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Afterschool Snack, the afterschool blog. The latest research, resources, funding and policy on expanding quality afterschool and summer learning programs for children and youth. An Afterschool Alliance resource.
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AUG
22
2017

IN THE FIELD
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Promising Practices: Columbus State Community College's ESL Afterschool Communities (ESLAsC)

By Leah Silverberg

This year we were happy to announce the Columbus State Community College’s ESL Afterschool Communities (ESLAsC) as the winner of the Dollar General Afterschool Literacy Award. As the award winner, ESLAsC was featured in our new issue brief “Afterschool providing key literacy supports to English language learner students,” highlighted in a program profile, and received $10,000, which enabled them to provide summer programming to 120 youth this summer. In preparation for our issue brief, we caught up with Florence Plagenz, supervisor of ESLAsC, to hear a bit more about their programs.

Columbus, Ohio, is home to an estimated 45,000 Somalis and an estimated 44,000 Latinos. Responding to the high concentration of immigrant populations in the city, ESLAsC—which serves 100 percent English language learners, most of whom are from low-income families— provides necessary supports for these families. However, becoming such an integral resource took a lot of trust building and self-evaluation.

AUG
21
2017

POLICY
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Juvenile justice bill clears the senate, on to final step

By Jillian Luchner

On August 1, updated juvenile justice bill (S. 860) passed the full Senate by voice vote, representing a large step forward in the long overdue reauthorization of the legislation. Last year in the 114th Congress, bills to reauthorize the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA) passed through the House and the Senate Judiciary Committee before getting stalled on the Senate floor.

The updates in the Senate juvenile justice bill would match current knowledge on evidence-based best practices in the field, including using adolescent development-, mental health-, and trauma-informed practice and encouraging alternatives to incarceration. The bill also seeks to reduce or eliminate dangerous practices, including—when possible—keeping youth out of contact (both sight and sound) with adult offenders. The bill would establish changes to enhance reporting and accountability measures. The full list of goals for updated legislation from the National Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Coalition can be seen here.

 

AUG
18
2017

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

By Guest Blogger

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 establish that there is in fact clear evidence demonstrating that 21st CCLC work for students. To read part I, click here.

What changes would you like to see in terms of 21st CCLC data collection and evaluation?

This is a big question. First, I think we need to be clear around the purposes we’re trying to support through data collection and evaluation. Normally, we think about this work as falling within three primary categories:

  1. Data to support program staff in learning about quality practice and effective implementation
  2. Data to monitor the participation and progress of enrolled youth
  3. Data to assess the impact of the program on youth that participate regularly in the program

States have done an amazing job over the span of the past decade to develop quality improvement systems predicated on using quality data to improve practice (purpose #1). Effective afterschool quality improvement systems start with a shared definition of quality. In recent years, state 21st CCLC systems have come to rely upon formal assessment tools like the Youth Program Quality Assessment (YPQA) and the Assessment of Program Practices Tool (APT-O) to provide that definition, allowing 21st CCLC grantees to assess how well they are meeting these criteria and crafting action plans to intentionally improve the quality of programming. Use of these tools typically involves assigning a score to various program practices in order to quantify the program’s performance and establish a baseline against which to evaluate growth. A recent report completed by AIR indicates approximately 70 percent of states have adopted a quality assessment tool for use by their 21st CCLC grantees. Our sense is that these systems have been critical to enhancing the quality of 21st CCLC programs, and any efforts to modify the 21st CCLC data collection landscape should ensure program staff have the support and time necessary to participate in these important processes.

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learn more about: 21st CCLC Evaluation and Data
AUG
17
2017

IN THE FIELD
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New resource: “STEM and Wellness: A Powerful Equation for Equity”

By Julie Keller

Would you rather have the students in your program learn to code or be able to run a 5K?

That question focuses on one of the main issues that face afterschool programs every day: how do we give our kids more, with less? Everyone wants healthy, active kids who are also receiving important academic enrichment they may not find in the school day. With STEM and wellness both on the rise in popularity and importance while funding and resources are slashed, how are out-of-school time (OST) providers to prioritize one or the other?

The National Afterschool Association (NAA), Alliance for a Healthier Generation, Afterschool Alliance, and National Girls Collaborative Project (NCGP) have collaborated to come up with a solution. “Imagine the potential of empowering the 10.2 million children in afterschool programs with science, technology, engineering, and math skills, while providing them with opportunities to eat healthy and stay active,” reads the first sentence of “STEM and Wellness: A Powerful Equation for Equity.”

AUG
16
2017

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup: August 16, 2017

By Luci Manning

Tennis Program Helps Students to AIM High (Gainesville Sun, Florida)

“Katie Munroe credits her involvement with the Aces in Motion education program with motivating her to realize her dreams of going to college,” according to the Gainesville Sun.  The AIM afterschool program teaches students basic life skills and students receive homework help alongside tennis lessons and activities with members of the University of Florida tennis team. Munroe began participating in the afterschool program while she was in seventh grade. “I can honestly say AIM has helped me grow into the person I am today because it taught me to believe in myself, to have patience and to work hard to achieve success,” 18-year-old Katie Munroe told the Gainesville Sun.

