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Snacks by Luci Manning
SEP
28
2016

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup: September 28, 2016

By Luci Manning

Stax Music Academy Wows D.C. Crowd (USA Today)

A dozen high school students from the afterschool Stax Music Academy performed a Memphis-inspired show this weekend at the grand opening of the Smithsonian’s new Museum of African American History and Culture. The young musicians said they understood the historical importance of performing for the new museum. “Not only am I representing myself, I’m representing my family, my neighborhood,” 17-year-old singer Brenae Johnson told USA Today. “All of us are knowledgeable of this event and how big it really is.” The festival featured bands playing jazz, R&B, gospel and hip-hop to celebrate African-American musical traditions and their role in the nation’s struggle for justice.

Building Skills, a Block at a Time (Roanoke Times, Virginia)

Ten-year-old Oakley King has always loved playing with Legos, so when he heard his school needed more sets before it could start a new afterschool Lego club, he stepped up to the challenge. Using donations from friends, classmates and their families, he was able to buy $600 worth of Legos for the club. According to East Salem Elementary School principal Diane Rose, the club will help students develop math, problem-solving, small-motor and social skills in a creative, playful environment. “It’s so important for kids to play and to share with each other and to come together with ideas,” she told the Roanoke Times. “We want to get back to giving them these opportunities not only in the classroom but after school, too.”

How a Philly Cop Broke the School-to-Prison Pipeline (Philadelphia Inquirer, Pennsylvania)

More than 1,000 juvenile arrests in have been averted since 2014 thanks to the Philadelphia Police School Diversion Program. The initiative puts first-time, low-level offenders, many of whom would have been arrested under the former zero-tolerance policy, in a 90-day afterschool program that covers topics like social and emotional competency, drug and alcohol education and anger management. “It’s an opportunity for children and families to see policing in a different way, to see the Department of Human Services in a different way, to see the whole process in a different way,” deputy commissioner and program founder Kevin Bethel told the Philadelphia Inquirer. Each teen in the program also has a case manager who performs home visits.

Indian Hill Senior Makes Selecting School Clubs Easier (Cincinnati Enquirer, Ohio)

Two high school seniors have found a way to make the diverse array of afterschool options at their school less overwhelming for incoming students. The teens developed a website, Club Academy, which suggests afterschool clubs for students based on their interests and shows them how to start their own club if the one they want is not yet offered. “We got a lot of emails saying it’s been helpful and made the transition process easier,” one of the teens, Mrinal Singh, told the Cincinnati Enquirer. The site has now grown beyond Cincinnati to schools in Michigan, Connecticut and Texas. 

SEP
21
2016

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup: September 21, 2016

By Luci Manning

Summer Reading Success Spawns After-School Program (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Missouri)

After two summers of hosting a successful reading program, St. Louis County Housing Authority executive director Susan Rollins and social worker Kellyn Holliday decided to offer literacy support to students throughout the year at a new afterschool program. Two housing development activity centers now have active and growing libraries where youth can boost their reading skills and take books home to read. The program has even attracted the attention of St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger, who was so impressed with students’ improved reading scores he drafted a $20,000 federal block grant for the program. “It is the best kind of investment St. Louis County can make,” he told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Students Row from Camden to Philly to Help Kick off Delaware River Cleanup Initiative (Philadelphia Inquirer, Pennsylvania)

Seven students from the Center for Aquatic Sciences’ afterschool program rowed across the Delaware River in a whaleboat last week to bring attention to a new initiative to clean up the watershed. The initiative, River Days, will consist of 40 events over the next six weeks geared toward river cleanup and general environmental education. The center’s afterschool program offers youth aquatic-based activities like kayaking and teaches them the science behind water. “Watching these young people come in today, certainly it’s about the future,” Philadelphia managing director Michael DiBerardinis told the Philadelphia Inquirer. “It’s about their connection to the river, but it’s also about the healthy future of this region and of our planet.”

