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New America After 3PM special report explores afterschool in rural communities

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New America After 3PM special report explores afterschool in rural communities

How many children in rural communities participate in an afterschool program? Are there any rural children who aren’t in a program, but would like to be? What do parents in rural communities think about afterschool in their area? These are just a sampling of the many questions answered in our new America After 3PM special report, The Growing Importance of Afterschool in Rural Communities. 

If you've ever wondered about the state of afterschool in rural communities, this report allows you to learn about participation in afterschool programs and the unmet demand for programs, the challenges parents face when it comes to enrolling their child in an afterschool program, rural parents’ perceptions of afterschool programs, and the afterschool program activities and supports offered in rural communities.  

This special report, made possible by the generous support of John Deere, was released at Foundations’ Beyond School Hours XIX national conference in Dallas, Texas. It is the first time we have comprehensively examined rural findings from America After 3PM to help give a complete look at afterschool in rural communities. The report also serves to examine the ways programs are opening new opportunities in these often underserved and overlooked communities, and what more can be done to make certain that all children—regardless of geographic location—are given the array of supports they need to achieve their full potential.

Key findings from the report include:

  • The number of rural children who are taking part in afterschool programs continues to grow. In 2014, 13 percent of children in rural communities—approximately 1.2 million children—participated in an afterschool program, an increase from 11 percent in 2009.
  • However, a large number of rural children are still unable to participate in afterschool and summer learning programs. In 2014, 3.1 million rural children not currently in an afterschool program would be enrolled in a program if one were available to them.
  • In rural communities, the overall demand for afterschool programs among minority and low-income families is particularly strong. 51 percent of rural Hispanic children and 45 percent of rural African-American children who are not in a program, would be enrolled if a program were available to them, compared to 37 percent of rural White children. Among rural children in low-income families, 44 percent who are not in a program would be enrolled in one if a program were available to them, compared to 34 percent of rural children in higher-income families. 
  • Parents in rural communities value the role that afterschool plays for both children and families. A strong majority of parents living in rural communities agree that afterschool programs can help children with their homework assignments (73 percent), help reduce the likelihood that youth will engage in risky behaviors (72 percent) and offer healthy foods (61 percent). Additionally, more than 7 in 10 rural parents agree that afterschool programs help give working parents peace of mind about their children when they are at work and help working parents keep their jobs. 
  • Afterschool programs are helping rural children reach their full potential. An overwhelming majority of rural parents are satisfied with their child’s afterschool program overall (85 percent), as well as with opportunities for their child to interact with peers (90 percent), homework help (82 percent), physical activity offered (81 percent), healthfulness of the program’s beverages, snacks and/or meals (79 percent) and STEM learning opportunities (68 percent).
    • Afterschool programs serving rural communities excel in a few key areas. Overall, rural afterschool program provider activities and offerings are similar to those reported by parents living outside of rural communities, but family activities and healthy snacks appear to be areas of particular strength for rural afterschool programs.
    • Areas of growth exist for afterschool programs serving rural communities. The overall afterschool program experience reported by rural parents is very positive, however STEM, in particular technology and engineering offerings, is an area where rural programs can make gains. 
  • Progress has been made toward expanding access to afterschool programs in rural communities, but challenges remain. Affordability, availability, accessibility and lack of knowledge of afterschool programs remain challenges rural parents face when making the decision to enroll their child in a program. 

Based on findings from the America After 3PM survey and the online survey of rural afterschool program providers, the report also presents a few recommendations to help ensure that all children in rural communities have the ability to take part in quality afterschool programs, including: 

  • Ensure information about afterschool programs is more readily available to parents in rural communities 
  • Raise national attention around the important role rural afterschool programs play in their communities
  • Provide opportunities to support and enhance the sharing of promising practices and resources
  • Increase STEM programming in rural afterschool programs
  • Increase investment in afterschool programs serving rural communities

If you’re interested in digging into these findings, you can read the full report or the executive summary for more information. America After 3PM’s interactive dashboard has also been updated with the latest data on afterschool in rural communities and we have also released brand new infographics highlighting a few key takeaways from the report that are easily sharable through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest. Stay tuned for upcoming blogs that will take you through both the dashboard and infographics!

Evaluating afterschool: The evaluation basics, part III

The Afterschool Alliance is pleased to present the tenth installment of our "Evaluating afterschool" blog series, which answers some of the common questions asked about program evaluation and highlights program evaluation best practices. Be sure to take a look at earlier posts of the...

