RSS | Go To: afterschoolalliance.org
Get Afterschool Updates
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.
Afterschool Donation
Afterschool on Facebook
Afterschool on Twitter
Afterschool Snack Bloggers
Select blogger:
Snacks by Leah Silverberg
OCT
17
2017

STEM
email
print

New AYPF article: 3 steps to afterschool STEM success

By Leah Silverberg

When making the case for afterschool STEM, one point often pops up: STEM learning experiences teach kids essential skills for their futures in college and careers. But how does that skill-building actually happen? And what strategies should afterschool programs use to harness it?

A new article from the American Youth Policy Forum (AYPF) highlights afterschool STEM programs that focus on career and college exploration initiatives. As part of STEM Ready America compendium, which features more than 40 authors, “Career and College Exploration in Afterschool Programs in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics” provides examples of afterschool and summer learning STEM programs that are preparing youth for their futures and supporting their engagement with the STEM field. Developed by STEM Next, with support from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, STEM Ready America discusses the importance of access for quality STEM programs, the evidence behind these programs, and the partnerships that make STEM learning successful.

In the article, AYPF highlights the best practices of three afterschool and summer STEM programs that intentionally introduce students to STEM fields, prepare them to study or have a career in a STEM field, and build skills that will benefit them in the workforce. Looking at SHINE (Jim Thorpe, Pa.), EVOLUTIONS (New Haven, Conn.), and Project Exploration (Chicago, Ill.) AYPF concluded that successful programs:

share this link: http://bit.ly/2yoiq6T
learn more about: STEM College and Career Readiness
SEP
26
2017

IN THE FIELD
email
print

Afterschool & Law Enforcement: Building Community between Police and Youth recap

By Leah Silverberg

The Afterschool Alliance is pleased to present this post as part of the Afterschool & Law Enforcement blog series. For more information on the ways afterschool programs are partnering with local police, check out our previous blogs on building relationships and trust, the motivations for partnershipstools for working with school resource officers, and a Lights On Afterschool event that forged a new relationship with law enforcement. 

In the past year we have been developing our “Tools to Build On” webinar series to help equip afterschool and summer providers with resources for supporting students through the complex issues that have been facing our country and impacting youth. Thus far, the series has highlighted topics such as supporting immigrant students and their families,  understanding and responding to incidents of bias, and addressing tough conversations with students in a safe space. As part of this series, we also spoke with afterschool and police professionals to discuss how communities can come together through afterschool and police partnerships.

Afterschool programs and police keep the communities they serve safe. Building off of this mutual goal, partnership between afterschool programs and law enforcement can strengthen the efforts of programs, departments, and their communities. This is especially important given recent headlines surrounding tensions between police and communities of color. To discuss how afterschool programs and law enforcement can work together, we spoke with Jacalyn Swink, a lead teacher in Iowa’s Burlington Community School District; Major Darren Grimshaw from the Burlington Police Department; and Marcel Braithwaite, director of Community Engagement from the New York City Police Athletic League (PAL). Our speakers shared ways to approach partnerships with local law enforcement and successes that they have had in their programs with these partnerships. Here’s what we talked about:

share this link: http://bit.ly/2fp6Gpx
learn more about: Afterschool & Law Enforcement Safety
SEP
21
2017

LIGHTS ON
email
print

Library partnerships help keep the Lights On Afterschool

By Leah Silverberg

All across America, afterschool programs love their libraries! According to a 2017 study of more than 350 afterschool programs, nearly three-quarters reported that they were working with their local public library in diverse ways, from literacy initiatives to book lending programs and STEM activities. Those informal learning relationships deserve to be featured, and that’s why one of the major themes of this year’s Lights On Afterschool is library partnerships!

