Recent Afterschool Snacks
By Erik Peterson
It has been six months since the sequester went into effect, however the forward funding mechanism used by many federal education programs has delayed a visible impact at the local level. That is changing as the 2013-2014 school year gets under way and the effects of the sequester on education are made more clear, including scaled back federal investments in afterschool programs.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s (D-MA) recent opinion piece on the sequester that appeared in the Metro West Daily News in Massachusetts acknowledged the role of afterschool programs in helping working families:
“Other cuts are just as mindless. More and more parents are working, but afterschool and other programs’ funding is getting cut for more than a million of our kids. Ask a million parents what it is like to try to hold down a job when the afterschool program closes its doors.”
Last month's report by the American Association of School Administrators (AASA), Surviving Sequester, Round One: Schools Detail Impact of Sequester Cuts included the results of a poll of superintendents asking how the sequester cuts will impact their district. Twenty-four percent of superintendents reported that they would reduce afterschool and Saturday enrichment programs, while 22 percent said they would eliminate summer school programs. Just under 20 percent also reported they would reduce extra-curricular activities and shift funding of extracurricular activities to families or community organizations.
By Molly Tomlinson
U.S. Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA) wrote an op-ed in the Daily Press
expressing his support for the Youth PROMISE Act
, bipartisan legislation that will engage a wide range of community stakeholders to develop and implement evidence-based, locally-tailored violence prevention plans for their communities. “All the credible research and evidence shows that a continuum of comprehensive, evidence-based prevention and intervention initiatives for youth identified as being at risk will greatly reduce crime and save much more than they cost when compared to the avoided law enforcement and social welfare expenditures that would otherwise result. Teen pregnancy prevention, prenatal care, nurse home visits, Head Start, after-school programs, mentorships, and comprehensive job-training programs, among others, have all been scientifically proven to reduce crime and save money. They will effectively convert the "Cradle to Prison Pipeline" into a "Cradle to College and Career Pipeline" for children at greatest risk,” he wrote.
In Muskogee, almost 200 students received free school supplies at the community’s second annual “Back to School, Stay in School” rally. Derrick Reed, the director of the MLK Center, told the Muskogee Phoenix the rally’s attendance was “tremendous.” “We plan to do this every year,” he said. “We do it to encourage the kids and help increase awareness of our after-school program. We know kids can get discouraged easy, and we try to show them some love and compassion at an early age.
United Way of Rhode Island President and CEO Anthony Maione wrote about the importance of summer learning in The Westerly Sun. He wrote: “As improving the education of our youth remains a crucial issue, more and more attention is being focused on the importance of summer learning programs, and for good reason… At United Way of Rhode Island, we know that a strong education is one of the key building blocks to a good life, and the most effective tool to break the cycle of poverty. Learning, however, should never be confined solely to the classroom, which is why we partnered with Hasbro and other donors in 2012 to launch the Hasbro Summer Learning Initiative… The encouraging statistics from the Hasbro Summer Learning Initiative’s initial year tell a simple truth: High-quality summer learning does erase summer learning loss. Through greater outreach this summer, these programs, again, will show that summer learning is improving the educational outlook for Rhode Island’s students, setting the stage for a more successful school year and a more successful future.”
By Sarah Simpson
Today the Wallace Foundation released its newest report on summer learning, “Getting to Work on Summer.” Developed by the RAND Corporation, the report explores the challenges of running effective summer learning programs, and makes recommendations of practices to help address them.
The report is part of a major effort by Wallace to help communities stem summer learning loss, a phenomenon whereby students—especially those in underserved communities—fall further and further behind each summer. By ninth grade, a substantial portion of the achievement gap among low income youth is attributable to the cumulative effects of summer learning loss. These same students also experience an enrichment gap, missing out on many of the opportunities that enrich lessons and help make learning fun and relevant. Underserved youth often lose access to field trips and afterschool activities, and their families cannot afford the trips or other enriching experiences that more affluent peers have access to. Summer learning programs offer a tremendous opportunity to provide these students with enriching and engaging experiences that boost achievement.
By Molly Tomlinson
Earlier this week, afterschool students from Karns Middle School helped State Rep. Gloria Johnson focus attention on the need for more programs for budding scientists, engineers and technologists. Rep. Johnson touted the afterschool program’s success in having students compete and place in national competitions. Rep. Johnson said she’d like to raise awareness about the program so that more students can participate and be exposed to biotechnology, architecture, desktop publishing, graphics and video game design, the Knoxville News-Sentinel reports.
Wake County elementary students participating in a summer camp got a visit from NASA Ambassador Marc Fusco last week about the use of technology in space. Fusco spoke with students about NASA’s use of robotics to explore Mars and answered students’ questions about whether people live in space and if there are planets in other galaxies, the North Raleigh News reports. STEM For Kids, which runs camps, afterschool programs and workshops, focuses on engineering and technology.
The Rochester City School District is participating in a national study looking at whether programs that blend enrichment activities with traditional academic learning can reduce summer learning loss. “The whole focus is to get enough evidence on the impact of these programs to be able to affect policy,” Caterina Leone-Mannino, who oversees the district’s summer school programs, told the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. Educators and researchers hope that a focus on more enrichment than remedial work may hold the key to closing the achievement gap between students from different racial and economic backgrounds.
