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JUL
8
2016

POLICY
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Afterschool and summer learning protected in FY17 House education spending bill

By Erik Peterson

The House Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Committee today marked up its fiscal year 2017 Labor, Health and Human Services (LHHS) funding bill, which could be debated and voted on by the full Appropriations Committee the week of July 11th. In total, the draft bill includes $161.6 billion in discretionary funding, which is $569 million below the fiscal year 2016 enacted level and $2.8 billion below the President’s budget request.

Unofficial reports: 21st CCLC avoids funding cut

According to a statement by the Appropriations Committee, “funding within the bill is targeted to proven programs with the most national benefit.” The bill cuts discretionary funding for the Department of Education by $1.3 billion compared to fiscal year 2016 levels but (according to unofficial reports) keeps 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) level with last year’s funding at $1.16 billion. This news on 21st CCLC funding will need to be confirmed once language is officially released. 

The new Student Support and Academic Achievement State Grant program in Title IV Part A of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) is funded at $1 billion, $700 million above the Senate LHHS bill and $500 million above the President’s budget request, for grants that provide flexible funds to states and school districts to expand access to a well-rounded education (including afterschool STEM initiatives), improve school conditions, and improve the use of technology.

The legislation includes funding for programs within the Department of Labor, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Education, and the Corporation for National and Community Service.

With regard to 21st CCLC, the funding level set in the House bill will allow 21st CCLC to continue providing quality afterschool and summer learning programs for almost two million children through local school-community partnerships. The bill also funds the Child Care Development Block Grant at $2.8 billion, a significant funding stream for school-age child care.

On the Senate side, the Senate LHHS Appropriations Subcommittee and full Committee marked up its FY17 spending bill earlier this summer, cutting $117 million from 21st CCLC

Add your voice to the debate on afterschool funding

Given the activity in the House and Senate around important policy and funding decisions, now is an opportune time to reach out to members of Congress to remind them of the value of afterschool and summer learning programs in inspiring learning, keeping young people safe, and helping working families.

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learn more about: 21st CCLC Congress Federal Funding
JUL
7
2016

IN THE FIELD
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Afterschool & Law Enforcement: Motivations for partnerships

By Erin Murphy

The Afterschool Alliance is pleased to present the second installment of the new Afterschool & Law Enforcement blog series. Through interviews with police officers and public service officials, this post focuses on the motivations that lead afterschool programs and law enforcement agencies to work together.

The New York State Sheriff Association's Sheriffs' Camp summer program

Across the nation, law enforcement and afterschool programs are partnering up to keep children safe and support working families. Juvenile interaction with law enforcement and victimization peak between 3 and 6 p.m., the hours after school before parents get home from work. Finding care for children during this time can be challenging for families, especially for working single parents.

Officer Kenney Aguilar of the Santa Ana Police Department described how many law enforcement departments recognize afterschool programs as the perfect partner in keeping communities safe. “Afterschool programs provide a safe haven for children to focus on academics,” he said. “These programs also keep kids off of the streets and away from the gangs that plague the neighborhoods.”

Rene Fiechter, Assistant District Attorney of Nassau County (NY), noted the role of afterschool in a community initiative to help single moms. “Affordable afterschool became a large necessity to achieve the goals of that initiative,” he said.

Additionally, working with afterschool programs provides an opportunity for law enforcement departments to build relationships, trust and understanding with community youth. Besides giving kids a safe place to learn in the summer, The Sheriffs' Institute in New York hopes to “encourage kids to see law enforcement as a friend and not an enemy,” said Chris O’Brien, executive director of the institute.

Darren Grimshaw, a major at the Burlington (IA) Police Department, has similarly seen his department’s partnership with an afterschool program transform the relationship of law enforcement and the local community. Participants in the program frequently say hello to officers and share their positive experiences with friends and family.

These partnerships between afterschool and law enforcement vary dramatically depending on the needs of the community and the capacity of the police department. Some departments provide funding for afterschool programs, while others run their own afterschool programs and camps.

