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NOV
19

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup - November 19, 2014

By Luci Manning

Mentoring Program Opens at Church: Location Is Newest of Five Sites in Fallbrook Where Kids Attend After-School Sessions (San Diego Union-Tribune, California)

Thanks to a $6,000 donation, the GANAS (Guide, Advise, Nurture and Support) mentoring program opened a fifth site last month at the St. John’s Episcopal Church in San Diego, CA.  At GANAS, youth aged 9 to 14 can participate in afterschool activities led by trained mentors and local high school students, who serve as positive role models and help steer youth away from gangs and drugs.  The program provides snacks and encourages children to share news of the day and play brain games.  Pat Braendel, the program’s founder, told San Diego Union-Tribune, “The program develops critical thinking and leadership skills that help kids build confidence and healthy, balanced minds and bodies.”

In Englewood, New Program Puts Greater Emphasis on Black History (Northern Valley Suburbanite, New Jersey)

Vanisha Williams attributes her confidence and sense of pride to an African-American studies class she took in college.  Hoping to pass on this eye-opening experience to younger students, Williams began an afterschool program called “Sons of Sankofa” to teach seventh through twelfth grade students about black history, hopefully giving them pride and a sense of self in their community.  In the Akan language of Ghana, “Sankofa” translates roughly to “reach back and get it.”  “It’s about taking what’s good in the past and bringing it to the present for positive progress,” Williams told Northern Valley Suburbanite.  “I feel that’s necessary for any success.” Sons of Sankofa will incorporate technology and social media to better engage students as they learn.

Elementary School Students Explore How Water Works (Montrose Daily Press, Colorado)

Last week, Montrose, CO area elementary school students, with the help of park rangers, worked on hands-on projects to learn about the Colorado River system at their 21st Century Community Learning Center afterschool program.  Students built a replication of the river system and subjected a model town to pollution and precipitation to demonstrate effects on the watershed.  Teachers at the Montrose Elementary After-School Program have planned many other unique and highly creative projects for students, with titles like “Boredom Blasters” and “European Escapades.” “The growth and the quality that we’ve been able to build and establish, and… the amount of children we have every day in our program is amazing,” Director Erica Jiron told the Montrose Daily Press.

Clairton Kids Learn Healthy Snacking in CASTLE Class (The Daily News, Pennsylvania)

First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative encourages chefs to visit schools and educate children on healthy snack options.  In that spirit, Duquesne University Executive Sous Chef Zachary Puhala recently taught fifth and sixth-graders in CASTLE—Clairton’s After-School Teaching & Learning Experience—how to make hummus and applesauce.  Puhala believes the key to getting children to eat healthier is getting them engaged in cooking and finding ways to make nutrition fun – in this case, by letting them crush chickpeas and mash apples to make healthy snacks. CASTLE program coordinator Greg Spotti hopes the students will apply what they’ve learned at home, thereby promoting healthy eating in their communities. “It's not something that has to be done at school,” he told The Daily News. “They can take this learning and share with their family and pretty much everybody else.”

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learn more about: Equity Health and Wellness Nutrition Science Youth Development
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NOV
12

IN THE FIELD
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The opportunity equation: helping make the case for high-quality afterschool programs everywhere

By Jodi Grant

Kudos to Eric Schwartz, founding CEO of Citizen Schools, for authoring a book that highlights the value of the afterschool space and boldly points out that the greatest disparity of opportunity between students lies in unequal access to enrichment and learning opportunities outside of the traditional school classroom.

In his recently released book, The Opportunity Equation: How Citizen Teachers Are Combating the Achievement Gap in America's Schools, Eric argues that the real achievement gap between low-income students and wealthier students stems from what they do with the time they spend outside of school. Upper-middle-class students are exposed to a variety of enrichment activities, and because of their parents, they have multiple opportunities to interact with leaders and role models.  Lower-income students have limited access to any such resources.

