Guest blog: Stop cuts to summer learning

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Guest blog: Stop cuts to summer learning

By Rachel Gwaltney, Director of Policy and Partnerships at the National Summer Learning Association. Rachel leads development and implementation of services, projects and partnerships that strengthen summer learning policy and build capacity of state and national leaders and organizations.

"Summer learning is a well-documented solution to supporting the academic and social growth of all students, yet, it remains an under-resourced strategy for closing the achievement gap in our country."

-NSLA's Founder and CEO, Matthew Boulay, Ph.D.

The National Summer Learning Association (NSLA) and a network of youth advocates recently came together to raise awareness about the importance of summer learning experiences, advocating for greater resources for local summer programming on Capitol Hill.

26 meetings with staff from offices representing ten states marked a productive Hill Day. Congressional staff from offices on both sides of the aisle reaffirmed the value of summer and afterschool programs and said they would work to maintain funding for the 21st Century Community Learning Center (21CCLC) program.

Tomorrow is National Summer Learning Day and we’re counting on you to lift your voices to keep kids learning, safe and healthy! Here are three ways you can help:

  1. 20 million families want and need more afterschool and summer learning opportunities. For every child in a program, two are waiting to get in. Eliminating Community Learning Centers funding would mean closing more than 10,000 summer and afterschool programs, hurting families and children in every part of the country. Tell Congress to protect funding for summer and afterschool programs.
  2. Register your summer learning event or program to the National Summer Learning Day events calendar. The events calendar is a valuable resource for families and shows summer learning opportunities all across the nation.
  3. Celebrate National Summer Learning Day with us on social media! Join our Thunderclap and share your own summer learning resources using #KeepKidsLearning! You can follow us on Twitter @summerlearning and on Facebook @SmarterSummers.

Check out NSLA’s website at summerlearning.org for a wide variety of summer learning resources for elected officials, communities, families and students.

Quality out-of-school time programs help keep youth on track for success

By Major General (Ret.) Peter Gravett, U.S. Army. This post was originally published by the Council for a Strong America. Read the original post here. We know the afterschool hours are a peak time for kids to commit crimes or become victims of crimes. While the typical school day routine is...

BY: Guest Blogger      07/05/18

Afterschool Spotlight: Career readiness event shakes up students' imaginations

By Charlotte Steinecke, communications manager at the Afterschool Alliance, and Sam Harp, site director at SOAR, the Camp War Eagle Afterschool Program. Every afternoon, the Jones Center in Northwestern Arkansas fills with children and young people shooting hoops in the gym, playing clapping...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      06/08/18

So grateful and proud!

One of the many joys associated with the Afterschool for All Challenge last week was seeing so many of our Afterschool Ambassadors in person. For nearly 20 years, the Afterschool Ambassador program has been the pride and joy of the Afterschool Alliance and it has had an out-sized impact on our...

BY: Jodi Grant      04/23/18

Bonnie Reiss: A friend, a champion, a hero

The afterschool community lost one of its greatest champions when Bonnie Reiss passed away on Monday, April 2. I am proud to call Bonnie a friend, a mentor, a collaborator and a board member who made the Afterschool Alliance even more strategic and powerful. Our achievements were her achievements...

BY: Jodi Grant      04/10/18

We asked, and you answered.

The State of Afterschool Survey for 2018 closed in February with a total of 920 responses. To those who participated, thank you for taking the time to let us see the afterschool field from your point of view. To those who missed it, don’t worry – throughout the year, we’ll be...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      04/09/18

New resources: Implementing and expanding afterschool programs for principals

The National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) recently launched a new online toolkit dedicated to providing principals and other school leaders with the tools they need to help support and expand quality afterschool and summer learning programs. Principals can play an...

BY: Leah Silverberg      03/19/18

Celebrating and supporting youth voice

The future is not about the children – it is the children. It is about time we listen to their authentic, genuine voices. They are thoughtful, they are creative, they are resilient, and they have more at stake than the rest of us, because the policies we adopt and the choices we collectively...

