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NOV
16
2017

IN THE FIELD
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Support healthy OST programs with this action center's state policy toolkits & funding

By Tiereny Lloyd

Voices for Healthy Kids®, an initiative of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and American Heart Association, recently released an Out of School Time (OST) Campaign Toolkit. The toolkit is designed to empower OST advocates to take action in their communities and improve health of children in OST programs. Some features of the toolkit are new graphics, social media samples, fact sheets, messaging guides, and other resources. The toolkit can be downloaded here at no cost!

While you are downloading all the wonderful resources from the new toolkit, be sure to check out the open call for proposals to advance healthy eating and physical activity in your state.  This round of funding is specifically limited to proposals in the areas of the school health (physical activity/physical education, junk food marketing, wellness, ESSA, school food, and water), early care and education, and out-of-school-time policy levers. Applications must support the Voices for Healthy Kids OST Policy Lever: Pursue policy changes that require out-of-school time programs to integrate national healthy eating and physical activity (HEPA) standards into recognition programs, accreditation programs, certifications, and rating systems.

The deadline for submission is fast approaching; all applications must be submitted by December 8, 2017 at 5 p.m. PST. Visit the grant portal to learn more!

Last but not least, be sure to join the movement! As the only online national network of people focusing on helping kids grow up at a healthy weight, the Voices for Healthy Kids Action Center (formerly PreventObesity.com) is the place where leaders and organizations connect with hundreds of thousands of health and wellness supporters in advocacy efforts and policy implementation. The action center offers two pathways to membership; you can sign up as an individual leader or you can create an organization profile

If you have questions about any of the above resources, please be sure to give me a ping at tlloyd@afterschoolalliance.org, I look forward to hearing from you!

NOV
15
2017

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup: November 15, 2017

By Luci Manning

These Girls Now Have Big Dreams — Thanks to these Mentoring Programs (The Miami Herald, Florida)

Three unique afterschool programs in South Florida are inspiring girls to build their confidence and professional ambition. Honey Shine motivates girls to pursue higher education while improving self-esteem by pairing professional women with young girls. Women of Tomorrow offers a mentoring program between professional women and girls along with college and career trips. PACE Center for Girls offers an alternative to public school with academics, counseling, health and wellness and more. “Insecurity and self-doubt are rampant among the girls when they begin the program, PACE Miami Executive Director Sherry Thompson Giordano told the Miami Herald. “But as they discover their talents and begin to think it will be possible to launch careers, they find a strength that will help guide them through the rest of their lives.”

Students Helping Students Read at Maclary Elementary (The News Journal, Delaware)

A group of Maclary Elementary School fifth graders are volunteering to help 10 kindergarteners improve their reading skills. The mentoring program is a part of The Christina School Board’s resolution for students to participate in 20 minutes of unstructured learning a day. “I wanted to help little kids read, because sometimes in kindergarten I would need help reading and spelling,” 10-year-old Megan Levering told The News Journal. The program helps students improve their leadership skills, cognitive development, decision-making skills, concentration and self-confidence.

With Grammy Nominees, DASH Program Aims to Develop Philly's Next Entertainment Leaders (The Inquirer, Pennsylvania)

The DASH (Destined to Achieve Successful Heights) afterschool program is giving 20 high school students the chance to produce their own music through a 12-week program called “Songwriting 101.” The hands-on learning experience, part of a collaboration with the Philadelphia School District, will allow students to learn about various fields within the entertainment industry from professional musicians. “When you sit with these kids, you get to see their faces light up and you realize they know that they can really do this,” Grammy-nominated songwriter and DASH master instructor Kristal Oliver told The Inquirer.

After-School STEM Programs Inspire Kids to Keep Learning (PBS NewsHour, Rhode Island)

Ella Risk Elementary School is trying to boost the number of low-income, minorities and women in STEM fields through its afterschool program SMILE. The corporate- and foundation-funded program serves more than 500 4th- to 12th-grade Rhode Island students who participate in experiential learning in a low-risk environment that doesn’t punish failure. “We work very hard at promoting a cohesive peer group where everyone knows it’s cool to be smart. They identify with science. They identify with STEM. And that carries them into high school to take the harder science and math courses,” founder Carol Englander told PBS NewsHour.

