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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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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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OCT
27

LIGHTS ON
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A million people rallied to keep the lights on after school

By Sarah Simpson

On the heels of the new America After 3PM study that found that, despite rapid growth in afterschool participation, 1 in 5 children in the United States is unsupervised in the afternoons, students, parents, educators, community leaders, policy makers, business leaders and others rallied for afterschool programs on Thursday as part of the 15th annual Lights On Afterschool. The only nationwide rally for afterschool programs included more than 8,100 events in every corner of the country, and at U.S. military bases worldwide to highlight the many ways quality afterschool programs support children, families and communities.

America After 3PM found that there is huge unmet demand for afterschool programs; the parents of 19.4 million students said they would enroll their child, if an afterschool program were available. In response, in classrooms, community centers, science museums, parks and recreation centers, malls and other settings, more than one million people came together to celebrate and support the quality afterschool programs that keep kids safe, inspire them to learn and help working families.

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learn more about: Advocacy Afterschool Voices Events and Briefings Inside the Afterschool Alliance State Networks Community Partners
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OCT
23

RESEARCH
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Two new reports add to the case for investing in youth programs

By Erik Peterson

With Lights On Afterschool upon us and fresh on the heels of the new America After 3PM (AA3) data, two additional reports further make the case for supporting afterschool and summer learning programs. This week, Opportunity Nation released the 2014 Opportunity Index and the Children’s Leadership Council announced a new public opinion poll showing strong support for investing in effective programs that improve the lives of children and youth.

The Opportunity Index is an annual composite measure at the state and county levels of 16 economic, educational and civic factors that expand or restrict upward mobility. The Opportunity Index ranks all 50 states plus Washington, D.C., and found that access to opportunity has increased by more than 6 percent nationwide since the first iteration of the Index in 2011. Much of this growth is due to large improvements on specific economic and educational indicators (such as the unemployment rate, Internet access and on-time high school graduation rate). There was less robust improvement on civic indicators such as access to healthful food, volunteerism and access to health care. In spite of gains in opportunity overall, the Index also shows that this progress is not enough to ensure that all Americans, particularly teens and young adults, get their fair shot at the American Dream. In particular, while the number of young Americans ages 16-24 who are neither in school nor working dropped significantly since 2013—from 5.8 million to 5.6 million in 2014—the four-year trend is more modest: there were 5.66 million disconnected youth in 2011. Afterschool and summer learning programs, particularly for older youth, can help close the opportunity gap by engaging young people through quality college and career readiness programs.

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learn more about: America After 3PM Equity Evaluations Youth Development
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OCT
23

RESEARCH
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Afterschool across three cities: New data from America After 3PM

By Jen Rinehart

Over the past few weeks, I’ve had the opportunity to talk to hundreds of afterschool providers, funders and advocates about the new America After 3PM data—research that shows more kids than ever are in afterschool programs, but that the unmet demand for programs is also at its highest ever.  Each time I talk to folks about the 2014 findings, a new aspect of America After 3PM grabs my attention.  For instance, the finding that for every one child in an afterschool program now, two more would be enrolled if programs were available.  Or the findings that show that low-income and minority youth are more likely to be in afterschool programs and are also more likely to enroll if more programs were available. 

Most recently I spoke at a conference with Audrey Hutchinson from the National League of Cities, and naturally my attention drifted to what America After 3PM tells us about afterschool in cities.  We have data from three urban communities available—Washington D.C., New York City and Pittsburgh/Allegheny County, PA.  Aside from all being on the east coast, these three communities are quite different in many respects—size, both in terms of population and square miles; industry and workforce; numbers and ethnicity of school-age children and more. 

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learn more about: America After 3PM
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OCT
16

RESEARCH
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Which states made the top 10 list for afterschool?

By Nikki Yamashiro

A huge congratulations to California, D.C., Florida, Vermont, Massachusetts, Arizona, Oregon, Nebraska, Tennessee and Hawaii for making America After 3PM’s “Top 10 States for Afterschool”! 
 
These states made the list because they have some combination of strong afterschool participation rates, high parent satisfaction with their child’s afterschool program, and low rates of children who are alone and unsupervised after school.  For example, California, which secured the number one spot, has an afterschool program participation rate of 25 percent, third highest in the nation, and a participation rate higher than the national average of 18 percent.  America After 3PM also found that the Golden State has strong parent satisfaction when it comes to their child’s afterschool program.  Nine in 10 California parents are satisfied with their child’s afterschool program and 92 percent are satisfied with the program’s quality of care.  
 
There are a handful of familiar states that were on the top 10 list from our 2009 edition of America After 3PM, but there are also a few newcomers to list, including Washington, D.C.  This is the first time in the three rounds of America After 3PM that we were able to report on the District of Columbia.  
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learn more about: America After 3PM Education Reform Media Outreach State Networks State Policy
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