The City’s Youth Are in Crisis (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Wisconsin)

Boys & Girls Clubs of America president and CEO Jim Clark and Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee president and CEO Vincent Lyles write about the positive impact of afterschool programs in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: “…with the right opportunities and the right people in their corners, youths make positive choices and go on to lead successful, productive lives as adults…. The persistent problems of intergenerational poverty and crime won’t be solved until we join together and commit to providing more opportunities for quality out-of-school programs that help America’s inner city and rural youths achieve three crucial goals: academic success, good character and citizenship and healthy lifestyles.”

Incoming No. Providence High Freshmen Graduate from Summer Boatbuilding Program (North Providence Breeze, Rhode Island)

Nearly 50 Providence-area students spent the last several weeks learning to design, build, and repair boats as part of the Youth Summer Boatbuilding Program. The program’s hands-on approach taught students science, engineering, and math fundamentals in a fun, challenging way while preparing them for possible future careers. “The boats are merely a metaphor; if they can build a boat and put their minds to something and see what they can accomplish, they start believing in themselves,” Henry Marciano of City Sail told the North Providence Breeze. “That’s the whole purpose of this program.”

Cabell County Students Share Views on Afterschool Programs with Congress (Huntington Herald-Dispatch, West Virginia)

This week the Huntington Herald-Dispatch reported that two Cabell County students shared their views on the value of afterschool programming with their elected representatives in Washington as part of the Afterschool Alliance’s Afterschool for All Challenge in June. Brothers Brennan and Aiden Shope met with U.S. Sens. Shelley Moore Capito and Joe Manchin, as well as U.S. Reps. Evan Jenkins and Alex Mooney, to stress the positive impact their afterschool programs have had on their lives and to urge the members of Congress to support funding for out-of-school-time programs. 

AUG
15
2017

FUNDING
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Grant opportunity: Start a garden or wildlife habitat at your local school

By Marco Ornelas

If your program focuses on local beautification efforts or gardening and ecology, the Wild Ones Seeds for Education program has a creative way to fund your projects! Your program could be awarded up to $500 to start a garden or wildlife habitat for native plants and animals in your local school. This project is a great way to teach students of the wonders of gardening and ecology—important material often overlooked during in-class time.

The Seeds for Education grant is designed to be used for projects that tackle three essential criteria:

  1. Youth engagement in planning and doing (age-appropriate)
  2. Creation of an ecosystem community based on native plants
  3. Focus on hands-on educational activities

Grant Name: The Wild Ones Seeds for Education

Description: $500 cash award

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learn more about: Funding Opportunity
AUG
14
2017

RESEARCH
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How does afterschool contribute to military readiness?

By Leah Silverberg

U.S. Air Force photo by Kemberly Groue

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 solution to this lack of “citizen-readiness,” the council suggested support for voluntary home-visiting programs, high quality early education, science-based nutrition standards for school foods, and the reinstitution of physical education programs.

We have one more suggestion: quality afterschool programs. Many afterschool programs are already tackling the issues of health and wellness, academic achievement, and child safety.

Fighting fit

60 percent of young adults are overweight or obese. For the military, this translates to 31 percent of all young adults who apply to serve being disqualified from service. Furthermore, lifetime obesity is determined during school-age years. While obesity remains a large problem in the United States, the percentage of schools that require students to take physical education has declined to only 77 percent.

AUG
11
2017

IN THE FIELD
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Meet Faith Savaiano, our new Communications Associate

By Faith Savaiano

Photo courtesy of Jon Merlino Photography

Hello! I’m Faith Savaiano, the new Communications Associate and the latest team member to be joining the Afterschool Alliance.

I could not be happier to be joining the dedicated and capable team here working to ensure quality and affordable afterschool for all. Growing up in a home with two working parents, the access I had to afterschool programming allowed them to work hard to support my family, while I could learn and grow in a safe environment. I’m looking forward to communicating the incredible value of these programs, supported by the excellent research and policy efforts that are being conducted here on a daily basis.

As a recent graduate of the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, I’m happy to be returning to Washington D.C. after earlier experiences here at U.S. Department of State and public affairs agency, Powell Tate. I’m passionate about supporting public policy efforts that create opportunities for those who are often underserved in our communities. Here at Afterschool Alliance, I’m thrilled to be working toward creating greater opportunity for the most deserving group I can think of—our youth!

In my role, I’ll be largely handling the digital media portfolio, meaning that I get to engage with all of you through our site and social platforms. I look forward to connecting with all of you to learn and spread the word about the importance of afterschool in our homes and communities!

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learn more about: Inside the Afterschool Alliance