BY: Guest Blogger      07/19/19

Evaluating afterschool: The evaluation basics, part I

The Afterschool Alliance is pleased to present the eighth installment of our "Evaluating afterschool" blog series, which answers some of the common questions asked about program evaluation and highlights program evaluation best practices. Be sure to take a look at earlier posts of...

BY: Guest Blogger      07/01/19

New report on building data-driven afterschool systems within cities

A data-centric approach has potential to generate actionable information at the systematic and programmatic levels and ultimately to improve the quality and access to afterschool. The Wallace Foundation commissioned a study in partnership with Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago and the Gamse...

BY: Theresa Carr      06/03/19

Data sharing with afterschool leads to student success

With more than 10 million children participating in afterschool programming, the hours between 3 and 6 p.m. hold crucial potential for academic, social, and emotional development that extends well beyond the school day. So how can we ensure that more students have access to high quality afterschool...

BY: Rina Moss      11/13/18

Mapping afterschool in New Mexico

By May Sagbakken, executive director of the New Mexico Out-of-School Time Network All children and youth deserve access to high-quality afterschool and summer learning programs that prepare them for school, college, careers, and life. While many students across the country are receiving valuable...

BY: Guest Blogger      06/05/18

New resources! National and state-level fact sheets on afterschool

As spring finally arrives in Washington, D.C., so does a suite of new resources highlighting key facts and stats on afterschool!   The first resource is a new fact sheet on afterschool, which summarizes positive outcomes for students who participate in programs, as well as the supports...

BY: Nikki Yamashiro      04/13/18

Experts weigh in on the value of afterschool

Last month, we saw afterschool programs across the country open their doors to host Lights On Afterschool events, providing a firsthand look at the broad array of fun, enriching, and engaging activities students take part in at the program and the vital role programs play in their community. A...

BY: Nikki Yamashiro      11/27/17

Looking for evidence on the impact of afterschool?

Look no further! Adding to the research conversation discussing the value of afterschool and summer learning programs, the Afterschool Alliance has released two new fact sheets that provide a sampling of evaluation findings demonstrating the positive impact programs have on students, with subjects...

BY: Nikki Yamashiro      11/09/17

Evaluating afterschool: What my toddler taught me about evaluation

By Allison Riley, PhD, MSW, Senior Vice President, Programming and Evaluation at Girls on the Run International. Girls on the Run is a physical activity-based positive youth development program that inspires girls to be joyful, healthy, and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum that...

BY: Guest Blogger      09/08/17

New poll finds 9 in 10 parents support schools providing afterschool programs

Last night, the Institute for Educational Leadership (IEL) released the 2017 Phi Delta Kappa International (PDK) Poll of Public's Attitudes Towards Public Schools. The overall takeaway from this report, which is PDK’s 49th annual report on Americans’ views toward public...

BY: Nikki Yamashiro      08/29/17

What resources do staff need to support youth mental health and wellness?

By Selena Levy, director of Training at California School-Age Consortium (CalSAC).  May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and we’re highlighting the ways afterschool programs support children and young people as they face challenges including trauma, ACEs, substance use, and beyond....

BY: Guest Blogger      05/23/19

5 steps to effectively implement SEL initiatives in your community

Awareness of the importance of social and emotional learning is beginning to be reflected in policy measures. Practitioners and policymakers alike are continually recognizing that a whole-child approach is necessary for children to be well-positioned to succeed in their academic, personal, and...

BY: Erin Hegarty      02/08/19

Afterschool, community partners featured in Aspen Institute’s "Nation At Hope" report

Today’s youth must navigate a complex, economically competitive, and globally connected world. In efforts to help young people thrive, educators, parents, and leaders have historically focused on academic improvement as the key target for future success. But that’s not the whole...

BY: Dan Gilbert      01/15/19

New issue brief: A big-picture approach to wellness

From empowering students to take charge of their health to training staff to model healthy behaviors, afterschool and summer learning programs across the country are offering safe and supportive environments that promote young people’s healthy eating and physical activity, as well as build...

BY: Nikki Yamashiro      09/07/18

An Ideal Opportunity: The Role of Afterschool in Social and Emotional Learning

High school students in The Possibility Project, New York, N.Y., tackle issues close to their heart, taking on leadership roles to enact change in their communities through performing arts and community action. At Girls on the Run councils located in all 50 states, plus D.C., girls run with their...

