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JAN
30

POLICY
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More than 260 groups call on Senate HELP Committee to support 21st CCLC afterschool

By Erik Peterson

Today a broad coalition of 266 local, state and national organizations urged the Senate HELP Committee to maintain the 21st Century Community Learning Center (21st CCLC) initiative as a separate and specific federal funding stream for school and community partnerships to support students in grades Pre-K through 12 during the hours outside of the school day.  Quality afterschool, before-school and summer learning programs provide young people with the academic, social and emotional learning opportunities they need to be successful in school and in life.

Organizations ranging from the Association of Science and Technology Centers (ASTC) and the Food Research and Action Center, to the American Heart Association and the National Education Association, all came together on the letter because of the broad value of afterschool and summer learning programs as a platform to make a difference in the lives of children.  Whether it is inspiring girls to pursue a STEM career or providing a venue to offer a nutritious meal and vigorous physical activity, comprehensive afterschool programs funded by 21st CCLC since 2001 positively impact more than 1 million school-age children each year.  The letter comes in response to Senate HELP Committee Chairman Alexander’s discussion draft ESEA bill, which would eliminate 21st CCLC and replace it with a block grant that could be used for afterschool and summer learning or a variety of in-school student supports.  

The full text of the letter along with signing organizations including groups from 35 states and more than 50 leading national organizations follows below.  Maximize the impact by emailing your Senators and urging them to support 21st CCLC—take action now!

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learn more about: 21st CCLC ESEA Federal Funding Federal Policy
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JAN
28

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup  January 28, 2015

By Luci Manning

Giving Young Athletes in New York a Fighting Chance (New York Times, New York)

Retired police officer Pat Russo works with youths on fitness, schoolwork and discipline, preparing hundreds of young men and women to face everyday challenges.  Despite all the young people throwing punches, Russo swears the Atlas NYPD Cops and Kids Boxing Program is not about boxing—it’s a way to heal rifts between young people and police and to teach kids the importance of staying healthy and staying in school.  For high school senior Elijah Johnson, the afterschool program is working.  “I used to get into the wrong stuff,” he told the New York Times.  “When I started boxing, I learned to discipline myself, how to be on time, how to dress properly, stay focused on school and be willing to work.”

Mentoring Program Helps Boys at Dixie Magnet Elementary Show Respect and Gain Self-Confidence (Lexington Herald Leader, Kentucky)

One by one, fourth- and fifth-grade boys in the Operation Making a Change afterschool group at Dixie Magnet Elementary stood at the front of the room and explained how they had shown leadership in the past week.  One had defused a bullying incident, another tutored kindergarten students and a third gave money to a homeless person.  The mentoring program is meant to teach these young men basic social and leadership skills, like how to show respect, set goals and take on responsibility at school.  Dixie Dean of Students Cheri Presley told the Lexington Herald Leader that the boys support each other and have developed a sense of family, especially with their mentors.  “Dixie as well as most other elementary schools have primarily female staffs,” she said.  “To bring men into the picture and mentor these boys, I feel like it’s been a huge success.”

Home Depot: Teaching Life Skills to Students (Jackson Sun, Tennessee)

At a Home Depot in Jackson last week, John Ducrest taught 13 children how to use simple tools, repair a hole in a wall and to cover damage.  The workshop was part of Keep My Hood Good, an afterschool mentoring program for children in high-crime areas.  Founder Juanita Jones said her mission is to equip the children to give back to their communities, the Jackson Sun reports.  Future workshops will teach other indoor and outdoor home repair and gardening projects, and Home Depot plans to partner with Keep My Hood Good on additional community service activities.

Mentoring Program Keeps Teen on Proper Path (Chicago Sun-Times, Illinois)

The Lawndale Christian Legal Center opened in 2010 to provide legal representation to area families, but its leaders quickly recognized that the youth they encountered needed more than legal help.  Organizers started an afterschool mentoring program targeting high school students on probation and in need of guidance.  “This is such an important relationship because there’s so many kids out here who are lost,” afterschool program director Maurice Harris told the Chicago Sun-Times.  “They don’t have the relationships with people that show continuous support with their daily life problems.”  Mentors follow the students throughout high school, eventually helping them with college applications and even job placement.  The center also provides academic tutoring, substance-abuse counseling, community service projects and social outings for the teens. 

