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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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APR
15

POLICY
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Thank you for making #3to6 Day a success!

By Erik Peterson

On March 26 (3/26) more than 3 million parents, young people and supporters of afterschool were reached through an online campaign that raised awareness about the value of afterschool programs and called for Congressional support of the Afterschool for America’s Children Act: S. 326 and HR 4086. 

Every afternoon between the hours of 3 and 6 p.m. children nationwide should have the opportunity to participate in engaging afterschool programs that support their learning and development and spark their passions and creativity.  In recognition of the afterschool hours of opportunity from 3 to 6 p.m., on 3/26 friends of afterschool programs took to their social media networks to promote afterschool and build support for the Afterschool for America’s Children Act. 

The bipartisan Afterschool for America’s Children Act, S. 326 and HR 4086—led by Sens. Boxer, Murkowski and Murray in the Senate and by Reps. Kildee and DeLauro in the House—would reauthorize and strengthen the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) initiative—the nation’s chief federal funding stream for afterschool and summer learning programs—by supporting innovative advances that support student success.

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learn more about: Advocacy Inside the Afterschool Alliance Media Outreach
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APR
4

POLICY
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It's appropriations season: 2015 appropriations process continues in House and Senate

By Erik Peterson

On the heels of the president’s FY2015 budget request submitted to Congress last month, the House and Senate appropriations subcommittees have begun the process of setting spending levels for FY2015.  While the House has their own proposed budget blueprint to work from, the Senate is using the budget agreement worked out in December as a guideline for FY2015 spending decisions.

Despite the differences, House and Senate appropriations committees have begun holding hearings on the FY2014 spending bills and will hear testimony from Education Sec. Arne Duncan this month.  

With regard to funding for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) initiative, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) led efforts to organize ‘Dear Colleague Letters’ asking appropriators to support funding for 21st CCLC. According to the Harvard Family Research Project, the 21st CCLC initiative has been a major factor in helping to close the socioeconomic gap in afterschool participation. While afterschool participation rates have increased at every level of family income nationwide, lowest income youth have shown the greatest increase in participation due in large part to the access provided to quality programs through 21st CCLC.

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learn more about: 21st CCLC Afterschool Caucus Budget Congress Federal Funding
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MAR
24

POLICY
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Raise your voice for afterschool programs on 3/26

By Erik Peterson

This Weds., 3/26, raise awareness about the value of afterschool programs and support the Afterschool for America’s Children Act: S. 326! 

Every afternoon between the hours of 3 to 6 p.m. children nationwide should have the opportunity to participate in engaging afterschool programs that support their learning and development and spark their passions and creativity.  In recognition of the afterschool hours of opportunity from 3 to 6 p.m., on 3/26 use your own social media network to promote afterschool and build support for Senate Bill 326—the Afterschool for America’s Children Act. 

The bipartisan Afterschool for America’s Children Act, S. 326 and HR 4086—led by Sens. Boxer, Murkowski and Murray in the Senate and by Reps. Kildee and DeLauro in the House—would reauthorize and strengthen the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) initiative—the nation’s chief federal funding stream for afterschool and summer learning programs—by supporting innovative advances that support student success. 

Quick ways you can take action!

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learn more about: 21st CCLC Advocacy Afterschool Voices Congress Legislation Media Outreach Sustainability
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MAR
10

FUNDING
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Guest blog: Summer nutrition programs--providing energy and enrichment

By Alexis Steines

Signe Anderson is the senior child nutrition policy analyst at the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC).

 

Summer should be an exciting time for all children, yet millions of low-income students lose access to healthful meals and enrichment opportunities when the school year ends. In summer 2012 only 1 in 7 low-income children who participated in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) had access to free summer meals. The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) could assist summer programs in filling both voids of lost nutrition and lost enrichment opportunities for children who participate. Your program may be eligible to receive federal funding to provide healthful meals to children 18 years or younger in addition to the activities youre already providing. To be eligible, summer programs must be located in or near an elementary, middle, or high school where 50 percent or more of the students qualify for free or reduced-price meals. Once qualified, the program can provide meals to all participating students. Census data can also be used to qualify your program site for the meal program. A summer meal program site can exist anywhere children congregate during the summer months such as parks, pools, churches and schools.