BY: Nikki Yamashiro      05/04/18

New research on easy, affordable SEL practices

As the prominence of social and emotional learning (SEL) to support students’ development in school and beyond continues to grow in education circles, challenges implementing SEL programming have also arisen. The latest issue brief in a series supported by The Wallace Foundation, Kernels of...

BY: Nikki Yamashiro      02/20/18

Research shows the benefits of early childhood programs

Over the years, research surrounding participation in early childhood programs—such as preschool, home visiting programs, and parent education programs—has continuously shown improved outcomes for children and families. A research report...

BY: Leah Silverberg      01/25/18

"Building Workforce Skills in Afterschool" highlights promising practices for all ages

The next generation of the American workforce is growing up right now and afterschool programs are vital partners in helping young people discover new passions and work towards their dreams. As in so many other subjects, the variety and versatility of afterschool programming offers opportunities...

BY: Nikki Yamashiro      11/14/17

New report from the Wallace Foundation: Strategies to scale up

The question of how to scale up—taking a successful program, project, or policy and growing it to expand its reach and therefore its impact—has been an important one when thinking about systems change. It is a key component in efforts to make sustainable, positive social gains; a...

BY: Nikki Yamashiro      10/06/17

A researcher's view: 21st CCLC programs "play an invaluable role"

Students and staff at a 21st Century Community Learning Centers program in Oakland, Calif. Yesterday, the administration’s FY2020 budget proposed elimination of funding for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC), the only federal funding stream dedicated to...

BY: Guest Blogger      03/12/19

New polling shows America is for afterschool

Just in time for Lights On Afterschool, the only national rally celebrating afterschool, a new national poll is out that shows strong public support for afterschool. Nearly 9 in 10 adults (89 percent) agree that afterschool programs are important to their community, with bipartisan and nationwide...

BY: Nikki Yamashiro      10/22/18

Looking for evidence on the impact of afterschool?

Look no further! Adding to the research conversation discussing the value of afterschool and summer learning programs, the Afterschool Alliance has released two new fact sheets that provide a sampling of evaluation findings demonstrating the positive impact programs have on students, with subjects...

BY: Nikki Yamashiro      11/09/17

Guest blog: Q&A with an afterschool researcher, part II

Welcome to part II of our Q&A with Neil Naftzger, American Institutes for Research (AIR), about his evaluation work related to 21st CCLC programs specifically and the afterschool field broadly. Below are answers to oneof the questions we asked, with our emphasis added in bold, which...

BY: Guest Blogger      08/18/17

AFT poll shows opposition to federal funding cuts to education

The clear message coming out of a recent national poll on attitudes toward federal education spending is that voters are overwhelmingly opposed to the federal government cutting funds for public education. In the poll, conducted by Hart Research Associates for the American Federation of...

BY: Nikki Yamashiro      08/02/17

Guest blog: Q&A with an afterschool researcher

In May, the proposed FY2018 budget eliminated funding for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC), the only federal funding stream dedicated to before-school, afterschool, and summer learning programs. In the budget, a justification given for the elimination of funding was that...

BY: Guest Blogger      07/28/17

New polling shows America is for afterschool

Just in time for Lights On Afterschool, the only national rally celebrating afterschool, a new national poll is out that shows strong public support for afterschool. Nearly 9 in 10 adults (89 percent) agree that afterschool programs are important to their community, with bipartisan and nationwide...

BY: Nikki Yamashiro      10/22/18

Why invest public funds in afterschool?

A new infographic released by RAND draws our attention to the key benefits of public funding for afterschool and summer learning programs. Based on their 2017 research report The Value of Out-of-School Programs, which we covered here last year, the infographic reflects the evident need for...

BY: Rina Moss      10/05/18

Mapping afterschool in New Mexico

By May Sagbakken, executive director of the New Mexico Out-of-School Time Network All children and youth deserve access to high-quality afterschool and summer learning programs that prepare them for school, college, careers, and life. While many students across the country are receiving valuable...

BY: Guest Blogger      06/05/18

New resources! National and state-level fact sheets on afterschool

As spring finally arrives in Washington, D.C., so does a suite of new resources highlighting key facts and stats on afterschool!   The first resource is a new fact sheet on afterschool, which summarizes positive outcomes for students who participate in programs, as well as the supports...

BY: Nikki Yamashiro      04/13/18

AFT poll shows opposition to federal funding cuts to education

The clear message coming out of a recent national poll on attitudes toward federal education spending is that voters are overwhelmingly opposed to the federal government cutting funds for public education. In the poll, conducted by Hart Research Associates for the American Federation of...