BY: Jodi Grant      03/14/18

Recapping Beyond School Hours 2018

From February 22 to 24, Orlando, Fla. was alive with the magic of afterschool, as nearly 1,000 out-of-school time professionals convened for the 21st annual Beyond School Hours Conference. The conference, hosted by the team at Foundations, Inc., draws attendees from across the country to...

BY: Alexis Steines      03/01/18

"I get the chance to meet people I never would have been able to before"

By Maya Irvine.  Maya is a freshman at Camdenton High School and was named a Youth Afterschool Ambassador in the fall for the 2017-2018 school year. Maya has attended Camdenton FIRST LASER Robotics program for the past six years. Her blog post highlights the science,...

BY: Guest Blogger      02/23/18

From D.C. to Johannesburg, music makes STEM learning sing

“If you’re passionate about anything, there really is no limit to what you can do,” says Lemond Brown, president and CEO of Swaliga Foundation. “That passion is contagious. People want to know ‘Well, why are they so passionate about that? How can I have that same...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      02/16/18

Kansas programs show strength of law enforcement and afterschool partnerships

This is a two-part blog series outlining Kansas’ commitment to establishing partnerships between law enforcement and afterschool programs. The previous post focused on the afterschool network and this post delves into specific programs. Rachel Willis, who I interviewed for...

BY: Arielle Kahn      06/19/18

Invest in kids for #ChildrensWeek2018 and beyond

This week we are celebrating Children’s Week, a seven-day call to action coordinated by First Focus, the Children’s Budget Coalition, and others, to bring attention to key issues faced by children in America. The week-long campaign seeks to educate the public, engage policymakers,...

BY: Erik Peterson      06/13/18

Afterschool and summer learning are solutions for public safety

The National League of Cities recently released a series of briefs (two of which we described in a previous blog post) including “Afterschool and Summer Learning: A City Strategy for Public Safety,” which highlights afterschool programs as a cost-effective prevention and youth...

BY: Arielle Kahn      06/01/18

Have you thanked your library lately?

The first week of April is National Library Week, with today being National Library Workers Day. Take the opportunity today to visit your local library or send a message thanking the staff and administrators for all the work they do in your community! Across the country,...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      04/03/18

It's Absolutely Incredible Kid Day®!

Today we’re excited to take part in celebrating Absolutely Incredible Kid Day® (AIKD)! AIKD is a national holiday that lifts up the kids and teens in our lives, and it was founded by Camp Fire in 1997. While we’ve enjoyed spotlighting the great work done at Camp Fire programs...

BY: Faith Savaiano      03/15/18

Free eBook available: The Afterschool Guide to Building English Language Learners' Literacy

By Heidi Ham, vice president of programs and strategy at National AfterSchool Association. For the more than 4 million English language learner (ELL) students who attend public schools nationwide, it’s more critical than ever to literacy skill development support both in and out...

BY: Guest Blogger      02/05/18

Youth-serving organizations can leverage a growing resource: volunteers age 50+

By Sarah McKinney, Content Marketing Producer at Encore.org’s Gen2Gen campaign.   Diana Amatucci volunteers after school and during the summers at her local Boys and Girls Club in Charlottesville Virginia. A retired teacher, Amatucci knows that kids need more champions...

BY: Guest Blogger      10/24/17

Pro sports can connect kids to afterschool STEAM learning

By Jesse Lovejoy, director of STEAM Education for the San Francisco 49ers and managing partner of EDU Academy. More information on 49ers STEAM programming is available here.  On its best days, informal and afterschool education is cool. It’s different. It lights fires. For many...

BY: Guest Blogger      09/29/17

Educators convene town hall against cuts to afterschool & summer

“Looking back, I don't know where I would have been without afterschool pushing me [and] showing me right from wrong." - Ashley, After-School All-Stars, AFT Tele-Town Hall On June 12, in a show of united concern and support, the education, afterschool, community school, and health...

