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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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Snacks by Leah Silverberg
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.

JUL
27
2017

IN THE FIELD
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Promising Practices: A deeper dive into Raider's ARK

By Leah Silverberg

Since 2015, the Afterschool Alliance has partnered with the Dollar General Literacy Foundation to distribute the Dollar General Afterschool Literacy Award to recognize an outstanding afterschool program that has provided literacy supports to its students. While there can only be one official award recipient, there are always so many programs that we wish we could honor and reward as well—Raider’s ARK (Academics Reinforcing Knowledge), located in Arcadia, Wisconsin, is one of these programs.

Arcadia is a small rural community in western Wisconsin with a population of around 3,000. Between 2000 and 2014, Arcadia’s Hispanic population rose from 3 percent to 35 percent, and this past year the Hispanic population in the public elementary school rose to 73 percent. As a result, the need for supports for English language learners has substantially grown.

Looking to include the program in our Dollar General afterschool literacy issue brief, we reached out to Nancy Boehm, the program coordinator for Raiders ARK, and had an amazing conversation about what makes Raider’s ARK so special, and how they support their students.

When Boehm joined, Raider’s ARK had been using a relatively unstructured program that prioritized homework support. That wasn’t where the future of program was heading.

“I am someone who likes a lot of organization and structure,” Boehm explained, “but that organization and structure should be focused on fun activities, where students know what is expected of them and have a safe and engaging place to be. There should be opportunities for enrichment, and learning, and continued learning, but for it not to look or feel or smell or sound like school, even though we are housed in a school building.”

JUL
10
2017

RESEARCH
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New resources for STEM in afterschool from the Research + Practice Collaboratory

By Leah Silverberg

Check it out: the Research + Practice Collaboratory has some new and updated resources for the afterschool field! If you are not familiar, the Research + Practice Collaboratory works to bridge the gap between education research and STEM education implementation. The Collaboratory’s goal is to increase communication and partnerships between educators and researchers to promote the co-development research-based tools that are grounded in practice.

Case study teaches research and collaboration through tinkering

In a recent blog post, Jean Ryoo from the Exploratorium talks about her partnership with in-school and out-of-school time practitioners to create a conference presentation for school administrators and in-school and afterschool educators. The presentation was intended as an opportunity for afterschool professionals to share ideas with the larger education community and showcase collaboration across institutions, research, and teaching.

JUN
26
2017

CHALLENGE
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Advocacy for all: New tools and resources for afterschool supporters

By Leah Silverberg

Earlier this month more than 200 advocates traveled to Washington for our 16th annual Afterschool for All Challenge. Here at the Afterschool Alliance, the Challenge often feels like a culmination of the hard work we put in to create the tools and resources afterschool advocates need to make the case for afterschool. However, the advocacy work does not stop once the Challenge is over. Many of the tools we create or re-vamp for our national advocacy day can be used throughout the year.

Here are some of the resources we used for this year’s challenge that we hope can continue to help you make the case for afterschool:

Advocacy on the Hill

A lot of the resources that we create for the Challenge are specifically for use on Capitol Hill, like our Hill Meeting Tips, our Talking Points, or our 2017 Policy Asks, which can be found in our Afterschool for All Challenge Participant Toolkit.

However, some of our resources can be useful year-round to refresh knowledge on important afterschool policy. Big talking points on afterschool this year, with corresponding fact sheets, included conversations on 21st Century Community Learning Centers and the Child Care and Development Fund in the FY-18 budget. Each year we update our state-specific fact sheets and resources to help advocates operating at the state-level.

MAY
11
2017

IN THE FIELD
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Apply to be a National Afterschool Matters Fellow

By Leah Silverberg

If you’re a committed mid-career out-of-school time professional who’s looking for your next professional development opportunity, the National Afterschool Matters (NASM) Fellowship could be right for you.

The NASM Fellowship is a two-year professional and leadership development training program. Through a partnership with the National Institute on Out-of-School Time (NIOST) at the Wellesley Centers for Women at Wellesley College, The National Writing Project, and funding from the Robert Bowne Foundation, the Fellowship offers a space where you can learn to “reflect on, study, improve, and assess your work” to generate an even greater impact.

Fellows will participate in hands-on inquiry-based research, learning, and writing under the guidance of experienced mentors; receive leadership development training; participate in a study of community of out-of-school-time professionals; and participate in two retreats at Wellesley College, let by NIOST and NWP. Participants receive a participation stipend for the two-year fellowship and travel stipends to attend the retreats.