JUL
6
2016

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup: July 6, 2016

By Luci Manning

Kids Have a Blast, Learn Cyber Basics (Pensacola News Journal, Florida)

Elementary and middle school students are learning how to better secure their computers, phones and tablets at Global Business Solutions Inc.’s (GBSI’s) Summer Cyber Camp. The program teaches students about the dangers of sharing personal information with strangers and shows them how to create complex passwords to protect their devices. The camp aims to expose young people to cybersecurity and computer science to encourage them to pursue careers in those fields. “The goal is to get them young and to get them interested,” GBSI technical writer Steve Samaha told the Pensacola News Journal

Free Range Fun (The Landmark, Massachusetts)

Lisa Burris thinks young students today suffer from a nature deficit, so she’s trying to give them opportunities to explore the outdoors at her Turn Back Time Farm. The nonprofit farm offers summer camps, home schooling and afterschool programs for students of all abilities, but particularly for children with special needs who may have trouble thriving in a traditional classroom. “The overarching goal is just play,” Burris told The Landmark. “It happens naturally, and it ticks all the boxes – development, gross motor skills. Kids learn, heal, negotiate through play.” The 58-acre farm boasts a trail system, a cultivated garden and plenty of farm animals for children to interact with, including goats, pigs and a pony.

Summer Camp an EPIC Way to Learn (Post & Courier, South Carolina)

Nearly a thousand Charleston County elementary schoolers are learning to be scientists and creative problem solvers at EPIC summer camp. Many of the students spend the whole day at EPIC (which stands for Engaging, Purposeful, Innovative, Creative), working on STEM projects in the mornings and art and other enrichment activities in the afternoons. The camp aims to improve students’ social skills and keep them learning over the long summer months so they don’t fall behind at the start of the school year. “I really like it because you can learn a lot so you don’t forget in the summertime,” fourth-grader Leila Nadar told the Post & Courier. “I’ve always had a hard time when I get back from the summer and I’m like, Oh my God, I forgot everything, but now I won’t forget.”

Horizons Helping More Hoosier Kids (Indianapolis Star, Indiana)

While many students lose ground in core academic subjects over the summer, 150 students in the Horizons summer program are gaining two to three months of reading proficiency, improving their math skills and learning how to be stronger communicators. The students, most of whom are at risk of falling behind their peers during the school year, spend their summer days on Butler College’s campus participating in classroom activities and field trips meant to sharpen their academic and social skills in all areas, including art, STEM, physical fitness and community service. They also get a glimpse into the college life, showing them that they could succeed after high school as well. “It makes me so happy because I get to see people eating lunch and they’re in college,” 13-year-old Quintez Tucker told the Indianapolis Star. “That makes me think I can do it. I walk past the door and see them in class, I know I can do that.” 

JUL
5
2016

RESEARCH
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5 statistics that inspire optimism in the future of America's youth

By Robert Abare

A new study has found that “Generation Z,” or the cohort of youth born after 1995 that follows millennials, are healthier and have higher rates of high school completion, despite significant challenges posed by the economy and education costs. The 2016 KIDS COUNT Data Book, a project of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, compares national and state data on youth and their well-being collected between 2008 and 2014.

The KIDS COUNT Data Book provides substantial reasons to be optimistic about the future of Generation Z and all of America’s youth, especially when considering youth’s strides in teenage pregnancy, high school graduation and their persistence despite an unfavorable economic environment.

Here are five reasons to be optimistic about (and proud of) America’s youth:

  1. The percentage of teens not graduating high school on time has dropped 28 percent nationwide.
  2. The percentage of teens abusing drugs and alcohol has dropped 38 percent nationwide.
  3. The percentage of teens not graduating high school on time has dropped 28 percent nationwide.
  4. The rate of teenage pregnancy has decreased 40 percent nationwide.
  5. Youth are making strides despite strong economic headwinds. Currently, 22 percent of children live in poverty—the same rate as 2013.

“This generation of teenagers and young adults are coming of age in in the wake of the worst economic climate in nearly 80 years, and yet they are achieving key milestones that are critical for future success,” said Patrick McCarthy, president and CEO of the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

“With more young people making smarter decisions, we must fulfill our part of the bargain..."

McCarthy noted the importance of continued investments in systems that support and protect youth, like afterschool programs. “With more young people making smarter decisions, we must fulfill our part of the bargain, by providing them with the educational and economic opportunity that youth deserve,” he said. “We urge candidates in state and national campaigns to describe in depth their proposals to help these determined young people realize their full potential.”

The KIDS COUNT Data Book also offers a number of recommendations to policy makers as to how to best support America’s youth, based on the core values of opportunity, responsibility and security.

JUL
1
2016

IN THE FIELD
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New study: Afterschool physical activity standards are widely adopted

By Robert Abare

By 2020, at least 5 million children will attend afterschool or summer learning programs that have committed to implementing new physical activity standards, according to the Partnership for a Healthier America.

