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FEB
21
2018

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup: February 21, 2018

By Luci Manning

For Camden Teens, ‘Black Panther’ Lives Up to the Hype (Courier Post, New Jersey)

Some 100 students from Camden area schools and afterschool programs were treated to an advance screening of the new ‘Black Panther’ film thanks to Campbell Soup Company’s Black Resource Group. “Giving kids here experiences they might not otherwise have, whether it’s a movie screening or a field trip outside Camden or within it, that’s part of our duty as citizens of Camden,” Campbell Soup’s director of community affairs Kim Fortunato told the Courier Post. “Highlighting success stories – for people of all backgrounds – reinforces the notion that any of us can succeed.”

North Heights Elementary Students Hone Their Fibbing Skills (Rome News-Tribune, Georgia)

For the past several months, 20 girls at North Heights Elementary School have been perfecting the fine art of storytelling in the ASPIRE afterschool program. The students will have a chance to show off their work in the Debby Brown Young Tales Storytelling and Writing Program at the 2018 Big Fibbers Storytelling festival. Telling their stories, which are all based on students’ real-life experiences, helps the girls develop their self-confidence public speaking skills. “I like this program because the kids get very involved,” North Heights teacher Felicia Hall told the Rome News-Tribune. “Lots of times, they don’t get to tell their stories and this gives them a chance.”

Living Life the Douglass Way (South Coast Today, Massachusetts)

In honor of African American History Month, the YMCA’s School Age Afterschool Program has been teaching its students about abolitionist icon Frederick Douglass through activities, presentations and discussions. The YMCA has collaborated with the New Bedford Historical Society to lead sessions on Douglass, in hopes that learning about his life and work, with a focus on literacy and communication, will inspire students to volunteer and lead in their communities, according to South Coast Today.

Flagler Students Learn the Importance of Handwashing (Daytona Beach News Journal, Florida)

A team from the education department at Florida Hospital Flagler visited Bunnell, Rymfire and Wadsworth elementary afterschool students recently to teach the youths about the importance of handwashing. During this particularly bad flu season, hospital staff believe that reaching out to students in the 21st Century Community Learning Center afterschool programs can help reduce the spread of germs and prevent respiratory infections and diarrhea-related sicknesses, according to the Daytona Beach News Journal

FEB
15
2018

IN THE FIELD
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Former Ed Sec John B. King highlights educator superpower: We tell children they belong

By Jillian Luchner

Last week I attended a Title I Conference in Philadelphia. The “Title I” name may be as generic as they come, but it is one of the most important Titles in education policy.

The purpose of Title I, which was recently reauthorized in 2015 in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), is “to provide all children significant opportunity to receive a fair, equitable, and high quality education and to close educational achievement gaps.” To meet this goal the law includes federal funding that gets distributed to support lower income students and schools. Title I funding can be and is used effectively in schools and districts for quality afterschool programs as well as other efforts.

"The best antidote to oppression is education.”

Dr. John B. King, former U.S. Secretary of Education, and currently the president of The Education Trust served as the keynote on the conference’s first night. King remarked that education in the United States is in fact making progress. For example, scores on a nationwide standardized test (NAEP) continue to trend upward and graduation rates are increasing hitting a nation-wide high of 84% last year. However, he cautioned, we must be mindful of the gaps – such as those in which our higher income students achieve academically, graduate high school and complete college at much greater rates than our lower income students.

The same gaps are seen between white students and students of color, marking an especially salient fact in light of February being Black History Month. These academic gaps, Dr. King noted, are really a function of opportunity gaps.

King takes a dual approach to problem solving when confronting the opportunity gap. The first is to provide equitable resources in schools; for example, helping to incentivize the strongest teachers where they are most needed, investing in initiatives that have been shown to work to close gaps such as early education and Pre-K, and placing school counselors and advanced academic options in schools where they are limited. While not mentioned by King directly, access to high quality afterschool programs are another essential piece of this puzzle.

JAN
31
2018

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup: January 31, 2018

By Luci Manning

Community Schools a Way to Improve Education (Commercial Appeal, Tennessee)

Knoxville businessman and Republican gubernatorial candidate Randy Boyd vouches for community schools – like the one he helped launch at Pond Gap Elementary School – as a way to help low-income students overcome disadvantages in an op-ed for the Commercial Appeal: “Over the years of being very actively involved in our public education system, it has become clear to me that not all education solutions can be solved solely within the classroom…. From local churches to Boy Scouts and Big Brothers, Big Sisters, the school becomes the hub for the community and the access point to reach parents and children…. Turning around Tennessee’s lowest-performing schools will require a team effort. Community schools may be one place to start.”

