By Luci Manning
Star-Telegram columnist Bob Ray Sanders makes a compelling case for why Fort Worth’s crime prevention tax needs to be renewed, citing the positive learning experiences at the Fort Worth After School (FWAS) program. Miguel Garcia, an Afterschool Ambassador and program director of FWAS, told the Star-Telegram how the afterschool programs “provide a safe, positive learning experience for students at the end of the school day when many of them otherwise would be at home, or somewhere else, without adult supervision.” Sanders calls the $1.1 million the FWAS program receives in Crime Control and Prevention District funding, “a small amount of money for all the benefit that comes from this exceptional program.”
Roxbury coach Tony Richards was there many years ago when Shabazz Napier, point guard for the University of Connecticut, learned to play the sport he loved at the Roxbury YMCA. Richards started coaching kids in Boston neighborhoods in his “No Books, No Ball” program to keep his son and nephew off the streets. Richards told the Boston Globe, “You see these single mothers, you see these kids that need mentoring… that’s the energy that keeps me coming back.” Napier will play in this year’s Final Four on Saturday.
On any given Monday night, dozens of students are engaged in some friendly competition at Jacksonville High School’s chess club. The newly formed club was intended not only for the students to improve their chess skills for the sake of winning the game, but to employ those skills in all areas of life. Club co-founder Larry Richmond told the Jacksonville Daily Progress that to excel in chess, the students need to utilize logical thinking and a strong work ethic, qualities he believes are “the greatest value to academics.”
Donors at Hicksville blood drives were treated to snacks and juice from a special group of “little doctors.” Students from seven Hicksville Elementary schools, who volunteer through the Little Doctors afterschool program, not only served refreshments but also assisted potential donors before clinicians took over the process. “Little Doctors is an opportunity for students to learn the value of volunteerism and the importance of participating in community service,” Fork Lane School Principal Christopher Scardino told the Hicksville Illustrated News.
David Reeves is Marketing Manager of Playland Inc. in Carrollton, GA. Playland Inc., is a total solutions manufacturer and supplier to many industries, with its roots deep in the park and playground markets including churches, schools, and day care centers.
As kids spend more time watching TV, they spend less time exercising and playing. Just like adults, kids need exercise, and there are plenty of benefits of exercising for school-aged children. As you may know, one hour of physical activity per day is the commonly suggested amount for kids to get the most out of these benefits.
Some benefits of exercise for school-aged children are pretty obvious, such as weight control. Kids who exercise also fulfill a great number of vital emotional, social and cognitive needs. Play helps kids feel better, act better and think better. They feel less stressed, and higher levels of physical fitness also improve confidence. They sleep better at night and are ready to learn more in school. Exercise helps kids build and keep healthy bones, muscles and joints. Kids who exercise with their peers also learn teamwork and goal setting, and the chance of developing diseases later in life is greatly reduced.
Today Pres. Obama released his budget request for the upcoming 2015 fiscal year, which begins this October. With regard to support for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) initiative, the president requested $1.149 billion—reflecting the same level for 21stCCLC as was in the FY2014 omnibus bill that passed in January. As was the case in his budget request last year, the president proposes to radically change 21st CCLC to a competitive grant at the federal level as well as to prioritize 21st CCLC grant funding for new purposes including adding time to the traditional school day or year, and for teacher planning and professional development.
According to the discussion of the budget request for the Department of Education:
Funds would support competitive grants to states, local education agencies, nonprofit organizations, or local governmental entities for projects that provide the additional time, support, and enrichment activities needed to improve student achievement, including projects that support expanding learning time by significantly increasing the number of hours in a regular school schedule and by comprehensively redesigning the school schedule for all students in a school. Projects could also provide teachers the time they need to collaborate, plan, and engage in professional development within and across grades and subjects.