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learn more about: Federal Funding Guest Blog Nutrition Summer Learning
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MAR
7

POLICY
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New House Budget Committee report fails to recognize recent 21st CCLC research and effectiveness

By Erik Peterson

On March 3, just one day before the president released his FY2015 budget proposal, the House Budget Committee issued a report on federal spending related to federal antipoverty efforts entitled The War on Poverty: 50 Years Later.  Among the 92 federal programs reviewed in the report is the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) initiative.   

The Budget Committee report seeks to examine the effectiveness of Pres. Lyndon B. Johnson’s "War on Poverty" that was launched 50 years ago. According to the report, there are at least 92 federal programs designed to help lower-income Americans, including education and job-training programs, food-aid programs and housing programs.

The report does include a brief entry on the 21st CCLC initiative, the only coordinated federal effort that supports afterschool, before-school and summer learning programs delivered by local schools and community-based organizations. 21st CCLC programs provide students attending high-poverty schools with academic enrichment activities; a broad array of additional services designed to reinforce and complement the regular academic program such as hands-on experiments to excite children about science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), access to physical activity, drug and violence prevention programs, counseling programs, art, music, opportunities to be creative, and technology education programs; as well as literacy and related educational development services to the families of children who are served in the program.  In addition, afterschool programs provide an infrastructure to bring in other resources to our children including access to mentors, tutors, and nutritious snacks and meals. 

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learn more about: 21st CCLC Budget Congress Evaluations Federal Policy Obama
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MAR
4

POLICY
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Updated: The afterschool and summer learning perspective on the president's 2015 budget

By Erik Peterson

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.

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learn more about: 21st CCLC Budget Congress Department of Education Federal Funding NASA Obama Science Vista
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FEB
25

POLICY
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Reps. Kildee, DeLauro introduce bill to strengthen support of afterschool and summer learning programs

By Erik Peterson

Yesterday evening Reps. Dan Kildee (D-MI) and Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) introduced the Afterschool for America's Children Act in the House of Representatives, HR 4086.  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 is companion legislation to S. 326 introduced previously in the Senate. A summary of the legislation is available here.

The House bill:                     

  • Strengthens school-community partnerships to include sharing of data and resources, the ability to better leverage relationships within the community and provide an intentional alignment with the school day.
  • Promotes professional development and training of afterschool program staff.
  • Encourages innovative new ways to engage students in learning that looks different from a traditional school day, with an emphasis on hands-on, experiential learning; science, technology, engineering and math (STEM); and physical activity and nutrition education. 
  • Supports approaches that focus on individualized learning that provide a variety of ways for students to master core skills and knowledge.
  • Provides accountability measures that are connected to college- and career-readiness goals and show student progress over time toward meeting indicators of student success including school attendance, grades and on-time grade level advancement.
  • Ensures that funding supports programs that utilize evidence-based, successful practices.
  • Increases quality and accountability through parent engagement; better alignment with state learning objectives; and coordination between federal, state and local agencies. 
  • Does not prioritize any one model of expanded learning opportunities over another. 
  • Maintains formula grants to states that then distribute funds to local school-community partnerships through a competitive grant process.
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learn more about: 21st CCLC Congress Legislation
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FEB
7

IN THE FIELD
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Digital learning as a social responsibility

By Kamila Thigpen

Without a doubt, digital learning has been a buzzword in education circles for a while now. Some call it 21st century learning, some call it common sense and others call it a fad.  There’s a general consensus, however, that our education system struggles to keep up with the rate of change in the world around it.  For every innovative school and afterschool program, there are countless more with inadequate access to technology and with a limited understanding of its potential.  The task of modernizing our education system may seem somewhat daunting, but I must say that this year’s Digital Learning Day and Pres. Obama’s recent remarks about plans for ConnectED left me feeling pretty hopeful that we’re on the brink of a real shift in how we think about what it takes to expand access to digital learning opportunities.

Unsurprisingly, funding is often viewed as a road block to progress.  It takes money to build the infrastructure, more money to buy the technology, and still more money for maintenance and professional development.  Let’s face it—digital learning is expensive, and increased funding is not necessarily the easiest thing to come by.

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learn more about: Digital Learning Equity Federal Funding Issue Briefs Obama Community Partners
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