- Receive health and safety trainings in specific areas
- Comply with applicable state and local fire, health and building codes
- Receive comprehensive background checks (including fingerprinting)
- Receive on-site monitoring
It seems these days that if you’re keeping up with what’s happening in education, you can’t help but hear about the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Last week, our vice president for policy and research, Jen Rinehart, wrote a stellar blog that not only walks you through what the Common Core State Standards are, but explains why they were developed, what they mean for education policy and the valuable role the afterschool field can play to support learning under the Common Core.
To keep up the Afterschool Alliance’s drumbeat of providing the afterschool field with helpful information connecting afterschool and the Common Core, I tuned in to “Leveraging Expanded Learning Opportunities to Support Common Core Implementation,” a webinar hosted by the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and America’s Promise Alliance. The webinar featured Jenell Holsted, Ph.D. of University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, who discussed a recent brief, “Making the Connection: Next Generation Learning and Expanded Learning Opportunities,” and Sarah Cruz, director of expanded learning opportunities at the Statewide Network for New Jersey’s Afterschool Communities (NJSACC), who shared information about New Jersey’s statewide pilot training program that helps providers align their programming with the Common Core State Standards.
Christina Schock, AmeriCorps VISTA Volunteer, Nevada Afterschool Network
Afterschool Alliance AmeriCorps VISTAs are making a difference across our country. They’re working on projects involved with helping programs write sustainability plans and getting afterschool meals. VISTAs have been placed all across the country including Nevada, Oregon, South Dakota, California, Ohio, New Mexico and many more. Along the way, while working directly with programs and networks, we have learned how to overcome many of the issues they face in today’s political and economic reality. Having worked with a gamut of different programs including rural, urban, elementary education programs, secondary education programs, resource rich programs and non-resource rich programs, we are looking to share those experiences and pass them along to programs outside of our reach.
We are introducing a new webinar series to pass along the tools, resources, experiences and lessons learned along the way. Each webinar will address an issue all programs face when looking at long term sustainability, such as grant writing, finding/retaining volunteers, building partnerships, diverse funding, marketing, core messaging, fundraising and events. Guest speakers and experts from the field will also be available to offer their advice and answer questions. Participants can register to participate in upcoming webinars or view/download past webinars for free at www.NevadaAfterschoolNetwork.org. We recommend passing along the webinars to programs that might benefit from them. This series is free thanks to the Afterschool Alliance, Nevada Afterschool Network and the many VISTAs working in the field. For more information and to register for an upcoming webinar you can visit the Nevada Afterschool Network's website.
Jeff Cole is the associate vice president of school-community partnerships for the Nebraska Children and Families Foundation and Network Lead for the Nebraska Community Learning Center Network.
As a first time participant in the Afterschool for All Challenge, I really didn’t know what to expect as we were filing into the Russell Senate Office Building. Having nominated Kristin Williams, Director of Community Initiatives at Omaha’s Sherwood Foundation, as Nebraska’s Afterschool Champion (a MUCH deserved recognition for all her work promoting afterschool programs in high poverty schools in Omaha and across the state), I knew state level advocates would be recognized for their work. I didn’t realize that a bipartisan group of senators and representatives would be joined by other national advocates and young people from nearby programs at the “Breakfast of Champions” to make such a strong case for why afterschool programs are so important for our nation’s future before heading to meetings on Capitol Hill.
I was especially hearted by Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s (R-AK) comments in support of S. 326, which strengthens the crucial federal 21st CCLC grant program, highlighting how important afterschool programs are for residents of her largely rural state. I was honored to have the opportunity to chat with and share my enthusiasm for rural afterschool programs with Sen. Murkowski as she was leaving the ornate and historic Kennedy Caucus Room.
I carried this enthusiasm for the importance of rural afterschool programs over into the meetings that I had with 4 of Nebraska’s 5 Congressional delegations after the “Breakfast of Champions.” Retiring Sen. Mike Johanns met with our group and reflected on his understanding of the importance of afterschool programs that he gained while serving as Nebraska’s governor.