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learn more about: Health and Wellness Community Partners
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JAN
21

POLICY
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President Obama's State of the Union: An afterschool perspective

By Erik Peterson

Last night, President Obama delivered his sixth State of the Union address to a Congress that for the first time in his presidency is controlled by Republicans in both the Senate and the House of Representatives.  Key highlights of the speech included tax proposals that would boost middle-class families and a new approach to immigration and a push for free education at community colleges.  Several elements of the speech are of interest to friends of afterschool, including new tax incentives for child care and a focus on community colleges.

The president proposed streamlining child care tax incentives to give middle-class families with young children a tax cut of up to $3,000 per child.  The president’s proposal would streamline and dramatically expand child care tax benefits, potentially helping 5.1 million families cover child care costs for 6.7 million children.  The proposal follows up on recent legislation and some new investments to improve child care quality, access, and affordability for working families.  The current average child care tax benefit of $550 falls short of the cost of child care, including the cost of quality school-age afterschool and summer care.  According to supplemental material from the Department of Health and Human Services, the president’s proposal would:

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learn more about: Federal Policy Obama
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JAN
21

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup  January 21, 2015

By Luci Manning

Pupils Use Microscopes, Food Coloring to Study Dairy Foods (The Daily Item, Pennsylvania)

Oaklyn Elementary School students had a “dairy” fun time experimenting with milk during their STEM-focused afterschool program last week.  The program is designed to assist at-risk students having academic and behavioral issues, and get them interested in STEM subjects.  Each week focuses on a different food topic, and last week was dedicated to milk.  Students at one station observed curds and whey under a microscope.  At another, they separated the fat content, and at a third, they observed the effects of food coloring on different types of milk.  “They don’t get to do these kinds of things in school,” John Ryan, owner of Customized Tutoring Services, which coordinated the program, told The Daily Item.  “We’ve gotten a lot of good responses from the kids, the staff and the parents.”

Millburn High School Students Learn Philanthropy (The Item of Millburn and Short Hills, New Jersey)

Millburn High School alumnus Yale Levey has returned to his alma mater to train students in the art of philanthropy.  Through his ten-week afterschool program, students raised money and donated about $1,600 to several New Jersey charities.  In order to decide who to give to, the students interviewed representatives from each charity and evaluated their tax returns.  Levey noted that it was difficult for the students to choose some charities over others, but that’s the point of the program.  “It’s intended on being an experience that pulls you out of your comfort zone,” he told The Item of Millburn and Short Hills.  The students presented representatives of the selected nonprofits with checks during a ceremony on January 6.

District Finding Uses for Federal Grants (Mohave Valley Daily News, Arizona)

Children in the Bullhead City Elementary School District (BHCESD) are learning the art of drone photography, thanks to federal grants awarded to five of the district’s six campuses.  The 21st Century Community Learning Center grants, which total about $600,000, are allowing students to participate in dozens of afterschool activities that address a wide variety of student interests.  The students are learning to operate drones, write computer code and build rockets, BHCESD’s curriculum and professional development director Cynthia Neuzil told the Mohave Valley Daily News.

On the Bright Side: Group Shows Jumping Rope Not Just a Game (The Daily Star, New York)

The Red Hot Ropers Jumprope afterschool program in Cooperstown is in its 23rd year of helping students learn new skills, exercise and have fun.  Third-grader Lucy Hayes said her favorite routine is one she does with a friend where they trade shoes while jumping rope.  Adviser and elementary physical education teacher Connie Herzig said the program gives the students a lot confidence and brings their strengths to the forefront.  “I love the way it creates an opportunity for exercise in the winter months,” she told The Daily Star.  “It taps into creativity, cooperation and joy. The kids just love it.”  The group has several performances on its calendar in the next month, including February 8 at halftime of the State University College at Oneonta men’s basketball game. 

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learn more about: 21st CCLC Health and Wellness Science
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JAN
16

POLICY
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21st CCLC initiative eliminated in Sen. Alexander's ESEA reauthorization discussion draft bill

By Erik Peterson

As we previewed earlier this week, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) reauthorization process officially kicked off late on Tuesday night with the release of Senate HELP Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander’s (R-TN) staff discussion draft reauthorization bill.  The proposed “Every Child Ready for College or Career Act of 2015” would replace the 2001 No Child Left Behind law and seeks to increases flexibility for states under a reduced federal footprint.  The proposed bill offers two approaches to annual testing requirements, makes teacher evaluation through test scores optional and eliminates a range of existing programs including the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) initiative that currently provides afterschool and summer learning programs to more than 1.6 million students.

