RSS | Go To: afterschoolalliance.org
Subscribe to the Afterschool Advocate newsletter
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.
Afterschool Donation
Afterschool on Facebook
Afterschool on Twitter
Blogs We Read Afterschool Snack Bloggers
Select blogger:
Recent Afterschool Snacks
JUL
12

STEM
email
print

New Data on Afterschool STEM Participation

By Jen Rinehart

Today I was lucky enough to be part of the release of Lost Opportunity, a report on afterschool STEM participation by Change the Equation and Nielsen. This is a great new contribution to what we know about participation in STEM afterschool, and while we may not be happy about the results—only 1 in 5 kids participates in STEM afterschool—it is definitely a useful advocacy tool for the field. 

It also affirms many of the trends in afterschool participation that we found in our America After 3PM research. For instance, both surveys find:
  • Urban students are more likely to be in afterschool than rural students.
  • African-American and Asian kids are more likely to participate in afterschool compared to other ethnic backgrounds.
  • Lower-income youth are more likely to participate than higher-income youth. 

There is a difference between the two studies in terms of grade-level participation.  Middle-grade-level kids are most likely to participate in STEM afterschool while elementary school kids are the most likely to be in afterschool overall. Perhaps the heightened middle school STEM afterschool participation can be explained by the longstanding, and warranted, concerns about kids losing interest in STEM during middle school and the resulting curriculum and materials that have been developed over the years to help prevent that from happening. 

share this link: http://bit.ly/Sd2vtX
learn more about: America After 3PM Events and Briefings Science
Comments: (0)
DEC
9

IN THE FIELD
email
print

Parents Magazine Asks, 'Where Have All the After-School Programs Gone?'

By Ursula Helminski

"Where have all the after-school programs gone?" asks an article in the December issue of Parents, a national magazine reaching 15 million readers, primarily parents.  The article, "The New Latchkey Kids," discusses the dearth of afterschool programs and its effect on families across the country. 
 
Citing the impact of the recession on working parents--who need more affordable care, not less--and the drastic budget cuts suffered by afterschool programs, the author relays the stories of distraught parents who have lost their afterschool support.  Some have been forced to send their children home alone, locking the doors behind them and having frequent check-in's with worried parents over the phone. 
 
Sadly, too many parents share the same experience. Our own Jen Rinehart, VP of Research & Policy, is quoted in the article: "A few years ago many of these families wouldn't have dreamed of letting their kids wait in an empty house.  But in today's economy they often have no choice."  The article shares data from America After 3PM revealing that afterschool needs have jumped 6% since 2004, in every type of neighborhood nationwide.
 
The article can be found online at parents.com.  The article is in the December 2011 issue: The New Latchkey Kids: More than a million grade-schoolers have nobody to take care of them once class lets out. Where have all the after-school programs gone? by Jenny Deam.
share this link: http://bit.ly/vP8H0k
learn more about: Economy Working Families
Comments: (0)
OCT
26

RESEARCH
email
print

The Afterschool Alliance Releases State-by-State Afterschool Progress Reports and Consumer Guides

By Jen Rinehart

 

Last week in conjunction with Lights On Afterschool, we released the 2011 State-by-State Afterschool Progress Reports & Consumer Guidessponsored by jcpenney.  The Progress Reports reveal that many states are making progress, but all have unfinished business to keep kids safe and learning after the school day ends.  All 50 states were measured on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the best rating.  No state received a 5 and only nine states (California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey and New York) received a 4.  Twenty states received a 3; 19 states a 2; and Delaware and Idaho received the lowest rating of 1.

 In preparing these Progress Reports, we spent months examining how each state is helping keep the lights on for kids and families after school by considering: the availability of and participation in afterschool programs based on data from the landmark 2009 America After 3PM household survey; recent state policy activity and funding for afterschool programs; and state-level leadership on afterschool from policy makers.  Taking a national view, we found:

  • Twenty-one states are currently funding afterschool programs.
  • Thirty-one states have an initiative in place that promotes quality in afterschool programming.
  • Only 13 states have passed legislation that directly supports afterschool programs.
  • Just 15 states have state-level councils, studies, pilots or ongoing legislative activity designed to advance afterschool.
  • Only six states reduced the number of children in self-care in the afternoons from 2004 to 2009, the two years in which national household surveys were conducted.
share this link: http://bit.ly/sXVMDy
learn more about:
Comments: (0)
MAY
24

CHALLENGE
email
print

The Afterschool for All Challenge: A Research Perspective

By Chris D'Agostino

Now that I can finally catch my breath after an exciting two days of afterschool advocacy, I thought it would be good time to share myAfterschool for All Challenge experience. This year, I ran and participated in two workshop sessions at the Challenge: “Middle School Innovation: Policy and Practice” and “Become an Afterschool Expert”.  Both sessions were well attended with full rooms of over 60 people each, and the attendees were highly engaged in the issues at hand, making for two great research-focused sessions. 

