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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.
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AUG
1

IN THE FIELD
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New BGCA Great Futures Campaign elevates the role of out-of-school time

By Erik Peterson

This week the Boys & Girls Clubs of America launched the Great Futures Campaign to call attention to the crisis facing America’s young people and to "redefine the opportunity equation" by elevating the role of out-of-school-time programs in reversing negative trends like poor academic performance, obesity, drug use, and youth-related violence. The Great Futures Campaign seeks to mobilize the nation in support of afterschool and summer learning programs that tackle these issues to inspire and empower more youth toward success.

The campaign identifies out-of-school-time programs as a key component of the solution to America’s youth crisis—but emphasizes that every day, 15 million kids (1 in 4) leave school with no place to go, putting them at risk of being unsupervised, unguided and unsafe. During the summer, an alarming 43 million (3 out of 4) kids in America lack access to summer learning programs, increasing their risk of learning loss and putting them at a disadvantage for the next school year.

The Afterschool Alliance supports the Great Futures Campaign in its mission to build additional support for afterschool, before school and summer learning programs. Research shows that out-of-school-time programs work: young people who attend afterschool and summer learning programs have better attendance, improved behavior, higher grades and improved test scores among other outcomes. Boys & Girls Clubs offer a variety of programs in the areas of education, health and nutrition, and character and leadership development at its more than 4,100 clubs nationwide. BGCA is also developing new programs to close the achievement gap for children most in need, including expanding programs like Summer Brain Gain to prevent summer learning loss, enhance STEM programs to nurture 21st century skills, and deploy a robust teen engagement strategy to ensure more young adults are on track to graduate from high school and become college- or career-ready.

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learn more about: Advocacy Celebrities Summer Learning Academic Enrichment Youth Development
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JUL
30

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup - July 30, 2014

By Luci Manning

Young Kids Learn Spanish at Nebraska Summer Camp (Associated Press, Nebraska)
Students at Grand Island’s YWCA’s Immersion Ranch Summer Camp are finding that learning a foreign language is fun! The summer program is teaching young students Spanish through games and activities. Participating preschool and elementary aged students can only speak English freely for ten minutes per day during this weeklong program. The rest of the three hours is spent learning the basics, including directions, animals and much more. Instructor Lisa Brown-Olsen told the Associated Press that at this age, the children are predisposed to learning the language well because their minds are like sponges.

New York Students Are Spending Their Summer in City’s Top Kitchens (Wall Street Journal, New York)

This summer, Manhattan’s most elite kitchens are getting help from 85 high school students.  The aspiring chefs are part of the Careers through Culinary Arts Program, a nonprofit dedicated to creating opportunities for at-risk young people to enter the food industry.  Chef Daniel Boulud told the Wall Street Journal, that for young people this program is essentially “like opening one of the greatest cookbooks and living through it.” The students gain valuable, real-life experiences, from honing their knife skills to balancing flavors to plating intricate dishes.

Young Riders Earn Their Bikes in Church Program (Cape Cod Times, Massachusetts)

Students graduating from John Wesley United Methodist Church’s Earn-a-Bike program can travel home in style this Friday.  As participants in the program, students will become the new owners of the bikes they have diligently repaired. The weeklong curriculum teaches students how to maintain bicycles and educates them on important safety lessons. Church Youth Director Jeremy Tagliaferre told the Cape Cod Times that they are hoping to expand the camp into an afterschool program in the fall.   

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learn more about: Summer Learning Community Partners
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JUL
23

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup - July 23, 2014

By Luci Manning

Chambersburg Students Paint ‘Pathways to Diversity’ (Public Opinion, Pennsylvania)

Chambersburg students participating in the Kids Learning After School summer program celebrated the program’s 11th annual Diversity Day with a colorful poster display this week! The artwork showcased the themes in three posters illustrating people of all colors holding hands next to a globe.  When the Public Opinion asked Odalys Ramos what she learned at camp she replied, “We can all communicate in different ways and that we each are different, we love to do stuff together and we like getting to know each other and knowing who we are deep inside.”

YWCA Expands Its After-School Program at New Bresnahan Elementary (Newburyport News, Massachusetts)

A new building will house the YWCA afterschool program, allowing it to expand to accommodate all the families who have been eagerly waiting to get off the afterschool program’s waiting list, reports the Newburyport News. The maximum capacity of the space has doubled, enabling the Y to serve the community better than ever, providing a safe environment for many more Newsburyport children to learn through play.

