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SEP
15

STEM
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New online platform to connect scientists and engineers directly to students

By Taylor Moore

Iridescent has recently released an online platform of STEM curriculum to help scientists and engineers to better connect with students and enable them to create together.  The premise of the platform revolves around three key concepts: curiosity, courage and persistence toward a solution.  Curiosity Machine provides students with access to content and mentoring that is critical in developing 21st century critical thinking skills.  Schools can use Curiosity Machine to allow students to view videos, read instructions on experiments, upload their own videos, answer questions, receive feedback from mentors, and earn badges along the way!  Additionally, the program has one-on-one mentoring support, engineering design challenges based on actual and innovation science and engineering work, and even includes professional development sessions for teachers and staff.  Curiosity Machine creates a community for families, students and mentors to learn together and work toward inspiring children to become inventors, creators, builders and engineers.

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learn more about: Science Youth Development
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SEP
15

IN THE FIELD
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September is Attendance Awareness Month

By Sophie Papavizas

In the United States, 7.5 million students miss 10 percent of the school year.  That’s 135 million days total.  More than 40 organizations, including the Afterschool Alliance, are working in partnership to raise awareness about the connection between attendance and academic achievement by celebrating Attendance Awareness Month.  Schools and organizations across the country are putting on events this month.  A map of events, a toolkit for putting on your own event and suggestions for media outreach can be found on the Attendance Awareness Month website.

Afterschool has been shown to have a significant impact on student’s school day attendance rates:

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learn more about: Events and Briefings School Improvement Academic Enrichment
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SEP
8

STEM
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NASA awards 12 grants to expand informal STEM education

By Taylor Moore

NASA has just awarded $6 million in funding to support STEM opportunities in informal education settings.  Twelve education grants were awarded to informal science institutions like museums, science centers, planetariums and NASA visitor centers to support STEM curricula in afterschool and out-of-school-time projects.

The grants were awarded through NASA’s Competitive Program for Science Museums, Planetariums and NASA Visitor Centers Plus Other Opportunities (CP4SMP+).  When selecting the projects, NASA looked for STEM projects to infuse cutting-edge NASA research and development activities into curriculum development and implementation, teacher preparation and professional development, effective teaching, out-of-school activities, and educational technology.

One winner, the Boston Children’s Museum, is going to work on programs and curriculum focused on out-of-school time (OST) and afterschool.  This project received $241,584 and will be focusing on a project called “Our Sky.”  With resources provided by a partnership with the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, “Our Sky” provides children ages 3-10 and their caregivers an educational experience to inspire an appreciation and understanding of earth and space science.

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learn more about: Federal Funding Funding Opportunity NASA Science Sustainability
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SEP
3

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup -- September 3, 2014

By Luci Manning

AT&T Gives $1 Million to Girls Who Code (The Daily Beast, National)

Late last month, AT&T donated $1 million to Girls Who Code, a nonprofit organization dedicated to inspire, educate, and equip girls with computing skills. Founder and CEO Reshma Saujani told the Daily Beast, “These are girls who are facing bullying or obesity, or depression, and they’re building apps to conquer that social ill that they’re seeing in society. That’s powerful to see.” In the program, girls learn the basics of computer science, including learning the programming languages of Python and JavaScript, robot programming, JavaScript library jQuery, and have even dabbled with HTML and CSS. “I definitely want to go into computer science now,” 16 year-old student Trinity Lawrence told the Daily Beast. She continued, “After this, I’m going to try to get into iOS programming and learn how to make apps mostly for Apple and Android. But not to make money or to create the next Flappybird; I just want to lean more.”

Back to School With Lots More After (Downtown Express, New York)

Starting in September, 78,000 middle schoolers will have access to afterschool activities in 562 schools across the city, from 3  to 6 p.m., five days a week, thanks to the mayor’s $145 million afterschool expansion. “This year, what this mayor is doing – nobody has done this before, anywhere, ever,” Manhattan Youth afterschool program director Theseus Roche told the Downtown Express. Manhattan Youth is receiving six new contracts for additional afterschool programs for middle school students thanks to the influx of funding. Manhattan Youth’s afterschool programs include literacy, STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math), physical activity and leadership development tracks for students.

The Detroit Bus Company integrates With Detroit Public Schools to Help Bus Kids to After-School Programs (Metro Times, Michigan)

The Detroit Bus Company, a business started by buying old school buses from Ferndale Public Schools, is getting ready to launch a new venture—transporting kids in Southwest Detroit to afterschool programs. Detroit Bus Company founder Andy Didorosi told the Metro Times, “We're acting as both a ride home and a new opportunity for kids to get to these after-school programs and then get home safely. Before, you basically had to choose between your after-school program or your ride home.”  This is first year that the program is integrated with Detroit Public Schools.

Students Prep for School Year at Easton’s Chesapeake Multicultural Resource Center (Easton Star Democrat, Maryland)

Last week some 100 afterschool students “shopped” for school supplies at the Chesapeake Multicultural Resource Center’s Back to School Night.  Students honed both financial literacy and reading skills by choosing and purchasing their own school supplies. In addition to shopping for school supplies, representatives from the local Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Talbot Community Center’s ice skating programs, the YMCA and Chesapeake College’s English as a Second Language classes gave parents additional information. “By the end of the evening, students had new friends in the wings, new hobbies to try, opportunities to test aptitude and skill, along with plenty of stuff to take to the first day of school,” the Easton Star Democrat reports. 

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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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