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AUG
28

POLICY
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Back to school (and afterschool!) for students and Congress

By Jillian Luchner

Students are returning to classrooms this fall to continue their studies, just as Congress plans to return on September 8th with its own need for continued learning. This fall Congress has big decisions on its plate about the future of the federal role in American schools and federal support for afterschool programs. They need to hear from you about how afterschool programs in your community are helping young people succeed in school and in life!

As students across the country get out their textbooks and begin their homework, use a few minutes of your own “homework time” to make sure you reach out to educate Congress on the essential need to keep afterschool programs authorized and funded to ensure high quality, safe, engaging places for students afterschool.

Students know their work outside of the classroom pays off and so will yours! Acting now by emailing Congress and spreading the word on social media will help preserve and strengthen the federal 21st Century Community Learning Centers initiative that provides afterschool programming for 1.6 million children. Taking two minutes to assist 1.6 million lives and the parents and communities around them will be sure to earn you a gold star. 

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learn more about: 21st CCLC Advocacy Congress ESEA Federal Funding Federal Policy Legislation
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AUG
27

RESEARCH
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Set students up for success this year with insights from The Wallace Foundation

By Rachel Clark

As we head back to school—and back to afterschool—we have a new year ahead full of new opportunities to support the next generation’s success in school and in life. To make the most of these opportunities, The Wallace Foundation’s “Foundations for Young Adult Success” report provides key insights for afterschool professionals—social and emotional learning heated up this summer and won’t be cooling off as the temperatures drop.

Though afterschool programs have an important role to play in supporting academic achievement, academics alone aren’t enough to ensure kids’ success in life. “Foundations for Young Adult Success” identifies building blocks for success in all aspects of life, including self-regulation, knowledge and skills, mindsets, and values. The report also lays out a framework for cultivating these qualities, including which qualities are especially important to develop during certain stages of childhood.

To get an in-depth walkthrough of the report and its key findings, check out our Foundations for Young Adult Success webinar. Experts from The Wallace Foundation, the University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research, and TASC joined us to unpack this exciting research and help schools and OST professionals think about how to design practices and experiences to reach important goals for youth development.

How are you planning on setting students up for success this year? Share with us on Twitter using the hashtag #Back2Afterschool!

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learn more about: Youth Development
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AUG
26

LIGHTS ON
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On October 22, the Empire State Building will keep the Lights On Afterschool!

By Rachel Clark

We’re excited and honored to announce that for the ninth year in a row, the iconic Empire State Building will light up the New York City skyline in support of Lights On Afterschool! On October 22, the skyline will glow yellow to illuminate the important work afterschool programs are doing to keep kids safe, inspire learning and help working families.

With more than two months until this year’s national celebration, now is the perfect time to register your Lights On Afterschool event! You still have plenty of time to plan a celebration that will light up your community just like the Empire State Building will light up Manhattan. Tools from our planning kit make it simple to plan a successful celebration, big or small, that will rally all of your friends and neighbors in support of afterschool programs.

To help spread the word and get your community ready to celebrate with you, we’ll send you ten free Lights On Afterschool posters once you’ve registered. If you register by August 27, we’ll also enter you to win a Lights On Afterschool Ultimate Gift Pack to light up your event with 100 strobe buttons, 100 awareness bracelets, use of an 8-foot Lights On balloon, and 100 extra posters!

We’re honored to have a national landmark like the Empire State Building celebrating afterschool programs with us for the ninth year in a row. Will you join us, the Empire State Building, and thousands of programs around the world to keep the Lights On Afterschool this year? Register today to make this year’s Lights On Afterschool celebration the biggest and best yet!

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learn more about: Light Up a Landmark
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AUG
26

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup: August 26, 2015

By Luci Manning

Barrio Logan Education Program Sends More Immigrants to College (KPBS, California)

Thanks to the Barrio Logan College Institute (BLCI), Mexican immigrant Sarabi Rodriguez will be attending her dream college, UC Berkeley, in the fall. BLCI works with low-income, primarily immigrant families in San Diego to start preparing students for college in elementary school, involving their whole family in the planning process. Students in the afterschool program receive a meal and work with tutors, all of whom are bilingual and first-generation college students. Rodriguez was so grateful for her experience at BLCI that she organized the supplementary College Awareness Mentorship Program over the summer to reach other disadvantaged students who couldn’t attend BLCI due to its limited resources. “We want them to see themselves in our shoes and see that it’s possible,” she told KPBS. “We want to make sure they see that (college) is a possibility and make them passionate about something.”

Lemonade Lessons: Boys and Girls Club Members Learn About Business (Baraboo News-Republic, Wisconsin)

Boys and Girls Club members recently underwent business training from Old Navy employees in preparation for running their own lemonade stand at the end of the month. The elementary and middle school students developed marketing and pricing strategies and will set up their lemonade stand at an Old Navy store on August 29. “This is an opportunity for our younger members to set up and learn about how to run their own business,” Boys and Girls Club director of curriculum Doug Mering told Baraboo News-Republic. Lemonade Days is part of the Boys and Girls Club’s Summer Brain Gain program, which aims to prevent summer learning loss through project-based, themed activities.

Prescott Students ‘Dig’ New Class Project (Cookeville Herald-Citizen, Tennessee)

Students in the Prescott South Elementary LEAPs afterschool program will soon have a chance to harvest fresh lettuce, radishes, peas, carrots and tomatoes from their organic garden. In their gardening project, kids are learning about measuring crops, the harvesting process, energy efficiency, the water cycle and the life cycle of plants. They’ll even gain some business experience by creating their own farmer’s market at the school. “The kids can learn how to sell their vegetables and get the full experience of what a farmer goes through,” second grade teacher and project head Allison Wheeler told the Cookeville Herald-Citizen. “They’ll learn to advertise and manage money, and that money will go towards next year’s plants.”

