News Roundup Snacks
By Molly Tomlinson
“Summer learning is not merely about adding days to the school calendar. It is about creating life-changing experiences that help students thrive. More learning time in the hands of great teachers, great nonprofits, and students themselves activates academic content, builds background knowledge, and develops the skills necessary for success in school, college, and careers,” Boston After School and Beyond Executive Director Chris Smith wrote in a Boston Globe letter-to-the-editor responding to an article questioning if the school day should be extended. “These experiences, while beneficial to most students, are essential for some students, particularly those who have not succeeded in traditional school settings. Let’s talk about more learningtime, but let’s also explore how to use time for more active learning, more skills development, and more transformational learning experiences.”
“Twenty-two young ladies from the Reading Recreation Commission's after-school program got a chance to get some tips on fancy living, taking a trip to Judy's on Cherry restaurant for a bit of fine dining and etiquette lessons,” the Reading Eagle reports. The event was aimed at getting the students exposed to new experiences and out of their comfort zones. For some of the afterschool students, it was the first time they got dressed up to go out to dinner.
Thanks to a READ UP grant from the U.S. Department of Education, more than 300,000 children’s books will be distributed to families in Dona Ana County this summer. The program is an eight-week project that encourages parents to read with their children 20 minutes a day by providing books for children and information and incentives for parents once a week. Weekly reading events will be held at community centers, public parks and other locations around the county.
Five Ithaca area high school students will conduct research that takes advantage of new opportunities in DNA sequencing technology and the availability of fully sequenced genomes as part of the Plant Genome Research Program-Research Experience for Undergraduates (PGRP-REU) at Cornell University’s Boyce Thompson Institute, the Press & Sun Bulletin reports. The summer scientists’ internships are supported locally by the Ithaca Garden Club and members of the community.
By Molly Tomlinson
Afterschool students from The Museum of Contemporary Art in North Miami’s Fashion Design Class for middle and high school students showed off their various fabric-dyeing techniques at the Dye-versity fashion show last week. Check out a slideshow of the designs on the Miami Herald website
The Virginia Department of Education has created a new website – Virginia is for Lovers … of Summer Learning
– with tips and links to a collection of resources to help promote summer learning. Resources on the site were developed by groups such as the Library of Virginia, the Public Broadcasting System, the Smithsonian Institution, the Virginia General Assembly, the Virginia Tourism Corporation, the Virginia Cooperative Extension Service, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and more.
First- through fifth-grade students participating in the 21st Century Summer Program in Jamestown are learning how things grow and understanding the importance of vegetables in the diet this summer. The foods produced from the Junior Master Gardener Program, offered by the Stutsman County Extension Office, “will go into the summer school lunch program with any produce harvested after the start of the regular school year going into the regular hot lunch program,” The Jamestown Sun reports.
Students from the Keystone to Discovery After School Program in Hamilton visited the Bitter Root Humane Association to read a story to the dogs waiting inside. “Dogs are a totally non-judgmental audience to read to," Keystone Program Director Ria Overholt told the Associated Press. “We've found that it does help [students] build their reading skills and they have fun doing it.”
By Molly Tomlinson
Executive Director of the Central California Intelligence Center Herb Brown responds to a recent Sacramento Bee editorial on gangs. He writes, “Success in combating violent street gangs requires both brawn – police officers and sheriff's deputies, ‘cops and clergy,’ after-school programs and community-based activities for youth – and brains in how we gather intelligence and give it to those who need it… One sure-fire method of reducing a gang's reach and power is to reduce its recruiting capabilities. The Sheriff's Department Youth Services Unit (within the IMPACT program) is at the core of outreach and mentoring to vulnerable youths. It provides youth leadership, summer camps, lunchtime activities and sports programs. The unit is a long-term cooperative program focused on providing kids with life-enhancing options outside of joining gangs. In just six short months, the unit has mentored and engaged more than 1,000 youths in our community, which will hopefully translate into 1,000 fewer gangsters on the street.”
Since January, a group of Pittsfield High School afterschool students has been researching, writing, designing and filming a new television show called “SciTV" for Pittsfield Community Television, The Berkshire Eagle reports. The first segment on invasive species is set to screen in June and students are putting together another segment on space. The science-based afterschool program is funded through a federal 21st Century Community Learning Centers grant.
Students from two New Orleans afterschool programs collected and presented more than 600 dozen recycled Mardi Gras beads and two art pieces made out of beads to The Arc, a program that helps people with intellectual disabilities. Afterschool leaders said not only did the students learn about reusing and recycling in a creative way, but they also learned about the importance of giving back to their community, The Advocate reports.
