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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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DEC
18

STEM
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Guest blog: New insights for improving afterschool science

By Melissa Ballard

Dr. Ann House is a researcher and evaluator who works on projects that explore innovative schools, science and STEM education, and out-of-school learning settings. She is based at SRI International’s Center for Technology in Learning, a nonprofit, independent research organization. Currently, Dr. House is leading the “Afterschool Science Networks Study” which explores the state of science offerings and the external sources of support for science in California’s public afterschool programs.

How can students keep learning science when the school day ends? Afterschool programs are a natural fit for hands-on science and the development of inquiry skills, like posing questions, designing scientific investigations, and creating explanations based on observations. Afterschool programs have the potential to boost students’ interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

To understand the support networks underlying current afterschool science offerings, SRI conducted a five-year study funded by the National Science Foundation to examine the state of science learning opportunities in California’s After School and Education Safety (ASES) program.

 

 

 

 

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learn more about: Guest Blog Science State Policy Community Partners
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DEC
15

IN THE FIELD
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Guest blog: Informing policy makers and the OST field on the opportunity gap

By Nikki Yamashiro

Sara Beanblossom is the director of communications and special events at the Indiana Afterschool Network, a nonprofit organization that inspires, empowers, and mobilizes the advocates, partners, and practitioners of afterschool and summer programs in Indiana.

AFTERSCHOOL AND SUMMER PROGRAMS CAN ADD 1,080 HOURS OF ACADEMIC ENRICHMENT TO A CHILD’S YEAR, EQUIVALENT TO THE NUMBER OF HOURS IN 144 SCHOOL DAYS. Yet, access is not equal. Low-income youth experience 6,000 fewer hours of enrichment and academic learning than their more affluent peers by the eighth grade (Hechinger Report, 2013).

Great piece of data, right?

The Indiana Afterschool Network (IAN) thinks so, too. That is why we are communicating this point and other important data to Indiana program providers to help them voice the need for and the impact of high quality out-of-school time (OST) programs to their policy makers and funders.

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learn more about: Advocacy America After 3PM Guest Blog State Networks State Policy
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NOV
12

IN THE FIELD
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Guest Blog: The Cosmic Perspective: A Night with Neil DeGrasse Tyson

By Sarah Watson

Brent Cummings serves as the Program Director for the 21st CCLC initiative managed by Walla Walla, WA Public Schools (WWPS), and was recently selected as an Afterschool Ambassador for the Afterschool Alliance.  He is one of just 13 local leaders from across the country to be chosen for the honor this year. The WWPS 21st CCLC program’s ongoing success rates, significantly higher than expected, reflect Brent's passion for educating at-risk youth in afterschool environments. The unique methodologies and curricula utilized in the WWPS 21st CCLC programs captivate all youth, whose intense engagement prepares them for future success.  A similar post by Brent was first published by School’s Out Washington.

Passionate! Charismatic! Humorous! Celebrity!!! Scientist?!? That’s right.  Dr. Neil DeGrasse Tyson, the “world’s sexiest astrophysicist” (as proclaimed by no lesser an authority than People magazine) wowed a packed Walla Walla, WA audience on Whitman College’s campus the nights of Sept. 11 and 12. 

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learn more about: Afterschool Ambassadors Events and Briefings Guest Blog NASA Science Youth Development
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NOV
10

IN THE FIELD
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Guest Blog: Inclusive Out-of-School Time

By Nikki Yamashiro

This blog post was originally published on the National Center on Health, Physical Activity and Disability’s (NCHPAD) blog, which promotes information sharing around increased participation in physical activity among people of all abilities.  Nora Niedzielski-Eichner, executive director of the New York State Afterschool Network (NYSAN), is a contributing author to this blog post and works to raise the profile of the OST field in New York and strengthen OST programs across the state, including promoting the importance of inclusion of youth with disabilities in afterschool, expanded learning, and out-of-school time opportunities.  For additional information regarding afterschool programs providing an inclusive environment where students of all abilities can learn and grow side-by-side, read “Afterschool Supporting Students with Disabilities and Other Special Needs,” a joint issue brief by MetLife Foundation and the Afterschool Alliance.