This promising trend is occurring largely thanks to the National AfterSchool Association’s (NAA) creation and promotion of new Healthy Eating and Physical Activity (HEPA) standards, according to a new study released by the National Institute on Out-of-School Time and RTI International. The NAA’s HEPA standards were designed to help out-of-school time programs work to prevent childhood obesity and keep kids nourished, healthy and active.

The study, Monitoring the Uptake of National Afterschool Association Physical Activity Standards, compares findings from previous reports and surveys to analyze the rate of out-of-school time providers adopting the NAA physical activity standards into their programming. The report notes research by the Afterschool Alliance showing that more than 10 million U.S. children participate in afterschool programs—almost half of which come from low-income households—which makes these programs a valuable setting for promoting healthy habits among America’s kids.

The report also notes that "large national organizations including Y USA, Alliance for a Healthier Generation, National Recreation and Park Association, and Boys & Girls Clubs of America have integrated the [NAA’s HEPA] standards (in whole or in part) into sizable programmatic initiatives.”

The report continues, “In addition, states have considered regulations that include adaptations of the standards, with legislation enacted in California in 2014 and efforts underway in other states including Florida, South Carolina and Texas.”

These initiatives to implement the NAA’s HEPA standards at the programmatic and state level are helping to create broad, uniform improvements in the health of our nation’s children.

You can download the full report through Active Living Research. You can also join a network of youth service professionals seeking to curb America’s rising rates of childhood obesity by becoming a Leader on PreventObesity.net.

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learn more about: Health and Wellness
JUN
30
2016

POLICY
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New House bill gives career and technical education a modern upgrade

By Jillian Luchner

The House Committee on Education and the Workforce has released the “Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act”, a bipartisan bill updating Perkins career and technical education (CTE) legislation, which was last authorized in 2006. The proposed update includes many positive changes that recognize and support the work afterschool and summer providers are doing to help students enter the workforce prepared and ready for well-paid, in-demand careers.

Main tenets of the bipartisan bill

The 2016 legislation focuses on providing students with opportunities to pursue recognized postsecondary credentials that are aligned with the employment needs of the surrounding economy, especially in high-skill, high-wage careers.

The bill is friendly to afterschool in many areas. The bill recognizes the important role that afterschool plays in planning CTE offerings and the benefits of including community-based partners as active participants in that planning. The bill language includes community based organizations explicitly as eligible entities (capable of receiving funding). Afterschool is at the table!

The bill also allows career exploration and other activities to be allowable starting as early as the 5th grade (the previous limit was 7th grade). The bill supports STEM learning for underrepresented students, and career pathways for non-traditional careers, such as girls in computer science. The bill draws out the role of competency based education (digital badges, for example) in local CTE programs. The bill continues to mention the importance of employability skills, many of which overlap with social and emotional learning. And the bill also establishes an “Innovation Grant Program,” which reserves 25 percent of an initial $7.5 million allocation for specific programs, including partnerships with non-profits.

The bill is still heavily focused on a tripod of secondary education, post-secondary institutions, and businesses as the main players, however. This focus means that entities that do not fall into these three categories must ask to get a seat at the planning table. These entities include community-based programs, 21st Century Community Learning Centers (which will include workforce development as an allowable use when the Every Student Succeeds Act goes into effect next year), and other afterschool and summer providers working on employability skills and career pathways. As these entities are eligible for funding, this ask should not be too difficult. Additionally, groups that serve out of school or at-risk youth often are included, so the avenues for becoming involved in the planning process are many.

While the House has completed its proposal for revising the CTE law, the Senate has yet to unveil its plan, and the road to enactment isn’t entirely clear, given that legislators are about to leave Washington, D.C. until September. As a result of this timetable, there is still time for feedback and modification. Feel free to let us know your thoughts on the House bill. Talking with your state CTE state director is another way to learn more about the current law and develop relationships around the work you are doing to prepare students for excellent, in-demand careers.

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learn more about: Academic Enrichment Youth Development
JUN
30
2016

RESEARCH
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New poll: Americans want to invest in youth and afterschool

By Erik Peterson

With election day just four months away, most adults say they are more likely to vote for a candidate committed to investing in effective child and youth well-being policies, according to a new national poll conducted by Hart Research on behalf of the Children’s Leadership Council. More than three in five adults—representing every age, race, income and education level across the country—want the next president and Congress to invest more federal funds in afterschool, child nutrition, child health and education programs for children, according to the poll findings.

By overwhelming margins, the poll found that Americans say the nation’s children would be better off if government did more to support parents and families, and that they would be more likely to vote for a candidate who would commit to policies that advance children’s well-being. In particular, the poll found the highest support among millennials, regardless of party.