New Child Care Program to Address Shortage (Bismarck Tribune, North Dakota)

The Missouri Valley YMCA has partnered with three local businesses – Basin Electric, Sanford Health and CHI St. Alexius Health – to expand child care services for their employees and other community members. North Dakota’s oil boom is drawing more workers to the state and increasing the demand for quality child care. Thanks to the new partnership, the expansion will allow the YMCA to open a new location, giving 240 children access to swimming lessons, sports and other fun activities while their parents are at work. “Every working parent strives to achieve a balance,” CHI St. Alexius Health president Kurt Schley told the Bismarck Tribune. “A lack of child care can affect that balance. We see this going hand-in-hand with our mission to promote a healthier community.”

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learn more about: Equity Health and Wellness Science Working Families
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AUG
26

POLICY
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How do Americans define effective schooling? By measures of engagement and student hopefulness

By Jillian Luchner

On Monday, August 24, Gallup/PDK released the 47th Annual Poll of the Public’s Attitudes toward the Public Schools, a nationally representative poll including a phone and web survey of more than 4,000 Americans. The poll focused substantially on perceptions of standardized testing but also touched on issues such as school choice, teacher quality, funding, and the roles of different levels of federal, state, and local government. Overall, the public seems to understand what the research has shown, that learning occurs best when tied to curiosity, interest and relationships.

Gallup/PDK Findings:

Engagement matters: Americans prefer to see student engagement and student hope for the future prioritized in schools.

  • 81% of public school parents believe “the percent of students who feel hopeful about their future” ought to be a very important measure of school effectiveness and 80% felt the same about student engagement.
  • The national public at large shared the sentiment with 78% listing engagement and 77% listing hopefulness as very important.
  • Meanwhile, 67% of public school parents surveyed felt there is too much emphasis on standardized testing and only 14% believe that standardized test scores can measure the effectiveness of the public schools.
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learn more about: Education Reform Federal Policy Academic Enrichment
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AUG
26

IN THE FIELD
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Deadline extended! Nominate a program for the Dollar General Afterschool Literacy Award by Sept. 6!

By Nikki Yamashiro

If you haven’t heard about the Dollar General Afterschool Literacy Award yet, you’re in luck! If you know of an afterschool program that is providing year-round support, has a strong literacy focus and is helping improve its students’ reading, writing and critical thinking skills, you now have until Sept. 6 to nominate it for a chance to win a $10,000 award. A steady stream of nominations has been rolling in and we can’t wait to see what other afterschool programs we’ll find out about over the course of the next week and a half.

Together with the Dollar General Literacy Foundation, we are excited to hear from the field about the work taking place around building students’ literacy skills and to recognize one program with a $10,000 award. This is a great opportunity to showcase the achievements and impact of your program or of a program with which you are familiar.

We encourage nominators to download a copy of the nomination form and review the questions prior to filling out and submitting the form online. Be sure to visit our awards page to learn more about the eligibility requirements.

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learn more about: Competition Funding Opportunity Literacy
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AUG
21

POLICY
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Comparing afterschool supports in the House and Senate ESEA reauthorization bills

By Jillian Luchner

It might officially be summer recess in Congress but hard work on ESEA reauthorization continues. For advocates in the field that means site visits, editorials and letter writing campaigns, all aimed at preserving the Senate 21st CCLC language. On Capitol Hill it means preparing for the conference committee which will create a single bill from the House (H.R. 5) and Senate (S. 1177) versions that passed through Congress in the late spring and early summer.

Rep. John Kline (R-MN) will chair the conference committee, which operates a rotating chairmanship between House and Senate leadership. The conference committee should also include Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), and Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA), the chairs and ranking members of each chamber’s education-focused committee. Other members have yet to be selected.

The two bills being conferenced would both make significant changes to the current ESEA legislation as highlighted in a recent CRS report. The committee will have to negotiate a number of controversial and politically polarized issues such as mandatory partnerships, Title I portability, equity, accountability and funding formulas. Moreover, there is a major distinction in fund allocations. The Senate bill maintains many of the formula and competitive grant programs that support specific initiatives in education. The House bill creates aggregate block grants which distribute a specified amount of funding to a state for a broad variety of discretionary uses. While the Senate bill funds most programs with “such sums as may be available,” the House bill sets specific authorization amounts for each title of the bill.

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learn more about: 21st CCLC Congress ESEA Federal Funding Federal Policy Legislation
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AUG
20

LIGHTS ON
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Spotlight on Lights On Afterschool events: What programs are planning with two months to prepare

By Lindsay Damiano

There are more than two months until Lights On Afterschool 2015, and more than 600 programs have already registered their events and started planning! With all of these incredible programs sharing their plans with us, it’s difficult to showcase just a few. The events below highlight what programs across the country (and beyond!) are doing to celebrate Lights On Afterschool. Once you have some ideas, register today and let us help you plan your event for the biggest national Lights On celebration yet!

  • The Naval Base of Ventura County Child & Youth Program in Camarillo, California has started planning its Lights On Afterschool event as a Harvest Festival, where there will be activities like pumpkin painting, face painting, 4-H science projects and carnival games. The program will also use the event as a fundraiser, as both families and community members are encouraged to attend!
  • The Highland Park, Illinois town square will be lit up thanks to a Lights On Afterschool electricity science experiment by Family Network, a Family Focus Center afterschool program.
  • The Baldwin County High School 21st CCLC Program will be hosting a community-wide Fall Festival and Zombie Fun Run for Lights On Afterschool to build awareness of the program throughout the Bay Minette, Alabama community!
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learn more about: 21st CCLC Health and Wellness Science Arts
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