RSS | Go To: afterschoolalliance.org
Subscribe to the Afterschool Advocate newsletter
Afterschool Snack, the afterschool blog. The latest research, resources, funding and policy on expanding quality afterschool and summer learning programs for children and youth. An Afterschool Alliance resource.
Afterschool Donation
Afterschool on Facebook
Afterschool on Twitter
Blogs We Read Afterschool Snack Bloggers
Select blogger:
Afterschool Snack Archives
JUN
19

IN THE FIELD
email
print

Power down & celebrate summer

By Ursula Helminski

This weekend, longtime afterschool supporter Torani Syrups has posed a positive challenge:  take the Power Down Pledge and #PowerDown your devices, and connect up with friends, family and community to celebrate the start of summer.  They’ve been posting some creative ideas for your Power Down activity: family camping in the living room, using a cell phone pile where no one is allowed to look at their device for the duration of the meal, or going on a celestial scavenger hunt with help from NASA

Afterschool programs are taking up the challenge, too, displaying the creative energy that we all love about our field—from families creating a 3D town using supplies they are donating to a local pantry, to a family dinner night at an animal shelter where families make doggie treats and read to the animals!

We’re all in here at the Afterschool Alliance, and I hope you will join us—take the Power Down Pledge—and celebrate the start of summer this weekend as we will, connecting with those around us.

For the past nine years, Torani’s Art for Kids project has highlighted the importance of afterschool programs nationwide by featuring the artwork of afterschool students on limited-edition beverage labels. The company donates a percentage of the sales of the limited edition bottles to the Afterschool Alliance.

share this link: http://bit.ly/1m1mn3T
learn more about: Events and Briefings Summer Learning Community Partners
Comments: (0)
JUN
12

IN THE FIELD
email
print

Guest blog: Use Summer Learning Day to strengthen summer learning in your community

By Sarah Simpson

Bob Seidel is the senior director of strategic initiatives and policy at the National Summer Learning Association. For more ideas on addressing policy makers about summer learning, contact Bob Seidel at bseidel@summerlearning.org.

 

Summer Learning Day is June 20!  But you can celebrate it locally anytime during the summer.  It’s a great opportunity to acknowledge the students, educators and their community partners who are making summertime an exciting period of growth and learning. 

It’s also an important occasion for calling attention to the challenge that summer learning loss poses to our communities.  Mayors, council members, superintendents, principals and other local leaders need to understand that summer learning loss can undermine academic success and, with it, the community’s future, but that expanding summer learning opportunities can support and accelerate education goals.

share this link: http://bit.ly/1iKzrM9
learn more about: Advocacy Events and Briefings Media Outreach Summer Learning
Comments: (0)
JUN
11

NEWS ROUNDUP
email
print

Weekly Media Roundup - June 11, 2014

By Luci Manning

Kids Out Of School Also Missing Subsidized Lunch (PBS Newshour)

Of the 21 million students who receive free and reduced price lunch during the school year, only 3 million receive federally funded meals during the summer.  While that figure shows that only a fraction of the students who would benefit from the summer nutrition programs are getting the support they need, Jim Weill, president of the Food Research and Action Center, told PBS Newshour that there has actually been a 6 percent increase between 2012 and 2013 in the amount of students receiving federally funded meals during the summer. In the interview, Weill said there needs to be a greater effort to help these students attain quality, nutrient-dense meals in order to avoid the rise in hunger and obesity that typical occurs during the summer months.

King’s Summer Program Offers Musical Training (Des Moines Register, Iowa)

For some students at King Elementary School, the afterschool program they attend during the year doesn’t end when summer vacation begins.  Thanks to a partnership with the nonprofit Jane Foundation and a 21st Century grant, the school is able to offer music lessons during the summer.  Jane Magers, director and CEO of the Jane Foundation, was so eager to get involved  by providing donated instruments because, as she told the Des Moines Register, the organization “sees music as being critical to a child’s development, not only for the creative aspects but also to foster life skills.”