Here are the specifics of Americans' widespread support for investing in our future

  • 70 percent of Americans believe children would be better off if government did more to support parents and families.
  • 63 percent of Americans favor increasing funding for programs and services to meet children’s needs.
  • A majority of Americans say they are more likely to support someone who commits to making child well-being policies a priority, especially in the areas of: child abuse and family violence (75 percent); child poverty and hunger (71 percent); child health care coverage (67 percent); college affordability (66 percent), and child care and early education (58 percent).

With regard to afterschool programs, the poll echoed previous election year polls on the value that the public places on afterschool programs:

  • 63 percent of parents said they would be more likely to vote for a candidate who commits to making expanding afterschool programs and summer learning opportunities priorities if elected.
  • 67 percent of mothers said they would be more likely to vote for a candidate who commits to making expanding afterschool programs and summer learning opportunities priorities if elected.
  • 67 percent of millennials said they would be more likely to vote for a candidate who commits to making expanding afterschool programs and summer learning opportunities priorities if elected.
  • 77 percent of African Americans said they would be more likely to vote for a candidate who commits to making expanding afterschool programs and summer learning opportunities priorities if elected.

The Children’s Leadership Council, a coalition of nearly 60 of the nation’s leading child and youth advocacy organizations, including the Afterschool Alliance, commissioned Hart Research Associates to conduct the poll. The poll used telephone interviews with a nationally representative sample of over 2,000 Americans age 18 and older across the country, including 595 parents of children under age 18. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.5 percent.

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learn more about: Advocacy Congress Election Federal Funding
JUN
29
2016

IN THE FIELD
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Afterschool & Law Enforcement: Partners in keeping kids and communities safe

By Erin Murphy

The Afterschool Alliance is excited to announce a new blog series focusing on law enforcement and afterschool partnerships. As juvenile justice reform gains more attention from the afterschool field, the Afterschool & Law Enforcement series highlights how the out-of-school time field is partnering with police to keep kids out of jail and strengthen communities. Throughout the rest of the year, we will be sharing themed blogs that highlight many aspects of these partnerships, such as motivations for partnering, building relationships, highlights from city-systems, outcomes and recommendations for getting started. Additionally, we will share stories from some of our favorite partnerships as part of the Afterschool Spotlight series

In this first blog of the series, we will go deep on one component of many afterschool programs: mentoring. While common in many programs, mentoring seems to be especially prevalent in programs that focus on fostering stronger police & youth relations. Last week, the U.S. Senate law enforcement caucus recognized the importance of mentoring by hosting a Congressional briefing on youth mentoring. The goal was to discuss the role law enforcement can play in mentoring youth and share examples of law enforcement initiatives that have led to successful youth mentoring programs in their communities.

Three individuals with on-the-ground experience in developing these programs shared their knowledge and insight:

Chief Jim BueermannPresidentPolice Foundation. While working at the Redlands Police Department, Chief Bueermann developed a mentoring program that supported high schoolers in exploring law enforcement careers and becoming officers.

Donald NorthcrossFounderOK Program. Northcross developed the OK Program in 1990 while working as a Deputy Sheriff at the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department. This is a mentoring and leadership program where law enforcement officers partner with African-American men to support African-American boys.

Orrin WhiteAssistant Director of Community Engagement, United Way of DelawareInspired by challenges African-American youth faced throughout Delaware, White initiated We are the Why. This program allowed youth to work with officers to learn about law enforcement, discuss issues in their communities, and develop ways to improve law enforcement-community relations.

These speakers shared their knowledge and experiences related to program development and gaining community support. and the amazing outcomes these programs provide students, officers and their community. They also highlighted outcomes of their partnerships and provided recommendations for building and maintaining strong partnerships. 

"These programs helped destroy prejudices youth held against cops and cops held against youth."

Outcomes

  • The most significant outcome of these programs was the development of relationships between participating youth and law enforcement. These programs helped destroy prejudices youth held against cops and cops held against youth. Northcross shared how relationships transformed through the OK Program. “At the beginning there is tension in the room when officers enter, but by the end youth are high-fiving and hugging officers.”
  • Both youth and officers gained new insight on how to interact in the community to reduce misunderstanding and distrust. White emphasized this, stating, “it’s important that officers are able to see how they are perceived by the community and learn from this.”
  • In established programs, youth participants are graduating high school and giving back to their communities directly—with many youth even becoming officers themselves.
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learn more about: Working Families Community Partners