BY: Ursula Helminski      06/22/17

Guest blog: Postcard project connects program providers with policymakers

By Sara Beanblossom, Director of Communications and Special Events at the Indiana Afterschool Network As part of our program provider advocacy initiative, the Indiana Afterschool Network is always on the lookout for new and innovative ways to share stories about the power of afterschool....

BY: Guest Blogger      06/13/17

Summer meals are vital for children, but meal participation continues to decrease

Far too many children lose access to nutritious school meals when the school year ends, according to Hunger Doesn’t Take a Vacation: Summer Nutrition Status Report, released June 13 by the Food Research & Action Center. The report finds that only 3 million children received a...

BY: Erik Peterson      06/22/18

Positive female role models: 5 voices from healthy afterschool

By Daniel W. Hatcher, MPH, director of community partnerships, Alliance for a Healthier Generation. Active kids learn better, but did you know that girls today are far less likely than boys to achieve the recommended amounts of physical activity? Healthier Generation’s #GirlsAre campaign...

BY: Guest Blogger      05/31/18

Guest blog: 4 key elements to fostering mental health & wellbeing

By Sheila Savannah, director of mental health and wellbeing at Prevention Institute. Originally featured in a May 3 email, this blog was reposted with permission from the Prevention Institute.   May is Mental Health Month—an opportunity to take a fresh look at...

BY: Guest Blogger      05/15/18

HEPA success story: Uniting stakeholders is key to victory

When Sheree Vodicka first heard of legislation passed in California to establish healthy out-of-school time (OST) programs, she realized there may be an opportunity to replicate that in North Carolina. As a recipient of the YMCA of the USA’s Pioneering Healthier Communities grant...

BY: Faith Savaiano      04/06/18

The need to enhance kids' access to water in and out of school

By Amelie G. Ramirez, DrPH, Director, Salud America! at UT Health San Antonio. Did you know that 1 in 4 kids drink no water in a day? Latino kids drink less water than their white peers. They also are more likely to perceive tap water as unsafe, and drink more sugary drinks, our research...

BY: Guest Blogger      03/30/18

Afterschool programs can play a big role in childhood nutrition

By Crystal FitzSimmons, director of school and out-of-school time programs at Food Research & Action Center. Hooray! It’s National Nutrition Month. Time to celebrate the important role that afterschool programs are and can play in supporting good nutrition among the children they...

BY: Guest Blogger      03/23/18

Afterschool can help solve a national security crisis

We have a looming national security emergency, and it may not be the one that first comes to mind. 71 percent of Americans between 17 and 24 years of age— or 24 million of the 34 million young people in our country—are ineligible to serve in the United States military. The...

BY: Arielle Kahn      03/16/18

Afterschool is perfectly situated to help: Q&A on the opioid crisis

By Nila Cobb. This is the second part of a two-part question-and-answer session with Nila Cobb, healthy lifestyles specialist and assistant director of the West Virginia Statewide Afterschool Network. You can read part one here. In the second part, Nila describes the challenges and...

BY: Guest Blogger      03/12/18

Experts discuss afterschool's role in opioid abuse prevention

Opioid addiction plagues our country, deeply impacting adults and children alike. We at the Afterschool Alliance believe that afterschool has a huge part to play in mitigating this crisis through preventative measures. On Wednesday, February 27, the Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA)...

BY: Arielle Kahn      03/02/18

The view from Ground Zero: Q&A on the opioid crisis

By Nila Cobb. Welcome to the first of a two-part question-and-answer session with Nila Cobb, healthy lifestyles specialist and assistant director of the West Virginia Statewide Afterschool Network. In the first part, Nila describes the earliest signs of the opioid crisis impacting her community...

BY: Guest Blogger      02/27/18

Guest blog: National Summer Learning Day is on July 12!

By Tyler Mattingly, Marketing Communications Coordinator at the National Summer Learning Association. National Summer Learning Day, July 12, is a national advocacy day aimed at elevating the importance of keeping kids learning, safe, and healthy every summer, ensuring they return to school in...

