Jenna-Lyn Ryckebusch, Massachusetts, currently serves as the Senior Programs Coordinator at the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. Ms. Ryckebusch has her master’s degree in Forensic Psychology and received a Bachelor of Science from Ursinus College in Psychology and Spanish. She is a proud mentor through Big Brothers Big Sisters and a member of the FBI Citizen’s Academy.
I recently exhibited at the National AfterSchool Association Annual Convention and was excited to meet many of you and hear about the needs of your afterschool organizations. I spoke to several attendees seeking innovative educational tools that can easily be implemented into youth programs. At the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC), we understand how important it is to have access to free resources that help educate children and keep them safe.
What NCMEC can offer you
Keeping children safe is an important role and one with which you are very familiar. As a caretaker for children of all ages, you are the perfect representatives to bring safety resources to your community. This is why you should join NCMEC in a grassroots campaign, Take 25.
By Jodi Grant
Last month, the afterschool field lost of one its greatest supporters. Claire Mott White’s extraordinary dedication to youth programs touched people all across this country, including just about every one of us in the afterschool field.
Claire Mott White had served as a trustee of the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation since 1996, helping guide the foundation’s tremendous investments in expanding quality afterschool programs for children and youth nationwide. As part of that work, she championed the arts and arts education, chairing the Art School Committee of the Flint Institute of Arts in Michigan, serving as a trustee of the Flint Cultural Center Corporation, and receiving the 2007 Guvvy Award—the Michigan Governor's Award for lifetime achievement in supporting the arts and culture—along with her husband, Mott Foundation President & CEO Bill White.
In Flint, the classroom wing of the Flint Institute of Arts is named in her honor. The Flint Youth Theatre is housed at the William S. White and Claire M. White Center, named to recognize her work providing programming for thousands of area children and young people.
This guest post is by Saint Jude Retreats, a non-12 step non-treatment alternative to traditional drug and alcohol rehab. The program concentrates on self-directed positive neuroplastic change and positive self-change as an alternative to traditional alcohol and drug treatment.
America After 3PM found that nearly one-quarter of American children are left unsupervised after school each day. Creating accessible afterschool programs and encouraging youth attendance can help promote better well-being for thousands of children. Afterschool programs also provide an opportunity for interaction with trusted adults outside the classroom, making them a rich space for discussing issues such as drug and alcohol use and prevention.
A study published in the Journal of Alcohol & Drug Education found that building and maintaining trust is essential in effective drug and alcohol prevention programs. The middle school students interviewed for the study overwhelmingly cited the importance of trusting educators in the effectiveness of the program for two important reasons: quality of information and confidentiality. On one hand, the students recognized the need for good information regarding drugs and alcohol. On the other hand, students perceived that asking questions about drugs and alcohol could be tantamount to an admission of using drugs or alcohol, or at least considering it. Many students in the study considered their teachers trustworthy when it came to the quality of the information, but had doubts about their confidentiality. Students with these doubts were worried about their teacher's or peers' opinions about them and if asking a question would affect their academic and social futures. In some cases, they were more likely to talk to a D.A.R.E. officer than their teacher, even though the officer was a police representative.
By Jodi Grant
On Monday, the National AfterSchool Association released their list of the top 25 most influential people in afterschool. I was honored to be included on that list, along with our wonderful board members Terry Peterson and Lucy Friedman. The recognition provided a nice moment to step back and celebrate the hard work of our team, and to reflect on why this work is so important, and why we are so determined to expand afterschool resources nationwide.
We are dogged in our work because the people and programs in the afterschool field are nothing short of amazing. Afterschool programs are changing lives; saving a child from hunger; creating innovative approaches to learning; and developing our next generation of leaders, citizens and scientists. And they are doing it on a shoestring budget with a will that won’t quit and a mind for innovation.
There are hundreds of stories and people that come to mind, but I thought I’d share just a few examples of what drives us to get up and work as hard as we possibly can to give voice to the afterschool field. I’d love to hear your afterschool inspirations, too, so please take a moment and send in your thoughts in the comment field below.
Today the Wallace Foundation announced that they awarded a $799,000 grant to researchers at Teachers College, Columbia University to study if and how major community institutions can work together to address complex social and educational issues—such as educational reform—in Buffalo, New York, and two additional mid-sized cities.
The comparative study of collective impact—an approach that involves the collaboration of multiple sectors across a community to solve a complex social problem over an extended period of time—will examine the three cities’ efforts and discuss lessons learned, challenges and best practices. Topics the research team will look at include:
By Jen Rinehart
|Photo Credit: Youth Today—Read their coverage of the announcement.|
Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to talk with a room full of mayors, city council members and education/policy advisors about the role of federal policy in local afterschool efforts. With a crowd like that, I certainly felt like I was standing on the wrong side of the podium!
It was a dynamic discussion about how federal policies related to 21st Century Community Learning Centers grants, Child Care Development funds and newly proposed initiatives—like Race to the Top-Equity and Opportunity—may impact local afterschool initiatives.
Many of the city leaders in the room were first drawn to afterschool because they recognized it as a strategy to keep their communities safe. After learning more about afterschool, they readily saw how keeping youth safe also supports working families, which is linked to worker productivity and therefore economic development. This necessitates a skilled workforce of the future, which brings you right back to education and safety again. In short, they were quickly sold on the importance of afterschool.
I’d like to take credit for the participants’ excitement about afterschool, but in truth it was most likely the result of an announcement made earlier that morning. Saint Paul, Minnesota, Mayor Chris Coleman, president of the National League of Cities, and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan laid out a plan detailing how they would work together to boost partnerships among federal and local governments, schools, families, faith-based organizations, businesses, nonprofits and universities to advance learning, enhance student engagement and improve schools in cities across the country.
By Jen Rinehart
There are plenty of images of jumping associated with summer—jumping rope, jumping into swimming pools, jumping for joy on the last day of the school year—but few folks think of the role that summer learning programs can play to help students get a jump on the Common Core.
We have given the Common Core and the role of afterschool programs in supporting kids under Common Core a fair bit of coverage here at the Afterschool Snack.
Now there’s a resource out from the Summer Matters campaign that hones in on the role of summer programs. Getting a Head Start on the Common Core highlights a number of school districts in California, including Los Angeles Unified and Sacramento City Unified, which are relying on summer programs to introduce and reinforce the skills and habits of mind emphasized by the Common Core.
The report demonstrates that summer learning programs can prevent summer learning loss, while also providing students with a leg up to be successful under the Common Core. Lastly, the report points out how summer learning programs can provide time and flexibility for teachers to experiment with new strategies and curriculum prior to implementing them in the school classroom.
One of the funnier slides from Jaime’s presentation
The use of technology raises a lot of contradictory and complex concerns: too much use; too little access; social disconnectedness; dismal STEM pipelines. Jaime Casap, Google’s senior education evangelist, didn’t have answers for everything, but he made some compelling points during his presentation at the National AfterSchool Association Annual Conference on approaching learning today—something that, in his view, can’t be done without considering the role of afterschool, and the role of technology. Here are a couple points I walked away with:
“Kids are wired differently these days.” Referencing what we know about evolution, Jamie took this one down pretty effectively, saying that brains are not now fundamentally different, and we should not look at our kids as though they are built differently. Like us, they are not good at multitasking. They can’t do two things at once any better than we can.