Bridging Gaps, Building Hope (Washington Post, Virginia)

Through a Hutchinson Elementary School afterschool program, immigrant students are forging bonds with local police officers and learning not to fear law enforcement. Project Hope invites Herndon and Fairfax police officers to the school to participate in fun activities with students, like competing in kickball games, playing cards or enjoying ice cream. The afterschool club helps keep students away from gangs and gives parents and community members, many of whom are immigrants from violent countries like El Salvador and Honduras, peace of mind when interacting with law enforcement. “We didn’t want our parents to be fearful when they come into the school,” principal Ray Lonnett told the Washington Post. “So, we’ve really worked to build this partnership to make sure our entire community can feel comfortable with the police.”

Young People: The Single Most Important Investment in Our Future (Garden Island, Hawaii)

Former state Senator Gary Hooser, who currently serves as board president of the Hawaii Alliance for Progressive Action and executive director of the Pono Hawaii Initiative, makes the case for more county and community investment in youth programs in the Garden Island: “What would be the impact on drug use and abuse among our youth if their choices of after-school and weekend activities included a strong and wide array of programs including theater, art, hula, skateboarding, mountain biking…. Supporting our existing youth programs and expanding them to accommodate the needs and interests of all of our youth, must be a county and a community priority.”

West Hancock Kids Learn Science Can Be Delicious (Britt News Tribune, Iowa)

Hancock County Extension’s After School Kids Club is teaching third- and fourth-graders about the science behind their favorite foods. Recently, students learned about why Pop Rocks pop and sizzle when they put them in their mouths, and in the coming weeks they will explore the science behind treats like rock candy, cheese and ice cream. Third-grader Sophie Aitchison explained what she enjoys most about the program to the Britt News Tribune: “It’s not just like plain science. You get to eat during the lesson.”

JAN
5
2018

IN THE FIELD
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Guest blog: Conquering the high school transition with Road Map to Graduation

By Guest Blogger

By Roger Figueroa, program coordinator at Latin American Youth Center - Maryland Multicultural Youth Center. 

The transition for rising ninth graders is one filled with twists, turns, pitfalls, and barriers: the new and often larger environment, changes in academic responsibility, increased number of peer influences, and a new social structure can all be overwhelming. The LAYC-Maryland Multicultural Youth Center Road Map to Graduation program aims to create a supportive pathway for students.

The program seeks to provide wrap-around services to support students during their transition through Road Map workshops, an intensive five-week summer bridge program, after-school academic assistance, individual development plans, case management, and parent engagement.

JAN
3
2018

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup: January 3, 2018

By Luci Manning

Neighborhood Center Is a Hit with Residents (Chico Enterprise-Record, California)

Anaheim’s new community center at Ponderosa Park is attracting locals of all ages to its afterschool programs, nutrition classes and educational workshops. The newly refurbished center opened last month and features a dance studio, a gym with a full basketball court, a kitchen, classrooms and a special area for teens, according to the Chico Enterprise-Record. The center’s afterschool program will give students a chance to get homework help, participate in physical activities and explore new hobbies.

New Music Program Aims to Boost Kids’ Self-Esteem (Palm Beach Post, Florida)

Musicians from the Symphonia, a renowned South Florida chamber orchestra, are sharing their love of music with members of the Boys & Girls Club of Delray Beach through afterschool violin lessons. The Building a String Orchestra and Self-Esteem program aims to reach underprivileged children who may not have opportunities to play the violin to show them how versatile the instrument can be while building their self-confidence. “Music is such a significant way to help youth learn and excel in school, gain confidence, and become productive citizens in society,” club director Janice Clemmons told the Palm Beach Post. “It teaches discipline without the kids even realizing it.”

New After-School Program Promotes Healthy Eating Habits (Columbus Telegram, Nebraska)

Megan Owens, a Columbus Community Hospital dietetic intern, will be teaching elementary children about healthy foods, exercise and body positivity in a new afterschool program beginning this month. In “Food, Fitness & Fun,” students will participate in interactive nutrition and fitness activities, learn to make healthy snacks and build a positive relationship with food and exercise. “We’ll talk about what goes into making healthy choices, appropriate portions and avoiding mindless eating while sitting watching TV,” Owens told the Columbus Telegram. “We also want kids to know that getting their bodies moving can be fun.”