Applied Learning; After-School Program Reaches Finish Line (Herald and News, Oregon)

Thanks to an outstanding collaboration from businesses, nonprofits, a university and many members of the community, students in the Klamath Falls area have the opportunity to design and race model cars after school. Ponderosa Middle School students are putting the finishing touches on the hand held race cars that they designed in a 3-D modeling program with the help of Oregon Institute of Technology engineering students.  One of the OIT students told the Herald and News that this type of activity is a great way to introduce the students to a lot of different STEM fields, saying “You get basic aerodynamics, you get 3-D modeling, you get a little bit of physics and it seems to be a pretty fun environment where they get to enjoy themselves while doing it.”  The students will race their cars for the science fair at Oregon Tech Thursday.  

Suburban Teens Are On a Mission to Boost City Schools (Journal Sentinel, Wisconsin)

Two ambitious high school students from a Milwaukee suburb are stepping up to help their fellow students through a tutoring program they started called Kids4Kids.  The weekly program, which takes place at Milwaukee College Prep’s Lloyd Street Campus, is gaining in popularity as students from additional suburbs sign on to be tutors to inner city students. Chandlar Strauss, one of the co-founders, told the Journal Sentinel that she is hopeful that Kids4Kids can help “close the educational gap that exists between the city and suburbs and build a relationship between the communities.”  

share this link: http://bit.ly/1xK5SOS
learn more about: 21st CCLC Health and Wellness Nutrition Science Summer Learning Arts Community Partners
Comments: (0)
JUN
9

POLICY
email
print

My Brother's Keeper Task Force reports back to the president

By Erik Peterson

In late February, Pres. Obama appointed a high-level task force to oversee his new “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative “to develop a coordinated federal effort to improve significantly the expected life outcomes for boys and young men of color.” Recently the My Brother’s Keeper Task Force released a report on their first 90 days of actions, including key recommendations for the initiative moving forward.

Since the launch of My Brother’s Keeper initiative, the president’s task force has met with and heard from thousands of Americans through online and in-person listening sessions, including a number of afterschool and summer learning providers.  Cities and towns, businesses, foundations, faith leaders and individuals have made commitments to helping youth get a strong start in school and life and later connect them to mentoring, support networks and specialized skills they need to find a good job or go to college.

The 90-day report laid out cross-cutting recommendations, seven broad themes and specific recommendations.  The importance of afterschool is highlighted in the specific recommendations, which call for expansion of effective afterschool and summer programs to accelerate socio-emotional and academic learning and health.  The recommendations also call for a public-private campaign to recruit high-quality, sustained mentors—an important component of many afterschool programs.  Details on the recommendations are below. 

share this link: http://bit.ly/1qj2Yvo
learn more about: Afterschool Voices Equity Federal Policy Media Outreach Obama Youth Development
Comments: (0)
JUN
5

NEWS ROUNDUP
email
print

Weekly Media Roundup - June 5, 2014

By Luci Manning

Ballard Helps Kick Off Summer Reading Program (WISH-TV, Indiana)

Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard read Good Night Moon to students Wednesday morning to kick-off the Indianapolis Public Library’s summer reading program.  As part of the Read in Any Language theme of this summer’s program, the students will map out their “race” around the world reading books with a global perspective.  Mayor Ballard told WISH-TV about how valuable programs like this are, saying that “I always liked to read as a kid, but I think it’s the summer program that kids can really advance on their own.  The Summer Reading Program is designed to make it easy for the kids and give them the opportunity to see what is available to them and have a lot of fun doing it.”

A Higher Key: Music Program Helps Kids Learn New Skills (StarTribune, Minnesota)

The sound of classical music fills the halls of Nellie Stone Johnson Community School in the afternoons as students in the afterschool music program learn to play instruments like violins and cellos.  El Sistema, an afterschool club founded in Venezuela 40 years ago dedicated to social justice and crime prevention, offers much more than music lessons to students in north Minneapolis.  While the program teaches the students to play classical instruments, it also promotes the ideals of cooperation and strong study skills.  El Sistema is just finishing up its second year in north Minneapolis, and it has already produced real results – the students in the program tested as faster readers and as more empathetic and creative than their peers, the StarTribune reports.