Separately on Wednesday, Senate HELP Committee Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan responded to the Chairman’s draft by expressing serious concern with a number of provisions.  The tentative process moving forward includes a number of discussion sessions giving Senate HELP Committee members’ staff an opportunity to fully understand the 400-page bill, followed by negotiations to determine the legislation that will be marked up in the Senate HELP Committee likely during the middle of next month.  An ESEA bill could be debated on the Senate floor as early as this spring or summer.

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learn more about: 21st CCLC Congress ESEA Federal Funding Federal Policy Legislation
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JAN
15

RESEARCH
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Finding afterschool data is as easy as 1, 2, 3

By Nikki Yamashiro

An interactive data dashboard was one of the exciting new features that we released last October in conjunction with our report, “America After 3PM: Afterschool Programs in Demand.”  The dashboard includes a decade of data that highlights the trends of afterschool program participation, the demand for afterschool programs, the supports provided by afterschool programs and parent satisfaction with these supports, and what parents have to say about the benefits of programs for their child and family. 

There is a wealth of information on our dashboard, and I know it can be a bit overwhelming to get started, so I’ve come up with these three simple steps to help:

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learn more about: America After 3PM
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JAN
14

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup  January 14, 2015

By Luci Manning

Static Cling! Kids Try to Make Cellphone Charging T-Shirts (The Brooklyn Paper, New York)

Pow! Caped Crusaders in Technology, a tech-centric afterschool program in Flatbush, is teaching sixth and seventh graders how to make wearable tech gadgets. For their first project, students created a shirt that can charge a cellphone. Once they finished the shirts, which feature pockets with a built-in phone charger and battery, the afterschool students presented their work to the rest of the class and took questions. Bobbie Brown, the site director of Brooklyn College Community Partnership, which runs the program, said the point of the program is to get kids thinking about making things. “Once they see that it’s not that hard, they’ll say ‘I can do this’,” Brown told The Brooklyn Paper. “Be more creative, take control. We’re really pushing that entrepreneurial spirit.”

Lafayette After-School Group Pairs Students with Mentors Who Are Architects, Engineers or Construction Professionals (Lexington Herald Leader, Kentucky)

Architects, engineers and other construction professionals are giving students a glimpse into their daily lives through an afterschool mentoring program. In the Lafayette High School ACE (architecture, construction and engineering) Mentor Program, professionals teach students about the basics of building and aid them as they work on complex hypothetical projects. The program allows students to be around people with similar interests and to imagine what their future careers might look like. Gene Toth, director of Lafayette’s pre-engineering program, told the Lexington Herald Leader that the afterschool group gives his students “a hands-on chance to actually meet with the architects and engineers that do this on a daily basis.”

After-School Program at Nursing Home Helps Young and Old (Duncan Banner, Oklahoma)

At Wilkins Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, an afterschool program for elementary students is bridging the generations. Through the Heart Bridge program, nursing home residents act as tutors and reading buddies for the students. The residents and the children love spending time together, and often connect as if they were relatives. “We have seen that children and school groups that come out always make the residents’ day,” Wilkins administrator and owner Melanie Wilkins told the Duncan Banner. “They just love to see the children and interact with them.” The average afternoon is packed with activity – the kids have a snack, read with the residents, work on art projects and attend field trips.

Teen Center Celebrated for Youth Outreach (The Herald, Connecticut)

The YWCA House of Teens, an afterschool program designed to give teenage girls advocacy and leadership skills, healthy habits and stronger self-esteem, will be honored today at a celebration with New Britain Mayor Erin Stewart. House of Teens keeps girls motivated to stay in school and take part in community activities. “Many of these girls need female role models to help them develop leadership skills and good decision-making skills,” YWCA associate director Tracey Madden-Hennessey told The Herald. In the program, girls participate in community service projects, like collecting food for nonprofits and highlighting ways to prevent domestic violence. 

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learn more about: Health and Wellness Science
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JAN
13

IN THE FIELD
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Celebrate National Mentoring Month: Bring mentoring to afterschool

By Rachel Clark

January’s National Mentoring Month marks a national celebration of the thousands of adults who guide, support, and encourage young people as mentors.  Rapid growth in mentoring programs has brought the care and support of a mentor to three million youth in recent years—but almost 15 million youth have been left unserved.

Afterschool can help close that gap.  The flexible structure and partnerships enjoyed by afterschool programs enable providers to develop creative mentoring approaches, building off the resources and needs of their students and communities. Movement City in Lawrence, MA brings together academic support, the arts, and mentoring, while Science Club for Girls encourages confidence in STEM by pairing girls with female mentor-scientists and by allowing teen girls to mentor younger children.

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learn more about: Service
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