a wide range of programming offered, from physics experiments to family star parties to environmental clean-up efforts. This initiative reflects our ongoing partnership with ASTC in support of our Commitment to Action made at the Clinton Global Initiative America, an annual event focused on finding solutions that promote economic recovery in the United States, bringing together leaders from various sectors to advance a number of domestic objectives, including education and skills development. Our commitment aims to increase partnerships between science centers and afterschool providers as a means to expand the quality and amount of informal STEM education.
Cognizant is now accepting applications for the 2015 Making the Future afterschool and summer program. Developed in partnership with the Maker Education Initiative and the New York Hall of Science, the program provides grants to community organizations to run hands-on, Maker-Movement inspired programs in an afterschool or summer-camp setting. Cognizant believes that Maker activities not only engage and excite kids but can spark interest in STEM and the arts, as well as develop their creative capabilities. Maker programs include a diverse range of STEM topics, including electronics, robotics, computer programming, digital fabrication, 3-D printing and wearable technology.
Child-serving U.S. nonprofit organizations wishing to run afterschool, in-school and summer Maker programs can apply from now through Nov. 15, 2014. Making the Future grants can cover costs for tools, materials, instructor fees, and other expenses essential to meeting the needs of the children participating in the program.
Want to learn more about making? The Maker Education Initiative is a fantastic resource for getting started in making, facilitating programing and more. You can also watch our webinar series on making in afterschool—part 1, part 2, and part 3.
Cognizant is a leading provider of information technology, consulting and business process outsourcing services, dedicated to helping the world's leading companies build stronger businesses. Their education initiatives in the U.S. focus on expanding and enhancing STEM education by increasing exposure to, and interest in, STEM learning activities.