BY: Guest Blogger      06/29/18

Guest blog: 4 key elements to fostering mental health & wellbeing

By Sheila Savannah, director of mental health and wellbeing at Prevention Institute. Originally featured in a May 3 email, this blog was reposted with permission from the Prevention Institute.   May is Mental Health Month—an opportunity to take a fresh look at...

BY: Guest Blogger      05/15/18

"I wanted to create something ... that shared the power and impact of my afterschool program"

By Kaleb Robertson. Kaleb is a senior at Green Bay West High School and was recently named a Youth Afterschool Ambassador for 2016-17 by the Afterschool Alliance. He has been attending the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Green Bay afterschool program for more than five years. This letter...

BY: Guest Blogger      01/11/18

"I want to be a beacon"

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,...

BY: Guest Blogger      12/19/17

How afterschool can support school meals: 3 activities

By Daniel W. Hatcher, MPH, director of Community Partnerships at Alliance for a Healthier Generation.This article was original published on December 5, 2017 on the Healthy Out-of-School Time New & Notable blog. Partnerships between school and afterschool educators are essential to...

BY: Guest Blogger      12/14/17

Youth-serving organizations can leverage a growing resource: volunteers age 50+

By Sarah McKinney, Content Marketing Producer at Encore.org’s Gen2Gen campaign.   Diana Amatucci volunteers after school and during the summers at her local Boys and Girls Club in Charlottesville Virginia. A retired teacher, Amatucci knows that kids need more champions...

BY: Guest Blogger      10/24/17

Guest blog: Afterschool-law enforcement partnership gives justice-involved youth a new path

By Rachel Willis, research project manager at the Kansas Enrichment Network. After celebrating early successes, the Spartan Explorers afterschool program will continue through the 2017-2018 school year. Begun in January 2017, the program is a partnership between Emporia High School and the...

BY: Guest Blogger      08/01/17

Guest blog: Closing the achievement gap for Latino kids

By Diego Uriburu, co-founder and executive director of Identity. By age 16, Elam had been out of school for two years. Although he’d dropped out of school the first time, he knew he needed to turn his life around and that the best way to do that was to complete his education. Going...

BY: Guest Blogger      07/19/17

Guest blog: Stop cuts to summer learning

By Rachel Gwaltney, Director of Policy and Partnerships at the National Summer Learning Association. Rachel leads development and implementation of services, projects and partnerships that strengthen summer learning policy and build capacity of state and national leaders and...

BY: Guest Blogger      07/12/17

Guest blog: Afterschool gave me hope of a future I'd never known

By Aaron Short, assistant head of staff at 21st Cranston Community Learning Center Bain +2/Kidventure Afterschool Program. Aaron attended the Youth Session of the 2017 Afterschool for All Challenge and spoke to his members of Congress about the impact of afterschool on his...

BY: Guest Blogger      07/11/17

National partnership frames strategies for creative youth development

This spring the Creative Youth Development National Partnership, together with more than 650 cross-sector stakeholders nationally, called for all young people to have equitable access to opportunities to realize their creative potential, live richer, fuller lives, and develop the critical learning...

BY: Erik Peterson      06/15/18

Afterschool and summer learning supporting cities nationwide

Two new briefs from the National League of Cities' (NLC) Insitute for Youth, Education, and Families highlight the ways in which afterschool and summer learning programs help develop students’ college and career readiness and in turn support the economic success of cities. For students,...

BY: Leah Silverberg      05/29/18

The view from Ground Zero: Q&A on the opioid crisis

By Nila Cobb. Welcome to the first of a two-part question-and-answer session with Nila Cobb, healthy lifestyles specialist and assistant director of the West Virginia Statewide Afterschool Network. In the first part, Nila describes the earliest signs of the opioid crisis impacting her community...

