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SEP
2

STEM
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Girls Who Code receives $1 million from AT&T

By Taylor Moore

Girls Who Code has exploded over the past two years. What started as a pilot program of 20 has quickly grown to a graduating class of 3,000 girls at clubs and camps across the country.  Offering a summer immersion program and afterschool clubs, Girls Who Code seeks to introduce 6th to 12th-grade girls to computer science and the tech industry.  Girls learn how to use Python, Javascript, CSS and HTML and visit technology companies like AT&T AdWorks Lab, Google and Foursquare.   

In an August graduation ceremony for this summer’s program in New York City, AT&T announced a $1 million contribution to Girls Who Code. This generous gift will allow Girls Who Code to expand afterschool clubs and their summer immersion program to more cities, including Austin, Chicago, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.

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learn more about: Science Sustainability
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AUG
27

POLICY
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Jim Jeffords: A founder of the movement to expand afterschool programs, a hero to children and families

By Jodi Grant

This post was originally published on Huffington Post's Education Blog. Read the original post and share your thoughts with the HuffPost community.

 

Before former Sen. James Jeffords of Vermont introduced the first legislation to provide federal funding for afterschool in 1994, the federal government played essentially no role in providing meaningful support and programming for young people in the hours after the school day ended and before parents arrived home from work. Sen. Jeffords, who passed away on Aug. 18 at the age of 80, was a pioneer in the national afterschool movement. He worked tirelessly to build congressional and presidential support for a national afterschool and summer learning program infrastructure that lives on today as the 21st Century Community Learning Centers initiative (21st CCLC).

Sen. Jeffords had many proud accomplishments, including chairing the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee and helping to shape the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the No Child Left Behind Act and the Higher Education Act. But advocates for afterschool remember him best as one of the original authors of the legislation that created the 21st CCLC.

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learn more about: 21st CCLC Afterschool Voices Congress Equity ESEA Federal Policy Media Outreach Sustainability Working Families Academic Enrichment
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AUG
20

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup - August 20, 2014

By Luci Manning

Bronx Shelter Helps Kids Escape Tortures of Domestic Violence, Heals Emotional Wounds (Daily News, New York)

The Sarah Burke House in the Bronx serves as a safe haven for kids and their moms to start a new life free from domestic violence.  There, the children participate in theater, dance, yoga classes, and do arts and crafts after school and during the summer because as Ted McCourtney, director of the shelter, told the Daily News, “I think it is really important that we address the clinical aspects of what is happening in the children, but also that we just provide a fun, memorable, normal summer experience for these kids.”  Mothers attend job training sessions while their children engage in safe surroundings, fostering the healing process.

Columbia Academy Students Travel Across Globe for Summer Learning (Daily Herald, Tennessee)

High school students from Columbia Academy had a summer to remember as they travelled to different locales as part of a summer learning programs geared towards exploring the students’ passions, reports the Daily Herald.  One student travelled to Los Angeles to study fashion, another went to North Carolina to study oceanography, while others traveled to Austria and Italy to learn more about history and European culture.  The program was a smashing success as the globetrotting students returned inspired and more aware of what they want their future careers to look like.

Engaging a Problem: Auburn Girl Attends STEM Camp in Syracuse (Citizen, New York)

Syracuse University opened its doors this summer to promote talented seventh and eighth grade girls interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) curricula.  “The idea is that a lot of girls at that age turn away from science and math,” Project Engage Summer Program Coordinator Carol Stokes-Cawley told the Citizen, explaining how Project Engage is there to show the girls that STEM is for them.  The students explored STEM topics to a greater depth of what they would in their schools’ science labs, pushing the limits of nanoparticles to determine their breaking points and creating prosthetics out of ordinary objects, afterwards calculating their properties, volume, flexibility, and strength.

Rising Second-Graders Shining ‘STARS’ This Summer (Brunswick Beacon, North Carolina)

Fifteen rising second graders from Jessie Mae Monroe Elementary sang proudly at their Seaside Teaching and Reaching Students (STARS) summer program graduation ceremony this week.  The six week program, hosted by Seaside United Methodist Church, helped young students develop a love of reading. Program Director Mary Ellen Good boasted to the Brunswick Beacon, “The changes I saw in their reading ability, their desire to read. When they first came in reading was the last thing on their mind.  Toward the end of the program they were asking to read.  They found joy in going to the library each week.  They were so proud of the fact that they had library cards.”

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learn more about: Science Summer Learning Literacy Community Partners
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AUG
4

LIGHTS ON
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Grant opportunity to partner with a science center

By Melissa Ballard

You probably already know how important partnerships are to offering quality STEM programming in your afterschool program. To help you start identifying and reaching out to potential partners, we’ve also started a new partnership—with the Association of Science–Technology Centers (ASTC)! Together, we’re offering 20 minigrants of $1,500 each to science centers to host a Lights On Afterschool event in partnership with an afterschool provider.

IMPORTANT: Applications must be submitted by a science center or museum, and they must be an ASTC-member institution located in the U.S.

This is a great opportunity to start a relationship with your local science center or museum, and to let them know about all of the great ways that they can partner with your afterschool program to facilitate quality STEM learning outside of the school day.

Read the Request for Applications and FAQ’s for more information.

