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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.
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In the Field Snacks
FEB
17

IN THE FIELD
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Join us for a social media storm: Call on Congress to protect afterschool

By Rachel Clark

Please join us tomorrow, February 18, from 2 to 3 p.m. EST for a Social Media Storm emphasizing the importance of afterschool programs. Since the launch of the #Invest3to6 campaign, advocates have reached out to dozens of policy makers in 19 states.  Tomorrow, the Senate Afterschool Caucus will host a briefing on Capitol Hill to inform congressional staff about the need for afterschool funding—help get #Invest3to6 trending to drive this point home and make sure every Member of Congress knows that afterschool programs—and 21st CCLC in particular—are essential. 

A few sample tweets are below—for more sample posts for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest, as well as Twitter handles to tag every Senator and Member of Congress, check out our social media guide.  Be sure to tag your representatives when you tweet tomorrow to make sure they see the message!

  • Juvenile crime peaks #afterschool—eliminating #21stCCLC leaves kids without safe places after 3. #Invest3to6 http://bit.ly/1veukEo
  • Demand for #afterschool programs is higher than ever: kids can't afford to be cut from #21stCCLC. #Invest3to6 http://bit.ly/16HWdOX
  • Every $1 invested in #afterschool through initiatives like #21stCCLC saves $9. #Invest3to6 http://bit.ly/1A6PnjF

Before the storm, take a moment to reach out to your representatives via email!  Our goal is to see afterschool advocates send 10,600 emails to Congress by March 10 on behalf of the 1.6 million kids whose programs are at risk if 21st CCLC isn't protected.  Help us meet this ambitious goal—take action now and drive the message home on social media at 2 p.m. EST tomorrow.

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learn more about: 21st CCLC Congress ESEA Federal Funding Federal Policy
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FEB
13

IN THE FIELD
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Hundreds of afterschool advocates take action to protect 21st CCLC

By Rachel Clark

With 21st Century Community Learning Centers facing extinction, we're calling on afterschool advocates to take action—and you're coming through.  In just the last week, hundreds of tweets and more than a thousand emails have reached policy makers across the country.  With so much momentum, we've set an ambitious goal: to see the afterschool community send 10,600 emails to Congress on behalf of the 1.6 million kids at risk of losing their programs if 21st CCLC isn't protected.  We'll be updating this dashboard weekly to show the progress toward that goal—and which states are sending the most emails, for a little friendly competition.

It's also critical to raise awareness in our communities—and reach policy makers in as many ways as possible—so be sure to check out our social media guide, start tweeting and posting, and mark your calendar for our #Invest3to6 Social Media Storm on February 18 at 2 p.m. EST.

Every week, we'll highlight partners, organizations, and individuals who have gone above and beyond in support of 21st CCLC and afterschool programs.  Thank you to the New York State Afterschool Network and the National Summer Learning Association for your exceptional outreach this week!

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learn more about: 21st CCLC Advocacy Congress ESEA Federal Funding Federal Policy
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FEB
2

IN THE FIELD
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New York City teens 'Break the Super Bowl'

By Rachel Clark

While millions of Americans followed the drama of the New England Patriots’ victory over the Seattle Seahawks—driving Super Bowl ratings to a historic high—over a dozen New York City teens took a more critical eye as participants in media education nonprofit The LAMP’s 4th annual “Break the Super Bowl” event.

For four years, The LAMP has used the Super Bowl and its famed advertisements as an opportunity to get young people to actively engage with these multi-million dollar messages, encouraging critical thinking about frequently used, ethically questionable marketing tactics like misinformation and over-the-top stereotypes.

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learn more about: Digital Learning
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JAN
30

IN THE FIELD
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Recapping the 2015 National Network Meeting

By Rachel Clark

The 2015 National Network Meeting had something for everyone.  Attendees heard from former U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings, as well as elected officials, members of the business community, officials from all levels of the education world, and more.  If Winter Storm Juno kept you away from Dallas—or if you just want to read more about the events—catch up on the conversation with our Storify.  

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learn more about: Events and Briefings State Networks
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JAN
21

IN THE FIELD
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Guest blog: FIU's After-School All-Stars program helps middle school students excel in school, life

By Rachel Clark

Natalia Sol is the Vice President of External Relations for After-School All-Stars, dedicated to supporting the South Florida chapter of the organization.

Pictured:  Left to Right: JJ Calvo (NY Life Hispanic Initiative), Natalia Sol (ASAS SF), Dean Delia Garcia (FIU, College of Education), Pat Mccraw and Tom Krach (NY Life, an ASAS National Partner), President Mark Rosenberg (FIU), and Ben Gilbert (ASAS SF, Board Chair)

For the parents of countless Miami-Dade middle school children living in at-risk communities, the end of the school day can be filled with worry.

Did my son make it home safe?  Is my daughter really doing her homework?  Are they getting enough exercise?

Erik Torres, however, isn’t worrying at all.  Instead, he’s dreaming about all the things his 13-year-old daughter Victoria could do with a college degree thanks to preparation for high school and college success she receives South Florida branch of the After-School All-Stars program (ASAS), which recently partnered with FIU’s College of Education.

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learn more about: Guest Blog
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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. 

 

blogphoto1
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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