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MAR
25

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup  March 25, 2015

By Luci Manning

Linton 6th-Graders Work to Help Save Monarch Butterflies (Linton Herald-Times, Indiana)

Two Linton-Stockton Junior High School students are working to create a habitat for monarch butterflies in Indiana. Suzie Rock and Emma Brinson, both 12, formed the afterschool Miner Monarch Club in order to educate fellow students and the community about the dwindling population of monarch butterflies that spend their summers in Indiana. The girls received a $1,000 grant from the Greene County Community Foundation to run the program, which usually has 15 to 20 students at its Thursday meetings. The club recently ran butterfly-related activities and games for Lincoln-Stockton first-graders to educate them about the monarchs. They are also planning to plant butterfly gardens at their school and other locations. “They’re really good planners and doers,” sixth-grade science teacher and club sponsor Cara Graves told the Linton Herald-Times. “They are very passionate about it.”

Mountain Bay Gets a Day with a Packer (Wausau Daily Herald, Wisconsin)

The Mountain Bay Elementary School afterschool flag football club earned a visit from Green Bay Packers wide receiver Jared Abbrederis last week. The school is part of the Fuel Up to Play 60 program, which is sponsored by the National Football League and the National Dairy Association and aims to get students active at least 60 minutes a day. In addition to flag football, Mountain Bay also has a walking club and a healthy eating program. The students tracked their healthy initiatives throughout the year and earned a visit from Abbrederis, according to the Wausau Daily Herald. “Growing up, I remember my mom used to always send me and my two sisters outside – whether it was snowing out, or 20 below or 100 degrees,” Abbrederis told the students. “We had to go out, get our energy out and have fun. That’s important for you guys, too.”

Money Flows to Help Kids in Community (Tulare Advance-Register, California)

Thanks to $2.1 million in grant funding from the U.S. Dept. of Justice, the new Closing the Circle to Reduce Crime and Delinquency program will provide a variety of programs and services to youth to teach them leadership and keep them off the streets.  “We ask ourselves how we can connect students to law in a positive way,” Tulare County Office of Education extended learning director Adam Valencia told the Tulare Advance-Register. “It’s another way to make connections so students can feel like they’re part of something bigger.” By the end of the three year project organizers expect to add law enforcement officers throughout the county and afterschool programs in rural communities.

Hoosiers Give Assist to After-School Program (Omaha World-Herald, Nebraska)

Before their NCAA tournament game last week, the Indiana Hoosiers basketball team visited the Abide Network afterschool program in Omaha to chat with the students about their dreams and goals. About 20 children from kindergarten through sixth grade attend the afterschool program, where they have a meal and study with volunteer tutors. This time, they paired up with the basketball players to talk about what they want to do with their lives. Hoosiers coach Tom Crean said he hoped his players would encourage and inspire the children, who come from some of Omaha’s most dangerous neighborhoods. “These kids are not forgotten,” Crean told the World-Herald. “These kids have a future.” 

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MAR
18

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup  March 18, 2015

By Luci Manning

Ukelele Program Strikes a Chord (San Diego Union-Tribune, California)

In Pablo Cantua’s ukulele class at Ocean Views High School, everyone is smiling, laughing and tapping their feet. It’s happiness playing out in four simple chords, three times a week for more than two dozen students in the fledgling afterschool program. After just a month of practice, the youngsters are able to strum their way through “I’m Yours” and “La Bamba.” Cantua believes having music programs in schools allows students to expand their minds into other areas. “If they can learn to learn, they can apply that to any subject,” he told the San Diego Union-Tribune. Principal Neil Egasani said the confidence students are building in the program is already carrying over into the classroom.

After-School Program Teaches Stock Market (Murfreesboro Daily News Journal, Tennessee)

Students participating in the afterschool program at Patterson Park Community Center have five weeks to get the best return they can on $100,000 in investments. The students are playing a condensed version of the Stock Market Game, where they work in teams to invest a hypothetical $100,000 in listed stocks, bonds and mutual funds. Throughout the game, they learn the value of saving and investing as they work together to maximize the return on their portfolio. “They may not think it’s something they need to know now, or that they’re even interested in, but they’ll have a lot of fun if they embrace it,” Jerome Azbell, supervisor of the community center’s Myrtle Glandon Lord Library, told the Murfreesboro Daily News Journal.