The purpose of this article is to promote inclusion of youth with disabilities in after-school, expanded learning, and out-of-school time programs. For the purposes of this article, the term “include” and “inclusion” embodies the values, policies, and practices that support all youth, those both with and without disabilities, to participate in a broad range of out-of-school time activities.

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learn more about: America After 3PM Equity Guest Blog Issue Briefs State Networks
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NOV
6

STEM
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Guest Blog: Recycling Awareness--There's Work to Be Done!

By Sophie Papavizas

This blog post was contributed by Laura Batt, director of educational programs at JASON Learning, an exploration-based organization that links students to real science and scientists. Laura works in JASON's Immersion Learning division, which focuses on bringing the thrill of scientific discovery to students in Boys & Girls Clubs, YMCAs, 21st Century Learning Centers, and other out-of-school settings.

These days more people than ever drop their used bottles, cans, and paper into recycling bins. The benefits of doing so are well-known: recycling reduces the amount of waste sent to landfills and incinerators, conserves natural resources, and saves energy, to name a few. But despite the great progress toward making this kind of recycling commonplace, there's much more than we can do to give other types of products and materials a second life. To help get the word out, JASON Learning has partnered with industry leaders to create two contests that challenge youth to find creative ways to generate awareness about some other recycling efforts that are not so well-known.

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learn more about: Competition Guest Blog Science Academic Enrichment Youth Development Community Partners
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OCT
17

RESEARCH
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Guest blog: Why the afterschool learning context matters when using technology with at-risk students

By Sarah Simpson

Kamila Thigpen is the Digital Learning Policy and Advocacy Manager at Alliance for Excellent Education.

 

The nation’s 23.8 million minority students comprise nearly half of the school population, and many of them are underserved by their school systems. Try walking into one of these schools and you’ll notice very little changes in modern classrooms and those from more than a century ago. Although SMART Boards may have replaced black boards and a handful of computers may be visible around the room, in most cases there are few differences in the actual teaching and learning process.

After the school day and school year ends, disparities in access to technology are further compounded. Only 3 percent of teachers in high-poverty schools agree that “students have the digital tools they need to effectively complete assignments while at home,” compared to 52 percent of teachers in more affluent schools. As students get older and afterschool participation decreases, opportunities to engage in high-quality digital learning are few and far between for high-school aged students who need it most.

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learn more about: Digital Learning Education Reform Equity Guest Blog
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OCT
8

LIGHTS ON
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Guest Blog: Celebrate Lights On Afterschool with STEMfinity!

By Shaun Gray

Bill Albert is the CEO and owner of STEMfinity. STEMfinity offers thousands of hands-on academic enrichment kits with curriculum to teach PreK-12 students science, technology, engineering, math (STEM), robotics, electronics, alternative energy, rockets and beyond.

 

This October, STEMfinity is proud to join more than one million Americans and thousands of communities in celebrating Lights On Afterschool, an annual event that helps to raise awareness about the need for programs that keep kids safe, inspire them to learn and help working families.

Supporters of Lights On Afterschool believe that schools can’t do it alone and that meaningful, active collaboration with out-of-school programs are critical. We know that access to an array of quality, informal STEM learning opportunities can make a huge difference in the lives of youth. We also know that strong partnerships between informal learning institutions can help to maximize the use of shared resources and foster creative solutions to community needs. 

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learn more about: Guest Blog Robotics Science
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OCT
8

IN THE FIELD
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Guest Blog: Seeking youth inventions to prototype

By Ursula Helminski

Guest Blog by Reinaldo Llano, director of corporate outreach and special projects at Bright House Networks. Reinaldo leads community relations at Bright House Networks, one of the nation's largest cable and Internet providers.

 

Do you know a high school student whose creative genius is aspiring to unfold?

It’s been said that today’s youth are tomorrow’s leaders. They’re also tomorrow’s innovators and inventors. They are OUR future. They are the ones who can help create new opportunities for our local economies to prosper and flourish.

We are proud to support Bright Ideas STEM from Today's Youth, a multi-state competition where students dream up the coolest inventions to make their own life, community or even the world more awesome and show how STEM—that's science, technology, engineering and math—can bring their idea to life!

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learn more about: Competition Guest Blog Science
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