BY: Nikki Yamashiro      08/02/17

Guest blog: Q&A with an afterschool researcher

In May, the proposed FY2018 budget eliminated funding for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC), the only federal funding stream dedicated to before-school, afterschool, and summer learning programs. In the budget, a justification given for the elimination of funding was that...

BY: Guest Blogger      07/28/17

New issue brief showcasing afterschool promoting civic engagement

Earlier this week on my way into work, a father and his daughter, who couldn’t have been older than an elementary schooler, were at the bottom of the metro escalator greeting metro riders with a huge sign that read “VOTE!” That sight brought a huge smile to my face; it was...

BY: Nikki Yamashiro      11/01/18

New issue brief: A big-picture approach to wellness

From empowering students to take charge of their health to training staff to model healthy behaviors, afterschool and summer learning programs across the country are offering safe and supportive environments that promote young people’s healthy eating and physical activity, as well as build...

BY: Nikki Yamashiro      09/07/18

Afterschool after 30 years: Q&A with Dr. Milbrey McLaughlin, part II

By Sam Piha, founder and principal of Temescal Associates, a consulting group dedicated to building the capacity of leaders and organizations in education and youth development who are serious about improving the lives of young people.  Milbrey McLaughlin has been a leading...

BY: Guest Blogger      06/26/18

"Building Workforce Skills in Afterschool" highlights promising practices for all ages

The next generation of the American workforce is growing up right now and afterschool programs are vital partners in helping young people discover new passions and work towards their dreams. As in so many other subjects, the variety and versatility of afterschool programming offers opportunities...

BY: Nikki Yamashiro      11/14/17

How does afterschool contribute to military readiness?

In 2016, the Council for a Strong America released America Unprepared, showing data that more than 70 percent of young adults in the United States would not qualify for military service due to obesity and other health issues, poor academic performance, drug abuse, or involvement in crime. As a...

BY: Leah Silverberg      08/14/17

New issue brief showcasing afterschool promoting civic engagement

Earlier this week on my way into work, a father and his daughter, who couldn’t have been older than an elementary schooler, were at the bottom of the metro escalator greeting metro riders with a huge sign that read “VOTE!” That sight brought a huge smile to my face; it was...

BY: Nikki Yamashiro      11/01/18

Reaching 90 percent high school graduation rate by 2020

A recent briefing from Grad Nation marked the release of the 2018 Building a Grad Nation: Progress and Challenge in Raising High School Graduation Rates. The report provides an update on the Grad Nation mission of a 90 percent on-time high school graduation rate for the class of 2020. Examining the...

BY: Leah Silverberg      07/10/18

Afterschool's lasting impact: Q&A with Dr. Milbrey McLaughlin

By Sam Piha, founder and principal of Temescal Associates, a consulting group dedicated to building the capacity of leaders and organizations in education and youth development who are serious about improving the lives of young people. Milbrey McLaughlin has been a leading...

BY: Guest Blogger      06/25/18

"Building Workforce Skills in Afterschool" highlights promising practices for all ages

The next generation of the American workforce is growing up right now and afterschool programs are vital partners in helping young people discover new passions and work towards their dreams. As in so many other subjects, the variety and versatility of afterschool programming offers opportunities...

BY: Nikki Yamashiro      11/14/17

New issue brief: A big-picture approach to wellness

From empowering students to take charge of their health to training staff to model healthy behaviors, afterschool and summer learning programs across the country are offering safe and supportive environments that promote young people’s healthy eating and physical activity, as well as build...

BY: Nikki Yamashiro      09/07/18

An Ideal Opportunity: The Role of Afterschool in Social and Emotional Learning

High school students in The Possibility Project, New York, N.Y., tackle issues close to their heart, taking on leadership roles to enact change in their communities through performing arts and community action. At Girls on the Run councils located in all 50 states, plus D.C., girls run with their...

BY: Nikki Yamashiro      05/04/18

The prevalence of adverse childhood experiences

Close to half of children (45 percent) in the U.S. have experienced at least one adverse childhood experience (ACE)—an experience that could have negative and lasting effects on one’s health and wellbeing, such as depression, drug abuse, and poor physical health. One in 9 children...

BY: Nikki Yamashiro      03/09/18

"Building Workforce Skills in Afterschool" highlights promising practices for all ages

The next generation of the American workforce is growing up right now and afterschool programs are vital partners in helping young people discover new passions and work towards their dreams. As in so many other subjects, the variety and versatility of afterschool programming offers opportunities...

BY: Nikki Yamashiro      11/14/17