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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
14

FUNDING
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Corporate foundations providing vital afterschool funding

By Michael Burke

More and more corporate partners and foundations are recognizing the important role that afterschool programs play in helping kids reach higher academic achievement and college readiness, and develop essential skills for the 21st century workplace, particularly among low-income children and families.  To help augment the work that is already taking place in afterschool, the New York Life Foundation recently awarded a $4 million, four-year grant to After-School All-Stars. The grant will help After-School All-Stars expand its programming to middle school youth in six cities across the nation.

As part of its broader mission, The New York Life Foundation is committed to educational enhancement by supporting programs that focus on academic achievement for disadvantaged children and youth, and that help children during the critical out-of-school hours.  The foundation places a special emphasis on the needs of middle and high school students, which makes its partnership with After-School All-Stars an exemplary collaboration because it will leverage the ongoing work of both organizations.

Afterschool and summer learning programs are ideal places to provide kids with educational opportunities that help them improve academic performance and develop the skills they need to succeed in college and in life. Thanks to the valuable investments of corporate foundations such as the New York Life Foundation, afterschool programs across the nation are more able to provide vital educational opportunities beyond the school day that otherwise may not have existed.

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learn more about: Funding Opportunity Academic Enrichment
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MAR
13

STEM
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The FY2015 budget request and how it might impact afterschool STEM programs

By Anita Krishnamurthi

The Administration released its budget request for FY2015 last week and STEM education has fared quite well overall.  Although the reorganization of STEM education programs across various federal agencies has been proposed again, this year’s version is less drastic and doesn't suggest transferring funds between agencies.  Thirty-one programs across nine agencies, totaling $145 million, would be consolidated or eliminated under the plan, which is a much smaller number than the 78 programs proposed in last year's budget request.  See the high-level list and explanation here (pgs. 153 and 157). 

The overall federal STEM funding level would be $2.9 billion under the request, an increase of 3.7 percent over the FY2014 enacted level.  Some of the funding for STEM education at agencies such as NASA, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the National Science Foundation (NSF) would be restored, which is very good news for informal science education programs and providers.  

At the Department of Education, $110 million is requested for STEM Innovation Networks; the funds would be used to “award grants to school districts in partnership with colleges and other regional partners to transform STEM teaching and learning by accelerating the adoption of practices in P-12 education that help to increase the number students who seek out and are well-prepared for postsecondary education and careers in STEM fields.”  If the program and funds materialize, there may be opportunities here for afterschool networks and providers to collaborate with school districts.

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learn more about: Budget Department of Education NASA Obama Science
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MAR
12

IN THE FIELD
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Summer: Helping kids get a jump on the Common Core

By Jen Rinehart

There are plenty of images of jumping associated with summer—jumping rope, jumping into swimming pools, jumping for joy on the last day of the school year—but few folks think of the role that summer learning programs can play to help students get a jump on the Common Core.

We have given the Common Core and the role of afterschool programs in supporting kids under Common Core a fair bit of coverage here at the Afterschool Snack

Now there’s a resource out from the Summer Matters campaign that hones in on the role of summer programs.  Getting a Head Start on the Common Core  highlights a number of school districts in California, including Los Angeles Unified and Sacramento City Unified, which are relying on summer programs to introduce and reinforce the skills and habits of mind emphasized by the Common Core.

The report demonstrates that summer learning programs can prevent summer learning loss, while also providing students with a leg up to be successful under the Common Core.  Lastly, the report points out how summer learning programs can provide time and flexibility for teachers to experiment with new strategies and curriculum prior to implementing them in the school classroom.  

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learn more about: Summer Learning Academic Enrichment
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MAR
12

STEM
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Computing 101 for afterschool

By Melissa Ballard

At the recent National AfterSchool Association (NAA) Annual Convention , I co-presented with Irene Lee, an expert in computer science education, on how afterschool programs are engaging kids in computing. Irene runs two computing afterschool programs in New Mexico, Project GUTS and GUTS y Girls, and works on several initiatives with the Computer Science Teachers Association. Project GUTS was the winner of our 2013 Afterschool STEM Impact Awards!

Computing and computer science education have been hot topics in the news. Recently, we released an issue brief, “Computing and Engineering in Afterschool,” and hosted a lively webinar on the topic.

In our conference session at NAA, we talked about what computing is, what afterschool programs are doing with computing, and some tips to get started. Interested in Computing 101 for afterschool? Check out our presentation slides!

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learn more about: Digital Learning Events and Briefings
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MAR
12

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup - March 12, 2014

By Luci Manning

Midnight Basketball Program Provides Safe Haven for Youths (Tampa Bay Times, Florida)
Every Friday night from 6 p.m. until midnight, anywhere from 40 to 80 kids gather to play basketball at the National Football League Youth Education Town Center in Jackson Heights.  This late-night basketball program is a safe space for students in the low-income neighborhood in East Tampa, giving them relief from the pressures outside.  Essie Sims—community leader, pastor and founder of the program—told the Tampa Bay Times that midnight basketball offers mentoring opportunities and teaches students life skills, “We’re bringing in successful business owners and leaders to come in and talk with these kids, and give them positive affirmation on to some of the goals that they have in mind and how we can help them achieve these goals.”