New LGBTQ+ Program Planned in Athens (Athens Messenger, Ohio)

Athens’ first-ever afterschool program geared specifically towards LGBTQ+ students will begin next week, providing marginalized adolescents a safe place to spend time after the school day ends and a chance to build a community among their peers. The program, PRISM, will be free and open to students of all genders, and will be run entirely by adult volunteers from the community, according to the Athens Messenger. PRISM will offer students activities in art, music and other areas of interest, and allow them to make connections with other youths and adults who have experienced the same struggles that they have. 

DEC
19
2017

IN THE FIELD
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"I want to be a beacon"

By Guest Blogger

By Kevin Hamilton, vice president for communications at the Student Conservation Association.

Welcome to the first post in our new blog series about the vital role that out-of-school time programs play in the social, emotional, and character development that youth need to navigate a complex, interconnected world. This series is made possible through generous support from the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation.

Ranger Rece and colleauges at the Pittsburgh Parks & Recreation Department

It was about this time last year, at the height of the holiday season, that AmaRece Davis’ email popped up on my screen.

“I just want to thank SCA again,” he wrote, “and let you know that I’m living the dream.”

Few would have predicted that outcome just a few years ago. AmaRece, however, never had a doubt.

Rece, as he’s known, grew up in the Homewood section of Pittsburgh. It’s a tough neighborhood. Lots of poverty, lots of crime. By the time Rece was 15, his two older brothers were in prison and, he admits, he was headed in that same direction. Things took a turn that summer, however, when Rece joined the Student Conservation Association (SCA)’s local crew program. SCA, an organization perhaps best known for placing teen and young adult volunteers in places like Yellowstone and Yosemite, also provides opportunities to participate in environmental-focused programs for urban youth in America’s leading cities.

DEC
7
2017

STEM
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Promising practices: Hybrid tech/analog system grows STEM mentoring

By Charlotte Steinecke

Keshia Ashe and a student at Tubman Elementary

During CS Ed Week, we wanted to highlight an initiative that pushes the envelope on excellence in computer science and STEM. Keshia Ashe, the co-founder and chief executiver officer of ManyMentors, sat down to talk about afterschool, STEM mentoring, and fostering the growth of underrepresented communities in the STEM field.

In 2011, Keshia Ashe didn’t know she was starting a business. She just knew she saw a problem.

A graduate student at the time, Ashe was mentoring a group of tenth graders, many of whom were interested in pursuing medical school once they graduated. She reached out to friends in the field but kept hearing a familiar story.

“A lot of my friends said, ‘I can’t come, I’m busy, I don’t have the time to drive an hour to interface with the students,’” Ashe recalls. “At the time, Skype was really starting to gain some traction and not have so many technical difficulties, so my friends would Skype into the classroom to talk to the students. That’s really the nucleation site of ManyMentors. It was me trying to solve a problem with the students I was working directly with.”

ManyMentors is an organization that connects younger people to older people in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields, using a hybrid strategy that combines face-to-face monthly mentoring meetings coordinated by onsite chapters with a mobile app that promotes sustained communication between mentors and mentees. In addition to more than 400 onsite mentors at six universities in Connecticut, New Hampshire, and New York, ManyMentors is opening a cohort of chapters in the D.C. region, with students from University of Maryland, Howard University, George Washington, George Mason University, and more.

DEC
5
2017

IN THE FIELD
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Los Angeles afterschool program builds 'a world fit for kids!'

By Matt Freeman

25 years ago, riots exploded in South Central Los Angeles in the wake of the acquittal of four police officers charged with beating a prostrate taxi driver named Rodney King. The event called attention to issues of race and economic inequities, one element of which was cutbacks in the L.A. school system that had resulted in the elimination of physical education and other programs.

From the ashes of the riot grew an innovative afterschool program called A World Fit for Kids! (WFIT), whose leaders were determined to give inner-city youth opportunities for physical fitness, wellness and self-esteem programming that had been lost to budget cuts. In the 25 years since, the program has touched the lives of more than 460,000 children and family members in the city, encouraging them to make healthy decisions over the course of their lives. Along the way, it has pioneered a research-based training model called Mentors in MotionSM that prepares high school “Coach-Mentors” to work with elementary and middle school children, helping both age groups achieve health and fitness goals and develop strategies for success in all aspects of their lives.

“We believe physical activity is a vital tool for personal growth,” says Normandie Nigh, the program’s CEO. “Traditional programs usually emphasize competitive sports and stand-alone recreational activities. But we take a more comprehensive approach, training our staff and Coach-Mentors to address the whole child by linking healthy bodies with healthy minds. We train them to help students increase their self-awareness, improve their capacity to self-manage, and take greater responsibility for the decisions they make.”