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Highlights from American Rescue Plan Twitter Chat: Maximizing ARP's impact on youth

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Highlights from American Rescue Plan Twitter Chat: Maximizing ARP's impact on youth

Last week, the Afterschool Alliance hosted a tweetchat to highlight resources and strategies for programs and education leaders to support youth recovery and maximize the impact of American Rescue Plan (ARP) relief funds, ESSER funds, and child care funds by expanding out-of-school time learning opportunities. The conversation touched on topics including accessing state and local relief funds, criteria for programs accessing funds, and partnering with community-based organizations.

We’ve rounded up the highlights from the conversation and tools to help you make the case for your program: 

Accessing Funding

  • Erik Peterson of the Afterschool Alliance highlighted the American Rescue Plan page which mentions how much funding is available, when it will be available, and how to access funding available through ARP. Here programs can find outreach toolkits, examples of states using ARP funds, and statewide network contacts. To navigate funding, Peterson also led programs to the Children’s Funding Project Funding Guide.

  • To see how states are allocating funds to state and local education agencies, Horizons National included a link to the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund Tracker from the National Conference of State Legislatures

Partnering with Community-Based Organizations (CBO)

  • To help programs partner with CBO’s and expand access to well-rounded enrichment and find guidelines on how to seek out local organizations, the Afterschool Alliance recommended the School Reopening Handbook V.2 from the Department of Education, which emphasizes the need for these partnerships between providers. 

  • North Carolina Center for Afterschool Programs highlighted an Afterschool Alliance outreach toolkit for contacting LEAs and districts to collaborate on programming.

  • Horizons National also suggests looking local; Programs can reach out to teachers and principals at students’ schools, directors of community sites like nature centers and libraries, and even local sports teams, theater groups, and artists. Sometimes the best partnerships are already in your backyard!

  • The Montana Afterschool Alliance tweeted, “Community-level coordination is critical to ensure that the plans to serve children & families can help reduce family stress and align with school-based strategies to support student success.” To help programs form effective partnerships in their community and make the case for the role of OST programs, Montana added a link to their School and Community Partnerships page. This page includes links to research and guidance to help states make the case for OST partnerships. Montana also prompted participants to check out our Powerful Partnerships webinar

  • To build partnerships across a variety of topics like STEM, literacy, and SEL, the Afterschool Alliance suggests checking out the School-Community Partnership Toolkit.

  • AASA (The School Superintendents Association) noted, “We have to work together – schools, OST partners, city/county governments, CBOs to coordinate, align and leverage our strengths to enhance learning especially in the wake of the last year.”

Strengthening School Age Care/Childcare Systems

  • To see how states are implementing childcare-friendly policies into ARP plans, the Afterschool Alliance tweeted a link to a recent blog post on Draft Childcare Plans for 2022-2024. Also tweeted was a link to afterschool state networks contact list to encourage all childcare stakeholders to continue to reach out & work with state child care agencies & statewide afterschool networks to ensure that systems are in place that reflect each state’s need for quality care across the continuum. 

  • The Montana Afterschool Alliance affirmed, “Remember the focus: KIDS! We're dedicated to supporting high-quality learning experiences for youth by providing vetted resources, professional development, & more to the field. Follow your afterschool network for the latest research & updates in your state!”

  • “Encourage school districts to invest ESSER III funds with community-based OST program providers who are closing the opportunity gap,” responded The Texas Partnership for Out of School Time (TXPOST) calling programs to action. 

Youth Voice for Afterschool Advocacy

  • Horizons National tweeted examples of ways youth can get involved in their programming; Youth can advocate by writing letters and speaking to local education leaders about OST learning & how funding can shape the future of their programs. They can host program tours and showcases for a first-hand look at OST!
  • The Afterschool Alliance and Foundations Inc. also agreed that youth should be included in school advisory board meetings, council meetings, as well as given support to draft policy suggestions. 

To see all tweets and resources listed in the ARP Tweetchat, check out our Twitter moment. To view all ARP webinars in the series, head to our webinar library.

 

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