Forty-five states have adopted the Common Core State Standards in both English Language Arts and Math, with the majority of these states expected to implement the standards by the 2013-2014 school year. As more schools begin to implement the Common Core standards, afterschool programs are well-positioned to support the learning that takes place during the school day and to align afterschool programming so that it bolsters students’ academic growth and engagement in learning.
The Afterschool Alliance recently released an issue brief describing how afterschool programs are an ideal partner for schools and teachers in their work with the Common Core standards.
Below is a short Q&A on the intersection of afterschool programs and the Common Core standards.
How can afterschool learning contribute to student achievement under the Common Core standards?
- Across the country, afterschool programs are helping students develop the critical thinking, problem-solving and communications skills that the Common Core emphasizes.
- Afterschool programs create engaging, fun, thoughtful and relevant learning experiences for children, allowing them the opportunity to produce and create, delve deeper into projects, collaborate with their peers, and focus on the learning that takes place throughout projects, rather than solely on the end result.
- Working in partnership with schools and teachers, afterschool programs hold infinite potential to prepare children for college and the workforce, and have the competencies necessary to be successful, productive and engaged citizens.
At the Afterschool Alliance, we are thrilled to start off the new year with the release of the first in a series of issue briefs that explore the many ways afterschool programs are playing an integral role supporting the academic, social and emotional growth of middle schoolers across the country. In partnership with MetLife Foundation, this year’s series of issue briefs will focus on the Common Core State Standards, students with disabilities and other special needs, the use of data to improve afterschool programs, and keeping kids safe and supported in the hours after school. This issue brief, “Afterschool and the Common Core State Standards,” discusses the need to better prepare students for future success in college and work; the basics of the Common Core; and the variety of ways afterschool programs are working with students, teachers and schools to support learning under the Common Core.
The latest Program of International Student Assessment (PISA) scores released in December 2013 found that the U.S. ranked 26 in math, 21 in science and 17 in reading out of the 34 OECD countries. The scores also showed that a higher percentage of U.S. students were performing at the lower levels of PISA’s proficiency scale in math than the OECD average. However, what stood out among OECD’s findings was that U.S. students had shown no significant change in their reading scores since 2000, no significant change in math since 2000 and no significant change in science since 2006.
Time’s running out to help an afterschool program win up to $2,000 or other prizes!
Help to shine a light on your favorite afterschool program by voting in the Bright House Networks Lights On Afterschool photo contest on Facebook. Up to three afterschool programs are eligible to win $1000 in cash, and one program in a Bright House Networks service area can win up to $2000.
Vote for as many photos as you want each day—but only one vote per day per photo! So be sure to come back and vote again so your favorite can stay in the lead! Voting will end this Friday, Nov. 15 at 11:59 PST.
The NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing honors young women at the high-school level for their computing-related achievements and interests. Awardees are selected for their computing and IT aptitude, leadership ability, academic history, and plans for post-secondary education. National winners receive:
- $500 cash award
- A laptop computer
- Trip for two to the National award ceremony in Charlotte, NC, March 15, 2014
We also plan to recognize as many as 60 educators this year with the NCWIT Educator Award, which comes with $1000 for professional development and a Dell laptop from sponsor AT&T. Winners are selected from educators that encourage girls to apply for the Aspirations Award. https://www.aspirations.org/participate/educators
The Spirit of Innovation Challenge is an excellent way to help your students channel their creative thinking and demonstrate their knowledge. The annual program is a multi-phase, business and technical plan competition, free and open to students ages 13-18 from around the world. The program invites teens to work in teams of 2-5 students and use science, technology, engineering and math skills along with creativity, collaboration and entrepreneurship to develop innovative products and services to benefit humanity and address global sustainability.
The first round submission can be completed in less than five hours from start to finish. The deadline for the 2013-2014 one-page abstract qualification round is this Thurs., Oct. 24.
Not sure you have all the tools needed for your team to be successful? The Spirit of Innovation Challenge provides free access to mentors, webinars and forums to answer all your questions. Join today! www.ConradAwards.org