As you gear up for your Lights On Afterschool event this week, be sure to keep in mind the great photo opps you’ll have with your students, families and event guests—it could earn you $2,000!
Bright House Networks is once again helping us shine a light on the afterschool programs that keep kids safe, inspire learning and help working families with the Bright House Networks Photo Contest on Facebook.
From dancing to designing robots, we want to see all of the cool ways that afterschool programs engage kids. All you have to do is submit a photo of an afterschool activity that engages youth in your community. The photos with the top votes at the end of the public voting period will be eligible to win up to $2,000.
Guest blog: Why the afterschool learning context matters when using technology with at-risk students
Kamila Thigpen is the Digital Learning Policy and Advocacy Manager at Alliance for Excellent Education.
The nation’s 23.8 million minority students comprise nearly half of the school population, and many of them are underserved by their school systems. Try walking into one of these schools and you’ll notice very little changes in modern classrooms and those from more than a century ago. Although SMART Boards may have replaced black boards and a handful of computers may be visible around the room, in most cases there are few differences in the actual teaching and learning process.
After the school day and school year ends, disparities in access to technology are further compounded. Only 3 percent of teachers in high-poverty schools agree that “students have the digital tools they need to effectively complete assignments while at home,” compared to 52 percent of teachers in more affluent schools. As students get older and afterschool participation decreases, opportunities to engage in high-quality digital learning are few and far between for high-school aged students who need it most.
On the evening of Oct. 23, for the eighth year in a row, the iconic Empire State Building will be lit up in yellow to celebrate Lights On Afterschool.
We’re truly honored to have the Empire State Building—a proud national landmark—as a lighting partner for Lights On Afterschool for the eighth year in a row. Every day, afterschool programs keep the lights on for students, and every October, we honor and celebrate all that they do for children, families, communities and the country. To have the Empire State Building celebrate with us for another year is a tribute to the many ways afterschool programs support learning and expand students’ horizons, as well as to the Empire State Building’s commitment to students and families.
See how afterschool programs near the Empire State Building will be celebrating while taking in the skyline! Search for local Lights On Afterschool events.
Remember to register your own Lights On Afterschool event and let us know how you’ll be celebrating!
Does your afterschool program provide service-learning opportunities? Now through Nov. 4, middle- and high-school students who volunteer can apply for 2015 Prudential Spirit of Community Awards. The program honors students in grades 5-12 who make meaningful contributions to their communities through volunteer service. Top honorees earn cash prizes and all-expense-paid trips to Washington, D.C., for four days of national recognition events.
Over the past 19 years, Prudential Spirit of Community Awards have been given to more than 100,000 middle and high school students across the country for helping the less fortunate, promoting health and safety, protecting the environment, and serving their communities through many other volunteer activities. Today, the search begins to identify thousands more who have made meaningful contributions to their communities over the past 12 months, as the awards program kicks off its 20th year.
We know that students who miss too much school suffer academically at every age and every grade. Equally important, we know absenteeism is a problem we can solve if districts and schools identify the students most at risk and then work with parents and community partners, like afterschool programs, to turn around attendance and achievement. Research has shown that regular attendance at an afterschool program helps to improve school day attendance. Afterschool programs are also important partners in engaging parents and offering needed supports to students and families that may help to combat chronic absenteeism.
A new toolkit from Attendance Works, The Power of Positive Connections, calls for using absenteeism records from past years and from the first month of school to connect the most at-risk students to personal relationships and positive supports—the kind they receive every day in high-quality afterschool programs—that motivate them to show up to class every day.
As students head back to school, the toolkit provides a step-by-step guide to a data-driven strategy and resources known as PEOPLE—Priority Early Outreach through Positive Linkages and Engagement.
|Read more about Ashley's afterschool experience in America's Afterschool Storybook.|
This year we had thousands of afterschool artists answer our call and submit artwork for the chance to be featured on the 2014 Lights On Afterschool poster. We had such a good time looking through all the artwork and seeing the talent and creativity coming out of these programs—it’s clear that these artists really love their afterschool programs!
After much consideration, we’re pleased to announce the 2014 Lights On Afterschool poster contest winner: Ashley Parker from Farmington, New Mexico!
Ashley says she was inspired to draw a bright, Broadway-style marquee sign with lots of color and doodles around it. We think it’s the perfect way to promote your event and let your community know that the lights are ON afterschool!
The artwork will be printed on 70,000 posters and sent to all registered Lights On Afterschool events to help them promote their events. Get yours now! Register your event to receive 10 free posters.
George Garrow is the executive director of Concerned Black Men National.
This week, the CBM Summer Camp Experience comes to an end. Concerned Black Men National sponsors a “camp” for low-income elementary school kids in the nation’s capital every year. The children who attend the five week, day-long sessions come from families whose parents otherwise might not be able to afford to send their kids to a summer program that offers free meals, safety and structure, and equally important, a quality out-of-school-time experience. The young people in our program are wide-eyed and curious about the world like those who attend summer camps throughout the country. They join the tens of thousands of children who attend a variety of camps or similar events during the summer months.