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In the Field Snacks
MAY
20
2016

IN THE FIELD
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Ensure your organization complies with new labor rules

By Irina Zabello

Last Wednesday, May 18, the Labor Department issued a new final rule that may have implications for your program and program staff. The Afterschool Alliance will be sharing links to the latest webinars, briefings and guidelines for the new ruling as they appear. Whether or not your organization is subject to these changes will depend on your state laws.

What are the changes?

New overtime rule

The Department of Labor has announced a final rule that will substantially increase the minimum salary requirement for certain employees to be considered exempt from overtime. The new rule takes effect December 1, 2016, and is expected to extend overtime protections to 4.2 million more workers. To comply, employers may either need to raise exempt employees' salaries or reclassify affected employees as non-exempt and pay overtime when applicable.

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires virtually all employers to pay most employees at least the federal minimum wage for each hour worked, as well as overtime pay for all hours worked in excess of 40 hours in a workweek. The FLSA allows for exemptions from these overtime and minimum wage requirements for certain "exempt" employees. To be considered exempt, these employees must generally satisfy specific salary and duties requirements:

  • Meet the minimum salary requirement;
  • With very limited exceptions, the employer must pay the employee their full salary in any week they perform work, regardless of the quality or quantity of the work; and
  • The employee's primary duties must meet certain criteria.
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learn more about: Sustainability
MAY
17
2016

IN THE FIELD
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Afterschool Spotlight: Innovation Zone

By Robert Abare

The Afterschool Alliance is pleased to present this Afterschool Spotlight, part of a series featuring the stories of children, parents and providers of summer and afterschool programs. Click here to view the previous installment. Have a story to share? Email Robert Abare at rabare@afterschoolalliance.org.

For Levi Myers, a 16-year-old 10th grader at Greenbrier East High School in Lewisburg, WV, life revolves around music. He’s started bands with his friends—playing everything from punk to reggae—and he has a dream of becoming a professional music critic one day.

Levi didn’t initially think that his high school’s afterschool program, SPARC (which stands for Spartans Collective), could help him further explore his love for music. “When I first heard about the program, I thought it would be sitting around and staring at books,” he said.

One of the guitars designed by students in the Innovation Zone afterschool program.

Instead, through SPARC’s classes in guitar building, Levi found his initial assumption was far from accurate. “The guitar classes were really fun,” he said. “They also taught me about the inside mechanics of guitars, soldering, circuitry and how to get stuff done on time.”

The SPARC program is part of a larger afterschool program of Greenbrier County Public Schools, funded by the West Virginia Department of Education’s Innovation Zone program. The afterschool program, which operates at two middle school and one high school, has two focuses: academic achievement and entrepreneurship. The Innovation Zone afterschool program is in the process of seeking additional support from the federal government’s 21st Century Community Learning Centers initiative.

The Innovation Zone program supports students’ academic achievement through tutoring, ACT and SAT preparation, and credit recovery for struggling students. Last year, 37 students successfully graduated thanks to the credit recovery and failure prevention aspects of the program.

Vicky Cline, Director of Technology and Testing for Greenbrier County Schools and a leader of the program, explained that the programs’ entrepreneurial focus allows students to discover practical ways to apply the lessons they learn in school. “The goal is for students to gain business and interpersonal skills that they can use later in life,” she said. “We want our participants to realize that they can become major contributors to West Virginia’s economy, and that they can help our community become more self-sufficient.”

MAY
9
2016

IN THE FIELD
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#GirlsAre campaign inspires girls to live active lives

By Robert Abare

Girls today in the United States are far less likely than boys to achieve recommended amounts of physical activity. By age 14, girls are dropping out of sports at two times the rate of boys. The Afterschool Alliance is joining the Alliance for a Healthier Generation and the Clinton Foundation in a national effort to shine a light on the disparities between girls’ and boys’ physical activity rates—and inspire a new generation of strong, active women.

In coordination with National Physical Fitness and Sports Month, the #GirlsAre campaign launched on Mother’s Day and runs until May 31. The campaign asks girls and women across the country to demonstrate the myriad ways girls show their strength using the #GirlsAre hashtag. You can chime in on social media by sharing who you think #GirlsAre, like #GirlsAre Strong, #GirlsAre Bold, #GirlsAre Leaders, or #GirlsAre Fearless.

"Between the ages of 6 and 17, the total number of minutes girls participate in vigorous physical activity drops by 86 percent, providing fewer opportunities for girls to get healthy, be healthy, and feel confident and empowered,” says Chelsea Clinton, Vice Chair of the Clinton Foundation and Board Member of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. “This sharp decline is staggering and absolutely preventable—and we must work to do all we can to support more opportunities for girls to engage in meaningful and fun physical activity throughout childhood and adolescence."

