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
Blogs We Read Afterschool Snack Bloggers
Select blogger:
In the Field Snacks
MAY
27
2016

IN THE FIELD
email
print

Dive into coding for this month's HALO Effect Challenge!

By Robert Abare

Christina Li appears on The HALO Effect

The HALO Effect is a new live action show from Nickelodeon that tells the story of extraordinary teens who are working to improve our world. Each episode features the story of a “Champion” who is Helping And Leading Others to make a positive difference, like Jaylen Arnold of February’s episode or Jessica Collins of the show’s January premiere.

This month’s episode, which aired on May 20th, featured the story of 17-year-old Christina Li of Sterling Heights, MI. When Christina was only 8, she and her friends picked up a copy of HTML for Dummies and began building websites for fun. Christina and coding "clicked," and after she joined her school's Robotics Club, she found a coding mentor in her computer science teacher.

Since those early days, coding has taken Christina to a number of amazing accomplishments. She has won scholarships to attend summer sessions at Stanford; she won Microsoft’s Youthspark Challenge for Change; and she attended a summer program at MIT where she researched drone technology.

Coding isn’t just for boys

Out of nearly 100 attendees at the MIT summer program, Christina was one of only two girls. That’s when she decided to make a change. Christina learned about other women who had set up events to teach young girls how to code. When her school’s mostly male Robotics Club showed little interest in hosting an all-girl event, Christina decided to do it by herself by creating the coding camp Hello, World.

MAY
27
2016

IN THE FIELD
email
print

Women leaders explain how afterschool empowers girls

By Robert Abare

Earlier this month, we told you about the Afterschool Alliance's participation in the #GirlsAre campaign, launched by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation and the Clinton Foundation to encourage young girls to live more active lives. The campaign aims to combat damaging trends facing America's girls, like the fact that the total number of minutes girls participate in vigorous physical activity drops by 86 percent netween the ages of 6 and 17.

The Alliance for a Healthier Generation recently published a Q&A with four women leaders in the afterschool field to discuss their personal and professional perspectives on girls' fitness. Considering that over 10 million children across the USA participate in afterschool programs—gaining access to exercise opportunties and healthy foods—afterschool can clearly play a huge role in this movement to level the playing field. 

The Q&A included the Afterschool Alliance's Director of Health and Wellness Initiatives, Tiereny Lloyd. "Since afterschool programs are attended by boys and girls evenly, the afterschool setting is a great opportunity to provide inclusive co-ed physical activity opportunities," she said.

Click here to read more!

It's not too late to tell the world who you think #GirlsAre! Use the campaign hashtag on social media to share what girls are accomplishing near you.

share this link: http://bit.ly/22recAU
learn more about: Equity Guest Blog Health and Wellness
MAY
20
2016

IN THE FIELD
email
print

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.
share this link: http://bit.ly/1RdNMKU
learn more about: Sustainability
MAY
17
2016

IN THE FIELD
email
print

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
email
print

#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
email
print

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
email
print

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
email
print

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:

share this link: http://bit.ly/1N3Pd3R
learn more about: Advocacy Election