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In the Field Snacks
JAN
13

IN THE FIELD
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Celebrate National Mentoring Month: Bring mentoring to afterschool

By Rachel Clark

January’s National Mentoring Month marks a national celebration of the thousands of adults who guide, support, and encourage young people as mentors.  Rapid growth in mentoring programs has brought the care and support of a mentor to three million youth in recent years—but almost 15 million youth have been left unserved.

Afterschool can help close that gap.  The flexible structure and partnerships enjoyed by afterschool programs enable providers to develop creative mentoring approaches, building off the resources and needs of their students and communities. Movement City in Lawrence, MA brings together academic support, the arts, and mentoring, while Science Club for Girls encourages confidence in STEM by pairing girls with female mentor-scientists and by allowing teen girls to mentor younger children.

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learn more about: Service
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DEC
19

IN THE FIELD
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Guest blog: Every Hour Counts, a report from Vermonts PreK-16 Council

By Erik Peterson

Dr. Holly Morehouse is the Executive Director of Vermont’s statewide afterschool network. Vermont Afterschool, Inc., is a statewide nonprofit that supports organizations in providing quality afterschool, summer and expanded learning experiences so that Vermont’s children and youth have the opportunities, skills and resources they need to become healthy, productive members of society.

 

 

For every $1 invested in quality afterschool and summer learning programs, Vermont sees a return of $2.18 in long-term benefits and savings.

This is just one of many findings in a new report, Every Hour Counts: Vermont’s Students Succeed with Expanded Learning Opportunities, from Vermont’s Working Group on Equity and Access in Expanded Learning Time.

The Working Group formed last June as a subcommittee of Vermont’s PreK-16 Council upon direction from the state legislature to evaluate issues of equity and access in Vermont’s Expanded Learning Opportunities (ELOs), including afterschool and summer learning programs. The group was charged with identifying:  key elements of quality ELOs; ways to increase access and remove barriers to ELOs across the state; and recommendations for how ELOs can support student success in Vermont.

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Caption: Vermont Afterschool, Inc. Executive Director Holly Morehouse (center in blue) presenting the Every Hour Counts report to Vermont’s PreK-16 Council.

Making the case for ELOs

With only six months to collect data, outline our findings and develop meaningful recommendations, time was short. It helped our work immensely to be able to draw on existing research and advocacy materials. Instead of trying to come up with separate quality standards, the Working Group adopted the Afterschool Alliance’s principles for effective ELOs. We also greatly benefited from the release of the America After 3PM report and data, and built off of the Afterschool Alliance’s talking points to emphasize that afterschool and summer programs keep kids safe, inspire learners and help working families.

Connecting to broader conversations in the state

The Working Group was sensitive to concerns over rising costs and increased pressures on Vermont’s education system. Instead of portraying ELOs as something added on top of these demands, we included a section highlighting how ELOs help schools and communities do what they’ve already been asked to do. In particular, the Working Group focused on how ELO programs support Vermont’s education vision by addressing the academic achievement gap and summer learning loss; supporting schools in meeting Vermont’s new Education Quality Standards; and providing opportunities in line with Vermont’s recent “Flexible Pathways” legislation.

Recommendations

Particularly exciting is the report’s recommendation to ensure that by 2020 children and youth in every Vermont community have access to quality Expanded Learning Opportunities. Getting buy-in around that statement is a big step forward for afterschool and summer learning in Vermont.

Even though we included data on how ELOs can save Vermont money over time, the Working Group decided not to include a specific financial request in the report. We wanted to avoid the cost debate that could have distracted from the message. The Working Group felt it was most important to get broad-based buy in behind the report and recommendations first. Now that the PreK-16 Council has approved, the report will be presented to a joint meeting of the Vermont House and Senate Education Committees in mid-January. In the following months, the network will develop a corresponding proposal about what it would take in funding and infrastructure to meet the goals presented in the recommendations (i.e., access in every Vermont community).

Thank you to our funders

Key to the success of the working group was analytical support that the network was able to provide through a Network Data Grant from the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) and the C.S. Mott Foundation. The goal of this grant initiative is to help statewide networks collect relevant out-of-school time data and effectively share the data with state legislators and legislative staff, as well as other key state policy makers. 

 

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Caption: Students engaging in STEM activities at Winooski, VT’s 21st Century Community Learning Center summer learning program.

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DEC
15

IN THE FIELD
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Guest blog: Informing policy makers and the OST field on the opportunity gap

By Nikki Yamashiro

Sara Beanblossom is the director of communications and special events at the Indiana Afterschool Network, a nonprofit organization that inspires, empowers, and mobilizes the advocates, partners, and practitioners of afterschool and summer programs in Indiana.

