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JAN
14

STEM
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Travel to a research conference with the R + P Fellowship

By Erin Murphy

The Research + Practice Collaboratory works to build relationships across research and practice by increasing collaboration between STEM educators and educational researchers. To support educators interested in building these connections, the R + P Collaboratory is offering a 2016 R+P travel fellowship of up to $2000, allowing afterschool and summer educators and researchers to attend a 2016 educational conference where they can meet and learn from other STEM educators and researchers.

Afterschool and summer educators may be interested in applying to attend any of the following conferences to meet other educators, engage in educational research, and explore communities of practice:

How to Apply:

Afterschool and summer learning educators, as well as researchers working in these fields, are all encouraged to apply. The application is due by Friday Feb. 12.

If you have questions about the application process contact the R + P Collaboratory at contact@researchandpractice.org

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learn more about: Events and Briefings Community Partners
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JAN
13

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup: January 13, 201

By Luci Manning

Kids Roller Skate off Extra Pounds (Chicago Tribune, Illinois)

Some 8,000 children in Chicago suburbs are skating their way to better health thanks to Orbit for Kids Skate Free, a national program sponsored by Roller Skating Association International dedicated to fighting childhood obesity. Kids receive two weekly skating passes through the program, and more than 600,000 children across the country are taking advantage of the opportunity. “We know if they skate twice a week, we won’t have childhood obesity,” Orbit Skate Center owner Sandra Levin told the Chicago Tribune. “Childhood obesity is an incredible problem and overweight kids can be lean, mean machines if their parents take them skating each week.”

No Waffling on This After-School Program (Beloit Daily News, Wisconsin)

What do macaroni and cheese, calamari, filet mignon and s’mores have in common? They’re all culinary creations cooked in a waffle iron by students in Merrill Elementary School’s “waffle academy” afterschool program. School counselor Kathy Cerniglia and her friend Eileen Smith, inspired by Daniel Shumski’s book “Will it Waffle: 53 Irresistible and Unexpected Recipes to Make in a Waffle Iron,” created the academy to teach kids how to whip up easy, creative and fun snacks with their families after school. “You can cook anything in it and all you need is a plug,” Smith told the Beloit Daily News.

Students Are Building Their Way to a Better Future (Muscatine Journal, Iowa)

Students ages nine to 14 are helping the environment, learning important STEM concepts and improving their teamwork and problem-solving abilities through the FIRST LEGO League (FLL) afterschool program. Each year of the FLL program contains two main challenges: children design, build and program an autonomous robot, and then they collaborate to solve a real world problem based on a theme. This year’s theme is “Trash Trek,” so each project addresses trash and recycling – for instance, one group partnered with their local Hy-Vee to improve recycling of pizza boxes and plastic bags, while another tested whether no smoking signs decrease cigarette waste at certain intersections. “Besides the team building thing and communications skills, they can learn true technology skills that they can use in the real world,” team leader Chris Hoffman told the Muscatine Journal.

Library Offers Activity-Filled After-School Program (Washington Post, Virginia)

Students in the Cool After School program at the Bridgewater Branch of the Massanutten Regional Library system spent last Tuesday creating “Oobleck,” a fictional sticky substance from a Dr. Seuss book, learning the scientific progress and developing problem-solving skills along the way. The program runs twice a month and uses crafts to bring children’s books, current events and holidays to life for kids in kindergarten through fifth grade. Branch manager Bly Brown told the Washington Post that her favorite part of the program is “just seeing the children’s excitement and challenge. I really love how children and parents work together.”

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learn more about: Health and Wellness Science Academic Enrichment Arts Youth Development
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JAN
13

POLICY
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ESSA: What does it mean for afterschool and summer learning?

By Erik Peterson

With the passage late last year of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), many in the afterschool field have been asking about the impact of the new law on afterschool programs and the children served by programs providers. Join the Afterschool Alliance and a number of partner organizations for a webinar on January 20th when we seek to answer the question “what does ESSA mean for afterschool and summer learning program providers?”

This overview webinar seeks to break down what the new law says regarding funding and policy for afterschool and summer learning programs, whether through the 21st Century Community Learning Centers initiative, STEM afterschool provisions, full service community schools, or other programs. This introductory webinar will be the first in a series of five webinars to be held in the coming months that will go into depth on a variety of programs and topics in ESSA relevant to afterschool programs and providers. Bring your questions and join us on January 20, 2016, from 1PM ET – 2 PM ET. Register here.

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learn more about: Education Reform ESEA Obama
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JAN
13

POLICY
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President's final State of the Union sets agenda for the future

By Jillian Luchner

President Obama’ final State of the Union address appealed to the commonalities among us as a nation and posed 4 major questions:

  • How do we give everyone a fair shot at opportunity in this economy?
  • How do we make technology work for us and not against us?
  • How do we make the world safe without becoming the world’s police?
  • How can we make our politics reflect what’s best in us and not what’s worst?