On Feb. 7, 2013, hundreds of you across the country stepped up to the challenge and reached out to your elected officials to let them know that you support afterschool for all:
- More than 120 Congressional offices
- Across 36 states
- More than 100 district meetings & site visits
- Hundreds of phone calls and emails to Congress
- Digital Learning Day celebrations in 23 states
Arkansas: The Arkansas Out of School Network worked with allied organization Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families to take the Afterschool for All Challenge to the state capitol in Little Rock on February 7. Child advocates from across the state met at the Arkansas State Capitol to participate in the legislative process, meet with local legislators, attend legislative committee meetings, and observe lawmakers voting on bills that affect the lives of children and their families.
In conjunction with Kids Count Day, Arkansas Senate Bill 249 was introduced to provide $5 million to fund the pilot phase of the Positive Youth Development Act.
Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe stopped by Kids Count Day to lead pre-k children in singing Itsy Bitsy Spider. Watch:
Pittsburgh: Director Mila Yochum of Allegheny Partners for Out of School Time (APOST) had several local advocates join her at a series of meetings at the local offices of Rep. Mike Doyle and Sens. Pat Toomey and Pat Casey.
More than 200 state afterschool leaders and experts backed up your outreach with face-to-face meetings on Capitol Hill with senators and representatives to echo your message that afterschool works to keep kids safe, inspire learning and help working families.
What’s the secret to a child’s success?
Funny enough, failure may be a part of the answer. Not surprisingly though, a strong and supportive parent or adult mentor and what Paul Tough likes to call “character” are also key pieces to answering this age-old question asked by everyone from parents to educators to social scientists to policy makers.
Tough, New York Times best-selling author of How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character spoke at the opening plenary session of the National Network of Statewide Afterschool Networks annual conference yesterday. He began his speech with the idea that we are using the wrong strategies to help kids in our schools succeed and the conventional wisdom that has governed our thinking about education and success is misguided. As a nation, we have been obsessed with “cognitive hypothesis”—the belief that IQ scores alone measures what matters in determining success.
What his research uncovered was that an individual’s IQ and academic test scores weren’t the most significant factors in their life trajectory. What mattered more was the amount of trauma a child did or did not experience growing up—that the level of trauma one experienced in childhood had a direct linear correlation to negative adult outcomes. This means that the higher the trauma and stress levels a child experiences, the worse the outcomes would be in adulthood, such as higher levels of addiction and a higher likelihood of chronic illness. And the converse also held true, the lower the level of trauma, the healthier and better off the individual.
Tough then moved on to research supporting the notion that if we can improve a child’s environment, if we can combat the toxic stress that builds up in their system, and if we can reach them in early childhood and in their adolescence when they can be the most malleable, we can dramatically increase their prospects for success.
Next week on Feb. 7, the Afterschool for All Challenge is an opportunity to raise your voice right in your own community to support the quality afterschool and summer learning programs that inspire young people to learn, support working families and keep children safe. Over the last 11 years several thousand parents, educators, young people and afterschool champions have come to Washington, D.C., and Capitol Hill to make the case that afterschool, before school and summer learning programs are critical to the success of young people and a lifeline for parents.
This year we are changing it up and not asking advocates to travel to Washington, D.C., for the Afterschool for All Challenge. Because budgets are tight and times are uncertain at afterschool programs we are instead calling on friends of afterschool programs to call, meet in home district offices and email Congress on Afterschool for All Challenge day: Feb. 7, 2013. Here in Washington, we will be backing up your outreach at home through face-to-face meetings with Congress, as we team up with over 40 state teams who will be in Washington for the conference of the National Network of Statewide Afterschool Networks.
The results of the last 11 years of afterschool advocacy are clear: federal support for afterschool and summer learning through the 21st CCLC has grown—from being able to help 40,000 students access support in 1998 to helping more than 1 million young people last year. We know afterschool works and champions of afterschool are excellent at making the case:
- The Promising Afterschool Programs Study found that regular participation in high-quality afterschool programs is linked to significant gains in standardized test scores and work habits. (University of California, Irvine, 2007)
- A meta analysis of 68 afterschool studies concluded that high quality afterschool programs can lead to improved attendance, behavior and coursework. Students participating in a high quality afterschool program went to school more, behaved better, received better grades and did better on tests compared to non-participating students. (Durlak, Weissberg & Pachan, 2010)
- The Promising Afterschool Programs Study found that students reported improved social and behavioral outcomes: elementary students reported reductions in aggressive behavior toward other students and skipping school; middle school students reported reduced use of drugs and alcohol, compared to their routinely unsupervised peers. (Policy Studies Associates, Inc., 2007)