While Congress is currently engaged in debate over immigration policy and the 2013 farm bill, two other policy issues are waiting patiently in the wings for their chance in the spotlight. There is a possibility that the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee and the House Education and the Workforce Committee will mark up their own versions of Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) reauthorization bills in June. At the same time, progress is slowly being made by the Appropriations Committee staff in both the House and the Senate on FY2014 spending bills. Now is a great time to weigh in on both of these issues:
- Contact your senators and representative to encourage them to support afterschool and summer learning as part of ESEA by co-sponsoring the Afterschool for America’s Children Act, S. 326. This bipartisan bill will enhance the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) initiative by strengthening school-community partnerships among other improvements.
- Funding for 21st CCLC and the Child Care Development Fund remain critical. Contact your senators and representative to express how sequestration and the economy have impacted access to afterschool programs in your community. Call on them to support funding for afterschool and summer learning programs in the FY2014 appropriations process.
Thank you for taking action on behalf of the 18 million children who would be engaged in afterschool programs this afternoon if a program were accessible to them.
We’ve gotten a TON of awesome Lights On Afterschool poster entries so far! (Shout-out to Albuquerque Public Schools YDI/Marmon After-School Program for the amazing banner!) One of these posters could be the winner—OR it could still be out there somewhere! Send us your entry by June 1!
The chance to hang out with LeBron James, the Miami Heat power forward, is pretty rare. But even rarer is the chance for 10 academic all-stars from Akron Public Schools Extended Learning program to be flown to Miami and share the stage with James as he was named the NBA's Most Valuable Player for the fourth time.
Last Friday afternoon Akron students were sitting in class at Seiberling Elementary School in Akron, Ohio, but on Sunday morning, the 10 academic all-stars were enjoying a gourmet breakfast in a swanky dining room at the Mandarin Oriental in Miami, courtesy of the LeBron James Family Foundation. This was one of the many rewards for being selected out of the nearly 500 children participating in the foundation’s Wheels for Education program.
From Alabama to Washington state and places in between, afterschool programs are embracing the USDA Child and Adult Care Feeding Program’s (CACFP) At-Risk Afterschool Meals program. This spring, hundreds of afterschool programs are providing nutritious meals at no cost to those children who need them most. With summer around the corner, providers are also taking part in the Summer Food Service Program to ensure young people have the nourishment they need when school is out. Here are a few examples from around the country:
- In Huntsville, Alabama, and the surrounding area, children will be able to receive three meals per weekday during the summer as part of Huntsville City Schools’ new Summer Feeding Program. Young people under the age of 18 will be able to enjoy up to three meals per day at no cost at 10 area schools through the Summer Food Service Program. Summer learning programs will be offered at most of the schools allowing students to nourish both minds and bodies.
- The Albuquerque Journal recently reported on a number of schools in Albuquerque, New Mexico, including Kirtland Elementary School, that started serving a meal as part of their afterschool program.
A new grant competition will award $150,000 to libraries, museums, and other nonprofits to provide hands-on learning opportunities this summer for youth across the country to help make the online experience more civil, safe and empowering. The Project:Connect Summer Youth Programming Competition is administered by the Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Advanced Collaboratory (HASTAC), with support from the MacArthur Foundation through a grant to the University of California, Irvine, and in partnership with the Born This Way Foundation. Grants will support a series of local hands-on events July through September where young people collaborate and compete through activities such as hackathons, maker spaces, digital journalism and communications labs, and mentoring workshops. Programs must be based on the understanding that learning happens anywhere, anytime and should be equitable, social, participatory, and reflect kids’ interests. Applications are due June 10. More information can be found on the Digital Media and Learning Competition website.
It seems these days that if you’re keeping up with what’s happening in education, you can’t help but hear about the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Last week, our vice president for policy and research, Jen Rinehart, wrote a stellar blog that not only walks you through what the Common Core State Standards are, but explains why they were developed, what they mean for education policy and the valuable role the afterschool field can play to support learning under the Common Core.
To keep up the Afterschool Alliance’s drumbeat of providing the afterschool field with helpful information connecting afterschool and the Common Core, I tuned in to “Leveraging Expanded Learning Opportunities to Support Common Core Implementation,” a webinar hosted by the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and America’s Promise Alliance. The webinar featured Jenell Holsted, Ph.D. of University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, who discussed a recent brief, “Making the Connection: Next Generation Learning and Expanded Learning Opportunities,” and Sarah Cruz, director of expanded learning opportunities at the Statewide Network for New Jersey’s Afterschool Communities (NJSACC), who shared information about New Jersey’s statewide pilot training program that helps providers align their programming with the Common Core State Standards.