Iridescent Founder and CEO Tara Chklovski writes about her experiences mentoring youth, the rewards of working with students and challenges other scientists to get involved in a blog post. In her Huffington Post piece, she writes, “There is a lot of discussion these days regarding the lack of capable, diverse, innovative STEM [science, technology, engineering and math] workforce. The solution is not that hard. It just requires everyone to rally around a common goal—like we did a few decades ago with the race to space. It was cool to become an engineer or a scientist. It is time to rally again and inspire the next generation of innovators and inventors. And to do so can actually be fun and fulfilling.”
By Erik Peterson
Today Congress goes on a month-long recess. Representatives and senators will be home until Sept. 9 meeting with constituents and hosting Town Hall meetings. Plan now to reach out to your Members of Congress during this recess to emphasize the need for continued federal support of afterschool, before-school and summer learning programs.
Did you know that the Department of Education’s 21st Century Community Learning Center (21st CCLC) initiative was cut by $60 million in Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 as a result of the sequester?
More than 60,000 children are expected to lose access to quality afterschool, before-school and summer learning programs as a result of the cut. Your Members of Congress need to hear from you this month before they continue to tackle 2014 spending for education programs like 21st CCLC when they return to session this fall.
If you have not already reached out to your representative and senators, here are five actions you can take:
By Erik Peterson
On Wednesday the bipartisan Workforce Investment Act (WIA) reauthorization bill passed through the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee by an 18-3 vote, and will now be considered by the full Senate. The House ofRepresentatives passed their version, the SKILLS Act (HR 803), earlier this year.
The original WIA legislation was first passed by Congress in 1998 and has been overdue for reauthorization since 2003. The reauthorization bill passed by the committee contains changes to the legislation that reflect the ever-changing global economy, input from business, education and labor groups, and more than a decade of experience with existing programs. The bipartisan reauthorization bill was co-sponsored by Sens. Patty Murray (D-WA), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Lamar Alexander (R-TN).
From an afterschool and summer learning perspective, the bill expands opportunities for youth who are out of school, out of work and at risk by increasing the percentage of funding dedicated to assisting out-of-school youth and young adults to 75 percent. For youth, the bill:
By Molly Tomlinson
In an editorial praising the summer learning program at Wellspring Interfaith Social Services in Fort Wayne, The Journal Gazette writes, “For many students, vacations and visits to museums, zoos and libraries are a routine part of summer break. The rich lessons in vocabulary, geography, science and more often are taken for granted in middle- and upper-income families. For students whose families don’t have the time or money to enjoy those experiences, programs such as Wellspring’s summer camp are essential.”
The hip-hop group who created the viral hit “Hot Cheetos and Takis,” are now featured in Kmart’s back-to-school campaign. The campaign features Da Rich Kidzz’s new song “My Limo.” The commercials began airing on TV this week. The students got their musical start at their North Community YMCA afterschool program. The Minneapolis afterschool program gives local students the opportunity to work on professional-grade equipment to make rap and hip-hop videos as a reward for keeping up with schoolwork. Check out the group’s other videos here
Turning everyday classrooms into science laboratories. Using color pencils to find geometric color patterns. Taking make-up classes for credit recovery. These are all ways Oakland Unified School District is “rebooting the traditional summer school model by blending academics with recreational activities intended to prevent students from falling further behind,” the Contra Costa Times reports. This summer 6,000 pre-K to high school students are participating in the new summer enrichment programs.
Students from a weeklong business and leadership camp at the Enterprise Center in West Philadelphia pitched ideas like a chicken and doughnut shop, gothic-style clothing store, and natural cosmetics store to influential business leaders last week. The camp, for students ages 12 to 18, teaches basic financial literacy and lessons about entrepreneurship. The winning pitch group will have the opportunity to participate in the center's executive incubator, an afterschool program that provides students with money to help get a business started, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.
By Molly Tomlinson
“In the absence of school, the Mays Landing branch of the Atlantic County Public Library has stepped up to help, offering summer reading programs for kids aimed at preventing summer learning loss,” the Press of Atlantic City reports. The library has created the “Burrow Into a Book with Me Book Club” to go along with arts and crafts to engage young students and promote learning during the summertime.
More than 200 students are participating in summer learning programs in Greenville thanks to a unique partnership between the Phillis Wheatley Association and Nicholtown Missionary Baptist Church. The two groups brought together a variety of community partners to make the program a success. Some partners include: Certus Bank, Great Outdoor Adventure Trips, First Baptist Greenville, Greenville Tech Charter School, Goodwill Industries of Upstate/Midlands South Carolina and the Boy Scouts. Organizers told the Greenville Times that the summer program may lead to an afterschool program this fall.
More than a dozen young people from around Nashua took part in a week-long summer program where they learned how to design video games and build and program remote control cars. The camp was organized by Nashua’s RoboTech Center, an organization that provides technology and science-based education programs for students in the summer and afterschool programs during the school year. Program Manager Suzanne Delaney told the Nashua Telegraph that too often “schools need to spend time reviewing reading, writing and basic math skills, and do not have the opportunity to explore more advanced technology with young students.”
Splitting cells. Using a mass spectrometer. Learning how chemicals react. These are some of the things 10 South Bend area teens are learning in Project SEED, a summer program from the American Chemical Society that provides economically disadvantaged high school students the opportunity to do paid hands-on research in the chemical sciences, the South Bend Tribune reports. As part of the program the teens are mentored by the scientists with whom they work, learn about college opportunities and write a five-page paper about their summer experience.