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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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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
17

RESEARCH
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Child Care Aware publishes new report on high cost of child care

By Sophie Papavizas

A few weeks after the bi-partisan reauthorization of the Child Care and Development Block Grant, Child Care Aware of America has published their annual report on Parents and the High Cost of Child Care, showing the increasing costs of child care in America.  In the recent release of America After 3 PM, the Afterschool Alliance also looked at the issue of costs, with 43 percent of parents citing the high cost of local programs as one of the major reasons for not enrolling their child in an afterschool program.

While the focus of the report is on child care for infants and toddlers, also included is data on the average annual cost of before and after school care for school aged children in each state.  The report compares these costs with the median income for both one parent and two parent households to calculate the proportion of family income going towards child care in comparison to other major expenses like housing and food.  Child Care Aware surveyed Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&Rs) State Network offices to obtain data related to the average cost of care in legally operating child care centers and family child care homes.  CCR&Rs pulled these numbers from the latest Market Rate Surveys and databases maintained by the networks.  Most data is from 2013, and older data from 2012 and 2011 was adjusted to 2013 dollars using the Consumer Price Index.

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learn more about: America After 3PM Federal Funding Federal Policy
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DEC
16

RESEARCH
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Making the case for afterschool using America After 3PM

By Nikki Yamashiro

To make a convincing argument, you need two essential components.  The first is a compelling story.  In the afterschool field, there is no shortage of compelling stories about the power of afterschool programs and their ability to keep kids safe, inspire learning and support working parents.  The second are data to support and substantiate your point.  This is where America After 3PM—our recently released national household survey on afterschool program participation and demand for afterschool programs—comes in.   

Last week, we hosted a webinar that focused on the variety of ways afterschool program providers, parents, students and advocates can use the recently released America After 3PM data to make the case for afterschool.  If you missed the webinar, you can still watch the recording or take a look at the PowerPoint presentation

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learn more about: Advocacy America After 3PM Media Outreach State Policy
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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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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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NOV
10

IN THE FIELD
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Guest Blog: Inclusive Out-of-School Time

By Nikki Yamashiro

This blog post was originally published on the National Center on Health, Physical Activity and Disability’s (NCHPAD) blog, which promotes information sharing around increased participation in physical activity among people of all abilities.  Nora Niedzielski-Eichner, executive director of the New York State Afterschool Network (NYSAN), is a contributing author to this blog post and works to raise the profile of the OST field in New York and strengthen OST programs across the state, including promoting the importance of inclusion of youth with disabilities in afterschool, expanded learning, and out-of-school time opportunities.  For additional information regarding afterschool programs providing an inclusive environment where students of all abilities can learn and grow side-by-side, read “Afterschool Supporting Students with Disabilities and Other Special Needs,” a joint issue brief by MetLife Foundation and the Afterschool Alliance.

The purpose of this article is to promote inclusion of youth with disabilities in after-school, expanded learning, and out-of-school time programs. For the purposes of this article, the term “include” and “inclusion” embodies the values, policies, and practices that support all youth, those both with and without disabilities, to participate in a broad range of out-of-school time activities.

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learn more about: America After 3PM Equity Guest Blog Issue Briefs State Networks
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NOV
3

POLICY
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Going to the polls for afterschool

By Sophie Papavizas

Don’t forget to get out and vote tomorrow!  No matter the results of the midterm elections, we can expect a number of new faces in public offices across the country, from local school boards to governor’s mansions to Congress.  We know from the recent America After 3PM data that an overwhelming majority of parents, 84 percent, support public funding for afterschool programs including 91 percent of Democratic parents and 80 percent of Republican parents. Education is among the portfolio of issues being mentioned by candidates.

This winter will be the perfect time to educate newly elected officials and their incoming staff on the importance of quality afterschool programs for all students.  You can even bring the new America After 3 PM data with you to let officials know the afterschool landscape in their state.  For more guidance on post-election follow up see the Afterschool Alliance’s toolbox on Making Afterschool an Election Issue.

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learn more about: Afterschool Voices Congress Education Reform Election Media Outreach
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OCT
31

RESEARCH
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Are we an opportunity nation?

By Nikki Yamashiro

Yesterday I tuned into a webinar hosted by Opportunity Nation on their 2014 Opportunity Index (my colleague wrote a blog post last week that offers a more in-depth description of the Opportunity Index).  The primary purpose of the webinar was to take us through what indicators were used to calculate the Opportunity Index, why these indicators were selected and how to use the index overall in our own work.  What struck me the most while they were describing each indicator is that while overall opportunity in America has improved since they first conducted their study in 2011, there are still significant areas of the country where an individual’s chance of economic mobility is severely limited by the conditions of opportunity in their community.  For example, a child growing up in Fayette County, Ga., has an opportunity grade of B and a child growing up in Cecil County, Md., has an opportunity grade of C when looking at the two counties’ poverty rate, the percentage of adults with an associate’s degree or higher, the preschool enrollment rate and the percentage of disconnected youth.

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learn more about: Equity
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