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learn more about: America After 3PM Equity Extended Day Academic Enrichment Community Partners
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NOV
12

IN THE FIELD
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Weekly Media Roundup  November 12, 2014

By Luci Manning

MentorPlace Program Truly a Worthy Investment (Cincinnati Enquirer, Ohio)

Through the MentorPlace Program, Deer Park (OH) students are gaining the confidence to believe they can accomplish great things.  The afterschool program, a collaboration of IBM, the University of Cincinnati, The Greater Cincinnati STEM Collaborative and Deer Park City Community Schools, pairs IBM employees with middle school students to promote science and technology careers and work through personal issues.  Jeff Langdon, superintendent of Deer Park Community City Schools, told Cincinnati Enquirer, “The closing ceremony was so rewarding when we witnessed the confidence and pride the mentors evoked from our students.  The real-world connection was powerful in linking our students’ learning to their plans for the future.”

12 Computers Donated to Utica's Underground Café (Utica Observer-Dispatch, New York)

In poorer neighborhoods, it’s not uncommon for school to be the only place where youth have access to 21st century technology, and UnitedHealthcare is trying to help.  The group is donating 12 computers to Utica Safe Schools to establish a computer lab at its Underground Café teen center.  The Underground Café, open only to Thomas R. Proctor High School students, also offers an afterschool program, a drop-in center during school breaks and summer for recreational activities, opportunities for college preparation through increasing leadership and resiliency skills, and service learning projects.  Officials told the Utica Observer-Dispatch that the program “helps transform the experiences and perceptions of teens in Utica by creating venues for leadership, civic engagement and create expression.”

Nonprofit to Lock Up Business Leaders for a Good Cause (Brunswick News, Georgia)

Some local Georgia business owners might see the back of the police car this week, but it’s all for a good cause.  The Nonprofit C.I.A. (Children In Action) will be locking up business leaders, nominated by their employees, for their “Most Wanted” fundraising campaign.  Those nominated will be escorted by a Glynn County police officer and a child from the afterschool program back to the “jail” at C.I.A. headquarters, where they will be photographed, booked and held until they can post a $500 bail. All bail money will go directly to the Christian nonprofit’s operations fund for the year.  C.I.A. founder and director Allen Benner told Brunswick News that while in “jail,” he plans to speak to business leaders about his vision for C.I.A.’s future and discuss possible collaborations. Benner said he hopes allowing children to accompany officers on the round-up will help them build trust.

A Different Process': Artfigures Studio Provides Foundation, Inspires Creativity in Sculpture (The Citizen, New York)

Janie Darovskikh’s Art After School program held an unusual pumpkin-carving event on Oct. 30. Rather than simply scooping out the inside and cutting out a face on the front, the students researched their designs for the pumpkins and used the sculpting skills they learned in Darovskikh’s afterschool classes to make creative, colorful masterpieces, even using toothpicks to reattach pumpkin chunks as ears and other appendages.  Darovskikh explained to The Citizen that she teaches art based on her life philosophy: give students some initial lessons to provide them with a solid foundation, and then free them to explore their own creativity and figure out their own style through trial and error. While some students stick to one idea throughout an assignment, other students run through a few different ideas before completing their finished project. “Everyone has a different process,” Darovskikh said. “They don't always turn out how you envision them all the time.” For example, she described an assignment in which one student created an alien mask, another built a unicorn head, and a third designed a cartoon-looking bumblebee. In Darovskikh’s class, children are given the freedom to create whatever they can imagine. 

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learn more about: Digital Learning Marketing Media Outreach Community Partners
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NOV
5

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup --November 5, 2014

By Luci Manning

CV CyberPatriots Test Skills Against Hundreds in Nation (The Spokesman-Review, Washington)
Central Valley High School students are learning to close computer network gaps that can allow hackers to sneak in thanks to the school’s CyberPatriots afterschool program focused on cyber security. CyberPatriot was created by the Air Force Association to encourage students to consider careers in cyber security and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields. 17-year-old Riley Madrian wasn’t sure if she’d like it. Now, she’s hooked. “It’s like trapping someone who is super sneaky. It’s relevant,” Madrian told The Spokesman-Review. “It’s like what should be happening at Target and Home Depot to protect people from their identity being stolen.” Madrian had planned on a college major in music performance, but now she’s considering adding some computer science.

