Forty-five states have adopted the Common Core State Standards in both English Language Arts and Math, with the majority of these states expected to implement the standards by the 2013-2014 school year. As more schools begin to implement the Common Core standards, afterschool programs are well-positioned to support the learning that takes place during the school day and to align afterschool programming so that it bolsters students’ academic growth and engagement in learning.
The Afterschool Alliance recently released an issue brief describing how afterschool programs are an ideal partner for schools and teachers in their work with the Common Core standards.
Below is a short Q&A on the intersection of afterschool programs and the Common Core standards.
How can afterschool learning contribute to student achievement under the Common Core standards?
- Across the country, afterschool programs are helping students develop the critical thinking, problem-solving and communications skills that the Common Core emphasizes.
- Afterschool programs create engaging, fun, thoughtful and relevant learning experiences for children, allowing them the opportunity to produce and create, delve deeper into projects, collaborate with their peers, and focus on the learning that takes place throughout projects, rather than solely on the end result.
- Working in partnership with schools and teachers, afterschool programs hold infinite potential to prepare children for college and the workforce, and have the competencies necessary to be successful, productive and engaged citizens.
Afterschool leader praises 2014 budget, lauds Congress for 'prioritizing children and working families'
By Jodi Grant
Statement of Jodi Grant, Executive Director, Afterschool Alliance
“The omnibus appropriations bill that Congress passed this week is a welcome step in the right direction toward prioritizing children and working families, as the country makes hard spending choices.
In restoring nearly $60 million in sequester cuts to the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) initiative, Congress signaled that keeping kids safe, inspiring them to learn, and helping working families are priorities. That is very good news, as is the funding level of $1.149 billion, now in place for the remainder of FY2014. The 21st CCLC is the nation’s chief federal funding stream for afterschool and summer learning programs, providing badly needed programs to 1.1 million students, many of whom would otherwise be unsupervised and at-risk when schools are closed.
This appropriations bill is also a step forward in terms what it does not contain—language that would allow 21st CCLC funds to be diverted for purposes other than providing the afterschool, before-school and summer programs children so urgently need.
Get your program recognized as a leader in STEM learning! Change the Equation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan, CEO-led coalition focused on advancing STEM literacy, is reopening STEMworks. The database is the premier tool for business leaders and other funders to identify and support exemplary programs that boost STEM interest and learning in the U.S.
Who’s eligible? Any STEM learning program that serves pre-K through 12th grade students and teachers, either in or out of school, is encouraged to apply for admission.* Each submission will be reviewed by WestEd, an independent, nonprofit research, development, and service organization, which will provide detailed and confidential feedback to each applicant on strengths and weaknesses of the application.
With only a few days before the Continuing Resolution funding the federal government expires on Wednesday, House and Senate appropriators unveiled the Fiscal Year 2014 (FY2014) Omnibus Appropriations bill last night. For the more than 8 million young people and their families that rely on afterschool and summer learning programs, the proposed Omnibus represents a step in the right direction. Most importantly, the majority of the FY2013 sequester cut to the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) initiative is restored, and no language was included allowing the diversion of afterschool funds to other purposes. In addition, there are slight increases in other key funding streams that support afterschool programs.
Congress plans to pass an additional three day Continuing Resolution to allow time to consider and pass the FY2014 Omnibus bill. The Omnibus is a compromise between House and Senate appropriations committees and was made possible as a result of the budget deal struck between House and Senate Budget Committee Chairs last month, funding the government at $1 trillion through the end of September. Both the House and Senate must pass the Omnibus bill and the president must sign it before it becomes law.
Communities across the country are exploring new ways to keep children and youth engaged during the summer months. Not only do summer programs provide supervision in a safe environment, but they also provide innovative and creative learning opportunities that lead to important positive educational outcomes. The D.C. Children and Youth Investment Trust Corporation (CYITC) recently conducted a symposium to discuss the impact of summer programs in its 2013 One City Summer Initiative.
What began as an anti-crime project has grown into an effective collaboration between the District of Columbia and service providers to offer coordinated summer programs, one-time activities and drop-in programming. These coordinated activities were strategically aligned with the city’s five youth outcomes: workforce development, academic achievement, healthy lifestyles, safety and structure, and strengthening families. Throughout the summer, government agencies and community-based organizations hosted 121 programs at 602 sites throughout the District of Columbia. These entities also hosted 441 community events.
Center for Civil Justice, in partnership with the ConAgra Foods Foundation, has created a documentary on Federally-Funded Afterschool Meals. In the video, you'll find information on Breakfast in the Classroom (BIC), Afterschool Meals (CACFP), and Summer Meals (SFSP):
This week, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-WA)reached a two year budget deal. The compromise deal restores $63 billion of the harmful sequester cuts that have resulted in decreased federal support for a variety of education opportunities for young people, including support of afterschool and summer learning programs.
The budget deal, reached after weeks of negotiations following the government shutdown in October, restores almost two-thirds of the scheduled non-defense discretionary cuts in 2014, providing $45 billion split evenly between defense and nondefense discretionary spending. For 2015 the agreement adds $18 billion, again split evenly between defense and non-defense discretionary spending. The Bipartisan Budget Act (BBA) provides much-needed certainty for FY2014 and FY2015 and paves the way for passage of appropriations bills through regular order, rather than through continuing resolutions and crisis management. While a deal has been struck between budget committee chairs, the full Senate and House must still pass the BBA and the president must sign it into law. It's important to note that initial reaction to the deal from both parties has been positive. If the deal fails, however, a full year continuing resolution with additional sequestration cuts will be the result, likely meaning a continuation of harmful sequestration cuts that are impacting children and youth.
The newly-released School Improvement Grants (SIG) analysis and assessment data shows that schools receiving such grants have increased proficiency rates in math and reading since the program was implemented two years ago. The SIG Program is a major component of the Department of Education’s game plan to help turn around the nation’s lowest performing schools. SIG funds are awarded by state education agencies to local education agencies to close, transform, restart or turn around low performing schools. Afterschool is mentioned in Department of Education guidance as part of turnaround and transformational strategies.
Education Secretary Arne Duncan commented on the progress and said “To build on this success in our disadvantaged communities, we must expand the most effective practices to accelerate progress for students and prepare them for success in college and careers.”
So what are some of these effective practices? Of the three programs highlighted in the department’s press release two weeks ago, two grantees used expanded learning time within school and/or afterschool programs within their turnaround plans. Using SIG funds for expanded learning time ensures other funding streams like the 21st Century Community Learning Centers initiative can support afterschool, summer learning and before-school programs.