A Boatload of Westerly Kids and a Whole Lot of Learning (Westerly Sun, Rhode Island)

Tower Street Community Center’s summer learning program, an extension of Westerly Public Schools’ Before and After School Enrichment Program, is partnering with Save the Bay, a local environmental organization, to teach students about science, water quality, habitats and biodiversity. The Westerly Sun reported on the program’s latest adventure—a trip aboard the Elizabeth Morris where students explored the ecology of the Little Narragansett Bay. The students, equipped with binoculars and maps, were excited to spot a cunner, a tautog, and a black-fingered mud crab.

Boxer Speaks at Anti-Bullying Presentation (Caller Times, Texas)

Local boxer Jerry Belmontes visited Corpus Christi Parks & Recreation Department’s Latchkey Program at Schanen Elementary School to give 130 children some heartfelt advice about bullying. Belmontes dropped out of prekindergarten and kindergarten because he was bullied and now he’s determined to help others. According to the Caller Times, Latchkey Program students have also heard from members of the military representatives from colleges about reading, nutrition and recycling.  

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learn more about: Summer Learning Community Partners
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JUL
21

RESEARCH
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Just released: Report on the effects of increased learning time

By Nikki Yamashiro

A new report, released by the Department of Education and written by the Regional Educational Laboratory Appalachia, examined the impact afterschool, before-school and summer learning programs have on their students’ academic achievement and socio-emotional development.  The report, “The effects of increased learning time on student academic and nonacademic outcomes: Findings from a meta-analytic review,” found that out-of-school-time programs, as well as full-day kindergarten programs, can have a positive effect on student participants, such as improving students’ academic motivation, self-confidence and self-management.  Effects did vary by program and type of instruction, and the authors of the report conclude that the elements of a program—such as program instruction and focus, the types of students targeted, and staff—have an impact on student outcomes. 

Authors of this report reviewed more than 7,000 studies, and out of the 7,000 identified 30 studies to analyze, with the goal of helping schools and school districts determine the types and features of afterschool programs best suited to their needs.  After finding that out-of-school-time programs had mixed effects on student outcomes, researchers concluded:

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learn more about: Department of Education Education Reform Evaluations Sustainability Youth Development
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JUL
17

RESEARCH
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Survey says: Summer learning gains ground

By Jen Rinehart

New research from the 2014 edition of America After 3PM, the most comprehensive household survey of how students in America spend their after school hours, shows that summer learning programs are strongly supported by parents and that participation in summer learning programs is on the rise. 

According to the survey of nearly 14,000 families:

  • Eighty-six percent of parents indicate support for public funding for summer learning programs, a statistically significant increase of 3 percentage points over the already very strong support registered in 2009. 
  • One-third of families report at least one child participated in a summer learning program last summer, up from the 25 percent of families reporting at least one child participated when the survey was last conducted in 2009.
  • Demand for summer learning programs for 2014 is high.  More than half of families reported a desire to participate in a summer learning program this summer.
  • Thirteen percent of families reported that summer programs were available to them at no cost in 2013. However, the vast majority of parents paid for programs and the average weekly per-child cost for a summer learning program was $250—high enough to put the programs out of the reach of many children and families.
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learn more about: Afterschool Voices America After 3PM Inside the Afterschool Alliance Summer Learning Sustainability
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JUL
16

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup - July 16, 2014

By Luci Manning

Young Man Floundered Until a Cape Family Took a Chance (Cape Cod Times, Massachusetts)
Billy Cook-Warren, a 19 year old who recently graduated from Bourne High School and overcame many obstacles on his path to higher education, is excited to begin college this fall at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.  After staying with various foster families, he finally found himself in the care of Trish and Rob Lubold, foster parents who believed and supported him.  In addition to the support of his foster family, Billy credits his participation in the Boys & Girls Club of Cape Cod with keeping him engaged in learning.  Billy told the Cape Cod Times, “I had a tough upbringing, and no kid should have to grow up like that. They need to pour a little more money into foster care and after-school programs. It’s not a hand out; it’s a hand up.”

Kids bring classic Dickens to Loveland stage with ‘Oliver’ (Cincinnati Enquirer, Ohio)

Last weekend, the Loveland Stage Company Children’s Summer Theater brought a classic Dickens tale to the stage.  Seventy students participated in the production of “Oliver,” taking on important roles both on and off the stage.  Tammi Sanders, a mother whose two children performed, spoke highly of their involvement to the Cincinnati Enquirer, saying that “they learn to work with the other children, take direction, memorize lines, as well as choreography; just the whole processes is a learning experience.”