We will hold an informational webinar this Wednesday, Aug. 6 at 1:30 p.m. ET. You and/or your partner science center should attend for the inside scoop!

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learn more about: Events and Briefings Funding Opportunity Science Community Partners
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AUG
4

STEM
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Guest blog: Help develop evaluation tools for STEM out-of-school-time programs!

By Melissa Ballard

This post was written by Amy Grack Nelson, an evaluator and researcher in the Science Museum of Minnesota’s Department of Evaluation and Research in Learning. 

 

 

 

Teamwork and collaboration are essential 21st century skills and becoming increasingly vital to the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields. Afterschool programs are important environments for youth from diverse backgrounds to develop the teamwork and collaboration skills they need to enter and prosper in the STEM workforce. To help evaluators and practitioners evaluate the development of these skills, the University of Minnesota and the Science Museum of Minnesota are conducting research to develop surveys to measure teamwork and collaboration skills in STEM out-of-school-time (OST) programs. Both institutions have a long history in their commitment to STEM and afterschool education and will be working closely with STEM OST programs throughout the research process to ensure the final surveys are useful and relevant to the needs of a broad range of programs.

Before we can create surveys to evaluate these skills, we need to understand how STEM OST programs define teamwork and collaboration and how they are teaching these skills. We are inviting STEM OST educators to participate in an interview with a member of our research team about the teamwork and collaboration skills addressed in their program.  The interviews will last up to an hour and will take place over the phone. Educators will receive a $25 VISA pre-loaded card in appreciation for their time.  

We are looking for educators from a wide range of STEM OST programs that reach middle and high school youth. If you are interested in participating in this research, please fill out an interest form. We’ll then choose a sample of educators from those that express interest to help ensure we talk to a diversity of STEM OST programs.  Please fill out an interest form by Friday, Aug. 15.

If you have any questions about the study, please contact Amy Grack Nelson, Senior Evaluation & Research Associate at the Science Museum of Minnesota at 651-221-4575 or agnelson@smm.org.  

Thank you in advance for your help!

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learn more about: Evaluations Guest Blog Science Community Partners
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JUL
9

STEM
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Interactive toolkit to guide STEM role models toward success

By Taylor Moore

Techbridge has recently released a free, online interactive toolkit to help potential role models develop skills to engage girls and underrepresented youth in STEM.  The Role Models Matter Toolkit currently provides 10 mini-lessons for role models to help plan, structure and implement their visit with students.  Each unit comes with a video showing role model Josetta Jones, a patent attorney and chemical engineer, in action demonstrating each step to successfully interacting and communicating the lessons to the student participants.  The toolkit provides lessons on key topics like role model impact, ice breakers for relationship development, advice on using the engineering design process and guidance on how to connect the STEM experience to possible career options for the participants.  If you have any potential STEM role models looking to engage with youth, their work can benefit from this holistic toolkit approach.

Techbridge is a nonprofit based in Oakland, Calif., that offers science, engineering and technology-based afterschool and summer programs for girls.  Since 2000, the organization has engaged with more than 4,000 girls in grades 5-12 in hands-on learning and career exploration.  The Role Models Matter Toolkit is part of Techbridge’s Role Models Matter initiative to help prepare STEM professionals for outreach and is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation

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learn more about: Science Youth Development Community Partners
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JUL
8

FUNDING
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New $150,000 award opportunity: The Trust Challenge

By Nikki Yamashiro

The Humanities, Arts, Science and Technology Alliance and Collaboratory (HASTAC) and the MacArthur Foundation have announced their fifth Digital Media and Learning Competition—the Trust Challenge: Building Trust in Connected Learning Environments.  The Trust Challenge will award a total of $1.2 million—in $10,000 to $150,000 year-long development grants—to institutions and organizations that look to answer questions around trust, privacy, safety and learning in an open online world.  Proposals will address questions such as:

  • How can learners exercise control over who sees and uses their data?
  • What tools do they need in order to navigate, collaborate and learn online with confidence?
  • What solutions will foster greater civility and respect in online learning environments?
  • How can open technical standards create more opportunities to share and collaborate online in a spirit of trust?

Applications will be accepted Sept. 3 to Nov. 3, 2014.

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learn more about: Digital Learning Funding Opportunity Science Arts
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JUL
7

STEM
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New paper: What are the impacts of afterschool STEM?

By Melissa Ballard

Today, many afterschool and summer programs include science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) as a standard part of their comprehensive programming.  Afterschool providers recognize the importance of improved STEM education for their students and that hands-on, inquiry-driven STEM is in line with afterschool’s overall approach to education.  Practitioners are able to directly see the impact afterschool STEM programs have on students—they see youth engaged in and excited about STEM activities, asking questions, and wanting to learn more.  However, funders, policy makers and other stakeholders often want data that substantiates such claims and demonstrates positive changes in a variety of outcomes: interest and engagement in science, greater knowledge of STEM careers, election of school science classes, and, sometimes, improved test scores in science and math.

In this new paper, “Examining the impact of afterschool STEM programs,” we overview some of the recent research findings about the importance of afterschool and other out-of-school time experiences for STEM learning.  We then summarize evaluation data from a selection of strong afterschool STEM programs and describe the types of substantive impacts these programs are having on participating youth.  Several themes emerged in our analysis:

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learn more about: Evaluations Science
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