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learn more about: STEM Arts Literacy Girls In The News
NOV
14
2017

RESEARCH
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"Building Workforce Skills in Afterschool" highlights promising practices for all ages

By Nikki Yamashiro

The next generation of the American workforce is growing up right now and afterschool programs are vital partners in helping young people discover new passions and work towards their dreams. As in so many other subjects, the variety and versatility of afterschool programming offers opportunities for different kids at different ages and stages of development to benefit, whether the focus is on social and emotional learning, teamwork and communications skills, or concrete experience at paid internships.

In the Minneapolis Beacons afterschool programs, elementary school students learn and play collaboratively in groups, practicing active listening, considering and respecting different perspectives, and reaching consensus in a group setting. On the other side of the spectrum, high schoolers in Sunrise of Philadelphia’s afterschool program create five-year road maps for themselves, participate in mock interviews, and have the opportunity to work in a variety of paid internships.

Programs are helping students discover potential career pathways, connecting students to real-world workplace experience, and guiding students to build the foundational skills that will benefit students in school and when they enter the workforce. Afterschool Alliance’s new issue brief, Building Workforce Skills in Afterschool, examines the ladder of supports that afterschool programs provide students to help them thrive beyond school, as they grow into adults into their future careers.

NOV
13
2017

RESEARCH
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New report: Making summer learning a district-wide priority

By Leah Silverberg

Summer learning programs across the country are providing students with valuable opportunities to learn. However, for students from low-income families, quality learning opportunities can be sparse, and students from low-income communities lose more ground academically over their summer than their more affluent peers. Supporting summer learning, and making these programs a priority for school districts, can make a difference for these students year-round. Taking support for these programs to a district level and prioritizing summer learning can help ensure program quality, sustainability, and increase community buy-in.  

In an effort to support summer learning programs, The Wallace Foundation launched the National Summer Learning Project (NSLP) across five school districts nationwide in 2011. Evaluating the NSLP programs, RAND has explored outcomes for students participating in summer learning programs. Digging deeper, Making Summer Last: Integrating Summer Programming into Core District Priorities and Operations, a new report from The Wallace Foundation and RAND, explores how three of the school districts participating in NSLP integrated summer learning into their district priorities. The report evaluates interviews with district staff members and summer leadership staff involved in summer programming and highlights their recommendations for making summer a district-wide priority. Here are the report’s three main takeaways, including challenges, to integrate and prioritize summer learning programs into your school district:

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learn more about: Summer Learning
NOV
10
2017

IN THE FIELD
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Introducing our inaugural class of Youth Afterschool Ambassadors

By Charlotte Steinecke

Through our Afterschool Ambassadors program, every year we recruit a cohort of program providers and advocates of special distinction and provide them with training, technical support, and modest funding to complete projects that raise the profile of afterschool in their communities. This year, we're very excited to announce that we're building on the success of that program, with our new Youth Afterschool Ambassador initiative!

Our first five Youth Ambassadors will each design and carry out a project showcasing the value of afterschool programs. In addition, they will write blog posts for Afterschool Snack about the importance of afterschool and travel to Washington, D.C., next year to participate in the annual Afterschool for All Challenge, where they will meet with members of Congress and their staff.

The five Youth Afterschool Ambassadors in this inaugural class come from four states. They are: 

  • Ruben Balderas from Walla Walla Washington’s WaHi FORWARD Afterschool Program  
  • Maya Irvine from Camdenton, Missouri’s Camdenton FIRST LASER Robotics Team  
  • Harli Jo McKinney from Stratford Oklahoma’s C3 Afterschool Program  
  • Kaleb Robertson from Green Bay, Wisconsin’s Boys & Girls Club of Greater Green Bay  
  • Marisol Romero from Toppenish Washington’s 21st Century Community Afterschool and Summer Program at Safe Haven Community Center  

"The Youth Ambassador program is an incredible opportunity for students to share their experiences of afterschool and summer learning programs and the ways that participation in those programs have significantly impacted their lives," says Alexis Steines, director of field outreach at the Afterschool Alliance and manager of the Youth Ambassador program. "I look forward to seeing the creative advocacy projects our inaugural class of Youth Ambassadors is developing!" 

NOV
9
2017

RESEARCH
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Looking for evidence on the impact of afterschool?

By Nikki Yamashiro

Look no further! Adding to the research conversation discussing the value of afterschool and summer learning programs, the Afterschool Alliance has released two new fact sheets that provide a sampling of evaluation findings demonstrating the positive impact programs have on students, with subjects ranging from helping students become more engaged in learning to improving students’ foundational skills, such as communication and decision-making skills. 

