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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.
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MAR
24

RESEARCH
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The Girl Scout Research Institute's latest report: unfinished business

By Nikki Yamashiro

Following up on my colleague’s fantastic post on available resources on girls in STEM to celebrate Women’s History Month, I want to highlight a recent report from the Girl Scout Research Institute, “The State of Girls: Unfinished Business.

The primary takeaway from this in-depth report that covers several key issues affecting girls’ healthy development is that there is progress to be proud of regarding girls’ educational attainment, reduction of risky behaviors, extracurricular activities and connection to technology.  For example, the report found that there are 130 women enrolled in college for every 100 men, girls make up less than one-third of juvenile arrests and more than half of high school girls play on at least one sports team.  However, as the report’s title implies, there’s still much more to be done.

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learn more about: Equity Working Families
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MAR
14

IN THE FIELD
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National League of Cities and Department of Education team up for afterschool

By Jen Rinehart

Photo Credit: Youth Today—Read their coverage of the announcement.

Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to talk with a room full of mayors, city council members and education/policy advisors about the role of federal policy in local afterschool efforts.  With a crowd like that, I certainly felt like I was standing on the wrong side of the podium!

It was a dynamic discussion about how federal policies related to 21st Century Community Learning Centers grants, Child Care Development funds and newly proposed initiatives—like Race to the Top-Equity and Opportunity—may impact local afterschool initiatives. 

Many of the city leaders in the room were first drawn to afterschool because they recognized it as a strategy to keep their communities safe.  After learning more about afterschool, they readily saw how keeping youth safe also supports working families, which is linked to worker productivity and therefore economic development.  This necessitates a skilled workforce of the future, which brings you right back to education and safety again.  In short, they were quickly sold on the importance of afterschool. 

I’d like to take credit for the participants’ excitement about afterschool, but in truth it was most likely the result of an announcement made earlier that morning.  Saint Paul, Minnesota, Mayor Chris Coleman, president of the National League of Cities, and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan laid out a plan detailing how they would work together to boost partnerships among federal and local governments, schools, families, faith-based organizations, businesses, nonprofits and universities to advance learning, enhance student engagement and improve schools in cities across the country.

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learn more about: 21st CCLC Afterschool Voices Department of Education Education Reform Equity Events and Briefings Federal Policy Inside the Afterschool Alliance Community Partners
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MAR
7

POLICY
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New House Budget Committee report fails to recognize recent 21st CCLC research and effectiveness

By Erik Peterson

On March 3, just one day before the president released his FY2015 budget proposal, the House Budget Committee issued a report on federal spending related to federal antipoverty efforts entitled The War on Poverty: 50 Years Later.  Among the 92 federal programs reviewed in the report is the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) initiative.   

The Budget Committee report seeks to examine the effectiveness of Pres. Lyndon B. Johnson’s "War on Poverty" that was launched 50 years ago. According to the report, there are at least 92 federal programs designed to help lower-income Americans, including education and job-training programs, food-aid programs and housing programs.

The report does include a brief entry on the 21st CCLC initiative, the only coordinated federal effort that supports afterschool, before-school and summer learning programs delivered by local schools and community-based organizations. 21st CCLC programs provide students attending high-poverty schools with academic enrichment activities; a broad array of additional services designed to reinforce and complement the regular academic program such as hands-on experiments to excite children about science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), access to physical activity, drug and violence prevention programs, counseling programs, art, music, opportunities to be creative, and technology education programs; as well as literacy and related educational development services to the families of children who are served in the program.  In addition, afterschool programs provide an infrastructure to bring in other resources to our children including access to mentors, tutors, and nutritious snacks and meals. 

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learn more about: 21st CCLC Budget Congress Evaluations Federal Policy Obama
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FEB
28

FUNDING
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This is what your colleagues are reading

By Sarah Simpson

Sometimes it can be hard to know where to start when it comes to the huge library of research and reports we publish on our website.  To help you out, we’ve compiled a reading list of the top 10 most-downloaded documents from our website in 2013. 

Even if you’ve read them all before, now is a great time to brush up on these popular afterschool topics for 2014:

  1. Afterschool Outcomes 1-pager 
  2. Afterschool Benefits Kids with Special Needs (2008)
  3. Afterschool: A Key to Successful Parent Engagement (2012)
  4. Afterschool: A Strategy for Addressing and Preventing Middle School Bullying (2011)
  5. Aligning Afterschool with the Regular School Day: The Perfect Complement (2011)
  6. English Language Learners: Becoming Fluent in Afterschool (2011)
  7. Quality Afterschool: Helping Programs Achieve it and Policies Support it (2011)
  8. The Importance of Afterschool and Summer Learning Programs in Africa-American and Latino Communities (2013)
  9. Afterschool: Providing Multiple Benefits to Middle School Students (2010)
  10. Arts Enrichment in Afterschool (2012)
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learn more about: Inside the Afterschool Alliance Issue Briefs Working Families Arts Youth Development
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FEB
25