Portal Offers Path to Harvard (Boston Globe, Massachusetts)

In 2008, Harvard University started the Ed Portal, an afterschool program pairing Allston-Brighton high schoolers with Harvard student mentors to improve study habits and prepare for their futures. Now, eight years later, the program is sending its first graduate to Harvard. Kevin Yang, who just began his freshman year at the university, is one of hundreds of students to attend the Ed Portal over the years, where he worked with his mentor on school projects and explored possible career options in biomedical engineering or neurobiology. “It was definitely an important support mechanism for me,” Yang told the Boston Globe. “It was a place where I could decompress and figure things out.”

Soccer Helps Young Refugees Take a Shot at a New Life in the U.S. (New York Times, New York)

Refugee students from 40 different countries are finding their confidence and self-worth on the soccer field as part of Soccer Without Borders (SWB). Using soccer and afterschool classes in English, art and science, the program aims to help refugee students acclimate to life in the U.S. “All the families that our kids are coming from have made so many sacrifices to have their kids achieve a better life,” SWB Baltimore chapter director Casey Thomas told the New York Times. “We, in turn, definitely prioritize supporting the academic success of our kids.” 

SEP
14
2016

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup: September 14, 2016

By Luci Manning

In a Class of Their Own (Bergen County Record, New Jersey)

A robotics club at John F. Kennedy High School has helped three students from difficult backgrounds become the first members of their families to attend a four-year college. Syrian refugee Rasha Alrifae, Bangladeshi immigrant Muhammad Naeem and lifelong Paterson resident Zyheir Williams all found a “second home” in the afterschool club, according to the Bergen County Record. The program helped Alrifae learn English and pushed her to major in biology. Naeem learned to code in three programming languages and pursued computer science classes at a local community college. Williams was inspired to put in hundreds of volunteer hours and eventually won a $5,000 scholarship to attend Rutgers University.

Con Students Fill Music-Education Gap (Oberlin Review, Ohio)

As state budget cuts threaten school arts programs across Ohio, several Oberlin Conservatory students are trying to fill the gap with an afterschool music education program at Langston Middle School. The program provides relief to the school’s dwindling number of music teachers and gives low-income students a chance to learn how to play instruments they may not have access to outside of school. “The goal of the Music Mentors Program is to help public schools in Oberlin negate some of these effects by helping with music classes … and running after school programs for students to expand their musical education,” Oberlin junior and program head Ben Steger told the Oberlin Review.

Planet Fitness Debuts Fitness Room for Kids at Boys and Girls Club in Manchester (Union Leader, New Hampshire)

Nearly 1,700 Boys & Girls Club of Manchester participants will now have a chance to use a special workout room at the Club that’s part of a larger effort to promote healthy lifestyles and stop bullying. Planet Fitness’ new “Mini Judgement Free Zone” is part of the company’s $1.3 million commitment to support an anti-bullying initiative with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America and STOMP Out Bullying. The room includes treadmills, a stationary bike, strength training equipment, and is full of motivational posters and messages. “It really is about a bigger movement than just the gym,” Planet Fitness senior vice president of marketing Jessica Correa told the Union Leader. “It’s about creating an afterschool curriculum that will give kids the tools to prevent bullying and spread kindness instead.”

Making the Case for Mariachi (San Francisco Chronicle, California)

The Mariachi Academy of Music in San Jose is part of a growing trend to bring mariachi music to young students throughout the Bay Area who lack opportunities for music education. The Academy works with school districts and private donors to bring free or low-cost mariachi classes to students in several towns in the area, exposing youths to a culturally rich and easy-to-learn style of music. “Mariachi is such a wonderful introduction,” Tamara Alvarado, executive director of the School of Arts & Culture at the Mexican Heritage Plaza in San Jose, told the San Francisco Chronicle. “With mariachi, you can see yourself progress, and be part of a group. That’s what’s cool about mariachi: Everyone is the star.” 