BY: Guest Blogger      02/27/18

Introducing our inaugural class of Youth Afterschool Ambassadors

Through our Afterschool Ambassadors program, every year we recruit a cohort of program providers and advocates of special distinction and provide them with training, technical support, and modest funding to complete projects that raise the profile of afterschool in their communities. This year,...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      11/10/17

Youth-serving organizations can leverage a growing resource: volunteers age 50+

By Sarah McKinney, Content Marketing Producer at Encore.org’s Gen2Gen campaign.   Diana Amatucci volunteers after school and during the summers at her local Boys and Girls Club in Charlottesville Virginia. A retired teacher, Amatucci knows that kids need more champions...

BY: Guest Blogger      10/24/17

Nominate a youth volunteer for the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards

For many middle and high school students, community service is a requirement for graduation—one that afterschool programs often assist with, giving students a chance to give back through volunteering, community beautification efforts, and tutoring younger students. As a result, afterschool...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      10/13/17

Guest blog: Closing the achievement gap for Latino kids

By Diego Uriburu, co-founder and executive director of Identity. By age 16, Elam had been out of school for two years. Although he’d dropped out of school the first time, he knew he needed to turn his life around and that the best way to do that was to complete his education. Going...

BY: Guest Blogger      07/19/17

Guest blog: Afterschool gave me hope of a future I'd never known

By Aaron Short, assistant head of staff at 21st Cranston Community Learning Center Bain +2/Kidventure Afterschool Program. Aaron attended the Youth Session of the 2017 Afterschool for All Challenge and spoke to his members of Congress about the impact of afterschool on his...

BY: Guest Blogger      07/11/17

Guest blog: How one rural town is investing in Alaska's future workforce

By Thomas Azzarella, director of the Alaska Afterschool Network. This blog was originally published on the Alaska Afterschool Blog on June 6. Nearly two-thirds of Alaska’s cities, towns, and villages are accessible only by plane or boat, which makes having a strong aviation...

BY: Guest Blogger      06/19/17

Not The Onion: Horses, surfboards, and cyberattacks in afterschool

Despite a wealth of research showing the importance of afterschool and widespread popularity with parents, students, teachers and community leaders, programs have never been more threatened. This week the president decided to double down on his call to eliminate afterschool funding in his 2018...

BY: Jodi Grant      05/26/17

Kansas programs show strength of law enforcement and afterschool partnerships

This is a two-part blog series outlining Kansas’ commitment to establishing partnerships between law enforcement and afterschool programs. The previous post focused on the afterschool network and this post delves into specific programs. Rachel Willis, who I interviewed for...

BY: Arielle Kahn      06/19/18

Guest blog: 4 key elements to fostering mental health & wellbeing

By Sheila Savannah, director of mental health and wellbeing at Prevention Institute. Originally featured in a May 3 email, this blog was reposted with permission from the Prevention Institute.   May is Mental Health Month—an opportunity to take a fresh look at...

BY: Guest Blogger      05/15/18

The need to enhance kids' access to water in and out of school

By Amelie G. Ramirez, DrPH, Director, Salud America! at UT Health San Antonio. Did you know that 1 in 4 kids drink no water in a day? Latino kids drink less water than their white peers. They also are more likely to perceive tap water as unsafe, and drink more sugary drinks, our research...

BY: Guest Blogger      03/30/18

Afterschool can help solve a national security crisis

We have a looming national security emergency, and it may not be the one that first comes to mind. 71 percent of Americans between 17 and 24 years of age— or 24 million of the 34 million young people in our country—are ineligible to serve in the United States military. The...

BY: Arielle Kahn      03/16/18

Afterschool is perfectly situated to help: Q&A on the opioid crisis

By Nila Cobb. This is the second part of a two-part question-and-answer session with Nila Cobb, healthy lifestyles specialist and assistant director of the West Virginia Statewide Afterschool Network. You can read part one here. In the second part, Nila describes the challenges and...

BY: Guest Blogger      03/12/18

$1M from "Black Panther" proceeds to go to afterschool programs

Disney’s “Black Panther” not only gave boys and girls a few new heroes to look up to: it also gave them inspiration to learn more about science, technology, engineering and math. Now, Disney is helping those kids in real life by donating $1 million of the “Black...