During the morning session, “Middle School Innovation: Policy and Practice,” I was joined by three program directors from our 2010 MetLife Foundation Afterschool Innovator Award winners: Rob Abbott (CHENY Beacon), Molly Calhoun (Bridge Project) and Jim Pugliese (LeAp 22).  In the role of moderator, I discussed major policy initiatives relevant to middle school programs including the recently re-introduced Success in the Middle Act, which is sponsored by one of our afterschool champions this year, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse.  Additionally, I discussed some middle school-specific research that could help make the case for an increase in middle school programs across the country.  After a brief discussion amongst the session’s participants about the challenges the middle grades bring to afterschool care providers and a viewing of an Edutopia video concerning the successful Providence Afterschool Alliance After Zones initiative, I then introduced our first speaker: Rob Abbott, the Director of Youth and Family Services at Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation in Brooklyn, NY, who helps to run the Cypress Hills/East New York (CHENY) Beacon afterschool program and talked about his role in the program and the Beacon’s innovative and comprehensive model. Next, Molly Calhoun, executive director of the Bridge Project in Denver, CO, talked about her STEM-related afterschool offerings at Bridge, including the use of digital technology to document science experiments.  Molly also discussed the student-centered approach at Bridge, providing children with a number of different opportunities to grow through project-based learning.  Finally, Jim Pugliese from LeAp 22’s art program in Bronx, NY, discussed how to start a successful afterschool program, stressing that patience and determination are the keys to quality.  Jim also described the importance of instilling a passion for learning and discovery in children so that they remain engaged in their education.  All three of the presenters were truly enlightening and provided the attendees with a rich knowledge base of how an effective middle school program is run.

share this link: http://bit.ly/ubHvF4
learn more about: Advocacy Afterschool Champions Afterschool for All America After 3PM Inside the Afterschool Alliance
Comments: (0)
APR
4

RESEARCH
email
print

Addressing the Unique Challenges of Afterschool in Rural Areas

By Chris D'Agostino

At the Afterschool Alliance, we have always been aware of the challenges facing afterschool programs in rural areas.  In 2007, we released an issue brief specifically addressing the unique viewpoint of rural programs and last year we published America After 3PM: From Big Cities to Small Towns, which highlights the major differences in all aspects of afterschool participation among rural, urban and suburban populations.

Recently, our friends at the Harvard Family Research Project (HFRP) added a new issue to their Research Update series highlighting the benefits, challenges and successful strategies of afterschool programs in rural areas based on profiles from the valuable HFRP Out of School Time Database.  The issue shows the variety of positive outcomes that afterschool programs can provide for children in rural communities including:
  • Improved school grades;
  • Improvedattitudes towards and engagement in school;
  • Decreased behavioral problems;
  • Increased academic test scores;
  • Decreased drug use; and
  • Improved school attendance
 
While the rural programs profiled in the Out of School Time database all share the rural moniker, they vary both in their geography and in the diversity of the populations which they serve.  The programs represented span from Montana to Georgia and each has a unique focus, whether it is English Language Learning or substance abuse prevention. The Research Update describes the various and distinctive barriers faced by rural afterschool programs while also providing successful strategies that rural programs can employ to overcome these barriers. It’s a must-read for any afterschool or rural education enthusiast, so check it out today, and be sure to look at other programs profiled in HFRP’s very useful Out of School Time database.

 

share this link: http://bit.ly/sMwPTT
learn more about: Evaluations Rural
Comments: (1)
MAR
31

IN THE FIELD
email
print

Afterschool Ambassadors Make Headlines

By Luci Manning

In a Rapid City Journal op-ed, Afterschool Ambassador Carla Allard writes about the need for afterschool programs in South Dakota.  The Afterschool Alliance’s America After 3PM report found that nearly 49,000 young people in the state are responsible for taking care of themselves in the afternoon.