SEP
7
2016

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup: September 7, 2016

By Luci Manning

A $1 Million Gift for Homework Aid (Los Angeles Times, California)

The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation donated $1 million to the Los Angeles Public Library to expand the free afterschool homework centers that serve LA Unified schools’ 16,000 homeless students. The centers give students access to computers and printers and offer academic assistance. “We know that the hours immediately after school are crucial to the success of many young people,” Library Foundation of Los Angeles president Ken Brecher told the Los Angeles Times. “The generosity of the Broad Foundation helps to make our student zones true safe havens and productive centers for students to do their homework now and in the future.”

Lafayette Fourth-Graders Learning About Government, Engagement (Daily Camera, Colorado)

About 60 fourth graders at Alia Sanchez International Elementary are learning about the importance of civic engagement through the Lafayette Peer Empowerment Project. Students in the afterschool program learn about how local government operates, then identify problems within their city, state or country and write persuasive essays to officials to encourage them to address these issues. “It’s a really good topic to learn about,” fourth-grader Josue Cordova told the Daily Camera. “It helps our community to encourage kids to help out.” The group recently had a visit from Lafayette Mayor Christine Berg, who explained how the city council and the mayor work with various departments and community organizations to run the city.

Childhood Literacy: Fort Worth Leaders Take Aim at Reading (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Texas)

Fort Worth city officials, schools, community organizations and businesses are collaborating on a new initiative to improve child literacy, aiming to get all Fort Worth third-graders reading at grade level by 2025. Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price said the project will reach students through afterschool and summer programs at schools, libraries and community centers, and will also target young children to make sure they enter kindergarten with the skills they need to succeed. “Every program we touch will have a literacy component,” Price told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “Schools can’t do this alone. It’s daunting, but this is a city that very much has a can-do spirit. We’ve got to. There’s too much at stake.”

OUT OF THIS WORLD: Russell Elementary’s Space Program to Continue Exploring the Final Frontier (Marietta Daily Journal, Georgia)

Every May, a crew of Russell Elementary School students in the Russell Space Center’s afterschool program set off on a 27-hour simulated space mission, but this year’s program was in jeopardy until Atlanta area businesses donated time and supplies to fix the program’s space simulator. Over the course of the school year, student astronauts take off in the “Intrepid” space simulator while their peers run mission control, using complex math and science skills to handle the launch. Program head Chris Laster told the Marietta Daily Journal that the students work with minimal teacher input and use teamwork and problem-solving skills to make sure the astronauts get home safely. After this summer’s improvements and upgrades, the simulator’s roof should last another 25 years.

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learn more about: Science Working Families Literacy
AUG
31
2016

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup: August 31, 2016

By Luci Manning

Science Camp Has All the Elements for Fun, Learning (Bonner County Daily Bee, Idaho)

Thirteen students spent a week this summer learning about nature’s scientific processes through the All About Elements Outdoor Science Camp. The camp is run by Pullman Parks and Recreation research scientist Jamie Gaber, who worked with the students on experiments focused on chemical reactions and botany at the Lakeview Park arboretum. They used the periodic table to learn about the elements and experimented with sprouting seeds to determine optimal growing situations, reports the Bonner County Daily Bee.

Bill to Provide Free After School Programs to Poor California Students Passes Legislature (East Bay Times, California)

Last week, the California legislature passed a bill to give homeless, low-income and foster children priority access to free, state-funded afterschool programs, according to the East Bay Times. “Giving kids access to after school and summer programs helps children escape poverty by caring for their basic needs and improving their access to a true quality education,” Assemblywoman Nora Campos, the bill’s author, said. The bill will also make sure that afterschool programs use all available federal resources to provide healthy food to students.

Youth Become Water Leaders (San Angelo Standard-Times, Texas)

Ten San Angelo middle school students spent their summer learning about their hometown’s water resources, studying water quality, watershed and lake levels to become “water ambassadors” to the public. The Aqua Squad set up a gallery display using social media, videos and interviews to communicate their new knowledge to the community and encourage people to do more to conserve water and protect the area’s lakes. “It’s an amazing project that gave them so many skills that they don’t get at home or school, from interviewing to learning how to research projects and learning how to set up displays and exhibits,” Brandy Hawkins, whose daughter participated in the program, told the San Angelo Standard-Times.