Visitors to the campaign website, www.girlsare.org, can find tools to raise awareness of this important issue, take interactive quizzes, and add their own #GirlsAre adjective to join the nationwide conversation.  

Here are more ways to get involved!

MAY
5
2016

IN THE FIELD
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Celebrate National Fitness and Sports Month!

By Tiereny Lloyd

You ready? 3,2,1…GO!

The month of May is National Physical Fitness and Sports Month! This annual observance highlights the importance of healthy lifestyles, being physically active and participating in your favorite sports. Critical to enabling children to reach their fullest potential, daily physical activity must go hand in hand with healthy eating and proper nutrition. During the month of May, we call upon all afterschool providers and advocates to raise awareness about the benefits of physical activity and healthy eating.

But wait! This month-long observance isn’t just about getting our kids active, it is also about being active adults! Yep, we are calling on you to be active too. Current Physical Activity Guidelines recommend that adults participate in at least 150 minutes of physical activity each week and youth participate in at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day! So as you plan those fun games and serve nutritious foods to the children in your programs, be sure to participate as well. Be an example! Be a physical activity and healthy eating role model.

To help you get started, here are just a few ideas to engage in this month (and beyond!):

  • Download and become familiar with National Afterschool Association’s Healthy Eating and Physical Activity standards
  • Introduce some fun activities into your programs
  • Sign up to be a PreventObesity.net Leader
  • Make sure children in your programs have access to nutritious snacks and meals through CACFP’s At-Risk Afterschool or USDA’s Summer Food Service programs
  • Share our Kids on the Move infographics and tweet supportive messages:
    • This #PhysFitMonth, afterschool is keeping millions of kids active & healthy! Learn how: http://ow.ly/4nsDuG
    • How is afterschool keeping kids active & healthy in your state this #PhysFitMonth? Find out from #AmericaAfter3PM! http://ow.ly/4nsDuG
  • Post pictures of the children in your program being physical activity to your program’s website
  • Add information about physical activity and healthy eating to your newsletters
  • Host a family fit & fun night! Have families come out and participate in their favorite sport
  • Identify youth leaders in your programs that can champion healthy lifestyles among their peers

To find other tips to get active during National Physical Fitness and Sports Month and beyond, visit www.fitness.gov

MAY
3
2016

IN THE FIELD
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Thanks for helping us celebrate environmental education last month!

By Erin Murphy

This video developed by Beyond School Bells, Nebraska's Statewide Afterschool Network, explains the importance of environmental education, and why afterschool programs should be a part of this mission.

The Afterschool Alliance spent the month of April exploring, promoting and celebrating environmental education (EE) in afterschool. We’ve learned a lot about the current state of EE in afterschool and how programs can overcome challenges to implement high-quality environmental education. We hope you’ve learned a lot, too—check out the resources below to keep the afterschool EE movement going in the months and years to come.

Earth Day tweetchat

To celebrate Earth Day on April 22, we hosted a tweetchat exploring the importance of environmental education, its current state in afterschool, and how programs and individuals can support this mission.

Missed the conversation? Check out our Storify recap to learn about the goals and benefits of environmental education, and what resources and best practices to use when developing or improving your program.

This event couldn’t have been a success without our partners’ support and participation: National Environmental Education FoundationNational AfterSchool AssociationNational Recreation and Park AssociationClick2Science, Boost CollaborativeWGBH’s Plum LandingEarth ForceSave the BayScience Action ClubZooCrew, and National Summer Learning Association.

APR
28
2016

IN THE FIELD
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Let's put afterschool front and center this election year!

By Jillian Luchner

You've probably noticed—it's an election year! And, it’s a big election year at that! Not only is the presidency up for grabs, but all 435 House of Representative seats and 34 of 100 Senate seats will be decided this November, and that’s just at the national level! For advocates of afterschool and summer programming, now is a great time to get our future decision makers thinking about important issues.

We know that afterschool and summer programs help keep youth safe and engaged, support working families, prepare the future workforce, and improve student well-being. Now, we need to make sure our candidates also understand the value of afterschool programs and, once they become elected officials, the importance of supporting afterschool. We’ve prepared the following resources to help you turn afterschool into an election issue this year.