Knitting Club Provides Refuge for Teens From High-Crime Neighborhoods (Chicago Tribune, Illinois)

Four years ago, Better Boys Foundation CEO Mary Visconti took an unconventional approach to keeping her North Lawndale students out of trouble: knitting. The communities where many of her students grow up are impoverished, and crime rates are high, but she sees knitting as a way to build community and keep kids safe. The afterschool program, KnitLAB, operates like a small business. Students are paid $325 stipends for a 10-week session to create hats, scarves, rugs and quilts. The items are sold and the money is reinvested in knitting supplies for the program. KnitLAB instructor Ana Spencer calls her students “employees” and expects them to make up any missed time, which she said instills life skills and gives them a sense of self-efficacy. In the end, the kids are proud of what they’ve produced. “The fact that I could be wearing or using something that I actually made myself is a good feeling,” 14-year-old Arteuna Dotson told the Chicago Tribune.

Columbia Police Officers Work to Build Relationships with Local Kids (ColaDaily.com, South Carolina)

“The gym at Columbia’s Hyatt Park was filled with the voices of more than a dozen young people and nearly as many police officers, but no one in the gym was in trouble with the law,” ColaDaily.com reports. During the Hyatt Park afterschool program, a joint effort by the Columbia Police Department and the South Carolina Attorney General’s office, officers joined elementary school kids in playing games to create a bond between officers and kids.  The program also aims to provide students with successful role models and teach them about leadership and respect. “These kids aren’t seeing cops,” South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson told ColaDaily.com. “They’re seeing mentors, coaches, and big brothers and big sisters.”

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MAR
11

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup : March 11, 2015

By Luci Manning

After School Programs Promoting Healthy Lifestyles For Kids (WNEW, District of Columbia)

After school activities are beginning to emerge as an effective weapon in the battle against childhood obesity, according to a new survey conducted for the Afterschool Alliance.  Afterschool Alliance executive director Jodi Grant told WNEW’s Chuck Carroll that 95 percent of parents surveyed in D.C. said their child’s after school program involves some sort of physical activity.  The percentage was lower in Virginia and Maryland, with 87 percent and 77 percent of parents saying the same, respectively.  Despite these statistics, only about one out of five students is actually involved in an after school program.  The obesity rate among children continues to skyrocket, with one out of every three kids considered obese, but the survey suggests a simple solution could help curb that epidemic – after school programs.

Fitness Progress Tied to Nebraska After School Programs (WOWT, Nebraska)

A new household survey indicates that afterschool programs are an effective tool in the effort to prevent childhood obesity in Nebraska and nationwide.  The survey was conducted by Shugoll Research for the Afterschool Alliance.  A special report was included in the survey titled "Kids on the Move: Afterschool Programs Promoting Healthy Eating and Physical Activity."  In the survey, most Nebraska parents (73 percent in Nebraska and 72 percent nationally) report that their child’s afterschool program provides children with beverages, snacks and/or meals, and 88 percent in Nebraska are satisfied that the food served is healthy.

Study Finds Afterschool Programs Help Promote Healthy Eating (Motherhood Through My Eyes, Florida)

Going back to my grammar school days, I recall staying in afterschool programs with one of my brothers because our school days ended at 2:30 pm and our mom worked across the street until 4:30, sometimes 5.  Aside from the obvious getting homework done, we had time to socialize and communicate with classmates.  Our parents would either pack us some snacks or we would save one or two from lunchtime.  One thing is for sure, whoever was watching us always made sure we kept busy and ate something.  Afterschool programs are still around today and, according to a special report from Afterschool Alliance, parents have expectations for these programs.  More than 70% of Florida parents said their child’s afterschool program provides beverages, snacks, and/or meals for the children in the programs.  In addition, 78% of them are satisfied that the food being served is healthy.

Healthy Habits: Afterschool Programs (Motherhood Moment, Minnesota)

Evidence is mounting that afterschool programs are an effective tool in the effort to prevent childhood obesity in Minnesota and nationwide, according to a household survey conducted by Shugoll Research for the Afterschool Alliance.  In the survey, most Minnesota parents (79 percent in Minnesota and 72 percent nationally) report that their child’s afterschool program provides children with beverages, snacks and/or meals, and 82 percent in Minnesota are satisfied that the food served is healthy.  Similarly, a strong majority of parents (82 percent) agree that afterschool programs should offer opportunities for physical activity, and 91 percent of Minnesota parents with a child in an afterschool program report that the program does just that.