Hanover Amazing Kids Club Holds Art Showcase (Evening Sun, Pennsylvania)

More than 200 children and adolescents on the autism spectrum worked on art projects this summer to enhance their imagination, fine motor skills and communication at the Amazing Kids Club. Clinical coordinator Bruce Swiger told the Evening Sun that art can be highly beneficial for autistic children’s development: “It’s not the answer to everything, but it’s a piece of the puzzle to work on integration.” The program ran for 11 weeks, giving students a chance to work on a wide range of art projects, from self-portraits to pottery to 3-D art displays. Amazing Kids Club concluded with an art show to show off the students’ work to friends and family last week.  

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learn more about: Science State Policy Summer Learning Arts
AUG
24
2016

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup: August 24, 2016

By Luci Manning

4-H Brings Science, Technology to Somali Youth (Minneapolis Star Tribune, Minnesota)

A 4-H program in Minneapolis is teaching Somali youth about the scientific process and trying to encourage an interest in scientific fields among students who recently moved to the United States. About 30 students in the afterschool program recently ventured to City Hall to show council members the science projects they worked on during the school year, including an LED light board and a pulley-based miniature ski lift. “It broadens the horizons of our youth,” Council Member Abdi Warsame told the Star Tribune. “Math and science and engineering are the keys to the future.”

D.C. District Aims to Send All Students Abroad (Education Week, District of Columbia)

The District of Columbia has an ambitious plan to stem the “enrichment gap” many low-income students experience: to send every DC public school student on two study-abroad trips before they graduate, completely free of cost. This summer, 400 8th and 11th grade students went on fully paid international trips to countries like China, France and Nicaragua. “Many of our wealthy kids would have international experiences whether we provide them or not,” chancellor Kaya Henderson told Education Week. “But so many of our kids would never have this experience if we didn’t provide it.” The program not only covers all travel, lodging and chaperone costs, but even provides a minimum-wage stipend to families who rely on their teen’s income from a summer job.

Summer Camp Teaches TV Basics (Port Huron Times Herald, Michigan)

Sixteen teens from Port Huron Schools explored the intricacies of television production at a free week-long camp this summer. The eighth- through 11th-grade students learned about project planning, storytelling, camera and audio work, post-production editing and on-camera presenting using professional-level equipment from EBW.tv. “We wanted to train students who were interested in production,” PHS director of community relations Keely Baribeau told the Times Herald. “That’s what this is really all about – getting some career skills into the hands of these students.” Baribeau hopes the camp motivates students to join a similar afterschool program this year.

Las Vegas’ Sawyer Middle School Theater Students to Perform New York-Based Play “War at Home” (Southwest View, Nevada)

Several middle school students spent their summer working hard on their improvisation, production and performance skills at the Sawyer Summer Stage program, the Southwest View reports. The summer program will culminate with performances of “War at Home,” a 9/11 memorial play compiled from journal entries written by New York State high school students in the wake of the terror attacks. Several Sawyer students will also contribute their own essays about the way 9/11 changed the world and the lessons our country can learn from the aftermath. 

AUG
17
2016

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup: August 17, 2016

By Luci Manning

Summer Program Helps Kids Learn, Volunteer (Grand Haven Tribune, Michigan)

About a dozen Grand Haven students are building relationships with their community and stemming the summer slide at Grand Haven Area Public Schools’ Eastown Community Completing Homework in a Learning Lab (C.H.I.L.L.) program. The group meets twice a week to read, play math games, go on field trips and participate in a number of community service projects. The students have had a chance to serve meals at the Salvation Army, work in a community garden, help out at a food pantry and blow up basketballs for another summer recreation program. Coordinator Cathy Hegedus told the Grand Haven Tribune that the program teaches students to give back without it feeling like a chore.

