RSS | Go To: afterschoolalliance.org
Subscribe to the Afterschool Advocate newsletter
Afterschool Snack, the afterschool blog. The latest research, resources, funding and policy on expanding quality afterschool and summer learning programs for children and youth. An Afterschool Alliance resource.
Afterschool Donation
Afterschool on Facebook
Afterschool on Twitter
Blogs We Read Afterschool Snack Bloggers
Select blogger:
Recent Afterschool Snacks
DEC
18

STEM
email
print

Guest blog: New insights for improving afterschool science

By Melissa Ballard

Dr. Ann House is a researcher and evaluator who works on projects that explore innovative schools, science and STEM education, and out-of-school learning settings. She is based at SRI International’s Center for Technology in Learning, a nonprofit, independent research organization. Currently, Dr. House is leading the “Afterschool Science Networks Study” which explores the state of science offerings and the external sources of support for science in California’s public afterschool programs.

How can students keep learning science when the school day ends? Afterschool programs are a natural fit for hands-on science and the development of inquiry skills, like posing questions, designing scientific investigations, and creating explanations based on observations. Afterschool programs have the potential to boost students’ interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

To understand the support networks underlying current afterschool science offerings, SRI conducted a five-year study funded by the National Science Foundation to examine the state of science learning opportunities in California’s After School and Education Safety (ASES) program.

 

 

 

 

share this link: http://bit.ly/1wm2WIK
learn more about: Guest Blog Science State Policy Community Partners
Comments: (0)
DEC
17

NEWS ROUNDUP
email
print

Weekly Media Roundup  December 17, 2014

By Luci Manning

Culinary Classroom: Auburn Middle-Schoolers Compete in Junior Iron Chef Contest (Auburn Citizen, N.Y.)

Ten young chefs put their newly learned kitchen skills to the test during a Junior Iron Chef competition last week in Auburn, N.Y. Two teams of seventh- and eighth-graders made a potato and spinach hand pie they’d spent weeks modifying during an afterschool program. The competition followed several weeks of working together and learning cooking basics from professional chefs and Sarah Parisi, AJHS family and consumer sciences instructor. Organizers say the program has promoted teamwork and communication – there were no meltdowns or raised voices during the hour-long competition. “I’m really proud of them; their creativity really came out,” Parisi told the Auburn Citizen. “They’ve learned to trust each other.”

Boys & Girls Club Keeps 9-Year-Old on Positive Path (Orlando Sentinel, Fla.)

Christina Hagle developed a sharp edge to her personality after her father was taken to jail. She hid her homework, stole things and talked back to her mother – until she found the Boys & Girls Club of Lake & Sumter. Christina began going to the club after school, where she gets help with homework and participates in a variety of activities ranging from aquaponics – growing crops in water – to knitting. “The club is about teaching how to learn about different things that will protect you in life,” Christina told the Orlando Sentinel. Her mother, Tracy Kendall, said Christina has absorbed the club’s lessons on being honest and treating others with respect. “I watched my daughter grow from someone who was a troubled child to someone who is really secure with herself,” Kendall said.

‘Stellar Girls’ Keeps Science in Mind (Southtown Star, Ill.)

Men have always comprised the majority of professionals in the math and scientific fields, but Stellar Girls is hoping to change that. The iBIO Institute Educate Center’s afterschool program is designed to keep young girls interested in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and improve scientific literacy. Over the course of the full-year program, girls partake in 20 different hands-on activities focused on how STEM applications are used to “feed, fuel, sow and heal” the world. “Studies have shown that around fourth or fifth grade, girls start to get the message that math and science are just for boys,” Educate program vice president Ann Reed Vogel told the Southtown Star. “We want to help them stay interested and let them explore the bigger ideas available in STEM fields.”

Urban Gardening Yields a Bounty in Many Ways (Albany Times-Union, N.Y.)

Each year, the kids from 15-LOVE, a tennis program for inner-city youths, grow tomatoes, green beans, squash, onions, peppers, garlic and more in their urban garden, then use the fresh produce to create healthy recipes from scratch. “Each week, the kids make something different, from salads to personal pizzas,” Executive Director Amber Marino told Albany Times-Union. “It’s healthy and a lot of fun. The kids really get into it.” Growing vegetables and preparing meals with them is a revelation for many of the children, whose meals often come from cans, boxes or fast-food containers. 

share this link: http://bit.ly/1whXlD2
learn more about:
Comments: (0)
DEC
8

STEM
email
print

Celebrate computer science education week with the "Hour of Code"

By Melissa Ballard

We live in a world surrounded by technology.  And we know that whatever field our students choose to go into as adults, their ability to succeed will increasingly hinge on understanding how technology works.  Computer science is foundational for all students today—it’s about teaching students to create technology, not just how to use it.  Yet 90% of schools don’t teach it.  Let’s change that!

