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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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AUG
18
2017

RESEARCH
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Guest blog: Q&A with an afterschool researcher, part II

By Guest Blogger

Welcome to part II of our Q&A with Neil Naftzger, American Institutes for Research (AIR), about his evaluation work related to 21st CCLC programs specifically and the afterschool field broadly. Below are answers to oneof the questions we asked, with our emphasis added in bold, which establish that there is in fact clear evidence demonstrating that 21st CCLC work for students. To read part I, click here.

What changes would you like to see in terms of 21st CCLC data collection and evaluation?

This is a big question. First, I think we need to be clear around the purposes we’re trying to support through data collection and evaluation. Normally, we think about this work as falling within three primary categories:

  1. Data to support program staff in learning about quality practice and effective implementation
  2. Data to monitor the participation and progress of enrolled youth
  3. Data to assess the impact of the program on youth that participate regularly in the program

States have done an amazing job over the span of the past decade to develop quality improvement systems predicated on using quality data to improve practice (purpose #1). Effective afterschool quality improvement systems start with a shared definition of quality. In recent years, state 21st CCLC systems have come to rely upon formal assessment tools like the Youth Program Quality Assessment (YPQA) and the Assessment of Program Practices Tool (APT-O) to provide that definition, allowing 21st CCLC grantees to assess how well they are meeting these criteria and crafting action plans to intentionally improve the quality of programming. Use of these tools typically involves assigning a score to various program practices in order to quantify the program’s performance and establish a baseline against which to evaluate growth. A recent report completed by AIR indicates approximately 70 percent of states have adopted a quality assessment tool for use by their 21st CCLC grantees. Our sense is that these systems have been critical to enhancing the quality of 21st CCLC programs, and any efforts to modify the 21st CCLC data collection landscape should ensure program staff have the support and time necessary to participate in these important processes.

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learn more about: 21st CCLC Evaluation and Data
AUG
17
2017

IN THE FIELD
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New resource: “STEM and Wellness: A Powerful Equation for Equity”

By Julie Keller

Would you rather have the students in your program learn to code or be able to run a 5K?

That question focuses on one of the main issues that face afterschool programs every day: how do we give our kids more, with less? Everyone wants healthy, active kids who are also receiving important academic enrichment they may not find in the school day. With STEM and wellness both on the rise in popularity and importance while funding and resources are slashed, how are out-of-school time (OST) providers to prioritize one or the other?

The National Afterschool Association (NAA), Alliance for a Healthier Generation, Afterschool Alliance, and National Girls Collaborative Project (NCGP) have collaborated to come up with a solution. “Imagine the potential of empowering the 10.2 million children in afterschool programs with science, technology, engineering, and math skills, while providing them with opportunities to eat healthy and stay active,” reads the first sentence of “STEM and Wellness: A Powerful Equation for Equity.”

AUG
16
2017

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup: August 16, 2017

By Luci Manning

Tennis Program Helps Students to AIM High (Gainesville Sun, Florida)

“Katie Munroe credits her involvement with the Aces in Motion education program with motivating her to realize her dreams of going to college,” according to the Gainesville Sun.  The AIM afterschool program teaches students basic life skills and students receive homework help alongside tennis lessons and activities with members of the University of Florida tennis team. Munroe began participating in the afterschool program while she was in seventh grade. “I can honestly say AIM has helped me grow into the person I am today because it taught me to believe in myself, to have patience and to work hard to achieve success,” 18-year-old Katie Munroe told the Gainesville Sun.

The City’s Youth Are in Crisis (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Wisconsin)

Boys & Girls Clubs of America president and CEO Jim Clark and Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee president and CEO Vincent Lyles write about the positive impact of afterschool programs in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: “…with the right opportunities and the right people in their corners, youths make positive choices and go on to lead successful, productive lives as adults…. The persistent problems of intergenerational poverty and crime won’t be solved until we join together and commit to providing more opportunities for quality out-of-school programs that help America’s inner city and rural youths achieve three crucial goals: academic success, good character and citizenship and healthy lifestyles.”