A Few Swipes Swoop Youths into a New World (USA Today, California)

Low-income youths in Oakland often have little access to technology at home, so the East Oakland Youth Development Center is trying to build their digital literacy over the summer and after school. Apple recently donated 40 iPads to the Center, allowing students in the six-week summer program to go on virtual scavenger hunts, research life in other countries and mix music on GarageBand. “This is bringing a whole new world inside their backyard in a way that’s safe for them to explore,” Center president Regina Jackson told USA Today. The Center also holds afterschool tutoring, college preparation courses, music and art lessons and health and wellness programs.

For the Love of Running (The Garden Island, Hawaii)

An afterschool running and community service program is keeping students active and building supportive relationships among them and their peers. The program, which is put on by the Kauai Marathon and Half Marathon, held a fun relay activity last week for second and third graders at Kalaheo Elementary School. According to Robin Jumper, who runs the Kauai Marathon Youth Running Program, the group works with schools around the island to get kids up and moving. “We just want to inspire kids to get outside and have fresh air,” she told the Garden Island. “They don’t have to win races. They don’t have to be the best. It’s more about participation and just getting outside and getting some exercise.”

Students Create Pavilion for School (Thermopolis Independent Record, California)

Students in the Lights On Afterschool Green Construction Academy spent three weeks designing blueprints, hauling wood and building trusses to construct a new pavilion at Thermopolis Middle School. The Academy’s summer course tries to mimic a regular construction workweek – four ten-hour days every week – and even has students clock in and fill out time sheets. In addition to learning important entry-level construction skills, the youths also earn a $300 stipend and get to take home their own fully-stocked tool belt. Student Ashley Brawley said she’s glad to have spent her summer in the program. “I am not really the type to woodwork or build, to be honest,” she told the Thermopolis Independent Record. “This was a huge step outside my comfort zone, and I don’t regret it.” 

AUG
10
2016

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup: August 10, 2016

By Luci Manning

Police Mentorship Program Pairs Officers with City Youth (Jersey Journal, New Jersey)

Students at the Bayonne Youth Center are being given the chance to build self-confidence thanks to a new partnership with the Bayonne Police Department. Several police officers volunteered to mentor the youths for a year, participating in community service opportunities, field trips and educational lectures. “The officers and children have face to face interactions within the community a minimum of one hour per week and act as role models, friends and a support system for them,” Police Lt. Juan Carlos Betancourth told Jersey Journal.

Students Tackle Prejudice in Va. Leadership Retreat (Daily Press, Virginia)

A five-day leadership retreat has armed some 60 students with the knowledge needed to implement new initiatives to support diversity and inclusiveness in their schools this fall. The Emerging Student Leaders Institute program helps students to confront ingrained stereotypes and prejudices. Upon completing the program, the students built action plans to create clubs, workshops, assemblies and awareness campaigns to foster diversity appreciation among their classmates. “When we experience the cycle of prejudice, most times we don’t realize it’s there,” 17-year-old Chanel Rodriguez told the Daily Press. “But when we break down the word and examples, you notice that it happens in everyday life, so it can be definitely implemented into our school system to make safe and open places for people to be themselves.”

Allentown Students Meet Geek Squad (Morning Call, Pennsylvania)

Best Buy employees spent two days teaching middle and high school students how to compose and produce their own music, create digital films and develop designs for 3-D printing at the Geek Squad Academy summer computer camp. The camp received a special visit last week from U.S. Rep. Charlie Dent, who praised the program, telling the Morning Call that it’s good to see “young people are taking time out of their summer holiday to learn, to develop skills that will serve them well in life.” Best Buy runs 30 such camps around the country, aiming to connect with low-income students especially.

Police, Vets Get Thank-You Bags (Norwich Bulletin, Connecticut)

About 30 Norwich middle school students gave special gifts showing their appreciation to the city’s police officers and veterans last week. The youths assembled brown paper bags filled with sweet treats for the officers as part of the Acts of Kindness Project, a six-week summer learning camp focused on service learning projects. According to the Norwich Bulletin, camper Zarya Neal presented the “survival kits” to the officers at a special assembly, describing what was in each bag—candies like Life Savers, “to remind you of the many times you’ve been a life-saver,” Paydays, “because you are not doing it for the money” and Tootsie Rolls, “to help you roll with the punches.”