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MAR
4

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup  March 4, 2015

By Luci Manning

All ACEs for Students as They Earned Scholarships (Polk County Democrat, Florida)

At the ACE (Architecture, Construction and Engineering) afterschool mentoring program annual banquet, half a dozen students won scholarships ranging from $1,000 to $2,500 each. Teams comprised of the 30 students in the program made presentations to judges on their project for the year – a remodeling of the Bartow High School Culinary Arts Academy, complete with a model using architectural LEGO bricks. The teams were judged on their exterior scale model, their concept level drawings, the use of sustainable elements, the structural narrative and the proposed building schedule. Culinary Arts Academy instructor Rosalind Chan was impressed with the students’ ideas. “I love all the designs and see how any one of them could make our facilities so much better,” she told the Polk County Democrat. “They all did a great job and provided solutions to all the problems we proposed to them.”

Africa, Overlooked by Syllabus, Is Focus of Club (Riverdale Press, New York)

By the end of seventh grade, Whitney Wyche, whose family is of African descent, had learned about Ancient Greece and Rome, British kings and French monarchs – but not about African civilizations. When she heard about a new afterschool program focused on African history, she signed up. “I thought it would be great to see where I come from,” she told the Riverdale Press. Each week, about 10 students meet to discuss everything from African history to current events. While most of the elementary school curriculum focuses on the slave trade and other tragic elements of Africa’s history, the class is a place to dispel misconceptions. The program will culminate with a week-long trip to Ghana in the spring, which students have been preparing for by learning about Ghanaian culture and communicating with pen pals.

Boyle Teens Flip Out to Teach KSD Students (Danville Advocate-Messenger, Kentucky)

The room is anything but quiet with squealing students running and preparing for their afterschool gymnastics class at the Kentucky School for the Deaf. The elementary-age program is led by Boyle County High School sophomore Ellie Begley and junior Maddi Karsner. “It’s a great opportunity for the Boyle County students to work with our students – it’s a cultural exchange,” KDS staff interpreter Sarah Williams told the Advocate-Messenger. The teens rely heavily on the help of interpreters, parents and teachers to communicate with the children, but they’re learning some words and phrases in American Sign Language from the students. The program has helped the KSD students gain confidence, stamina and much more.

Gift Buoys Tutoring Program (Clayton News-Star, North Carolina)

Local philanthropist Durwood Stephenson recently donated six computers to the afterschool Next Level Tutoring program at First Missionary Baptist Church in Smithfield. More than 30 students of all ages come to First Missionary for help with their homework. First Missionary also works with a food bank to feed kids and has woven exercise into its afterschool program with help from the U.S. Tennis Association. Pastor Larry Honeyblue said the goal of the program is to reduce poverty by making sure children succeed in school and receive the education they need to thrive. “Believe it or not, if you educate a child, they’ll change their outlook because their opportunities change,” he told the Clayton News-Star. “Doors open that wouldn’t open, and it makes children feel better about themselves.” 

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FEB
25

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup  February 25, 2015

By Luci Manning

The 'T' in STEM: KidsTek Celebrates 15 Years (Denver Post, Colorado)

A small busload of well-dressed high school students arrived early at Mile High Station on Thursday with computers in tow. While a bit shy, any one of them could demonstrate how to troubleshoot a computer that stubbornly refused to get on a company network, thanks to the skills they learned at KidsTek, a nonprofit afterschool program that teaches technology to minority and lower income students. The program wants to steer high school students into computer careers, but they hope the skills they learn through the program can help them on whatever path they choose. “It’s not about getting them interested in technology. That is a byproduct,” executive director Richard Liner told the Denver Post. “We’re trying to give the kids the tech knowledge they need for any career they get into.”

Boise Rock School Rolls into Treasure Valley’s Cultural Scene (The Statesman, Idaho)

At 4 PM on any given weekday, a stream of kids rushes through the doors at Boise Rock School. The afterschool program teaches kids to rock like AC/DC or croon like Sam Smith, with classic rock, pop and indie folk music all mixing in the common area. What makes Rock School unique is that the students drive the curriculum – teachers are mostly there to coach and nurture, not push and prod. For kids who can’t make it to the actual Rock School, the program’s nonprofit arm, Rock on Wheels, visits schools, juvenile corrections facilities, homeless shelters and the Horseshoe Bend school district’s 21st Century Community Learning Center. “We throw around the word ‘cool’ a lot, but this really is,” program director Kim Hall told the Idaho Statesman. “This is an opportunity for these kids to shine that they might not get in other areas of their lives.”

Program Teaches About Girls Who Rock (Beloit Daily News, Wisconsin)

What do Rosa Parks, Frida Kahlo and Bethany Hamilton – the surfer whose left arm was bitten off in a shark attack – have in common? They are strong women who overcame obstacles to achieve their dreams. They are the kind of women fifth graders learn about in the afterschool program Girls Who Rock (GWR) in Beloit. At GWR, girls chat with adult female mentors about self-esteem, friendship, good decision-making and more. Each session finishes with a large group circle where girls can discuss their lives. Founder and coordinator Jan Knutson said that fifth grade is the perfect time for girls to gain more self-esteem before entering middle school. “Role models are really important, especially for kids this age,” she told the Beloit Daily News.

