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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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MAR
4

POLICY
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Bipartisan Summer Meals Act introduced in Senate to help close hunger gap

By Erik Peterson

Child nutrition program reauthorization efforts have taken a strong step forward with Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) introducing the bipartisan  Summer Meals Act of 2015 (S. 613). The legislation would significantly improve the reach of the Summer Nutrition Programs so more children can access healthy meals in supportive summer learning and afterschool programs. The bill would also simplify the administration of the program for sponsors.

The bill proposes the following improvements:

  • Improve the area eligibility test to allow community-based organizations to participate if 40 percent of the children in the area are eligible for free or reduced-price meals. Currently, a summer meal site must meet a 50 percent threshold which keeps many communities from participating. This change would make summer meals eligibility consistent with 21st Century Community Learning Center initiative guidelines. Maps have been developed for each state to show how many more areas would be served under this proposed change.
  • Allow local government agencies and private nonprofit organizations to feed children year-round—afterschool and in the summer—through a single Summer Food Service Program process. This would remove duplicative paperwork and confusing administrative rules that discourage participation.
  • Provide funding for transportation grants to fund innovative approaches and mobile meal trucks. Transportation is one of the biggest barriers to participation, especially in rural areas.
  • Allow all sites to serve a third meal. Many summer meal sites provide child care to working parents and run all day and for extended hours, but are only able to serve a maximum of two meals with federal funds.

The Summer Nutrition Programs, which include the Summer Food Service Program and the National School Lunch Program over the summer period, provide free meals at participating summer sites at schools, parks, other public agencies, and nonprofits for children under 18. They provide children the nutritious meals they need to keep hunger at bay and remain healthy throughout the summer. They also support summer learning programs and help draw children into educational, enrichment, and recreational activities that keep them learning, engaged, active, and safe during school vacation.

A companion bill is expected to be re-introduced shortly in the House. The Afterschool Alliance has joined dozens of other groups in support of the legislation. 

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learn more about: Congress Federal Funding Federal Policy Legislation Nutrition Summer Learning
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FEB
27

POLICY
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Upcoming webinar: How changes to CCDBG will impact school-age care

By Erik Peterson

Please join the Office of Child Care (OCC) at the Department of Health and Human Services for a webinar-based discussion of school-age afterschool and summer care issues, including the impact of the newly reauthorized Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) Act.

Following a brief presentation by OCC on various pieces of the new law, there will be an opportunity to ask questions.  In advance of the webinar you can learn more here about the new Child Care Development Block Grant Act and potential changes.

All school-age care providers are welcome to join the free webinar, as are child care advocates and state-level groups.  You can register here for this webinar, which is scheduled for March 3, 2015, from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. eastern time.

After registering you will receive a confirmation e-mail containing information about joining the webinar.

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learn more about: Events and Briefings Federal Funding Federal Policy
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FEB
25

POLICY
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Afterschool for America's Children Act introduced in the House

By Erik Peterson

Yesterday, Rep. Dan Kildee (D-MI) introduced the Afterschool for America's Children Act (HR 1042) in the House of Representatives.  The  legislation would reauthorize and strengthen the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) initiative—the nation’s chief federal funding stream for afterschool programs—by supporting innovative advances taking root in before-school, afterschool and summer learning programs. The bill was announced at an event in Flint, Mich. last week and is companion legislation to bipartisan S. 308 introduced previously in the Senate.  A summary of the legislation is available here.

The reintroduction of the Afterschool for America’s Children Act comes as the full House of Representatives prepares to debate and vote this week on HR 5, a partisan ESEA reauthorization bill that would eliminate 21st CCLC and replace it with a block grant that can be used for afterschool or in-school programming.

The House Afterschool for America’s Children Act:

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learn more about: 21st CCLC Congress Federal Funding Federal Policy Legislation
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FEB
20

IN THE FIELD
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Advocates continue calling on Congress to save 21st CCLC

By Rachel Clark

With the fight to save 21st Century Community Learning Centers continuing, hundreds of afterschool advocates have been taking action.  During just one hour this week, participants in our social media storm reached nearly 70 policy makers in 19 states.  Advocates have also continued to make progress toward our 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—2,073 emails have been sent so far this month, and a few states have climbed up our leaderboard.  In the coming days, activate your networks to help reach this goal—and to make sure your state has a slot on the leaderboard.

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 and keep tweeting and posting to keep up the momentum from this week.

This week in the spotlight for going above and beyond in support of afterschool programs: Afterschool Ambassadors in Kansas, who took Topeka by storm yesterday to share their stories and urge legislators to invest in afterschool.

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learn more about: 21st CCLC Advocacy Congress ESEA Federal Funding Federal Policy Legislation
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FEB
19

POLICY
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Senate Afterschool Caucus briefing highlights the value of afterschool programs

By Sophie Papavizas

A winter storm that shut down the federal government in Washington, DC on Tuesday, could not stop afterschool advocates from taking their message to the Capitol the next day.  On Wednesday, February 18th, the Senate Afterschool Caucus, chaired by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), hosted a briefing titled “America After 3PM: Supporting Student Success Through Afterschool and Summer Learning Programs.”  The briefing focused on recently released America After 3PM data on the need for high-quality afterschool and summer learning programs and experiences at the state and local level of how the 21st Century Community Learning Center initiative plays a critical role in providing young people with educational and engaging experiences to help them succeed in school and in life.

A packed room of Congressional staff from both the House and Senate as well as afterschool advocates from national, state and local organizations heard from the panel of experts.  The panels was moderated by Nicole Johnson, a member of the board of the Maryland Out of School Time Partnership, consultant for Extraordinary Changes, and previously Senior Director for Elev8 Baltimore, a full-service community schools initiative.

The panelists painted a comprehensive picture of the supports that afterschool  programs provide:

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learn more about: 21st CCLC Congress ESEA Events and Briefings Federal Funding Federal Policy
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FEB
19

POLICY
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Congressman Kildee announces bill to support afterschool programming

By Erik Peterson

At an event at Potter Elementary School in Flint, Mich. on Tuesday, Congressman Dan Kildee (D-MI) announced new legislation in Congress to invest in successful afterschool programs in cities across the U.S.  The bill, the Afterschool for America’s Children Act, leverages local and private support for afterschool and summer learning programs to provide a safe space for young people after school and help increase opportunities for children both in and out of the classroom.

Congressman Kildee’s legislation, the Afterschool for America’s Children Act, would:

  • Invest in successful 21st Century Community Learning Center (21st CCLC) programs.
  • Increase flexibility for states to tailor their afterschool activities toward non-traditional programs such as STEM education, health, fitness, art and music.
  • Expand afterschool programming from simply preparing students for a standardized test to providing children with a safe and constructive environment.
  • Establish rigorous state-based reviews to improve the quality of afterschool programs and ensure that funding is maximizing a child’s education.

The announcement of the bill comes just a week after the House Education and the Workforce Committee voted to pass ESEA reauthorization bill H.R. 5 out of Committee, sending it to the House floor.  The partisan HR 5 would eliminate 21st CCLC.  Friends of afterschool can continue to reach out to Congress in support of afterschool and summer learning programs.

The announced bill is companion legislation to the bipartisan S. 308 introduced in the Senate last month by Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV).  Congressman Kildee is expected to introduce the bill next week when Congress is back in session.

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