This week, Dec. 8-12, is Computer Science Education week.  Afterschool programs can play a huge role in introducing students to computer science. 

share this link: http://bit.ly/12XEvGl
learn more about: Digital Learning Science
Comments: (0)
DEC
4

NEWS ROUNDUP
email
print

Weekly Media Roundup  December 4, 2014

By Luci Manning

New Afterschool Program Is Creating Future Entrepreneurs (The Avenue News, Maryland)

Fourth through twelfth-grade students are developing business models and becoming future leaders through I AM O’Kah!’s entrepreneurship program. The 10-week course provides students with entrepreneurship training and communication and each week guest speakers talk to students about their own journey and overcoming obstacles. Aisha DaCosta, CEO of I AM O’Kah!, told The Avenue News that by the end of the program, each student will create a viable business idea to present to a panel of local entrepreneurs. The top three winners will be awarded a micro-grant to help start their business and will be assigned a local entrepreneur as a mentor for the first 30 days of their business venture.

Centre Mentors Coeds Spark Boyle Middle School Girls' Interest in Math, Science (The Advocate-Messenger, Kentucky)

Centre College sophomore Ceci Vollbrecht and several of her classmates formed GEMS (Girls in Engineering, Math and Science), an afterschool program at Boyle County Middle School, in an effort to grow the scientific interest in the next generation of girls. The mentoring program is funded by a grant from the National Girls Collaborative Project, which allows for the group to go on field trips to expose the students to the world of science. “Our goal is to keep them interested, do fun stuff with science, keep them active in it, provide role models for the ones who are pursuing higher level science – and college in general,” Vollbrecht told The Advocate-Messenger.

Digital Harbor Foundation Is Using 3-D Printing to Attract More Girls to Technology (Baltimore Business Journal, Maryland)

Even though the technology field is known for being male-dominated, girls dominate the Digital Harbor Foundation's 3-D printing competition every year. In order to develop even stronger interest among girls, the Baltimore technology education organization is launching a club called the Makerettes, which allows middle school and high school girls to work together on projects (3-D printed or otherwise) and get to know each other. Greer Melon, the foundation’s director of business operations told Baltimore Business Journal, “The culture of tech jobs is something that can be really off-putting for girls.” Organizers hope the club will not only attract new students, but also help female students overcome the male-dominated technology culture.

School Spotlight: Whitehorse Makers Club Spurs Creativity (Wisconsin State Journal, Wisconsin)

Recently at the Whitehorse Makers Club, 11 year-old Kodie Kramer created a game app featuring a roving tank that can now be found in the iTunes store. The club allows children to explore their creativity through inventions like Kodie’s and other projects like stop-motion animation, Post-it note murals, video games, music and avatars. Jennifer Milne-Carroll, library media technology specialist and creator of the Whitehorse Makers Club, told the Wisconsin State Journal that the club can help students explore different careers. Whitehorse art teacher Andrew Erickson said it helps them learn to work together and the students have a great deal of freedom. “It’s a place for them to make things, use their creativity. It’s a way to challenge themselves,” he said. “It’s fun to watch them explore and figure out what they want to do and how to accomplish it.”

share this link: http://bit.ly/1vQxMr2
learn more about: Media Outreach
Comments: (0)
NOV
19

NEWS ROUNDUP
email
print

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.”

share this link: http://bit.ly/1vpvTUu
learn more about: Equity Health and Wellness Nutrition Science Youth Development
Comments: (0)
NOV
12

IN THE FIELD
email
print

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.

share this link: http://bit.ly/1xMGyWW
learn more about: America After 3PM Equity Extended Day Academic Enrichment Community Partners
Comments: (0)
NOV
12

IN THE FIELD
email
print

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. 

share this link: http://bit.ly/10XHi0f
learn more about: Digital Learning Marketing Media Outreach Community Partners
Comments: (0)
NOV
5

NEWS ROUNDUP
email
print

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.

share this link: http://bit.ly/1vKYHSo
learn more about: Nutrition Science Service
Comments: (0)