Incoming No. Providence High Freshmen Graduate from Summer Boatbuilding Program (North Providence Breeze, Rhode Island)

Nearly 50 Providence-area students spent the last several weeks learning to design, build, and repair boats as part of the Youth Summer Boatbuilding Program. The program’s hands-on approach taught students science, engineering, and math fundamentals in a fun, challenging way while preparing them for possible future careers. “The boats are merely a metaphor; if they can build a boat and put their minds to something and see what they can accomplish, they start believing in themselves,” Henry Marciano of City Sail told the North Providence Breeze. “That’s the whole purpose of this program.”

Cabell County Students Share Views on Afterschool Programs with Congress (Huntington Herald-Dispatch, West Virginia)

This week the Huntington Herald-Dispatch reported that two Cabell County students shared their views on the value of afterschool programming with their elected representatives in Washington as part of the Afterschool Alliance’s Afterschool for All Challenge in June. Brothers Brennan and Aiden Shope met with U.S. Sens. Shelley Moore Capito and Joe Manchin, as well as U.S. Reps. Evan Jenkins and Alex Mooney, to stress the positive impact their afterschool programs have had on their lives and to urge the members of Congress to support funding for out-of-school-time programs. 

AUG
15
2017

FUNDING
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Grant opportunity: Start a garden or wildlife habitat at your local school

By Marco Ornelas

If your program focuses on local beautification efforts or gardening and ecology, the Wild Ones Seeds for Education program has a creative way to fund your projects! Your program could be awarded up to $500 to start a garden or wildlife habitat for native plants and animals in your local school. This project is a great way to teach students of the wonders of gardening and ecology—important material often overlooked during in-class time.

The Seeds for Education grant is designed to be used for projects that tackle three essential criteria:

  1. Youth engagement in planning and doing (age-appropriate)
  2. Creation of an ecosystem community based on native plants
  3. Focus on hands-on educational activities

Grant Name: The Wild Ones Seeds for Education

Description: $500 cash award

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learn more about: Funding Opportunity
AUG
14
2017

RESEARCH
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How does afterschool contribute to military readiness?

By Leah Silverberg

U.S. Air Force photo by Kemberly Groue

In 2016, the Council for a Strong America released America Unprepared, showing data that more than 70 percent of young adults in the United States would not qualify for military service due to obesity and other health issues, poor academic performance, drug abuse, or involvement in crime. As a solution to this lack of “citizen-readiness,” the council suggested support for voluntary home-visiting programs, high quality early education, science-based nutrition standards for school foods, and the reinstitution of physical education programs.

We have one more suggestion: quality afterschool programs. Many afterschool programs are already tackling the issues of health and wellness, academic achievement, and child safety.

Fighting fit

60 percent of young adults are overweight or obese. For the military, this translates to 31 percent of all young adults who apply to serve being disqualified from service. Furthermore, lifetime obesity is determined during school-age years. While obesity remains a large problem in the United States, the percentage of schools that require students to take physical education has declined to only 77 percent.

AUG
11
2017

IN THE FIELD
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Meet Faith Savaiano, our new Communications Associate

By Faith Savaiano

Photo courtesy of Jon Merlino Photography

Hello! I’m Faith Savaiano, the new Communications Associate and the latest team member to be joining the Afterschool Alliance.

I could not be happier to be joining the dedicated and capable team here working to ensure quality and affordable afterschool for all. Growing up in a home with two working parents, the access I had to afterschool programming allowed them to work hard to support my family, while I could learn and grow in a safe environment. I’m looking forward to communicating the incredible value of these programs, supported by the excellent research and policy efforts that are being conducted here on a daily basis.

