Afterschool Ambassador Deepmalya Ghosh is the director of youth development programs at the Child Center of New York, Inc. This post is adapted from advocacy tips he shared at the Afterschool for All Challenge.
1. Don’t be afraid.
Most elected and non-elected officials are motivated to run for office to address the needs of everyday people—especially the needs of people who VOTE. But once they are sworn in, they often don’t hear from us enough to know what our concerns are or how they might help. Staying in touch with the people who represent us in government—whether it is our local school board member or state senator—is one of the best ways we can begin to make the work & family issues we care about as parents a bigger priority. (from www.parentswork.org)
Check out our guest blog on STEMConnector’s STEMblog! http://blog.stemconnector.org/afterschool-alliance-guest-blog-afterschool-stem-connection
“Kids spend less than 20 percent of their waking hours in school, and yet we expect schools to solve the problem entirely by themselves. Afterschool and summer learning programs are partners that can complement and supplement school-day learning while providing an environment that feels different from school. These out-of-school-time programs provide imaginative and engaging STEM learning experiences that excite and engage children and youth. Untethered from tight time restrictions, cramped curricula, the pressures of being graded and judged, teach-to-the-test standardization, and even from the physical constraints of a classroom, these programs are putting the out-of-school hours to terrific use. In the process, they also connect students and schools with local businesses, mentors, and community organizations of all types. Afterschool and summer learning programs also excel at reaching and engaging kids from underserved communities who are typically under-represented in STEM fields.”
We asked and you delivered! At this year’s Afterschool for All Challenge we issued our followers a new "challenge" to help us bring the conference to life and make all of our afterschool advocates heard online. We asked you to help us create a total of 500 event photos and 500 tweets using our official event hashtags #a4aChallenge and #AfterschoolWorks. And you made it look easy! The two-day conference generated more than 600 tweets and almost 600 photos from conference-goers and advocates across the country—wow!
We especially loved the photos we received (like the ones below) from programs who were sporting their afterschool green in support of afterschool for all!
Do you have any photos from the Afterschool for All Challenge? There’s still time to send them to us and have them displayed on our website! Email photos to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This year we’re upping the ante and issuing social media challenges for our fans, friends and followers to help spread the message that #afterschoolworks.
Starting Monday, May 7, log on to our Social Media Hub where we’ll be live tracking all of the Challenge buzz, including participant photos, top tweeters, a live Twitter stream and ways to take action at home. Our goal is to bank 500 event photos and 500 tweets with our official Challenge hashtags. Here’s how you can help us get there:
- Follow us @afterschool4all
- Use one of the official Challenge hashtags in all of your tweets: #a4aChallenge and #AfterschoolWorks
- Send a tweet telling us how #AfterschoolWorks for you
- Keep an eye out for “Mini Challenges!” We’ll be tweeting trivia questions throughout the day to see how well you know your stuff
- Retweets count! Retweet your favorite posts to help reach our goal
- Email your Challenge photos to email@example.com to contribute to our Web gallery
- If you can’t join us at the Challenge, send a photo from your afterschool program! Consider holding a sign that says “Afterschool is Key” or incorporating afterschool green into your photo!
We are proud to announce that Dr. Anita Krishnamurthi, our STEM Policy Director, is being recognized by the National Girls Collaborative Project with their award for Outstanding Individual Commitment to Collaboration. She will be recognized at an awards luncheon to be held later today as part of the 2012 NGCP National Collaboration Conference, where more than 150 practitioners from around the United States have gathered to celebrate collaboration. The goals of the Collaboration Conference are to increase collaboration between local girl-serving STEM practitioners and with national experts, increase access to resources such as exemplary program practices, models and resources, and to provide training and opportunities to collaborate on a local, regional, and national level.
Here is what NGCP said about choosing Anita as its award recipient:
In recognition of our collaborative philosophy, NGCP leadership has chosen to create the Collaboration Awards to celebrate and bring attention to the important work of special individuals and organizations that live and breathe collaboration to achieve their vision.
We have chosen Anita Krishnamurthi, STEM Policy Director for the Afterschool Alliance, as our 2012 individual recipient of this award. The expertise Dr. Krishnamurthi provides for the Afterschool Alliance is adding great value to the programs that are part of the NGCP network. She works to share information and resources that inspire others to be collaborative. This reflects our passion at NGCP.