Fellowship requirements

Applicants are required to:

  • Have access to reliable high-speed internet, technology equipment, and a Google email account
  • Attend a retreat from September 24 to 26, 2017 in Wellesley, Mass., and another in the fall of 2018 (dates TBD)
  • Participate in monthly virtual meetings
  • Produce a final project that may include a manuscript for journal publication, conference presentation, blog, recorded webinar, etc.
  • Have a bachelor’s degree or higher

How to apply

Submit a complete application by May 31, 2017, including the online application, the online reference form, and a resume emailed to asm_nationalfellowship@wellesley.edu with your name in the subject line and in the file name.

MAR
30
2017

IN THE FIELD
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Key points from the Aspen Institute Summit on Inequality and Opportunity

By Leah Silverberg

On March 16, the Aspen Institute held its annual Summit on Inequality & Opportunity in Washington, D.C. The conversations this year largely focused on income inequality and the difficulty of upward financial mobility for low-income families, contributing to the widening opportunity gap in the United States.

In the first panel of the day, Jonathan Morduch, Professor of Public Policy and Economics at New York University, and Rachel Schneider, Senior Vice President at the Center for Financial Services Innovation, talked about their book The Financial Diaries and what they learned from tracking the finances of 235 low- and middle-income families over the course of a year. One key finding from the study demonstrated the overwhelming amount of income instability that low- and middle-income families experience from month to month and how it affects their daily lives and the way they plan their finances.

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learn more about: Economy Equity Federal Funding
MAR
29
2017

FUNDING
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Grant opportunity from the Best Buy Foundation

By Leah Silverberg

The Best Buy Foundation is looking to support your afterschool and summer program that helps youth develop 21st-century technology skills. Their mission is to “provide teens with places and opportunities to develop technology skills that will inspire future education and career choices.” The Best Buy Foundation’s annual Community Grants are awarded to programs that provide computer programming, digital imaging, music production, robotics, and mobile app development experience to students ages 13-18. The Best Buy Foundation provides one-year grants up to $10,000, with the average grant award of $5,000.

Who is eligible?

To qualify for the Best Buy Community Grants your organization must provide direct services to teens ages 13-18, have 501(c)(3) status or be a public agency with tax-exempt status, and be within 50 miles of a Best Buy store, Best Buy Mobile location, Best Buy Distribution Center, Best Buy Service Center, or Best Buy’s corporate campus. Programs can find the closest Best Buy using the Best Buy Store Locator. Programs that have Best Buy employee volunteers will receive special consideration.

How to apply

Applications are available starting April 1, and grant proposals are due by 5 p.m. EDT on May 19. Programs will be notified of the Foundation’s decision August 31, 2017. Visit the community grants page to read more and apply!

For other funding opportunities for science, technology, and engineering programs check out the Afterschool Alliance’s STEM Funding Page!

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learn more about: Digital Learning Funding Opportunity
MAR
9
2017

RESEARCH
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Webinar recap: Let's hear it for the girls

By Leah Silverberg

A new research paper from the Girl Scout Research Institute suggests that girls are in a worse state than they were before the Great Recession. Released in February, the report outlined the trends in girls’ economic, physical, and emotional health, as well as participation in extracurricular activities and educational opportunities.

To further explore the state of girls, the Afterschool Alliance teamed up with Girl Scouts and Girls on the Run International for a webinar on February 23, digging into these emerging trends and what afterschool programs are doing to help girls. Moderated by Afterschool Alliance Director of Research Nikki Yamashiro, webinar attendees heard from Kamla Modi, Ph.D., senior researcher at the Girl Scout Research Institute; Suzanne Harper, STEM strategy lead at Girl Scouts of the USA; Audrey Kwik, director of STEM and Programs at Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas; and Heather Pressley, PhD, vice president of Programming at Girls on the Run International about the report and what programs are doing to support girls.

During the webinar, Kamla Modi highlighted the paper’s key findings, bringing attention to the disparities between the 41 percent of girls today that live in low-income families and their higher family income level peers. For example, girls in lower-income families are less likely to volunteer, participate in student council, and take part in sports than their higher-income peers. Kamla’s presentation highlighted the need to invest in afterschool and summer learning programs to ensure that all girls have the supports necessary to succeed.

Up next were speakers from girl-serving organizations committed to making sure that girls have opportunity to develop their full potential. These speakers shared hands-on programming tips and strategies to best support girls during the out-of-school hours.

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learn more about: Events and Briefings