As a recent graduate of the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, I’m happy to be returning to Washington D.C. after earlier experiences here at U.S. Department of State and public affairs agency, Powell Tate. I’m passionate about supporting public policy efforts that create opportunities for those who are often underserved in our communities. Here at Afterschool Alliance, I’m thrilled to be working toward creating greater opportunity for the most deserving group I can think of—our youth!

In my role, I’ll be largely handling the digital media portfolio, meaning that I get to engage with all of you through our site and social platforms. I look forward to connecting with all of you to learn and spread the word about the importance of afterschool in our homes and communities!

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learn more about: Inside the Afterschool Alliance
AUG
10
2017

IN THE FIELD
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Advice from the experts on successful campaigning for HEPA

By Julie Keller

Last month, Voices for Healthy Kids brought together advocates of Early Childhood Education (ECE) to dive into the science, messaging, and best practice campaign approaches for advancing healthy eating, physical activity, and decreased screen time in ECE.

Here are a few snapshots of what was discussed and how out-of-school time (OST) advocates can take the next steps for advancing Healthy Eating and Physical Activity (HEPA) state-level policy:

Leveraging the Child and Adult Care Feeding Program (CACFP)

The US Department of Agriculture has updated the CACFP to ensure children and adults have access to healthy, balanced meals throughout the day. These revised meal patterns include a greater variety of vegetables and fruit, more whole grains, and less added sugar and saturated fat. The CACFP may be able to reimburse participating organizations up to $1,400 annually per child!

Next steps: Contact your state agency to check your organization’s eligibility for participation. If you are already participating, use this flyer to help promote and educate non-participating childcare centers about the benefits of CACFP.

AUG
9
2017

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup: August 9, 2017

By Luci Manning

With Help of a BMX Pro, at-Risk Youth Pedal Their Way to a Better Future (Fresno Bee, California)

A biking afterschool program at Sequoia Middle School is steering students away from dangerous decisions and toward a fun, positive learning environment. BMX Jam, started by former BMX racing professional Tony Hoffman, helps students who are struggling at school and at home by giving them a place to develop friendships, improve their grades and build self-esteem. “In the program, you talk to each other, you help each other and you become kind of like a family,” participant Danny Orozco told the Fresno Bee.

Learning to Inhale: At This Camp, Breathing Is Fundamental (WAMU, District of Columbia)

Youths at a unique summer camp in Patuxent, Maryland are not just taking hikes and sleeping in cabins – they’re learning how to control their asthma. According to camp co-director Bernadette Campbell, the week-long program is meant to help students learn coping techniques that could make all the difference in case of a sudden asthma attack. “They know how to save their lives, they have a sense of empowerment and they know they can do it,” Campbell told WAMU.

Sponsors Visit STEM Programs Aimed at Fighting Summer Learning Loss (New Britain Herald, Connecticut)

Representatives from several companies and organizations that sponsor summer learning programs in New Britain got a chance to see how their money was being used through two site visits and information sessions last week. The funders visited the district’s two Summer Enrichment Experience (SEE) locations to witness how students in elementary and middle school benefit from the STEM-based program that fights summer learning loss. “We have seen the success with SEE,” New Britain High School superintendent Nancy Sarra told the New Britain Herald. “…We know that if we keep them in the summer… we can change their trajectory for learning and staying engaged in school and graduating on time.”

Swimming Skills Aren’t Just for Dreamers (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pennsylvania)

Pittsburgh students from all socioeconomic backgrounds are building healthy habits through Summer Dreamers, a swimming-focused summer learning program. “We’re teaching the kids a skill, a lifetime skill,” Obama Academy swim coach Mark Rauterkus told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “And we’re also spending a lot of time in fitness, so they’re getting stronger more endurance. They’re learning about exercising, kinetic movement, and their teamwork and sportsmanship.” The program combines swimming and water polo lessons and other traditional camp activities with academic classes, helping to mitigate summer learning loss, build students’ self-confidence and keep them fit.