By Jen Rinehart
A new report from the Coalition for Community Schools highlights the prevalence of expanded learning opportunities, including afterschool and summer programs, in community schools—schools that unite with community partners to offer a range of supports for youth, families and communities with the goal of improved student learning, stronger families and healthier communities.
“The Growing Convergence of Community Schools and Expanded Learning Opportunities” confirms what afterschool and community school advocates have often touted: expanded learning opportunities are a key component of the community schools strategy. Based on a survey of community schools, the report finds:
- Close to 90 percent of the community school initiatives surveyed describe the expansion and improvement of expanded learning activities as part of their community schools strategy.
- Approximately one-third of respondents indicated that at least half of their work focuses on expanded learning opportunities (compared to all other possible opportunities and supports, such as health services, mental health services, and family and community engagement).
- Of those who offer expanded learning, 90 percent offer afterschool and nearly 70 percent offer summer programs. About one-quarter offer extended school day and expanded learning opportunities during the conventional school day.
Alberto Cruz is the Senior Youth and Family Director for the West Side YMCA in New York City and an Afterschool Ambassador emeritus.
Through the generous support of the Robert Bowne Foundation and the Afterschool Alliance, teens from the West Side Y’s Teens Take the City (TTC) program headed off to Washington, D.C., last month to meet with our elected officials to speak on behalf of YMCA of Greater New York afterschool and youth programs.
West Side Y teens set out to take over D.C. and were led by former Afterschool Ambassador and current West Side Senior Youth and Family Director Alberto Cruz and Teen Program Director Johann Dubouzet. While learning about the political landscape in Washington, teens had the opportunity to meet with legislative aides from Reps. Rangel, Serrano and Engel and with aides in Sens. Schumer and Gillibrand to speak about the importance of supporting teen programs and in particular the Teens Take the City program. TTC gives teens the opportunity to learn and participate through mock proposal writing, research and presentations about city government.
The PISA 2012 scores were released last week—and it turns out that a decade of No Child Left Behind education policies and initiatives has helped us to... stay in place! Scores in math, science and reading for 15-year-old students in the United States were stagnant, but our overall rankings fell as the scores for students in other countries went up.
More than 11,000 votes were cast in this year’s Lights On Afterschool Facebook photo contest, and we think you did a great job picking some awesome winning photos. We were really impressed with the quality of photos we received this year and amazed at your ability to activate your networks and get out the vote—it was great to see entire communities band together to support their local programs!
There were lots of ways to win this year. The top vote-getter from Bright House Networks’ service area received $2,000. The next top three photos (from anywhere) each won $1,000. We even teamed up with five state afterschool networks to offer prizes for the top vote-getter in their state!
Timber Lakes Extended Day
By Shaun Gray
The President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities—in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services—is pleased to invite applications for the 2014 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards.
The 12 award-winning programs this year will receive $10,000 and an invitation to accept their award from the President’s Committee’s Honorary Chairman, First Lady Michelle Obama, at a ceremony at the White House. In addition, winners will receive an award plaque, the opportunity to attend the Annual Awardee Conference in Washington, D.C., in the summer of 2014, and will be featured on the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award website.
Afterschool and out-of-school-time arts and humanities programs sponsored by museums, libraries, performing arts organizations, educational institutions (e.g., preschools; elementary, middle, and high schools; universities; and colleges), arts centers, community service organizations, businesses, and eligible government entities are encouraged to consider submitting an application. Programs applying for the award must meet all of the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award’s eligibility criteria.
By Sarah Watson
Local housing authorities represent ideal partners for community-based afterschool providers. Often, housing authorities can provide on-site facilities for afterschool programs, while community-based afterschool providers can offer trained staff and curriculum. A Boys & Girls Club and housing authority in Southern California recently entered into a partnership that continues to reap rewards for the local community.
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Monica (BGCSM) has created a sustainable partnership model intended to strengthen communities and meet the needs of local students. In 2011, the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles (HACLA) reached out to BGCSM to gauge their interest in taking over out-of-school-time programming at a public housing community—Mar Vista Gardens (MVG)—when a lack of sustainable funding meant that the City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks and HACLA could no longer offer programming to resident families. MVG is the third-largest public housing site in the city of Los Angeles and struggles with high crime and poverty rates. The community includes more than 600 students who, before BGCSM’s arrival, did not have access to engaging learning opportunities in the hours after school.
Time’s running out to help an afterschool program win up to $2,000 or other prizes!
Help to shine a light on your favorite afterschool program by voting in the Bright House Networks Lights On Afterschool photo contest on Facebook. Up to three afterschool programs are eligible to win $1000 in cash, and one program in a Bright House Networks service area can win up to $2000.
Vote for as many photos as you want each day—but only one vote per day per photo! So be sure to come back and vote again so your favorite can stay in the lead! Voting will end this Friday, Nov. 15 at 11:59 PST.
Tuesday’s election results brought in a new wave of hope for our nation’s children. As many of the newly elected officials and their proposals promised to bring sweeping reform across some of our largest school districts, some officials went even a step further and promised expansion of afterschool and summer programming.
In New York City, the newly elected Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio pledged to improve communication between the New York State Education Department, Homeless Services and Child Services. At the center of his educational platform is a plan to provide universal pre-kindergarten and increase afterschool programming for middle school students. To raise the necessary funds, the mayor will raise the NYC income tax rate for incomes above $500,000 from 3.876 percent to 4.3 percent. According to the Independent Budget Office, a municipal agency, the increase would average out to $973 a year for each of the 27,300 city taxpayers earning between $500,000 and $1 million. His campaign website expands on his afterschool proposal:
Over the last several years in New York City, afterschool programs have been dramatically cut from 87,000 slots in 2008, to roughly 20,000 slots for FY2014. Bill de Blasio has called for a large-scale expansion of afterschool programs for all middle school students by taxing New York’s wealthiest residents. The extended learning time in afterschool programs helps our students make positive gains in their academic performance, benefit from diverse programs that enrich learning, improve communication skills with adults, decrease behavioral problems, and it offers young people alternatives to trouble on the streets.