Canine Training Reaches Hearts of Young Offenders (Santa Cruz Sentinel, California)

For five residents at the Santa Cruz Juvenile Hall, their hard work training and socializing abandoned dogs paid off as the young residents graduated from the “Canines for Compassion” program.  The objective of the program is twofold. The students who train these previously neglected dogs learn empathy and patience and the dogs are taught basic commands and good behavior, increasing their likelihood of being adopted.  While the dogs have made great strides in confidence and skills, the trainers gained valuable life skills.  One of the longer-term residents told the Santa Cruz Sentinel how much the program means to him, “More than anything, (George the Rottweiler and Labrador mix he trained) been a friend.  I actually gained a friend in here. I really liked this whole program. It brought me some feelings, some emotions.”

Alexandria Library’s Summer Reading Program Also Gets Kids Excited About Science (Town Talk, Louisiana)

Fizz, Boom, Read. The theme of this year’s Alexandria Westside Regional Library’s Summer Reading Program aims to interest young people in reading and science.  Students will get a chance to engage in experiments, many involving mixing chemicals that create loud pops and fizzing bubbles.  Some of the experiments and scientific phenomena the students will learn about are included on the program’s summer reading list, the Town Talk reports.  

share this link: http://bit.ly/1pagB04
learn more about: Science Summer Learning Arts Literacy
Comments: (0)
JUN
3

FUNDING
email
print

Guest blog: Summer food participation grows across the nation

By Alexis Steines

This guest blog was co-written by Signe Anderson and Kate Sims. Anderson is a Senior Child Nutrition Policy Analyst and Sims is a Child Nutrition Policy Analyst, both with the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC)

share this link: http://bit.ly/SqoKSm
learn more about: Evaluations Federal Policy Guest Blog Nutrition Summer Learning Community Partners
Comments: (0)
MAY
29

CHALLENGE
email
print

Personal experience and research share the stage at Congressional afterschool briefing

By Erik Peterson

On May 22—in conjunction with the 13th annual Afterschool for All Challenge—the Senate Afterschool Caucus, the Afterschool Alliance and the Expanded Learning Project joined forces to host a Capitol Hill briefing featuring compelling stories and encouraging research that point to the success and potential of afterschool and summer learning programs. 

Dr. Deborah Lowe Vandell, founding dean of the University of California-Irvine School of Education, shared new data that shows how quality afterschool programs can help close the achievement gap. She emphasized findings that show afterschool programs are particularly effective at improving achievement and positive behavior among low-income students. She noted that afterschool researchers and advocates have data that show that the long-term outcomes associated with afterschool participation are positive and compelling and should move the discussion about the benefits of afterschool beyond the safety and good behaviors conversations.  In addition, Vandell stated that in recent years the research tools and findings have facilitated the incorporation of measures of intensity, duration and quality. 

share this link: http://bit.ly/1k5iUlf
learn more about: 21st CCLC Advocacy Afterschool Caucus Afterschool Voices Equity Events and Briefings Academic Enrichment
Comments: (0)
MAY
21

POLICY
email
print

Experts to share the latest afterschool research and outcomes at Congressional briefing

By Erik Peterson

We know the achievement gap is real—73 percent of fourth graders scoring below the 25th percentile in math are eligible for free or reduced-price school lunch. Now we have research that offers a solution: participating in afterschool activities—consistently across the elementary school grades—improves the math achievement of children from low-income families. In fact, taking part in these programs can help eliminate the gap in math achievement between low-income and high-income children by grade five.

Tomorrow, Dr. Deborah Lowe Vandell, founding dean of the School of Education at the University of California-Irvine, will present this latest research to an audience of Congressional staff and policy professionals as part of a special briefing co-hosted by the Afterschool Alliance and the Expanded Learning Project. The briefing will feature both research and examples on how participation in afterschool programs is linked to overall improvements in academic achievement, reductions in school absences and improvements in behavioral outcomes.

share this link: http://bit.ly/1tkaCHO
learn more about: Advocacy Afterschool Champions Congress Equity Evaluations Events and Briefings
Comments: (0)