After-School Programs a Big Hit in Westerly (Westerly Sun, Rhode Island)

At one end of State Street Elementary school, a small group of students is learning how to putt. Down the hall, another group is rehearsing lines for a play. In various classrooms in between, students are learning Italian, singing in a music ensemble, cooking, learning jazz dance and a little about nutrition. However, all of this takes place after the school day ends.  “It’s the second year the school has offered its afterschool enrichment program, and it’s thriving,” the Westerly Sun reports.  Organizers had to turn away 60 students who wanted to participate.

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FEB
18

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup  February 18, 2015

By Luci Manning

My Valentine to Operation Shoestring (Jackson Clarion-Ledger, Mississippi)

Mother of three Wytreace Clark wrote a column for the Jackson Clarion-Ledger about her sons’ experience with Project Rise, the afterschool and summer program at Operation Shoestring. She writes: “I love Operation Shoestring’s Project Rise because the staff there truly care about my sons… I love it because it’s connected by sons with mentors who guide them in becoming responsible young men who respect themselves and others… I love it because it is giving my children the chance to try things that are new to them, like horseback riding, fishing, kickball tournaments and soccer… Operation Shoestring… is making a huge difference for my family by allowing me to work, keeping my kids safe, and inspiring them to learn.”

Homework Club, Naval Hospital Sailors Give Back (Pensacola News Journal, Florida)

Anywhere between 30 and 50 students can be seen bouncing down the halls of West Pensacola Elementary School on Tuesdays and Thursdays, excited to spend time with some special guests. The students, part of an afterschool program called the Homework Club, get to receive tutoring from Pensacola Naval Hospital sailors in subjects such as math and reading. Laurie Cothran, West Pensacola curriculum coordinator and co-creator of the tutoring program, said she has seen a positive change in the students and their work ethic since launching the program. “I’ve talked to some of the teachers and they say the ones who are participating come to class a lot more prepared and they’re participating a lot more,” she told the Pensacola News Journal.

After-School Program at Six-Month Mark (Norfolk Daily News, Virginia)

“Aftershock,” a fledgling afterschool program at Norfolk Public Schools, is creating waves of enthusiasm among more than 200 students. The program includes 27 afterschool “clubs” that cover a wide range of interests from the arts to science to physical fitness, giving students ownership over their afterschool classes and, perhaps, their future careers. “It provides students with a safe, fun, learning environment during those key hours after school when many students could be unsupervised,” superintendent of schools Dr. Jami Jo Thompson, told the Norfolk Daily News. “It is also a great way for our students to connect with community members who have special talents or interests that our students might not otherwise be exposed to.”

A Second Chance at Success for Kingman Middle School Students (Kingman Daily Miner, Arizona)

For students at Kingman and White Cliffs middle schools, especially those with low or failing grades, the afterschool activities offered are a second chance at success. Not only do they teach students unexplored skills – like how to lift weights, play the guitar or build a raised brick garden bed – the learning centers also offer them a chance to improve their behavior, productively apply themselves and connect with the community. WCMS coordinator Laura Orendain said about 60 kids currently attend the afterschool program, and parents often take advantage of the learning center’s other services as well, such as family fitness activities and employment counseling. “This program is very beneficial and opens up opportunities for the school that we didn’t have before,” she told the Daily Miner. “We’re getting more involved in our families’ lives, and that’s changing things for the kids.” 

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FEB
11

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup  February 11, 2015

By Luci Manning

Teenage Chess Whiz From Fair Lawn Teaches Young Players (The Record, New Jersey)

After school eager Fairmount Elementary School students line up across from each other on a block-tiled linoleum floor resembling a giant chessboard. At Greg Gabovich’s command, they walk forward until they’re standing diagonally opposite each other and high five, demonstrating how a pawn can conquer another piece in chess. High school senior and internationally-ranked competitive chess player Gabovich created the Chessmates afterschool program a year ago, crediting the game with helping him develop analytical thinking and a love for math. “The thing is, if you can tie education to a student’s passion, the student is going to do better in all aspects of their education,” Scott Demeter, Gabovich’s former history teacher who helped him draft interactive lessons for Chessmates, told The Record.

