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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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APR
15

IN THE FIELD
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Guest blog: Programs know what makes 21st CCLC work and have data to back it up

By Jen Rinehart

A few weeks ago we began highlighting stories of how 21st Century Community Learning Centers are providing high quality after school learning and enrichment for children and youth across America. We started with a story from Kingfisher, Oklahoma followed by Deborah Vandell highlighting the growing afterschool research base. This week, Ed Week jumped in on the action with a story about the 21st CCLC program in Walla Walla, Washington. Below is the latest in the series from Shannon Stagman, Program Director of Evaluation Services at TASC (The After-School Corporation). TASC, a nonprofit dedicated to increasing education and enrichment opportunities to kids in underserved schools, serves as an external evaluator to nearly one-third of 21st CCLC programs in New York City.

As longtime evaluators of numerous 21st Century Community Learning Centers, TASC has seen many programs in action. Features that are always present in high-quality programs include strong school partnerships, dedicated staff and a deep commitment to the academic success and social-emotional wellbeing of students. We asked the directors of two of the grants we evaluate to share their perspective on what makes for a great program.

“A great 21st CCLC program is a vibrant, safe space for creative learning,” said Rachel Chase, Program Director of Hunter CASE, which provides 21C programming at three elementary and middle school sites in the Bronx. “After-school programs offer opportunities for self-expression via art, theater and dance; physical activity via sports and games; and academic support offered with fun, skill-building learning. 21st CCLC allows us to expand learning beyond lectures and examinations; we have the freedom and flexibility to teach students about engineering careers by creating polymers, instill a lifelong relationship with books by traveling to our local library, and learn math skills by breaking codes.”

This flexibility and creativity in programming leads to strong outcomes, with participants at two sites performing three times better in math and two times better in English Language Arts in comparison to students in similar after-school programs.

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APR
14

IN THE FIELD
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Celebrate National Library Week: Build a partnership with your local library

By Rachel Clark

Libraries are valuable partners for the afterschool field, and there’s no better time than National Library Week to explore opportunities for collaboration with libraries in your area—with 7 percent of kids attending afterschool programs at libraries, there’s tremendous room for growth in these partnerships.  This year’s National Library Week, which runs through April 18, is focused on the theme “Unlimited possibilities @ your library,” and is the perfect occasion to encourage your local library to partner with out-of-school time program providers in their communities.     

Libraries all over the country have had success offering a wide variety of expanded learning opportunities—there’s plenty of room to get creative and build partnerships in any number of areas!  For example:

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APR
14

IN THE FIELD
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In case you missed it: A recap of the Building Literacy in Afterschool webinar

By Nikki Yamashiro

A geography quiz bowl set in the style of the game show Jeopardy, field trips to cultural institutions, and teaching playwriting while building communication and leadership skills—these are just a few examples of the ways three afterschool programs featured in our webinar earlier this month are engaging their students in literacy and helping to develop their students’ reading, writing and critical thinking skills. 

The Simpson Street Free Press afterschool program located in Dane County, Wisconsin; Positive Direction Youth Center from Terrell County, Georgia; and the 2015 Dollar General Afterschool Literacy Award winner, New American Pathways’ Bright Futures Afterschool Program from Atlanta, Georgia, shared everything from tips on how to build on—but not replicate—what their students are learning during the school day to components of quality instruction to how to engage parents and families in their child’s education.  Speakers on the webinar also answered questions from the audience on how to foster and sustain student engagement in literacy building activities, how they worked to develop partnerships and relationships with their students’ schools, and how and why they provide targeted support to their students who are struggling in school.

If you missed the webinar, visit our webinar archives page where you can watch the recording; download the PowerPoint slides; and access resources that were included in the webinar from Simpson Street Free Press, Positive Direction Youth Center and New American Pathways’ Bright Futures Afterschool Program.  You can also read more about the important role afterschool programs are playing to help develop their students’ literacy skills in our latest issue brief, “Building Literacy in Afterschool.”

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APR
1

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Visit Tweet4Afterschool to share support for afterschool programs

By Rachel Clark

Last week at the National After-School Summit, a new tool was unveiled to empower the afterschool community to raise their voices in support of afterschool programs in just a few seconds.  By visiting tweet4afterschool.com, supporters can send a tweet sharing key information about afterschool with their networks, joining a groundswell of advocacy that began with hundreds of participants tweeting from last week's Summit.

Each Wednesday, tweet4afterschool.com will be updated with brand new content to share in one click—with the future of federal afterschool funding still at risk, it's critical that advocates check back every week, as future content will include messages targeting key Members of Congress who could make or break the future of programs like 21st CCLC.

Supporters can also visit tweet4afterschool.com/video to watch an inspiring video highlighting kids' love for their afterschool programs.  The video, which was crafted by Academy Award winner Dan Sturman and premiered at the National After-School Summit, is also available for free download to everyone in the afterschool field—share it to show your community that kids are on top of the world at their afterschool programs and help build enthusiasm for afterschool!