  1. The Campaign for Afterschool Toolkit: A comprehensive guide to afterschool advocacy during an election year, including how to mobilize support, sample talking points and outreach materials, social media support, the do’s and don’ts for non-profit organizations, links to helpful resources, and more.
  2. The Candidate Resource Guide on Afterschool: This guide is designed to be given to any candidate for office, and is filled with information they need to see afterschool as an essential piece of their platform that provides solid returns on investment. The guide is separated into 6 main sections showcasing research and polling data on ways afterschool complements and strengthens work being done to support working families, build safe communities, advance academic achievement, promote STEM learning and career readiness, encourage health and wellness, and close opportunity gaps. Please read and distribute broadly. Remember to provide a copy to all candidates for particular office. Afterschool, after all, receives frequent and broad bi-partisan support.

Other resources to check out:

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learn more about: Advocacy Election
APR
26
2016

IN THE FIELD
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Afterschool Spotlight: The LOVE Club

By Robert Abare

The Afterschool Alliance is pleased to present this Afterschool Spotlight, part of a series featuring the stories of children, parents and providers of summer and afterschool programs. Have a story to share? Email Robert Abare at rabare@afterschoolalliance.org.

For 12 years, Dr. A. Michael Shaw earned praise for his work as an educator and mentor in his hometown of New Orleans, even earning the honor of Teacher of the Year. After Hurricane Katrina’s devastating arrival in 2005, however, he made the difficult decision to make a new start in St. Louis. But while some things change, other stay the same—his commitment to helping disadvantaged youth remained strong.

“I realized that young people need help everywhere,” said Dr. Shaw. “They all face the same challenges, and they all need the confidence to believe in themselves.”

Dr. Shaw, who is currently Dean of Students at Jennings Junior High School in St. Louis, brought with him from New Orleans the concept for an afterschool program to show kids the world of possibilities one can achieve through education, hard work and self-confidence. The Lifting Our Valuable Esteem (LOVE) Club currently works toward this goal as a part of the Jennings School District’s “Stars and Heroes” afterschool program, which is funded by a grant from 21st Century Community Learning Centers. The Stars and Heroes program also offers a number of other opportunities for students after school, from golf to robotics.

The LOVE Club focuses on encouraging kids to think beyond their current circumstances and reach for new possibilities by introducing them to professional adults from various walks of life. Visitors to the LOVE Club have included attorneys, doctors, policemen, business leaders and restaurant owners, all of whom engaged in lively Q&A sessions with the participants.

“The speakers share with the kids what they do, what it takes to do what they do, and what students should focus on in school in order to get a job like theirs one day,” Dr. Shaw explained.

APR
25
2016

IN THE FIELD
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Tomorrow Together: A call for service, empathy and unity this 9/11

By Ursula Helminski

This September marks the 15th anniversary of the attacks on 9/11. We are proud to join 9/11 Day and a coalition of more than 20 other organizations to encourage service, empathy and unity through a new initiative called Tomorrow Together. Tomorrow Together will include large-scale service projects across the nation on September 11, 2016, bringing together a diverse community of people to help address hunger in America and other important societal issues:  

  • In Washington, D.C., volunteers will help pack more than one million meals for at-risk seniors, children, veterans and others.
  • Millions of educators will receive free educational service-learning materials that assist in teaching empathy, through a collaboration with the Ashoka's Start Empathy Initiative and the National Youth Leadership Council.  
  • At the college level, The George Washington University will help organize other universities and colleges to participate in 9/11 Day.

9/11 Day is also releasing public service announcements (PSAs) featuring 14-year-old Hillary O'Neill from Norwalk, CT, one of more than 13,000 children born in the United States on the day of the tragedy, September 11, 2001. In the PSAs, O'Neill urges the nation to see the anniversary of 9/11 as a day to work together to do good deeds. View her message on YouTube.  

9/11 Day co-founder and executive vice president Jay Winuk perfectly summed up the goal of the effort. Winuk's brother, Glenn J. Winuk, an attorney and volunteer firefighter and EMT, died in the line of duty as a rescuer on 9/11. Jay said, "As someone who lost a loved one on 9/11, I was truly inspired by the remarkable way our nation came together in the months following the attacks. We owe more than division and discord to those who perished from the attacks and those who served in its aftermath. The anniversary of 9/11 should be a reminder to us all about our common humanity and the opportunity we have to help people and communities in need."

What can afterschool programs do for 9/11 Day?

Plan your own service activity, or reach out to service organizations in your community. And stay tuned, the Afterschool Snack will share resources and activities as they are developed.

9/11 is an annually recognized National Day of Service and Remembrance. More than 30 million Americans now observe September 11 each year through charitable service and good deeds, transforming 9/11 Day into the largest annual day of charitable engagement in America.