The Wallace Foundation has released two great new videos that make a clear and compelling case for investing in afterschool programs and the city systems needed to support them.
"Afterschool: Hours of Opportunity" features the data and images of powerful afterschool experiences, demonstrating the importance of afterschool programs in providing opportunities to expand and deepen learning, to complement the school day with fun and engaging projects, and to close the opportunity gap. As featured expert Robert Balfanz of Johns Hopkins University says, "Afterschool is where the community can help the school push back against the hungry bear of poverty."
“Better Together: Boosting Afterschool by Building Citywide Systems” hits on the elements essential to supporting programs: systems that address data, quality, leadership and coordination.
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.
Afterschool leader praises 2014 budget, lauds Congress for 'prioritizing children and working families'
By Jodi Grant
Statement of Jodi Grant, Executive Director, Afterschool Alliance
“The omnibus appropriations bill that Congress passed this week is a welcome step in the right direction toward prioritizing children and working families, as the country makes hard spending choices.
In restoring nearly $60 million in sequester cuts to the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) initiative, Congress signaled that keeping kids safe, inspiring them to learn, and helping working families are priorities. That is very good news, as is the funding level of $1.149 billion, now in place for the remainder of FY2014. The 21st CCLC is the nation’s chief federal funding stream for afterschool and summer learning programs, providing badly needed programs to 1.1 million students, many of whom would otherwise be unsupervised and at-risk when schools are closed.
This appropriations bill is also a step forward in terms what it does not contain—language that would allow 21st CCLC funds to be diverted for purposes other than providing the afterschool, before-school and summer programs children so urgently need.
In case you missed it, last week the Governator posed as a trainer at a Gold's Gym to promote physical activity and raise money for the afterschool program he founded, the After-School All-Stars.
By Jodi Grant
Statement of Jodi Grant, Executive Director, Afterschool Alliance. Read full press release here.
Gov. Cuomo’s announcement this afternoon is welcome news for afterschool programs across New York, and the children, working families and schools that rely on them. Afterschool programs keep kids safe, inspire them to learn, and help working families by relieving parents of worries about whether their children are safe, supervised, and engaged in enriching, educational activities after the school day ends. But in recent years, in New York and across the country, these programs have suffered due to budget cuts and reductions in private contributions.
The need for afterschool programs remains huge. According to the Afterschool Alliance’s America After 3 PM study, 779,000 students in New York are on their own after school. The parents of 1.1 million New York kids say their children would participate in an afterschool program if one were available. Too often, it hasn’t been – but Gov. Cuomo aims to change that with the initiative he announced today.
Like the vast majority of parents, educators and the public, Gov. Cuomo made clear that he recognizes that afterschool programs are essential to giving our children the start they deserve. Combined with his new pre-K initiative, he has introduced a powerful package of supports for children and families. We commend his priorities, which will benefit New York families immeasurably.
In late October former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger came to Washington, D.C., to shine a light on the importance of federal funding for afterschool programs. Through meetings hosted by leadership in both the House of Representatives and the Senate with both Republicans and Democrats, as well as a meeting with Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and a stop at the new D.C. After-School All-Stars program, Gov. Schwarzenegger made clear the importance of afterschool programs in keeping young people safe and supported, inspiring learning for children and youth, and helping working families.
The focus of Gov. Schwarzenegger’s meetings on Capitol Hill was to express strong support for continued federal funding for afterschool programs through the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) initiative. The governor urged Members of Congress to find a separate funding stream for lengthening the school day or school year so that it doesn't compete with funding for afterschool programs. He also called for supporting the 21st CCLC program so that afterschool programs become an expectation, not an afterthought.
The National Institute on Out-of-School Time (NIOST) has just released the fall 2013 publication of Afterschool Matters, generously funded by the NOYCE Foundation and The Bowne Foundation. This national, peer-reviewed journal serves those involved in developing, managing, and working in programs for youth during the out-of-school time hours and those engaged in research and in shaping youth development policy. It’s one of the only resources of its kind.
This issue has several pieces on content and learning outcomes in STEM, including a report from our very own Anita Krishnamurthi and Jen Rinehart: “What Afterschool STEM Does Best: How Stakeholders Describe Youth Learning Outcomes.”
Afterschool programs are increasingly recognized as venues for effectively engaging children and youth in STEM. Since the last set of national science standards was published in 1996, the number of afterschool programs and participants—and of dollars invested in STEM learning in these settings—has expanded substantially. The afterschool field has enthusiastically embraced STEM education. According to a 2011 survey, a majority of providers now believe that it is important for them to offer STEM programming.