As you write your invitations, be sure to invite staff from your local library to participate in your Lights On Afterschool event. Here are a few possibilities for featuring the library in your celebration:

  • Reach out and ask the library if you can host your celebration there; libraries often serve as valuable community meeting places
  • Encourage librarians to promote and attend your event
  • Invite library staff to read to your students or work at an in-event library card sign-up booth as part of your event

If you’re not already in partnership with a library, it can be difficult to imagine the full spectrum of benefits that close collaboration can produce. But just as afterschool isn’t exclusively limited to child care, libraries aren’t just places for books and study! One of our Lights On Afterschool partners, STAR_Net, is working to connect science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) learning opportunities with local public libraries. The results are impressive!

share this link: http://bit.ly/2fdpGHv
learn more about: STEM Lights On Afterschool
SEP
5
2017

IN THE FIELD
email
print

Girls Who Code Clubs: Prepare girls in your community for the future

By Leah Silverberg

Girls Who Code, a national nonprofit working to close the gender gap in tech, wants to work with you! Through their afterschool Clubs Program, 6th-12th grade girls use computer science to impact their community and join a sisterhood of supportive peers and role models. Clubs can be hosted by many kinds of youth-serving organizations, including schools, community centers, faith-based organizations, universities, libraries, and other nonprofits.

All materials from Girls Who Code are provided for free, including:

  • 120+ hours of curriculum, activity sets, and an online learning management system
  • Recruitment materials, including student, and volunteer flyers
  • Program management support, including field trip and grant opportunities
  • Facilitator trainings, resources, and real-time support

 

share this link: http://bit.ly/2gIKo6a
learn more about: STEM Computer Science Girls
SEP
1
2017

IN THE FIELD
email
print

Learn about child care in your state with Child Care Aware® of America!

By Leah Silverberg

Child Care Aware® of America is a national nonprofit and advocacy organization with the mission of increasing accessibility to high quality, affordable child care for all families in the United States. Research shows that quality early childhood education and care opportunities are linked to long term academic and social benefits.

As a means of providing advocacy tools for accessible and affordable options for youth in the United States, Child Care Aware® of America recently released their 2017, Checking In: A Snapshot of the Child Care Landscape – 2017 Report.

Checking In includes critical information from local and state child care resource and referral agencies, state and federal agencies, and national data sets that help show the landscape of child care in each state. Information on each state includes the use, supply, and cost of child care, as well as information on the child care workforce, and services provided by child care resource and referral agencies.

In recent years with the reauthorization of the Child Care and Development Block Grant in 2014, there have been major gains to increasing accessibility to quality child care for all. However, there is still much work to be done. The Child Care Aware® state fact sheets are prime advocacy tools for showing why increased accessibility to quality child care services is important in your state and in all states.

Download the fact sheet for your state and share with others using the 2017 Share Toolkit!

share this link: http://bit.ly/2gvJwl6
learn more about: Child Care
AUG
28
2017

IN THE FIELD
email
print

New resource guide for bringing computer science to your program

By Leah Silverberg

In 2016, we set out to learn more about computer science in afterschool programs. What did we find? Afterschool programs really want to provide computer science to their students! A full 97 percent of programs that had offered computing in the past said they were “extremely likely” or “likely” to offer it again, and 89 percent of programs that had never offered computing education rated their interest in offering such programming as “high” or “medium.”

However, there are common obstacles that get in the way. First of all, computer science can be intimidating — especially for educators without a background in the computing field — and finding knowledgeable staff can be difficult. Beyond that, finding a quality and affordable curriculum can be a challenge, especially for programs that have never offered computer science before.

In the past few years there has been a lot of progress in creating computer science resources for afterschool and summer programs to make it easier for providers to offer computer science options to their students, but there is still a long way to go. So, we took the first steps and compiled a guide to get you started. Here is a sneak peak of some of the tips and resources:

AUG
22
2017

IN THE FIELD
email
print

Promising Practices: Columbus State Community College's ESL Afterschool Communities (ESLAsC)

By Leah Silverberg

This year we were happy to announce the Columbus State Community College’s ESL Afterschool Communities (ESLAsC) as the winner of the Dollar General Afterschool Literacy Award. As the award winner, ESLAsC was featured in our new issue brief “Afterschool providing key literacy supports to English language learner students,” highlighted in a program profile, and received $10,000, which enabled them to provide summer programming to 120 youth this summer. In preparation for our issue brief, we caught up with Florence Plagenz, supervisor of ESLAsC, to hear a bit more about their programs.

Columbus, Ohio, is home to an estimated 45,000 Somalis and an estimated 44,000 Latinos. Responding to the high concentration of immigrant populations in the city, ESLAsC—which serves 100 percent English language learners, most of whom are from low-income families— provides necessary supports for these families. However, becoming such an integral resource took a lot of trust building and self-evaluation.

AUG
14
2017

RESEARCH
email
print

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.