“But South Dakotans understand the value of afterschool programming, as we made clear at Mount Rushmore last fall when 300 adults and children rallied in support of this type of educational service” during Lights on Afterschool, Allard writes.  “The central message was that afterschool programs do much more than occupy kids' spare time.  They keep children safe, and are structured to inspire students to continue learning after 3 p.m.”

Ambassador Krina Lemons talked with the Statesman Journal about budget cuts that are threatening afterschool programs in the Salem-Keizer school district.  The district’s afterschool programs serve more than 5,000 students, including many who are considered at-risk.

The Salt Lake Tribune highlighted the benefits of community partnerships in providing afterschool opportunities for students.  “The Community Education Partnership of West Valley City, Inc., for example, helps to support 16 afterschool programs, most of them at Granite schools.”  Afterschool Ambassador Margaret Peterson is the Partnership’s executive director.

For more information about Afterschool Ambassadors, click here.

share this link: http://bit.ly/tT6geN
learn more about: Ambassadors Media Outreach
Comments: (0)
FEB
18

IN THE FIELD
email
print

Rivka on the Road in Alaska

By Rivka Burstein-Stern

 Full disclosure – I often wonder whether locations for conferences are selected based on their utter lack of allure and intrigue (the less there is to distract us, the more time to spend participating in conference activities… right?). Well, that genius theory of mine was thoroughly disproven by my last trip, because I was whisked off to one of the most beautiful (and distracting!) places imaginable: Juneau, Alaska for the Alaska 21st Century Community Learning Center & Alaska Association for Community Education Winter Conference! 

“Juneau in February? Really?” was the refrain I heard from friends and family for approximately 4 months leading up to the trip. Yes. Junea in February.
 
I truly cannot imagine a more breathtaking location for a conference. You’ll find Juneau nestled between mountains, water and a brilliantly blue glacier. I couldn’t help but think what a great location Juneau would be for environmentally focused afterschool programs, like those featured in our afterschool and the environment issue brief. I was lucky enough to be taken on driving tour by the conference organizers, who explained that you must properly dispose of your trash in Juneau in order to keep the bears at bay. You don’t have to tell me twice.
 
Bears, scenery and environmental education aside, Juneau was an excellent location for this particular conference because it happens to be the capital city of Alaska. This, of course, means that the state legislature was easily accessible to conference participants. In this case it was a short walk from the conference’s main location! Many conference attendees scheduled meetings with their state legislators to discuss the impact of afterschool programs in their local communities and encourage their elected officials to come see the programs firsthand.
 
I had the privilege of presenting to conference attendees on the subject of afterschool research developments, like our special America After 3PM report on afterschool access from big cities to small towns (the Alaskans pointed out to me that many of them are in a different category altogether called Bush towns), state facts about afterschool in Alaska, the latest federal policy news related to the budget and the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and ideas for how they can take action on these important issues.
share this link: http://bit.ly/vt2OY3
learn more about: America After 3PM Events and Briefings
Comments: (0)
JAN
4

FUNDING
email
print

Consider a Donation to the Afterschool Alliance in the New Year

By Susan Rohwer

    

We have seen a year of unprecedented challenges for the afterschool field in 2010. Recent policy developments and the painful economic downturn have combined to make this a very difficult year for afterschool programs and the children, families and communities they serve. 

We at the Afterschool Alliance are working intensively with our partners at the national, state and local levels to bring resources to those most in need, and to emphasize the crucial role played by afterschool programs nationwide. 

But, as we enter 2011, significant challenges loom. The 112th Congress will consider an appropriations bill that threatens to cut funding for afterschool programs, at precisely the time when children and families need them the most. We will continue our efforts to help programs keep their doors open, and will collaborate closely with the Obama administration, U.S. Department of Education and Congress to ensure that afterschool is part of future education reform.  

We need your help to continue this critical work, and are asking you to consider including the Afterschool Alliance in your new years givingAny amount you can provide is greatly appreciated. All funds raised will go toward ensuring that America’s children and youth have access to quality, affordable afterschool programs. Donations can be mailed or made through our website at afterschoolalliance.org.

share this link: http://bit.ly/sWpsni
learn more about: Advocacy Donate Inside the Afterschool Alliance
Comments: (0)