PS 39 Students Use Their Green Thumbs, Learn About Eating Well and Growing Heart-healthy Foods (Staten Island Advance, New York)
Students at PS 39 – many of whom were affected by Hurricane Sandy – are getting a hands-on lesson on growing, harvesting and eating healthy foods, the Staten Island Advance reports.  Earlier this year the afterschool students planted the borough’s first teaching garden thanks to a partnership between the Staten Island YMCA and the American Heart Association. After planting tomatoes, mint, basil, squash, peppers and cucumbers, students made heart-healthy lettuce wraps from the freshly picked ingredients. PS 39 afterschool students were involved in the project from start to finish; they built and painted containers, filled them with soil, took care of watering and weeding, grew the various fruits and vegetables, harvested and ate them.

Piedmont Middle School Offering Coding Class (The Anniston Star, Alabama)
Eighth grade student Chris Chandler has already programmed at least six games in his free time thanks to the skills he’s acquired during Piedmont Middle School’s afterschool program. In weekly afterschool sessions students are learning using Google Computer Science First’s curriculum via Scratch programming, which is a simplified version of the coding languages offered in upper-level classes. Superintendent Matt Akin told The Anniston Star, “The earlier we can expose kids to STEM fields—in this case computer science—the better.” He continued, calling the afterschool program, “a neat way to get kids attracted to programming where normally they wouldn’t be attracted.” 

Carnival Mentors Help Students Cruise Into A Brighter Future (The Miami Herald, Florida)
Student Earl Generato from Pembroke Pines never imagined he’d be able to attend a private university because of the tuition bill. “My sister is going to college soon, too, and my parents wouldn’t be able to pay for both our college tuitions,” he told The Miami Herald. “I didn’t want to overburden them.” However thanks to The Carnival Foundation, the charitable branch of Carnival Corp., and the foundation’s scholarship and mentoring program, Generato was able to do just that. Now finishing his first year as a University of Miami Stamps Leader Scholar, majoring in English and biomedical engineering, he credits Carnival with enabling him to continue his education. The Carnival Foundation recruits students who attend the HEAT Academy, an afterschool program for kids in Little Haiti and Little Havana. Those who maintain good academic standing are invited to join the high school mentoring program, in which students are paired with a Carnival mentor. Students, like Generato, are also eligible for scholarships.

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learn more about: Nutrition Science Service
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OCT
27

LIGHTS ON
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A million people rallied to keep the lights on after school

By Sarah Simpson

On the heels of the new America After 3PM study that found that, despite rapid growth in afterschool participation, 1 in 5 children in the United States is unsupervised in the afternoons, students, parents, educators, community leaders, policy makers, business leaders and others rallied for afterschool programs on Thursday as part of the 15th annual Lights On Afterschool. The only nationwide rally for afterschool programs included more than 8,100 events in every corner of the country, and at U.S. military bases worldwide to highlight the many ways quality afterschool programs support children, families and communities.

America After 3PM found that there is huge unmet demand for afterschool programs; the parents of 19.4 million students said they would enroll their child, if an afterschool program were available. In response, in classrooms, community centers, science museums, parks and recreation centers, malls and other settings, more than one million people came together to celebrate and support the quality afterschool programs that keep kids safe, inspire them to learn and help working families.

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learn more about: Advocacy Afterschool Voices Events and Briefings Inside the Afterschool Alliance State Networks Community Partners
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OCT
17

RESEARCH
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Guest blog: Why the afterschool learning context matters when using technology with at-risk students

By Sarah Simpson

Kamila Thigpen is the Digital Learning Policy and Advocacy Manager at Alliance for Excellent Education.

 

The nation’s 23.8 million minority students comprise nearly half of the school population, and many of them are underserved by their school systems. Try walking into one of these schools and you’ll notice very little changes in modern classrooms and those from more than a century ago. Although SMART Boards may have replaced black boards and a handful of computers may be visible around the room, in most cases there are few differences in the actual teaching and learning process.

After the school day and school year ends, disparities in access to technology are further compounded. Only 3 percent of teachers in high-poverty schools agree that “students have the digital tools they need to effectively complete assignments while at home,” compared to 52 percent of teachers in more affluent schools. As students get older and afterschool participation decreases, opportunities to engage in high-quality digital learning are few and far between for high-school aged students who need it most.

