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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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SEP
16

POLICY
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House reauthorizes Child Care Development Block Grant

By Erik Peterson

Last night the House of Representatives passed S.1086–The Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 2014: Amended Version. The bipartisan, bicameral bill represents a compromise of the legislation that passed the Senate in March by a vote of 96-2.  Due to the changes in the House version, the Senate will need to pass the bill again before it can go the president’s desk to be signed into law. The Senate is expected to take action this month. This marks the first time in 18 years that comprehensive Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) reauthorization legislation has passed both the House and Senate.

The bill that passed last night  reflects a bipartisan agreement reached by Congressional leaders last week to reauthorize CCDBG after several months of negotiations by Reps. John Kline (R-Minn.), George Miller (D-Calif.), Todd Rokita (R-Ind.) and David Loebsack (D-Iowa), as well as Sens. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), and Richard Burr (R-N.C.). The agreement will enhance transparency, strengthen health and safety protections, and improve the quality of care for children of low-income families aged birth to 13.

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learn more about: Congress Equity Federal Funding Legislation Working Families
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SEP
8

STEM
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NASA awards 12 grants to expand informal STEM education

By Taylor Moore

NASA has just awarded $6 million in funding to support STEM opportunities in informal education settings.  Twelve education grants were awarded to informal science institutions like museums, science centers, planetariums and NASA visitor centers to support STEM curricula in afterschool and out-of-school-time projects.

The grants were awarded through NASA’s Competitive Program for Science Museums, Planetariums and NASA Visitor Centers Plus Other Opportunities (CP4SMP+).  When selecting the projects, NASA looked for STEM projects to infuse cutting-edge NASA research and development activities into curriculum development and implementation, teacher preparation and professional development, effective teaching, out-of-school activities, and educational technology.

One winner, the Boston Children’s Museum, is going to work on programs and curriculum focused on out-of-school time (OST) and afterschool.  This project received $241,584 and will be focusing on a project called “Our Sky.”  With resources provided by a partnership with the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, “Our Sky” provides children ages 3-10 and their caregivers an educational experience to inspire an appreciation and understanding of earth and space science.

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learn more about: Federal Funding Funding Opportunity NASA Science Sustainability
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AUG
27

POLICY
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Jim Jeffords: A founder of the movement to expand afterschool programs, a hero to children and families

By Jodi Grant

This post was originally published on Huffington Post's Education Blog. Read the original post and share your thoughts with the HuffPost community.

 

Before former Sen. James Jeffords of Vermont introduced the first legislation to provide federal funding for afterschool in 1994, the federal government played essentially no role in providing meaningful support and programming for young people in the hours after the school day ended and before parents arrived home from work. Sen. Jeffords, who passed away on Aug. 18 at the age of 80, was a pioneer in the national afterschool movement. He worked tirelessly to build congressional and presidential support for a national afterschool and summer learning program infrastructure that lives on today as the 21st Century Community Learning Centers initiative (21st CCLC).

Sen. Jeffords had many proud accomplishments, including chairing the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee and helping to shape the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the No Child Left Behind Act and the Higher Education Act. But advocates for afterschool remember him best as one of the original authors of the legislation that created the 21st CCLC.

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learn more about: 21st CCLC Afterschool Voices Congress Equity ESEA Federal Policy Media Outreach Sustainability Working Families Academic Enrichment
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AUG
22

IN THE FIELD
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Back to afterschool meals

By Alexis Steines

In many parts of the country, summer is drawing to a close as many kids are heading back to the classroom during the final days of August.  For children that rely on federal child nutrition programs, back to school also means back to consistent, healthful and nutritious meals, including those provided by the Department of Agriculture’s At-Risk Afterschool Meals Program.

If you're not already serving afterschool meals in your program, consider participating in the At-Risk Afterschool Meals Program.  Afterschool programs with more than 50 percent of their students receiving free and reduced price school lunches are eligible to serve these meals. Participating in the program is easy and it gives you the opportunity to build community partnerships with your school district’s school nutrition department and anti-hunger advocacy organizations.

Whether you're just starting to serve afterschool meals or are looking to increase participation in your program, the following tips should help you successfully maximize participation:

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learn more about: Federal Funding Funding Opportunity Nutrition Sustainability Community Partners
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JUL
9

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup - July 9, 2014

By Luci Manning

Soapbox: Help Students Beat Summer Learning Loss (Coloradoan, Colorado)

Maria Ortiz, an Afterschool Ambassador and the 21st Century Community Learning Center grant director for Poudre School District, calls on parents, school systems, local and state governments and businesses to help students meet the need for summer learning opportunities across the country in a piece for the Coloradoan.  She writes:

“Clearly, we need more summer learning programs, and just as clearly, the problem is funding them. Right now, the federal government provides some funding for summer learning, by way of the 21st Century Community Learning Centers initiative — the principal federal funding stream for after-school programs. But the funding is insufficient to provide summer learning opportunities for all the kids who need them. Until we can find a way to fix that with contributions from parents, school systems, local and state governments, business, and individual donors, too many of our kids will spend more time with video games and remote controls than with all the wondrous opportunities that summer learning programs can offer them.”

ACTC Summer Camp Teaches About Electronic Components (Daily Independent, Kentucky)

In just one week, elementary school children participating in the Ashland Community and Technical College summer learning camp will have created more than 30 electronic devices including burglar alarms, night lights and police sirens.  In this week’s camp the young students are learning theories behind various electrical components and are putting their knowledge to the test.  Craig McDavid, the program’s instructor, told the Daily Independent the time he spent at this camp as a child motivated him to have a career in science and that he hopes these children are similarly inspired.  He said that “this kind of hands-on learning is the best kind of learning. It’s what brings it home.”