High-school peer educators in Cleveland are using the hours after school to educate other teens about safe sex. Since the program with Case Western Reserve University's Infectious Disease Alliance launched last year, project facilitators have noticed that the peer educators and the sexual education curriculum are in high demand. As of yet, there is no evidence that the peer educators are reversing trends of sexually transmitted infections in the neighborhoods, “but there is data that indicates the peer educators know the information and feel comfortable sharing it with others, and that knowledge filters into the community,” The Plain Dealer reports.
By Molly Tomlinson
Afterschool students at the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster’s Embryology Program watched and learned as Herman, Henry, Chickie, Chiquita and Butterscotch grew from eggs into fluffy, yellow chicks. The students monitored the temperature and humidity of the incubators, fed the chicks and take turns holding the newly hatched chicks. Club Executive Director Donata Martin told the Worcester Telegram & Gazette that the afterschool program uses a curriculum which “integrates the concepts of embryology into easy-to-use math, science and language arts lesson plans.” She plans to repeat the program in the fall.
This week General Motors Co. (GM) launched GM Student Corps, a new program that is providing paid summer internships to 110 Detroit-area high school students who will work on community service projects. The program is “designed to help prepare teens for leadership and careers, as well as aid Detroit as it continues to evolve as a city where young professionals want to live and work,” The Detroit News reports. Teams of students are creating service projects, like cleaning up local parks or establishing a food bank or community garden in Detroit area neighborhoods. The students are responsible for budgeting, planning and implementing the projects over the summer, and they will be mentored by GM retirees and employee volunteers.
Afterschool programs in Lacey, funded by a North Thurston Public Schools’ 21st Century Community Learning Center grant, are transforming schools into a fun place to be after the school day ends. “On a recent afternoon, a group of students prepared mango mint salsa with fresh vegetables from the school’s garden, while others played math and reading games, worked on art projects, played computer chess and other programs in the library, and ran drills on the soccer field,” The Olympian reports. Program coordinators say that they’ve also seen academic gains in students and are hoping that the afterschool program can continue after the grant ends.
Afterschool students from programs at 22 schools across five counties premiered their short films at The State Theatre in Modesto last week. The films shown at the Reel Life Film Festival addressed a range of topics, like bullying, welcoming new students and sticking up for others. Students’ responsibilities weren’t limited to filming; students also had to pitch their story to “producers” (the afterschool program staff), develop plot lines and characters, figure out chronology and sequencing, and more.
By Molly Tomlinson
At GRLZ Radio in Dorchester, a radio station and afterschool program run by St. Mary’s Center for Women and Children, teens learn radio production and communication skills while gaining an outlet for self-expression. GRLZ Radio is partnering with WERS and providing regular programming on its sister station ETIN
, and “soon the teens will be anchoring newscasts, assembling radio pieces, and handling production duties,” the Boston Globe Magazine
“Children in the Tag, You’re It! after-school program at Lincoln Elementary School in Wausau are having so much fun playing versions of the popular chase game that they might not even realize how many calories they are burning,” the Marshfield News Herald reports. The popular programs emphasize getting kids active and moving, playing well together and learning about healthy eating. At the end of the six-week session, afterschool students will take home a packet with how many calories they burned and other ideas for fun fitness activities.
A mentoring program that started with five teens in Angela Nash’s Columbus living room is expanding to an afterschool program that will eventually serve at least 50 at-risk youth. A Chosen Generation “matches volunteer mentors with at-risk youth as identified by teachers, school counselors and parents, and seeks to improve their performance in school and discuss problems the students are experiencing outside the classroom,” The Dispatch reports. It aims to reduce the academic achievement gap between minorities and low-income students and their peers, increase job readiness and employability and reduce risky behaviors for teens.
The Girls on the Run afterschool program at Roseboro Elementary School in Clinton was the inspiration behind the town’s 5K May Day run. One of the race organizers, Jessica Eason, told The Samson Independent that the program, “teaches the girls that it is okay to be yourself. You don’t have to be a follower. You can step out of the box and be who you are.” The proceeds raised from the race will help fund the afterschool program next year.
By Molly Tomlinson
Two C.K. McClatchy High School seniors, John Spurlock and Keenan Harris, took first place in the policy debate division at the national Tournament of Champions last month. The win was unexpected because the C.K. McClatchydebate team is an afterschool program and has a significantly smaller budget than the private schools it was competing against. “What we feel is important is hard work and showing teams like us that are without gigantic coaching staffs or huge travel budgets that success is possible,” Harris told the Sacramento Bee.
The D.C. Council unanimously voted this week to increase funding for summer school by $4 million and to continue teaching as many city students as possible over the summer. The council added the extra funds after D.C. public schools said it would scale back summer classes this year. “The council also approved an ‘emergency’ declaration stating that all students who need extra instruction should be able to enroll in summer school,” the Washington Post reports.
