In case you missed it, last week the Governator posed as a trainer at a Gold's Gym to promote physical activity and raise money for the afterschool program he founded, the After-School All-Stars.
From Rhode Island to Washington state and everywhere in-between, statewide afterschool networks are bringing together the afterschool field to find ways to support learning under the new Common Core State Standards.
Last November, School’s Out Washington held a one-day workshop to help align afterschool activities with school day lessons, as well as help afterschool providers communicate with parents and keep them informed about the Common Core. The workshop was open to afterschool and youth development programs interested in learning about how they can help students meet the goals and expectations of the Common Core. Janet Schmidt, chief program and policy officer for School’s Out Washington, commented that in afterschool programs, “[Kids] have that space, that time, to really dig in and experience things hands-on in a new way than what a classroom teacher has during the school day, with the constraints of the schedules that they have.”
In June, Adam Greenman, executive director of the Rhode Island After School Plus Alliance (RIASPA), shared how his organization is working with afterschool programs in Rhode Island to better understand the Common Core. From holding information sessions and presentations about the Common Core to working with the state’s Department of Education to provide joint professional development opportunities for school day staff and afterschool providers, RIASPA is working to help programs align their work to foster success among students. Adam said it best, “The Common Core State Standards offer afterschool practitioners and teachers opportunities to align programming and content with each other in a way that satisfies our mutual goals: the healthy development of children and youth.”
We’re inviting teachers, afterschool leaders and educators everywhere to celebrate Digital Learning Day by accepting the #make4DLDay challenge, a set of digital storytelling activities that allow youth and adults to be makers for Digital Learning Day.
Both the maker education and digital learning movements are grounded in the belief that kids learn best by doing. From cardboard and clay to circuits and computers, kids can use a variety of analogue and digital tools to tell their story. The #make4DLDay challenge is about sharing ideas among educators, and experimenting with modern ways of engaging youth in making and digital storytelling.
Accepting the #make4DLDay challenge is easy—here’s how:
- Choose your level. We’ve got multiple activities for educators with varying levels of experience using digital tools. Choose your level based on the tools most readily accessible to you.
- Pick a relevant topic. Digital storytelling can be applied to almost any topic, from geography to STEM. Design your activity around a topic of interest to your students.
- Share your work. On Feb. 5, share your photos, videos and links to students’ work with other innovative educators by using the hashtag #make4DLDay.
On Feb. 5, thousands of educators will take part in the third annual Digital Learning Day, a nationwide celebration of common sense, effective applications of digital learning that support educators, improve learning and provide opportunities for students to achieve at their highest potential. As part of this celebration, we’re excited to announce the #Make4DLDay challenge and want you to join the fun!
Thanks to digital media and technology, our education system is undergoing a major shift in how, where and what students are learning. The organizations collaborating in this challenge—the Afterschool Alliance, Edutopia, and the National Writing Project (via its Educator Innovator Initiative and Digital Is platform)—share a common belief that this shift should reflect connected learning principles, including interest-driven, production-centered learning opportunities for youth, in school and out. These principles allow youth to collaborate with peers and mentors in person and via the Web as they become producers of digital artifacts and not just consumers.
To that end, we’re inviting you to join us in accepting the #Make4DLDay challenge—a set of digital storytelling activities that allow youth and adults to be makers for Digital Learning Day.
By Jen Rinehart
From K-12 classrooms to afterschool settings to higher education, there is a growing recognition that we need an education system that measures student success based on competencies rather than on the amount of time that a student spends in the classroom. While thecompetency-based education movement gained attention and traction in 2013, it's not a new idea. In fact, some states and communities have been implementing competency-based learning for years with great success.
For example, New Hampshire has taken a competency-based approach to K-12 education for more than a decade. Earlier this year, the movement extended beyond K-12 education and into the higher education realm. Southern New Hampshire University's College for America is the first in the nation to be approved to receive federal funding based on students demonstrating mastery instead of accumulating a predetermined number of classroom hours. This competency-based structure ensures that students have acquired the most relevant and necessary workforce skills, such as communication and creative thinking.
This move away from seat time at all levels of education is great news for the afterschool community. Afterschool advocates have long been touting the value of learning opportunities that take place outside the traditional classroom. Afterschool and summer programs provide learning opportunities that are often offered by diverse community partners on topics that are relevant and interesting to students. These programs reinforce and support in-school learning and provide access to adult experts who can provide enriching learning experiences that are not available during the regular school day. In the process, students master academic and other competencies, and apply their learning in real-world settings.
While many students nationwide are excitedly awaiting their winter holiday break, for the 21 million children who rely on school breakfast and lunch as their primary source of nutrition, school holidays can lead to hunger pains. Since 2011, the Afterschool Meals Program offered through the USDA Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) has provided federal funding to afterschool programs operating in low-income areas to serve meals and snacks to children 18 and under during school holidays as well as after school and on weekends. A number of schools will offer meals during their winter breaks.
Other communities are coming together to provide students in need with a backpack of groceries to take home to their families and provide nourishment over the long school holiday. In Erie, Pennsylvania, more than 1,000 second- and third-graders, will receive five-pound bags of food to take home for the winter break. Coordinators with the Erie School District and Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest Pennsylvania's backpack program know that these children will be without free school meals until they return to school on Jan. 2. In Hancock, Michigan, volunteers packed 6,000 meals into backpacks to ensure that 125 students in the area would have food for three daily meals over the 16-day break.
By Luci Manning
By Shaun Gray
Last week the Afterschool Alliance team took the day off from advocating for afterschool programs to visit one. After-School All-Stars at Stuart-Hobson Middle School, located in northeast Washington, D.C., is bursting with lively, energetic 6th, 7th and 8th graders. The first D.C. chapter of the All-Stars launched in September, opening its doors to 150 students and providing homework assistance, enrichment opportunities, and a hot meal every day.
On this particular Friday, the All-Stars students (with a little help from staff) planned an awards ceremony to honor the hard-working adults who support them Monday through Friday, from 3:15 until 6 p.m. From the program director and teachers, to the line cooks and custodial personnel, everyone who makes After-School All-Stars possible was recognized in a special way.