YMS Students Film Commercials for Local Non-Profits (York New-Times, Nebraska)

Students at York Middle School’s (YMS) Summer Learning Academy are gaining some real world media experience and helping their community’s nonprofits in a big way.  The students created commercials to help York Adopt-A-Pet and the Palmer Museum.  Matt Maltsberger, YMS social studies and media productions teacher, told the York News-Times that summer learning programs allow students to have educational opportunities outside of the traditional classroom, “I think that getting kids in a different setting—a setting that lets them express themselves—is beneficial.  It’s the ideal situation for great opportunities to learn.”

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learn more about: 21st CCLC Afterschool Ambassadors Digital Learning Science Summer Learning Community Partners
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JUL
2

POLICY
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Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act passes Senate, strengthens supports for youth

By Erik Peterson

Last week the Senate voted 95-3 to pass the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), which would reauthorize the Workforce Investment Act of 1998. The bipartisan, bicameral bill seeks to improve the nation’s workforce development system. As discussed in a previous blog, the legislation focuses in part on providing comprehensive supports and programming for out-of-school young people. Those provisions from Title I of WIOA include:

  • Expanding the definition of out-of-school youth to encompass young people ages 16 to 24 who are not attending school, have dropped out of school, and face extensive barriers to work and to completing their education. Title I targets 75 percent of youth funds to provide services for out-of-school youth.
  • Addresses eligibility issues that can make it difficult for local areas to develop comprehensive, cross-system approaches to serve youth who are most in need. Title I does so by expanding the definition of low-income individuals to include those who receive or are eligible to receive free or reduced price school lunches and adding an expansive definition for individuals with a barrier to employment. Title I also incorporates a special rule that allows young people living in high-poverty areas to be deemed eligible for services.
  • Requires a minimum percentage of youth funds (20 percent) to support work experiences for low-income and vulnerable young people.
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learn more about: Congress Federal Funding Federal Policy Legislation Youth Development
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JUN
29

STEM
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Supporting Afterschool STEM Act introduced to support technical assistance for afterschool providers

By Anita Krishnamurthi

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) has introduced a bill aimed at providing the supports afterschool practitioners need to offer high-quality science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education programs.  Titled the Supporting Afterschool STEM ActS.2543 will create a grant program that state and regional afterschool and STEM networks can tap into to help afterschool providers in their area give students engaging and high-quality STEM learning experiences. 

As STEM programming grows in afterschool settings, the need for technical assistance and professional development is also rising.  However, most funding is usually allocated to develop and implement programs.  This important legislation recognizes the need to provide resources that will help afterschool practitioners with their professional development and quality improvement efforts. 

The Supporting Afterschool STEM Act authorizes the National Science Foundation (NSF) to award three-year grants to existing afterschool or STEM networks, with 20 percent of all funding reserved to develop new afterschool or STEM networks in states or regions where they don't yet exist.  This bill will enable afterschool networks as well as STEM networks to provide the infrastructure needed for supporting high-quality afterschool STEM programs regionally.  It rightly draws on existing networks and their experience and expertise to assist new and existing afterschool STEM programs and increase the effectiveness of existing federal investments.  The effort would help afterschool programs nationwide develop activities and programming that works in other communities in their state.  The bill also encourages mentorship between students and federal STEM research grantees, and provides hands-on learning and exposure to STEM research facilities for young people.

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learn more about: Congress Federal Funding Legislation Science State Networks Sustainability
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JUN
18

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup - June 18, 2014

By Luci Manning

Grant’s Loss Cuts Irving After-School Program Used by Thousands (Dallas Morning News, Texas)

“An after-school program that served thousands of students in one of the region’s poorest districts has shut down after losing a federal grant,” the Dallas Morning News reports.  Parents and educators praised the Quest afterschool program as a successful model for keeping students on track to graduate, and an independent auditor warned that students’ test scores might dip without the program. Officials are brainstorming and fundraising ways to try and continue the program next year but caution that they won’t be able to provide the same level of programming.

Liberty Students Learn Fun Skills at Afterschool Craft Club (Murray Journal, Utah)

A popular afterschool craft program at Liberty Elementary has tripled in size since the beginning of the school year as more students see the creative projects their peers are completing after school.  On any given day, afterschool students can be seen painting with water colors, stringing together beaded necklaces, and sculpting with clay.  One sixth grader, Allie Krebs, who learned how to crochet blankets, spoke fondly about her new hobby to the Murray Journal, saying that “crocheting relaxed me if I’m stressed out or nervous and it makes me happy.”

College Town (Telegram & Gazette, Massachusetts)

“A Place We Can Call Home,” a powerful documentary produced by the Storytelling Project Incorporating Technology for Ideological Transformation (SPIT-IT) afterschool program, tells the stories of three of the club’s immigrant youths. According to the Telegram & Gazette, SPIT-IT empowers students to voice their experiences and perspectives on the various social realities and public policy issues that affect them through the creation of documentaries.  The students in SPIT-IT conceived, wrote and produced their latest film to show how immigration has impacted Worcester’s young people, many of whom are first or second generation immigrants. 

Stamford’s Young Mariners Graduate on the Sound (Stamford Advocate, Connecticut)

Twenty students from the Stamford area stood proudly on the deck of the Ticonderoga for a special graduation ceremony last Tuesday.  As part of the Young Mariners afterschool enrichment program, the students learned the basics of sailing as well as swimming, CPR, navigation, boating safety and off the water engineering and math principles.  Some of the Young Mariners told the Stamford Advocate that their favorite experiences include taking water samples and learning about how to keep the oceans clean.      

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learn more about: Federal Funding Federal Policy Arts
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