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learn more about: Digital Learning Education Reform Equity Guest Blog
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OCT
16

RESEARCH
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Unmet demand for afterschool programs approaches 20 million children

By Jodi Grant

For every child enrolled in an afterschool program, two more would enroll if they could, according to parents. That’s among the findings from our new survey, the 2014 edition of America After 3PM spanning 30,000 American households.

In all, 10.2 million children are in afterschool programs, up from 6.5 million in 2004. But the unmet demand for afterschool—parents who want to enroll their child in a program but say they don’t have a program available—has increased over the last decade as well, with the parents of a projected 19.4 million children now saying they would enroll their child in a program if one were available to them. Demand is especially high among low-income, African-American and Hispanic families.

Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, founder of After-School All-Stars, spoke with reporters about the data and commented:

“Due to the fact that most students come from homes where both parents are working, we have a duty to provide safe havens for our children during the crucial hours from 3-6 pm. Afterschool programs do remarkable things for our children, families and communities. Reams of data show it, and I’ve seen it in my own work. These programs help kids with homework, teach them teamwork, engage them in community service, pair them with mentors, help them to be physically fit, involve them in activities like rocketry and robotics, and much more.”

“Afterschool is a wise investment but, unfortunately, we’re not investing nearly enough,” Schwarzenegger added. “America After 3 PM shows that we are meeting only about one-third of the demand for afterschool programs. We need federal, state and local governments, philanthropies, and businesses to step up and provide the resources that will put us on the path to making afterschool available to all.”

Highlights from the new survey:

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learn more about: America After 3PM Equity Events and Briefings Federal Funding Media Outreach Working Families
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OCT
8

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup - October 8, 2014

By Luci Manning

Teen, Mentor Are ‘Prefect Match’ (The Free Lance-Star, Virginia)
13-year-old Aaron Johnson already has the experiences of a world traveler, even though he rarely leaves his hometown. Thanks to his “big brother” Gerald Fennemore and the Rappahannock Big Brother Big Sisters program, Johnson has met people from every continent except Antarctica. However, Johnson is gaining much more than cultural experience. “If you have a big brother, the family is like a second family, and a second home, so you’ll have two homes, and they can support you and help you with anything you have issues with,” Johnson told The Free Lance-Star. Fennemore has not only been teaching and mentoring Aaron, but the duo also love watching football and playing games together. “If you could find at least one other caring adult to make a difference in a kid’s life, that’s all it takes. Another adult might be able to find a spark to nurture something in your child that maybe you don’t see,” Johnson’s mother told The Free Lance-Star.                                                                                                                                                                              

Computer Science First Opens New World, Opportunities to Students (The Post and Courier, South Carolina)
High School Freshman Monica Washington had no idea what she was in for when she enrolled in the Google After-School Program. Through the afterschool and summer computer science program, Washington has learned how to use Scratch, a fashion design program, and has taken classes on cyber security, yo code and an introduction to computer networking.  After discovering a passion for cyber security during the summer, Washington tells The Post and Courier, “I am so thankful that I have the chance to get involved in learning about technology. It’s exciting… It is my hope that many more girls will take advantage of these awesome programs.” 

Our Bridge Program Offers Classroom Aid to Immigrant Children (The Charlotte Observer, North Carolina)
Thanks to a 21st Century Community Learning Center grant, Our Bridge, a nonprofit afterschool program in South Charlotte, was able to re-open to provide immigrant and refugee children with a safe and welcoming place to learn English. Our Bridge provides meals and transportation for the kids and celebrates their cultural holidays to make them feel at home, while still learning a whole new language in an unfamiliar country. Program Director Andrew Eastwood told The Charlotte Observer about a recent project on frog hibernation in which students made edible tadpole-winter hibernation exhibits of whipped cream, blue jello, chocolate pudding and gummy worms. “The kids loved learning about it and eating it,” Eastwood added. 

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learn more about: 21st CCLC Afterschool Voices Digital Learning Service
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