YMCA Summer Program Students Get Free Bikes (Tulsa World, Oklahoma)

“This is awesome!  I learned how to ride without training wheels, and now I have a brand-new bike!” exclaimed 7 year-old Key’Shon Holmes.  Key’Shon is one of 160 students who received a bike after taking part in the YMCA’s afterschool program at Skelly Elementary School.  The bicycles, helmets and bicycling education were gifts from local nonprofits.  YMCA Summer Learning Institute Program Director Emma Sikich said the gift of the bicycles gives “these students an opportunity beyond the program – we hope it plants a seed for a new activity and physical development in families,” reports the Tulsa World.  

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JUL
9

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup - July 9, 2014

By Luci Manning

Soapbox: Help Students Beat Summer Learning Loss (Coloradoan, Colorado)

Maria Ortiz, an Afterschool Ambassador and the 21st Century Community Learning Center grant director for Poudre School District, calls on parents, school systems, local and state governments and businesses to help students meet the need for summer learning opportunities across the country in a piece for the Coloradoan.  She writes:

“Clearly, we need more summer learning programs, and just as clearly, the problem is funding them. Right now, the federal government provides some funding for summer learning, by way of the 21st Century Community Learning Centers initiative — the principal federal funding stream for after-school programs. But the funding is insufficient to provide summer learning opportunities for all the kids who need them. Until we can find a way to fix that with contributions from parents, school systems, local and state governments, business, and individual donors, too many of our kids will spend more time with video games and remote controls than with all the wondrous opportunities that summer learning programs can offer them.”

ACTC Summer Camp Teaches About Electronic Components (Daily Independent, Kentucky)

In just one week, elementary school children participating in the Ashland Community and Technical College summer learning camp will have created more than 30 electronic devices including burglar alarms, night lights and police sirens.  In this week’s camp the young students are learning theories behind various electrical components and are putting their knowledge to the test.  Craig McDavid, the program’s instructor, told the Daily Independent the time he spent at this camp as a child motivated him to have a career in science and that he hopes these children are similarly inspired.  He said that “this kind of hands-on learning is the best kind of learning. It’s what brings it home.”

YMS Students Film Commercials for Local Non-Profits (York New-Times, Nebraska)

Students at York Middle School’s (YMS) Summer Learning Academy are gaining some real world media experience and helping their community’s nonprofits in a big way.  The students created commercials to help York Adopt-A-Pet and the Palmer Museum.  Matt Maltsberger, YMS social studies and media productions teacher, told the York News-Times that summer learning programs allow students to have educational opportunities outside of the traditional classroom, “I think that getting kids in a different setting—a setting that lets them express themselves—is beneficial.  It’s the ideal situation for great opportunities to learn.”

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learn more about: 21st CCLC Afterschool Ambassadors Digital Learning Science Summer Learning Community Partners
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JUL
2

POLICY
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State afterschool policy update

By Erik Peterson

While Congress remains stalled with the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and the 2015 budget appropriations process; states and localities are experiencing considerable momentum. Among the jurisdictions making progress in advancing funding and policy for afterschool programs are Washington, D.C., New York state and California:

  • In Washington, D.C., the city council recently passed their FY2015 budget, including a modest increase in the D.C. Public Schools Out-of-School Time Program to support afterschool and summer learning programs, resulting in a total funding level of $8.4 million. Funding to support community-based organizations providing expanded learning programming was held stable and includes $10 million for 21st Century Community Learning Center grants and $3 million for the D.C. Children & Youth Investment Trust Corporation. The D.C. community schools initiative was funded at $500,000. 
  • In New York state last week the governor announced awardees for the first round of Extended Learning Time grants, while in New York City the mayor recently released details of a $145 million expansion of middle school afterschool programs as well as $52 million for the development of 40 community schools. The $24 million Extended Learning Time grants were awarded to nine school districts statewide, including NYC. The state Department of Education has posted a list of the winners on its website. The $52 million grant to launch the development of 40 innovative community schools will match comprehensive social services and learning programs with 40 high-need public schools across NYC. Coupled with pre-K for every child and expanded afterschool programs for middle school students, the mayor pledged to make community schools a key component of transforming the education system and lifting up every child.
  • In California last week, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced 333 programs will receive a combined $51 million in state and federal grants to provide expanded learning opportunities for students to bolster student learning outside of the regular school hours. In the latest round of funding, $51 million was distributed through three grants: the After School Education and Safety program, the federal 21st Century Community Learning Centers—Elementary & Middle Schools program, and the state 21st Century High School After School Safety and Enrichment for Teens program. More information on the awarded grants can be accessed through the California Department of Education’s Before & After School webpage. 
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learn more about: 21st CCLC Budget ESEA Legislation State Policy Sustainability
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