As another school year is coming to an end and summer break is fast approaching, Public Profit’s new report, “Summer Matters: How Summer Learning Strengthens Students’ Success,” couldn’t have come at a better time.
For many lucky kids, summertime means camps, family trips and fun enrichment activities. But for a number of children, particularly those in low-income families, summer is a time when they fall behind academically as a result of unequal access to learning opportunities. As the report finds, summer learning programs are an essential part of the solution addressing the opportunity and achievement gaps between children from higher-income and lower-income families. The study, which takes a look at the impact of summer programs in Fresno, Los Angeles and Sacramento on kids involved in the programs, found that between 65% and 90% of the programs’ students qualified for free or reduced price lunch. It also found that 3 in 5 parents surveyed in the study stated that if their child wasn’t in the summer program, they would most likely spend the summer supervised at home.
The chance to hang out with LeBron James, the Miami Heat power forward, is pretty rare. But even rarer is the chance for 10 academic all-stars from Akron Public Schools Extended Learning program to be flown to Miami and share the stage with James as he was named the NBA's Most Valuable Player for the fourth time.
Last Friday afternoon Akron students were sitting in class at Seiberling Elementary School in Akron, Ohio, but on Sunday morning, the 10 academic all-stars were enjoying a gourmet breakfast in a swanky dining room at the Mandarin Oriental in Miami, courtesy of the LeBron James Family Foundation. This was one of the many rewards for being selected out of the nearly 500 children participating in the foundation’s Wheels for Education program.
It seems these days that if you’re keeping up with what’s happening in education, you can’t help but hear about the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Last week, our vice president for policy and research, Jen Rinehart, wrote a stellar blog that not only walks you through what the Common Core State Standards are, but explains why they were developed, what they mean for education policy and the valuable role the afterschool field can play to support learning under the Common Core.
To keep up the Afterschool Alliance’s drumbeat of providing the afterschool field with helpful information connecting afterschool and the Common Core, I tuned in to “Leveraging Expanded Learning Opportunities to Support Common Core Implementation,” a webinar hosted by the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and America’s Promise Alliance. The webinar featured Jenell Holsted, Ph.D. of University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, who discussed a recent brief, “Making the Connection: Next Generation Learning and Expanded Learning Opportunities,” and Sarah Cruz, director of expanded learning opportunities at the Statewide Network for New Jersey’s Afterschool Communities (NJSACC), who shared information about New Jersey’s statewide pilot training program that helps providers align their programming with the Common Core State Standards.
Join us on Thurs., May 9 at 2 p.m. EDT as we discuss the role that afterschool programs can play in addressing youth violence.
According to a nationally-representative survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 1 in 3 high school youth reported being in a physical fight within a 12 month period, and 1 in 6 high school youth reported carrying a weapon on one or more days within a 30 day period. These alarming statistics underscore the need for quality afterschool programs that keep kids safe, inspire them to learn and help working families. Providing an outlet for positive self-expression, access to caring adult mentors, and a community of supportive peers has been proven to be a winning formula for curbing aggressive behavior and empowering youth to be agents of change in their communities.
This webinar will highlight specific violence prevention strategies and federal funding streams for afterschool programs engaging in this work. Carleen Wray, executive director of the National Association of Students Against Violence Everywhere (SAVE), will discuss how to empower youth to make their schools and communities safer through crime prevention tactics, conflict management and service projects. Ben Forman, executive director of Teens Run DC, will also discuss how the combination of mentoring and a distance running program encourages positive youth behaviors by helping them work toward personal goals.
Earlier this month, Champions® and the National AfterSchool Association released their second annual “Out-of-School Time Survey.” The survey found an overwhelming majority of elementary and middle school superintendents believe in the academic, social and behavioral benefits afterschool programs provide to their students. In addition to viewing afterschool programs as an environment where children can improve their core academic skills—such as reading, math and science—96 percent of superintendents agree that the most important afterschool programs improve study skills and more than 9 in 10 superintendents surveyed agree that the most important afterschool programs increase students’ social interactions and engagement (92 percent). More than 4 in 5 superintendents say that the most important afterschool programs are those that offer activities not present during the traditional school day (82 percent).
A key take away from this survey is that school superintendents understand the true value of afterschool programs and recognize that schools and students benefit from support of afterschool programs. Schools aren’t alone in the charge to ensure that all students receive a quality and well-rounded education. Afterschool programs are able and willing partners to prepare students for success in school, career and life.
Ed. note: This post was originally published by SparkAction. Read the original post here.
Juvenile justice professionals take note: a new resource launches this week that will make it easier—and more engaging—than ever to get in-depth journalism stories together with key research, data, guides and tool kits on critical issues in the juvenile justice field.
The Juvenile Justice Resource Hub, launching April 24, 2013, provides visitors an accessible, user-friendly point of entry to a repository of years of research into juvenile justice issues—with particular focus on the best practices and lessons from the MacArthur Foundation-funded Models for Change initiative which examines systems change approaches to make juvenile justice more fair, effective, rational and developmentally-appropriate.
The Hub is a project of the Juvenile Justice Information Exchange (JJIE.org), published by the Center for Sustainable Journalism at Kennesaw State University.
By Jodi Grant
This week I was in Kansas City as a keynote speaker for the 2013 Best Practices Forum on Dropout Prevention, hosted by the National Dropout Prevention Center/Network. I was thrilled to be a part of the event and share with the audience the many ways the afterschool field is helping our students come to school, stay in school and graduate. Afterschool programs are an instrumental part of any effort to help our students not only graduate from high school, but prepare them for lifelong success and help shape the adult he or she will become.
This is why I am so pleased with the newly released video (below) and guidebook by America’s Promise Alliance, “Expanding Learning, Expanding Opportunities.” Both the video and accompanying guidebook highlights the many ways expanded learning opportunities—including afterschool programs, summer learning programs, and expanded learning time—are providing our kids with opportunities to express themselves creatively, explore their interests and gain hands-on learning experiences they might not have during the school day. Also included are a variety of resources, such as research, best practices and toolkits to assist those interested in learning more about the out-of-school hours.