The two fact sheets include different sets of information meant to complement one another. What does the research say about 21st Century Community Learning Centers? focuses specifically on findings from evaluations of Community Learning Centers programs, including statewide evaluations from a number of states across the country, such as California, Texas, and West Virginia. On the other hand, What does the research say about afterschool? includes student outcomes from evaluations of afterschool programs more broadly, comprising evaluations of Community Learning Centers programs as well as referencing meta-analyses (an approach that looks at multiple studies and their data) and national-level studies.

If you are in search of how to make an evidence-based case for afterschool, you can pluck findings from these fact sheets to demonstrate that there is a body of research that both establishes and confirms that afterschool works.

Didn’t find exactly what you’re looking for? Search our Impacts Database and filter for evaluations focused on everything from the evaluations’ findings, such as attendance and behavior, to the age of students served. The database, which we continuously update and add to, currently includes more than 60 evaluations. If you have an evaluation you think we should include, email us at info@afterschoolalliance.org.

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learn more about: 21st CCLC Evaluation and Data
NOV
8
2017

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup: November 8, 2017

By Luci Manning

Former Student Shares How Bellevue’s Jubilee Reach Provided Help (Bellevue Reporter, Washington)

Current University of Washington student and REACH afterschool program alumna Jeyma Garcia will share how instrumental the REACH afterschool program was to her at the annual Festival of Trees fundraiser on November 11. She credits the REACH afterschool staff and coaches with helping her overcome depression. Now she strives to provide the same level of passion and empathy to her students. “Garcia said she doesn’t know where she would be now if she hadn’t had help from her site coach when she was 13 years old,” reports the Bellevue Reporter.

James Island Elementary's After-School Fishing Program Catches on with Young Anglers (Post & Courier, South Carolina)

Students in the James Island Elementary School Fishing Club are spending their hours after school learning about birds and wildlife, how to tie knots and the difference between different fishing rigs. “The time spent with the kids outdoors has been amazing…. The looks on their faces when they catch that fish by themselves is amazing,” club founder Patrick Harrington told the Post & Courier. The program has helped the children become expert fishermen, earning them plaques and other awards at the annual Trident Fishing Tournament.

Kids Learn the Link Between Food, Health (Record Searchlight, California)

Patient educator Betsy Amstutz and nurse Jayne Cummins are offering a new afterschool cooking class at the Shasta Community Health Center to educate youths about how to cook more nutritious and balanced meals. The class, inspired by an adult nutrition class offered to the center’s patients, also teaches students about knife safety, hand-washing, and how to avoid cross-contamination. “I took this class because my mom made me and, two, I really enjoy cooking. It's my passion. It's a hobby actually,” 12-year-old member Ryder Rogers told the Record Searchlight.

Farm Program Lets Students Learn Hands-On from Animals (Las Vegas Sun, Nevada)

A new club at Mabel Hoggard Elementary School is introducing students to animal care, genealogy and gardening. The program is taught both during the school day and in the out-of-school time Zookeepers club and Green Thumb Kids club. During lunch hour and before school, 25 to 50 students partake in the unique experience of learning about and caring for a variety of over 130 animals. The programs are meant to inspire students with an interest in zoology, veterinary, geology and other science fields. “We wanted to give our kids a more involved experience,” life sciences teacher Kimberly Law told the Las Vegas Sun. “I think this is a unique way for them to learn, and something no other elementary kids get to do.” 

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learn more about: STEM In The News Nutrition
NOV
7
2017

POLICY
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What could the Tax Cut Bill mean for afterschool programs?

By Erik Peterson

On November 2 House Republicans released their proposed tax cut/tax reform package, called the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. This bill is on an aggressive timeline and could pass the House as soon as the week of November 13. The House Ways and Means Committee will mark up the bill beginning at noon on Monday, November 6. It is expected to take several days to complete the mark up.

The tax cut bill released by the Chair of the House Ways and Means Committee Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas) is based largely on the Trump Administration’s tax cut outline released earlier this fall. According to the Ways and Means Committee, “The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will deliver real tax relief to Americans across the country – especially low- and middle-income Americans who have been struggling for far too long to earn a raise and get ahead.” Under the legislation, the authors state that a typical middle-income family of four, earning $59,000 (the median household income), will receive a $1,182 tax cut, which is about $22.73 a week or $3.24 a day.

There are several possible impacts of the tax cut bill on the afterschool field:

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learn more about: Congress Federal Funding Federal Policy