Palm Springs’ Tara Lazar Gives Children Tools to Cook, Eat Healthy (Desert Sun, California)
Students in Palm Springs are talking about the hands-on cooking classes they take part in through an afterschool program.  Tara Lazar, local restaurant owner, told the Desert Sun that she partnered with the Palm Springs Boys & Girls Club to teach middle school and high school students about good nutrition and to show them how they can make their own healthful meals.  The weekly program, which takes place in Lazar’s restaurant, has had a real impact on the students, many of whom prepare what they learn in class for themselves and their families at home.

Phila. Students Sour at State Chess Tourney (Philadelphia Inquirer, Pennsylvania)
Philadelphia students collected 110 awards at the Pennsylvania State Scholastic Chess Championships this weekend, a tournament sponsored by After School Activities Partnerships (ASAP).  Marciene S. Mattleman told the Philadelphia Inquirer that she founded ASAP to promote afterschool recreation and enrichment in the city’s most underserved areas.  Mattleman touted the program’s success, saying that there are “3,200 kids playing chess every week in Philadelphia.”

Middle Village’s Class of Stars (Queens Times Ledger, New York)
Afterschool students have been given a behind the scenes look at what goes into creating Broadway productions thanks to the Cultural After School Adventures program.  The program brought in professional performer Braddon Mehrten, the program’s director and mentor, to help the students put on their own rock- and pop-inspired performances.  Mehrten told the Queens Times Ledger that “it’s great when the light bulb goes off and the kids see there is something beyond school that can help them learn.”

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learn more about: Health and Wellness Nutrition Arts Youth Development Community Partners
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MAR
11

IN THE FIELD
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Who's afraid of digital learning?

By Ursula Helminski

One of the funnier slides from Jaime’s presentation

The use of technology raises a lot of contradictory and complex concerns: too much use; too little access; social disconnectedness; dismal STEM pipelines.  Jaime Casap, Google’s senior education evangelist, didn’t have answers for everything, but he made some compelling points during his presentation at the National AfterSchool Association Annual Conference on approaching learning today—something that, in his view, can’t be done without considering the role of afterschool, and the role of technology.  Here are a couple points I walked away with:

“Kids are wired differently these days.” Referencing what we know about evolution, Jamie took this one down pretty effectively, saying that brains are not now fundamentally different, and we should not look at our kids as though they are built differently.  Like us, they are not good at multitasking.  They can’t do two things at once any better than we can. 

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learn more about: Digital Learning Education Reform Events and Briefings Youth Development
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MAR
11

POLICY
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Take action: Senate to take up child care bill this week

By Erik Peterson

This week the Senate is expected to debate and vote on reauthorization of the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG). CCDBG, which was last reauthorized nearly 20 years ago, is the main federal source of funding for families needing child care and also funds child care quality initiatives.  Currently, 1.6 million children a month—from birth to age 13—receive funding to cover child care expenses, totaling $5 billion a year.  About 600,000 school-age children are provided with afterschool program care through CCDBG. 

Advocates can reach out to senators in support of the legislation:
  • Call 202-224-3121. Tell the operator the name of one of your senators. (Not sure? Look up your senators here.)
  • Once you are connected to your senator's office, tell the staff person who answers:
    1. Your name
    2. That you are a constituent (name your city and state)
  • Then, say, "I urge the senator to vote yes on the bill to reauthorize the Child Care and Development Block Grant. Thank you."
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learn more about: Advocacy Congress Legislation
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MAR
10

FUNDING
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Guest blog: Summer nutrition programs--providing energy and enrichment

By Alexis Steines

Signe Anderson is the senior child nutrition policy analyst at the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC).

 

Summer should be an exciting time for all children, yet millions of low-income students lose access to healthful meals and enrichment opportunities when the school year ends. In summer 2012 only 1 in 7 low-income children who participated in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) had access to free summer meals. The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) could assist summer programs in filling both voids of lost nutrition and lost enrichment opportunities for children who participate. Your program may be eligible to receive federal funding to provide healthful meals to children 18 years or younger in addition to the activities youre already providing. To be eligible, summer programs must be located in or near an elementary, middle, or high school where 50 percent or more of the students qualify for free or reduced-price meals. Once qualified, the program can provide meals to all participating students. Census data can also be used to qualify your program site for the meal program. A summer meal program site can exist anywhere children congregate during the summer months such as parks, pools, churches and schools.

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learn more about: Federal Funding Guest Blog Nutrition Summer Learning
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