Since January, afterschool students at Hoover Elementary in Crawfordsville have been training for a 5k run. The students started running after school through a partnership of Fuel Up to Play 60, Chartwell’s and Prairie Farms, The Paper of Montgomery County reports. Even after the afterschool program ended, the students kept running and training for a 5k race on Saturday. Proceeds from Saturday’s run will help the school buy equipment and fund next year’s afterschool program.
Afterschool students from Hoffman Elementary School were left scrambling when minutes before the Texas Solar Race Car Event at Gustafson Stadium, their entry was accidentally crushed by a fellow competitor. The students, with the help of their coach, stripped the wheels from a decommissioned car, applied superglue liberally, and returned to the track to place first in their heat and advance to the semi-finals. The team’s coach Patrick Ware told the San Antonio Express-News, “The most important thing I think they get out of it is how to work together. Things we have to learn as adults they're learning right there.” The afterschool students dedicated the past two months to their goal of engineering the fastest miniature solar car in the competition.
By Molly Tomlinson
Kujanga Jackson, head of the Zone afterschool program for at-risk and under-performing students at Mark Twain Elementary in Tulsa, says he can see positive changes in students who have participated in the program. “I have a performance report that shows the students we've had in our program have improved academically, socially, behaviorally,” Jackson told the Tulsa World. “Socially, we're seeing the kids learn to function better in the classroom, better with their peers.”
Afterschool students at Lebanon High School competed in a taste-off last week. The afterschool students were challenged with finding nutritious recipes to create a complete meal. The winning recipe, mango chicken, will be served for lunch in the high school cafeteria! Organizers also announced that the runner up, Spanish chicken, will be served later this month.
and Dallas AfterSchool Network (DASN) CEO Tanya McDonald told the Dallas Business Journal
that the Network is looking to expand area afterschool programs without sacrificing quality. The network helps 145 afterschool and summer programs in Dallas County achieve national quality standards. “As we help to create quality programs in the community, we want to work with those organizations to expand their capacity to serve more kids," McDonald said. "But we want to make sure that as spaces are added, they are high quality."
Fourteen afterschool students from the Teen Producers Academy at the Maysles Institute in Manhattan created a 20-minute film about the role gun violence has played in their Harlem community. "Triggering Wounds" premiered last week at the Tribeca Film Festival. It was nominated for Best Documentary in the "Our City, My Story” youth showcase.
By Molly Tomlinson
Mayors and city council members from across the country co-authored a piece on the importance of afterschool programs in Education Week. It said: “For our cities to remain beacons of hope, it is our responsibility as municipal leaders to help young people develop the skills and talents they need to find gainful employment and become successful adults in a knowledge-based economy. City leaders must work together with schools, parents, and others to help young people thrive, with a shared understanding that their success will determine the success of our cities. Maximizing the after-school hours is one important way in which city governments can improve educational outcomes for children and teenagers and reinforce what they learn in the classroom.” The op-ed was signed by Mayors Christopher Coleman (St. Paul, Minn.), Karl Dean (Nashville, Tenn.), and Betsy Price (Fort Worth, Texas) and City Council Members James Mitchell Jr. (Charlotte, N.C.) and Ronnie Steine (Nashville, Tenn.).
Using data from a survey of young people, associate director of the Center for Education Policy Research Angelo Gonzales and his colleagues at the University of New Mexico, “have identified a strong relationship between students who are involved in activities outside of school and those who engage in less risky behaviors,” the Albuquerque Journal reports. “Specifically, students who said they were involved in extracurricular activities reported lower levels of attempts to commit suicide, smoking, binge drinking, drug use and sexual activity…and significantly higher rates of daily physical activity.” The New Mexico-specific data is from the 2011 state Youth Risk and Resiliency Survey of middle and high school students.
Students from the Whitney Community Center afterschool program are walking around the playground with Boise City Council member TJ Thomson as part of a local initiative to encourage physical fitness, the Idaho Statesman reports. Boise Mayor David H. Bieter has pledged to walk 150 miles in honor of the city’s sesquicentennial.
The the Worcester Technical High School Robotics and Automation Technology Team, one of 420 teams from 23 countries, won the 2013 VEX Robotics World Championships trophy over the weekend. Worcester Polytechnic Institute President and CEO Dennis Berkey told the Telegram & Gazette, “Their world championship award reinforces the power of STEM [science, technology, engineering and math] education, specifically as it applies in robotics, and especially the highly effective curriculum and dedication of the faculty and staff at ‘the other’ Worcester Tech.”