Educational Puzzles Solved Together on Challenge Island (The News & Observer, North Carolina)

Sometimes, it takes creative methods to get kids to learn. In the case of the Challenge Island afterschool program, the lesson plans borrow some of the methods – and challenges – from the popular reality show, “Survivor.” Challenge Island is an afterschool program for elementary students that reinforces STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and core language arts skills through hands-on learning encouraging children to work together to come up with innovative solutions. “Kids really learn to work together, using the scientific method, designing, testing, revising and testing until complete,” owner Tom Harrington told the News & Observer. Harrington said he is especially impressed with the collaboration among students. “Usually, children don’t start to learn to work like that until middle school but we’re doing it in first grade,” he said.

For STEAM Studio Students, Class Is in the Architects’ Loft (Kansas City Star, Missouri)

Around 3:30 in the afternoon, a group of young girls in Kansas City gather in the third-floor loft space of the architectural firm Gould Evans, an unconventional classroom known as STEAM Studio. The “anti-classroom” is the brainchild of Rockhurst University assistant professor of education Mandi Sonnenberg, who aims to inspire students to be more innovative and encourage non-traditional thinking by bringing them to unusual creative spaces for learning. On this particular afternoon, the girls’ only assignment is to explore and create using the firm’s supplies to bring their design ideas to life through fabric, white paper, scissors and glue.  “The collaboration began earlier this school year as Rockhurst University enlisted afterschool groups to pilot the program,” the Kansas City Star reports.

San Jose Mayor Unveils Plans for After-School Programs, Teen Jobs (Contra Costa Times, California)

In one of his first new initiatives as mayor, San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo unveiled a plan to spend public money to provide afterschool programs to city kids and teens. Mayor Liccardo said the youth programs would help address two key issues in San Jose: public safety and the wealth gap between the haves and the have-nots. The Contra Costa Times reports, “Expanding afterschool programs is a popular strategy for city officials across the country to redirect trouble-prone kids into constructive activities like sports and music. Liccardo’s plan would target K-5 students and focus mostly on academic programs.”

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4

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Weekly Media Roundup  February 4, 2015

By Luci Manning

Imagination Soars at Library’s Science Program (Riverdale Press, New York)

At the Riverdale Library Afterschool Science Program, students learned how to fly their own planes – the paper kind, that is. Last week’s flight-centered program taught students about lift, drag and thrust, and then engineered their own paper planes for a flying competition. Students experimented with various folding techniques to make their planes fly faster and straighter. “The normal way is that you’re supposed to fold the top down all the way, but this time, I folded it less, which makes it better and more aerodynamic,” 10-year-old Matteo Cereola told the Riverdale Press. Competition winners received admission tickets to the Museum of Natural History.

Providence Tech Initiatives Inspire Middle, High School Students (Brown Daily Herald, Rhode Island)

Two new afterschool programs in Providence are connecting college and middle-school students. Girls Who Code and Intracity Geeks both launched afterschool programs last month to teach middle school students how to code.  Brown students act as assistant teachers and “heroes” to youth. Intracity Geeks founder and executive director Claude Arnell Millhouse told the Brown Daily Herald, “My vision is to combat income inequality with access.”  He wants his students to show their friends how to code and create momentum “towards a society in which coding is cool and inclusive.” 

After-School Program at Holy Name Lets Kids Fiddle, Tinker, Create ‘Whatever They Want’ (Omaha World-Herald, Nebraska)

During Maker’s Workshop day at the Holy Name afterschool program, one boy was removing wires from a computer tower, another was dismantling a cellphone and others were plugging a battery pack into globs of electricity-conducting dough to power tiny LED lights. Holy Name technology and grant coordinator Karen Smolinski said she started the weekly afterschool program to give kids a place where they could use their hands and minds to build and create without anyone telling them what to do. “When I say whatever they want, it’s whatever they want. We just let them go on whatever we have materials for,” she told the Omaha World-Herald. The workshop echoes the national “maker movement” where adults and youth are encouraged to tinker, build and make.

Lessons Continue on Challenger Explosion, Hometown Hero (Carteret County News-Times, North Carolina)

On the 29th anniversary of the Challenger explosion, students in the Beaufort Elementary School Boys & Girls Club afterschool program received a history lesson on the Challenger and the U.S. space program. The lesson was inspired by a mini-museum in the school lobby honoring the late Challenger commander Capt. Michael J. Smith, a town native. For the past week, students learned about items in the museum, did Internet research, filled out worksheets and colored pictures related to the Challenger. Second-grader Analise Kubik told the Cateret County News-Times that after learning about the Challenger, she would like the chance to meet Capt. Smith’s family. “I also think it would be really cool to go in space and see things like the moon,” she said. 

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