As a scientist, she personally feels the urgency of expanding STEM learning opportunities and providing equitable access for a diverse group of children and youth. She strongly believes that the collaborative nature of afterschool programs plays a critically important role in reforming STEM education and that these programs must be treated as strategic partners in STEM education. Anita joined the Afterschool Alliance in June 2010 after serving as the John Bahcall Public Policy Fellow for the American Astronomical Society.
Read more about the National Girls Collaborative Project and the Collaboration Award in their press release.
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.
The push to reform and improve the nation's schools has been with us for decades. And while it sometimes seems that reforms come and go like waves reaching the shore -- first crashing loudly, then petering out on the beach before receding with little evidence left behind, in fact, we've learned a lot over the years about how our kids learn best. But putting that knowledge to work in our communities and classroom isn't always as easy as it sounds.
A new initiative backed by several of the nation's leading foundations holds great promise for applying such knowledge. It's the Expanded Learning and Afterschool Project, and its backers include the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, the David & Lucile Packard Foundation, the Noyce Foundation and the Open Society Foundations. Its purpose is to gather and share research and best practices that will help schools and communities leverage the time children spend out of school in ways that accelerate their academic achievement. The Project launched with an impressive show of support that included the wholehearted embrace of the organization I lead, the Afterschool Alliance, as well as 650 other local, state and national organizations.
As its name suggests, the Project is focused not on what happens between the bells, buzzers, or tones of the regular school day, but on the ways children learn -- or could learn, if given the right opportunities -- during the rest of the day. The two parts of the day are linked, of course, but the Project recognizes what afterschool programs across the nation have learned from experience: that after a full day of classroom instruction, students are ready for an approach to teaching and learning based on hands-on, experiential methods.
Earlier this month we introduced you to Pobo Efekoro, one of the students featured in the documentary Brooklyn Castle, and asked you to sign on to his open letter to Congress that passionately explains the need for public support for afterschool programs. Since then, the film, which chronicles a New York City public school’s afterschool chess team through a series of deep budget cuts that threaten to undermine their success, has been met with an overwhelming response; it recently won the Audience Award for documentary feature spotlight at its SXSW debut.
The movie’s successful premiere has helped to catapult it into the public eye and not only shine a light on the pressing need for continued support of afterschool programs, but, with Pobo’s help, also given people an opportunity to take action and declare their own support for afterschool. Now, Pobo’s petition is about 40 signatures shy of hitting their goal, and today is the perfect time to help them hit it—Brooklyn Castle is being replayed today at SXSW as one of the festival’s best and most talked about films.
If you haven’t already, add your name to Pobo’s petition now:
And be sure to spread the word and share Pobo’s petition with your friends and colleagues who support afterschool!
At the Afterschool Alliance we’re always eager to learn of innovative and effective practices in the afterschool field and are happy to help highlight and celebrate those quality programs that are being recognized for leading the way. One such Los Angeles afterschool program, Beyond the Bell’s Take Action Leadership Campaign, was given the first-ever Innovations in Education Award this past Saturday at Insight University’s “An Evening with Arianna Huffington.” The award was presented by Stu Semigran, co-founder and president of EduCare Foundation.
In anticipation of the event, Stu wrote a great post in the Huffington Post’s Education Blog that outlines the Take Action Leadership Campaign’s “state late and graduate” philosophy and the strong academic outcomes that they’re seeing among participating youth.
School districts across the country are struggling with budget cuts that make it harder to address the individual academic and developmental needs of each student. Before-school, afterschool and summer learning programs are proven to be effective partners in offering hands-on, engaging learning opportunities that provide real benefits to students who are struggling in the classroom—and at a significantly lower cost. Take Action is an innovative partnership between the Los Angeles Unified School District, EduCare Foundation and other community-based organizations that was designed as a cost-effective approach to combat the district’s growing dropout crisis and resulting risky behaviors like crime and teenage pregnancy. In tough budgetary times, Stu makes the case that Take Action is a winning solution that exemplifies the possibilities of the out-of-school space:
“By giving students before- and after-school programs that they have a hand in creating, they are staying in school and improving their grades…And the best news of all it [sic] is it is funded by anti-smoking monies, foundations and many other sources that do not deplete school budgets. These before- and after-school programs are extremely cost-effective when compared with the monies spent in service to the more expansive student population during the regular school day.”
We encourage you to check out Stu’s full blog post on Huffington Post and share your thoughts. And if your afterschool program is being recognized for its important contributions to the success of our youth, we want to hear from you! Let us know by posting a comment below.