POLICY
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Reps. Kildee, DeLauro introduce bill to strengthen support of afterschool and summer learning programs

By Erik Peterson

Yesterday evening Reps. Dan Kildee (D-MI) and Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) introduced the Afterschool for America's Children Act in the House of Representatives, HR 4086.  The  legislation would reauthorize and strengthen the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) initiative—the nation’s chief federal funding stream for afterschool programs—by supporting innovative advances taking root in before-school, afterschool and summer learning programs. The bill is companion legislation to S. 326 introduced previously in the Senate. A summary of the legislation is available here.

The House bill:                     

  • Strengthens school-community partnerships to include sharing of data and resources, the ability to better leverage relationships within the community and provide an intentional alignment with the school day.
  • Promotes professional development and training of afterschool program staff.
  • Encourages innovative new ways to engage students in learning that looks different from a traditional school day, with an emphasis on hands-on, experiential learning; science, technology, engineering and math (STEM); and physical activity and nutrition education. 
  • Supports approaches that focus on individualized learning that provide a variety of ways for students to master core skills and knowledge.
  • Provides accountability measures that are connected to college- and career-readiness goals and show student progress over time toward meeting indicators of student success including school attendance, grades and on-time grade level advancement.
  • Ensures that funding supports programs that utilize evidence-based, successful practices.
  • Increases quality and accountability through parent engagement; better alignment with state learning objectives; and coordination between federal, state and local agencies. 
  • Does not prioritize any one model of expanded learning opportunities over another. 
  • Maintains formula grants to states that then distribute funds to local school-community partnerships through a competitive grant process.
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learn more about: 21st CCLC Congress Legislation
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FEB
25

STEM
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Moms inspire their daughters in STEM

By Melissa Ballard

We loved the message of this recent GE ad, “Childlike Imagination.” Already, it has more than 1.2 million views on YouTube. Earlier this month we blogged about the importance of mentors for inspiring girls and other populations underrepresented in STEM. Working moms in STEM surely inspire their own daughters, and we hope they seek opportunities to inspire more girls in their community! 

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learn more about: Media Outreach Science Working Families
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FEB
24

RESEARCH
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From surveys to stories: afterschool making the difference for working families

By Nikki Yamashiro

On Valentine’s Day, a number of working moms sent an open-letter Valentine to their afterschool programs, thanking them for keeping their kids safe after school, inspiring them to learn, and providing an engaging and academically enriching learning environment.  Their heartfelt letters echo what polls and research have shown for years—afterschool programs are providing the essential support working families need.

Our 2011 issue brief “Afterschool and Working Families in the Wake of the Great Recession” not only explores the variety of ways afterschool programs are helping kids learn and grow, but discusses the peace of mind they bring to parents while they are at work.  For example, a study by Catalyst and Brandeis University found that as many as 2.5 million parents are overly stressed by what their children are doing after school.  One aspect that leads to an even higher risk for stress is when their children are unsupervised during the hours after school.  Afterschool programs give working parents the reassurance they need that their children are in a safe and supportive environment during the gap in time between when the school day ends and when they get home from work.  A survey last fall of working parents in New York reported that 95 percent said that they rely on child care and afterschool programs to keep their jobs.

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learn more about: Media Outreach Working Families
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FEB
18

POLICY
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Moving toward a more family friendly nation with afterschool for all

By Erik Peterson

This month marks the 21st anniversary of the enactment of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the historic legislation signed into law by Pres. Clinton in 1993 that has done so much to support working families. Given the new focus in Washington on supporting working families, it is worthwhile to revisit another legacy of the Clinton administration that has also been tremendously helpful for millions of working mothers and fathers during the past decade: the 21stCentury Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) initiative.

Quality afterschool and summer learning programs funded through the 21st CCLC initiative provide a safe and engaging place for more than 1.6 million children and youth while their parents are at work.  We know that parents with children in afterschool programs are less stressed, have fewer unscheduled absences and are more productive at work.  However, with 15 million school-age children unsupervised between the hours of 3 and 6 p.m. on weekdays, the need for afterschool programs far outstrips the availability.  As detailed in our 2011 issue brief, “Afterschool and Working Families in Wake of the Great Recession,” the gap between work and school schedules amounts to as much as 25 hours per week, which presents working parents whose children are not served by 21st CCLC or another afterschool program with the expensive challenge of finding someone to care for their children while they are at work.

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learn more about: 21st CCLC Federal Policy Issue Briefs Obama Working Families
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