AFTERSCHOOL AND SUMMER PROGRAMS CAN ADD 1,080 HOURS OF ACADEMIC ENRICHMENT TO A CHILD’S YEAR, EQUIVALENT TO THE NUMBER OF HOURS IN 144 SCHOOL DAYS. Yet, access is not equal. Low-income youth experience 6,000 fewer hours of enrichment and academic learning than their more affluent peers by the eighth grade (Hechinger Report, 2013).

Great piece of data, right?

The Indiana Afterschool Network (IAN) thinks so, too. That is why we are communicating this point and other important data to Indiana program providers to help them voice the need for and the impact of high quality out-of-school time (OST) programs to their policy makers and funders.

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learn more about: Advocacy America After 3PM Guest Blog State Networks State Policy
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DEC
1

IN THE FIELD
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Closing tomorrow: survey on afterschool snacks and meals

By Nikki Yamashiro

Does your afterschool program provide snacks?  Are you an afterschool program provider who would like to offer food, but are unable to do so?  Complete this short survey by Tuesday, Dec. 2 and help us identify how providing afterschool snacks and meals has changed over time, and what barriers afterschool programs face in providing food.

With your help, we can better understand the landscape around providing afterschool snacks and meals. 

If you are interested in learning more about afterschool meals, nutrition education and physical activity in an afterschool setting, visit our Afterschool Meals web page.

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learn more about: Equity Nutrition
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NOV
25

IN THE FIELD
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Smile: It's Thanksgiving

By Shaun Gray

"I believe that afterschool programs are an essential part of bettering our youth. Afterschool programs have helped me learn and grow, and will help other students do the same."
– Gabby, age 17

This has been an incredible year for the Afterschool Alliance! Thanks to your support of our work, more students like Gabby are taking advantage of expanded educational opportunities. Our highly-publicized landmark research study, America After 3 PM , released this October, found that more than 10 million children now participate in afterschool programs, a 57% increase over the last 10 years. However, for every student currently in an afterschool program, parents report that there are two more waiting to get in—that’s 20 million students whose parents would enroll them if an afterschool program were available.

You can help support afterschool programs and our year-round work, by doing your holiday shopping online through Amazon Smile. It’s easy.  On your first visit to smile.amazon.com, select the Afterschool Alliance as your charitable organization, then browse through the tens of millions of products that Amazon Smile has to offer and are eligible for donations. The AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price to us.

This past year has seen some remarkable achievements in advocating for more afterschool investments and expanding afterschool resources to support this work.

You can help ensure that all children have access to quality, affordable afterschool programs that keep them safe, inspire them to learn and help America’s working families.

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NOV
19

IN THE FIELD
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First Lady honors 12 afterschool arts and humanities programs at White House

By Ed Spitzberg

Many afterschool programs stoke the creative fires of the kids who participate in them.  Sometimes it is that yearning for the arts that draws kids to these programs to start with – and once there, they also gain many other skills, from confidence, to public speaking, to creative expression.

Each year, the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services, honors some of these premier programs with the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award.  Each honor comes with a $10,000 award, presented during  a ceremony at the White House led by First Lady Michelle Obama.

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learn more about: Celebrities Obama Academic Enrichment Arts Youth Development
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NOV
18

IN THE FIELD
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Are you feeding children afterschool? We want to hear from you!

By Erik Peterson

Close to 16 million children live in a food-insecure household, where they are without consistent access to food. Afterschool programs can—and do—play an important role in promoting healthy lifestyles for youth, in part by proving a nutritious snack or meal in the afternoon. The Afterschool Alliance is seeking to learn more about the state of afterschool meals through an online survey.

We need your help to better understand the landscape around providing meals after school. Complete a brief survey by Monday, Nov. 24—which is a follow up survey to one conducted two years ago—and you can help us identify how providing afterschool snacks and meals has changed over time, and what barriers programs face to provide afterschool snacks and meals. The survey should only take eight minutes to complete.

Check out our Afterschool Meals web page for more information on afterschool meals, nutrition education and physical activity in an afterschool setting.

Complete survey here

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learn more about: Equity Health and Wellness Nutrition Community Partners
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NOV
12

IN THE FIELD
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The opportunity equation: helping make the case for high-quality afterschool programs everywhere

By Jodi Grant

Kudos to Eric Schwartz, founding CEO of Citizen Schools, for authoring a book that highlights the value of the afterschool space and boldly points out that the greatest disparity of opportunity between students lies in unequal access to enrichment and learning opportunities outside of the traditional school classroom.

In his recently released book, The Opportunity Equation: How Citizen Teachers Are Combating the Achievement Gap in America's Schools, Eric argues that the real achievement gap between low-income students and wealthier students stems from what they do with the time they spend outside of school. Upper-middle-class students are exposed to a variety of enrichment activities, and because of their parents, they have multiple opportunities to interact with leaders and role models.  Lower-income students have limited access to any such resources.

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learn more about: America After 3PM Equity Extended Day Academic Enrichment Community Partners
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