BY: Shaun Gray      03/07/18

The view from Ground Zero: Q&A on the opioid crisis

By Nila Cobb. Welcome to the first of a two-part question-and-answer session with Nila Cobb, healthy lifestyles specialist and assistant director of the West Virginia Statewide Afterschool Network. In the first part, Nila describes the earliest signs of the opioid crisis impacting her community...

BY: Guest Blogger      02/27/18

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

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...

BY: Jillian Luchner      02/15/18

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

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,...

BY: Guest Blogger      01/05/18

"I want to be a beacon"

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,...

BY: Guest Blogger      12/19/17

From afterschool to geophysicist

For Maya Irvine, her afterschool program was the FIRST step toward a career in science, technology, engineering, and math (the subjects known as STEM). The Missouri Youth Afterschool Ambassador has been enrolled in the Camdenton FIRST LASER Robotics program for the past six years and recently...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      05/08/18

Webinar recap: Exploring the environment in afterschool

Earth Day 2018 has passed, but it is never too late to share an appreciation of our planet with environmental science education in your afterschool program. Teaching environmental science is a great way to help students develop core science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) skills —...

BY: Leah Silverberg      04/30/18

$1M from "Black Panther" proceeds to go to afterschool programs

Disney’s “Black Panther” not only gave boys and girls a few new heroes to look up to: it also gave them inspiration to learn more about science, technology, engineering and math. Now, Disney is helping those kids in real life by donating $1 million of the “Black...

BY: Shaun Gray      03/07/18

"I get the chance to meet people I never would have been able to before"

By Maya Irvine.  Maya is a freshman at Camdenton High School and was named a Youth Afterschool Ambassador in the fall for the 2017-2018 school year. Maya has attended Camdenton FIRST LASER Robotics program for the past six years. Her blog post highlights the science,...

BY: Guest Blogger      02/23/18

From D.C. to Johannesburg, music makes STEM learning sing

“If you’re passionate about anything, there really is no limit to what you can do,” says Lemond Brown, president and CEO of Swaliga Foundation. “That passion is contagious. People want to know ‘Well, why are they so passionate about that? How can I have that same...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      02/16/18

STEM funding opp: Enter the 2018 Possibility Grants sweepstakes

Make your lab a little more fab: enter the Siemens 2018 Possibility Grant Sweepstakes! K-12 schools are eligible to enroll in the sweepstakes and vote daily for their school, from now until the deadline on April 27. Check out the possibilities with the #IDreamofSTEM hashtag. Grant Name: 2018...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      02/08/18

Promising practices: EVOLUTIONS prepares students for college and careers

Afterschool programs across the country are working with students to prepare them for future jobs. Of programs focusing on high school students, we see students getting real-world job experiences in afterschool, including paid internships, professional development training, practice building skills...

BY: Leah Silverberg      11/28/17

Pro sports can connect kids to afterschool STEAM learning

By Jesse Lovejoy, director of STEAM Education for the San Francisco 49ers and managing partner of EDU Academy. More information on 49ers STEAM programming is available here.  On its best days, informal and afterschool education is cool. It’s different. It lights fires. For many...

BY: Guest Blogger      09/29/17

Afterschool Spotlight: Michigan Engineering Zone

As the home of the American auto industry and birthplace of Motown, Detroit has always been a hub for American ingenuity and creativity. But in 2013, Detroit became the largest American city to declare bankruptcy after decades of economic. The city officially exited bankruptcy in...

BY: Marco Ornelas      09/18/17

Girls Who Code Clubs: Prepare girls in your community for the future

Girls Who Code, a national nonprofit working to close the gender gap in tech, wants to work with you! Through their afterschool Clubs Program, 6th-12th grade girls use computer science to impact their community and join a sisterhood of supportive peers and role models. Clubs can be hosted by many...

BY: Leah Silverberg      09/05/17