In the afterschool field, there is much we can do—and are already doing—to help propel the vision the president sees for “the next five years, ten years, and beyond."

Afterschool programs provide daily access to the academic enrichment skills, interpersonal skills, mentors, and career introduction that young people need to be successful in life. Afterschool plays a key role in nurturing equal opportunity in the new economy.

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learn more about: Congress Obama Service Community Partners
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JAN
12

RESEARCH
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How do afterschool and competency-based learning intersect?

By Dan Gilbert

The American Youth Policy Forum (AYPF) has released a new white paper discussing the unique opportunities that are becoming available to the afterschool and summer learning field through the recent rise of the competency-based learning (CBL) movement. The report explores emerging trends in the field and a variety of policy considerations, taking a particular interest in how the combination of CBL and afterschool programs can help youth become college and career ready.

Afterschool programs across the country have been giving youth ownership of their learning for decades, allowing them to explore areas of interest while helping them develop skills that are vital to the innovation economy. This new report, structured around three main trends, discusses how CBL can help programs gain recognition for the great work that many are already doing, while also improving their intentionality and ability to articulate their goals and impact.

The report's first trend, “Understanding and Defining Competencies,” illuminates how programs can identify specific skills that employers and colleges look for in applicants. By using examples from programs like Urban Alliance’s High School Internship Program, it shows how programs can work directly with employers to identify and define the skills that students need.

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learn more about: Youth Development
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JAN
11

RESEARCH
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New resource: Interactive community mapping tool

By Nikki Yamashiro

A new online mapping tool illustrates the systems, services and connections that unite to form a workforce that supports young children and their families. The map draws from the report, “Transforming the Workforce for Children Birth Through Age 8: A Unifying Foundation,” released last year by the Institute of Medicine and National Research Council, which found that, although the youth development workforce holds shared objectives to improve children’s wellbeing, the broad diversity of involved stakeholders poses challenges to improving the workforce as a whole.

The map confirms the complexity of the youth development landscape, revealing the large number of stakeholders from the education, health care and social services sectors—including afterschool—involved in a child’s early development. Based on a key finding from the 2015 report that “the relevant professional roles, systems and services are diverse and often decentralized,” one goal of the map is to show the various ways stakeholders in child development and early learning can coordinate their efforts and forge collaborations with one another. 

The interactive map also allows you to use the existing structure as a template for new visualizations. The map also allows you to modify it and incorporate your local resources to reflect what is available in your community. If you are working on mapping out the services or policies that affect youth development in your community, I hope that you will find this tool useful!

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learn more about: Youth Development Community Partners
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JAN
7

IN THE FIELD
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Mentor In Real Life: Celebrate National Mentoring Month

By Robert Abare

January 2016 marks the 15th anniversary of National Mentoring Month, a time to honor the many adults who offer their encouragement, support, and guidance to our nation's youth. This month's theme, Mentor In Real Life, encourages conversation about the many real world benefits that kids gain through directly interacting with caring adults, like social emotional learning, improved self esteem, and career development.

According to Mentoring.org, 9 million children are still in need of a responsible mentor to help them navigate the formative early stages of their lives. Afterschool programs provide a natural home for connecting these children with the mentors they need. For example, the cadets of West Point are helping nearby elementary and middle school students gain critical math and reasoning skills in a new program called Cadets 4 Kids.

“[Cadets 4 Kids] supports our students at many levels, not only academically, but socially,” said Highland Falls Intermediate School counselor Patti Lofaro in an article about the program. “Having someone to work with them and establishing that mentoring role is invaluable.”

There are many ways you can get involved in National Mentoring Month this January:

You can learn more about upcoming events, social media outreach, and the basics of how to Mentor In Real Life in this Partner Activation Toolkit.

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learn more about: Events and Briefings Youth Development Community Partners
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JAN
6

IN THE FIELD
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$5M gift to Boys and Girls Clubs of America will boost STEM education in military communities

By Erin Murphy

The Afterschool Alliance is happy to shine a light on Raytheon, a global technology company and corporate social responsibility leader that has generously donated $5M to Boys and Girls Clubs of America (BCGA) to develop Centers of Innovation in military communities across the nation. The Centers of Innovation will provide youth with the opportunity to improve their critical thinking and STEM skills afterschool by solving real-world problems using modern technology, such as 3-D printing, high-definition video conferencing, and 4-D computer modeling. Students will be assisted by a team of full-time expert mentors focused on encouraging passion, creativity and innovation.

In December 2015, the first of six centers opened near Baltimore at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Harford County. The other centers include:

  • Boys & Girls Clubs of South County, Chula Vista, CA
  • Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Texas, Killeen, TX
  • Boys & Girls Clubs of Huntsville, AL
  • Andrews Air Force Base Youth Center, MD
  • Ramstein Air Base Youth Programs, Germany
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learn more about: Science Community Partners
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