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MAR
25

IN THE FIELD
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"Don't Terminate Afterschool Programs"

By Ursula Helminski

So said former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger at the National After-Summit Summit, which sent a rallying cry across the nation to invest in the afterschool programs that are keeping kids safe, inspiring them to learn and helping working families. Mayors, entrepreneurs, education experts, technology leaders and more spoke to the value of afterschool programs for children, families, communities and our nation. Even the audience—whether in the room or viewing online—took part in amplifying the call for more afterschool resources.  Using the Summit’s tweet4afterschool.com feature, more than 1,000 tweets were generated during the gathering, calling out key stats on afterschool outcomes to Members of Congress. 

Summit organizers have made plans to keep the momentum going. Tweet4afterschool.com will feature a new post weekly for advocates to click and send in one stroke. And a short video unveiled at the event is available for all in the afterschool field to download and use to help build support. 

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MAR
23

IN THE FIELD
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Guest blog: It's time to invest in afterschool, not cut

By Rachel Clark

A Message & Invitation from Former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger

I have been an advocate for afterschool programs for over 25 years and I am thrilled to welcome leaders from education, afterschool, government, business, and nonprofit organizations who share my passion for protecting America’s greatest resource—our kids—to a National After-School Summit.  Tomorrow, afterschool representatives from 47 states will meet at the USC Schwarzenegger Institute in Los Angeles to reiterate their commitment to afterschool programs and to remind Congress that these programs are not just another line in the budget.  We know firsthand that afterschool programs help kids succeed in school and in life. 

Over the past decade, demand for afterschool programs has continued to climb.  19.4 million children would sign up for an afterschool program—if one were available.  In fact, for every child in a program, another two are waiting to get in.  

It’s no wonder demand is high. Afterschool programs are helping address some of the most critical issues we face, like preventing juvenile crime, preparing kids for college and the workforce, and reducing alarming high school dropout rates.  83 percent of parents with a child in an afterschool program say programs help reduce the likelihood that kids will commit crimes, use drugs, or become a teen parent.  Youth who participate in afterschool programs are more likely to graduate from high school and go on to college.  These outcomes produce a strong return on investment: every $1 invested in afterschool programs saves taxpayers $9.

With a proven track record of impact and cost-effectiveness, afterschool programs are a no-brainer.  Yet the 21st Century Community Learning Centers initiative, which provides afterschool programs to 1.6 million kids across the country, is threatened with extinction.  Our nation, and our youth, cannot afford to lose afterschool programs.  In fact, cities, states, the federal government, and the private sector should be pitching in with greater investments.  

I hope you’ll join me and innovative industry leaders and mayors from across the United States for this important conversation.  Tune in to the live webcast of the National After-School Summit and let Washington know that you support the protection and expansion of afterschool programing. 

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MAR
13

IN THE FIELD
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Schwarzenegger to host afterschool summit: Tune in March 24

By Rachel Clark

On Tuesday, March 24, leaders from education, afterschool, government, business, and nonprofits from throughout the United States will convene at the University of Southern California (USC) to discuss the importance of comprehensive afterschool programs in K-12 education, outcomes being achieved and the needs yet unmet.  The aim of the Summit, organized by the USC Schwarzenegger Institute, the Afterschool Alliance and the After-School All-Stars, is to acknowledge the important work being done in the field, and encourage greater support for afterschool programs from cities, states, federal government and the private sector. 

With a record high 10.2 million children and youth participating in afterschool programs, the Summit will spotlight how afterschool programs are the most cost-effective and impactful way to address the critical challenges facing education, like preventing juvenile crime, reducing high school dropout rates, and ensuring college and workforce preparedness.  With a proven track record of success, afterschool programs are a key tool to help students succeed in school and in life, as well as an undeniably smart investment of taxpayer dollars—every $1 invested in afterschool leads to a savings of $9.

Join Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, mayors from across the United States, and innovative industry leaders for this exciting conversation by tuning into a live webcast of the National After-School Summit on March 24 at 9:30AM PST—get more details on the USC Schwarzenegger Institute website.

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MAR
6

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Afterschool advocates continue calling on Congress to save 21st CCLC

By Rachel Clark

With the Afterschool for All Challenge fast approaching and the future of ESEA reauthorization uncertain in the House, advocates have continued sending a strong message to Congress that children and working families can't afford to lose 21st CCLC.  125 supporters have signed on to our Thunderclap campaign, building a social reach of nearly 140,000.  To join this unified effort that will blast out across Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr at 1 p.m. EST on the day of the Challengesign up now and tag your representatives in your post—and be sure to ask your friends and networks to join you.

We've also made progress toward our goal of sending 10,600 emails to Congress on behalf of the 1.6 million kids at risk of losing programs if 21st CCLC goes extinct—more than 3,200 emails have reached policy makers across the country, and in many states, hundreds of emails have been sent.  But in this critical time in Congress, it's key that advocates continue to flood policy makers' inboxes.

This week in the spotlight for going above and beyond in support of afterschool programs: On Tuesday, more than 400 advocates will share their stories with Members of Congress face-to-face on Capitol Hill.  It's crucial for Members to hear from the experts in their districts with firsthand knowledge of afterschool's local impact, and participants in the Afterschool for All Challenge will deliver that message.  If you can't be in DC, you can still take part using the tools in our revamped social media kit.

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learn more about: 21st CCLC Congress ESEA
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