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DEC
10

POLICY
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FY15 spending bill filed, on its way to House, Senate floor for passage

By Erik Peterson

House and Senate Appropriations Committee Chairs Hal Rogers (R-KY) and Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) filed their compromise Fiscal Year 2015 spending bill last night that, if passed by both Chambers and signed into law by President Obama, will keep the federal government funded through September 30, 2015. Currently, the government is funded through a Continuing Resolution that expires tomorrow, December 11th. The bill has strong implications for federal afterschool funding. 

The Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015 funds the government at $1.014 trillion in discretionary spending in compliance with the bipartisan Murray-Ryan budget agreement of December 2013. Overall the Department of Education was funded at $70.5 billion, a decrease of $133 million compared to FY14. With regard to afterschool and summer learning programs, funding for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) initiative was increased by $2.3 million for FY15, bringing the total to $1.152 billion, up from $1.149 billion in FY14. 

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learn more about: 21st CCLC Advocacy Budget Congress Department of Education ESEA Federal Funding Federal Policy Legislation
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DEC
8

STEM
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Celebrate computer science education week with the "Hour of Code"

By Melissa Ballard

We live in a world surrounded by technology.  And we know that whatever field our students choose to go into as adults, their ability to succeed will increasingly hinge on understanding how technology works.  Computer science is foundational for all students today—it’s about teaching students to create technology, not just how to use it.  Yet 90% of schools don’t teach it.  Let’s change that!

This week, Dec. 8-12, is Computer Science Education week.  Afterschool programs can play a huge role in introducing students to computer science. 

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learn more about: Digital Learning Science
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DEC
4

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup  December 4, 2014

By Luci Manning

New Afterschool Program Is Creating Future Entrepreneurs (The Avenue News, Maryland)

Fourth through twelfth-grade students are developing business models and becoming future leaders through I AM O’Kah!’s entrepreneurship program. The 10-week course provides students with entrepreneurship training and communication and each week guest speakers talk to students about their own journey and overcoming obstacles. Aisha DaCosta, CEO of I AM O’Kah!, told The Avenue News that by the end of the program, each student will create a viable business idea to present to a panel of local entrepreneurs. The top three winners will be awarded a micro-grant to help start their business and will be assigned a local entrepreneur as a mentor for the first 30 days of their business venture.

Centre Mentors Coeds Spark Boyle Middle School Girls' Interest in Math, Science (The Advocate-Messenger, Kentucky)

Centre College sophomore Ceci Vollbrecht and several of her classmates formed GEMS (Girls in Engineering, Math and Science), an afterschool program at Boyle County Middle School, in an effort to grow the scientific interest in the next generation of girls. The mentoring program is funded by a grant from the National Girls Collaborative Project, which allows for the group to go on field trips to expose the students to the world of science. “Our goal is to keep them interested, do fun stuff with science, keep them active in it, provide role models for the ones who are pursuing higher level science – and college in general,” Vollbrecht told The Advocate-Messenger.

Digital Harbor Foundation Is Using 3-D Printing to Attract More Girls to Technology (Baltimore Business Journal, Maryland)

Even though the technology field is known for being male-dominated, girls dominate the Digital Harbor Foundation's 3-D printing competition every year. In order to develop even stronger interest among girls, the Baltimore technology education organization is launching a club called the Makerettes, which allows middle school and high school girls to work together on projects (3-D printed or otherwise) and get to know each other. Greer Melon, the foundation’s director of business operations told Baltimore Business Journal, “The culture of tech jobs is something that can be really off-putting for girls.” Organizers hope the club will not only attract new students, but also help female students overcome the male-dominated technology culture.

School Spotlight: Whitehorse Makers Club Spurs Creativity (Wisconsin State Journal, Wisconsin)

Recently at the Whitehorse Makers Club, 11 year-old Kodie Kramer created a game app featuring a roving tank that can now be found in the iTunes store. The club allows children to explore their creativity through inventions like Kodie’s and other projects like stop-motion animation, Post-it note murals, video games, music and avatars. Jennifer Milne-Carroll, library media technology specialist and creator of the Whitehorse Makers Club, told the Wisconsin State Journal that the club can help students explore different careers. Whitehorse art teacher Andrew Erickson said it helps them learn to work together and the students have a great deal of freedom. “It’s a place for them to make things, use their creativity. It’s a way to challenge themselves,” he said. “It’s fun to watch them explore and figure out what they want to do and how to accomplish it.”

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learn more about: Media Outreach
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DEC
2

POLICY
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Application currently being accepted for Performance Partnership Pilot (P3)

By Erik Peterson

Late last month, five Federal agencies came together to offer a new opportunity to help communities overcome the obstacles they face in achieving better outcomes for disconnected youth – young people at high school age and older who are not in school and not employed. States, tribes, and municipalities can apply by March 4, 2015, to become Performance Partnership Pilots (P3) to test innovative, outcome-focused strategies aimed at achieving significant improvements for disconnected youth in educational, employment, and other key outcomes.

The P3 initiative enables up to 10 pilot programs to blend funds that they currently receive from different discretionary programs administered by the Departments of Education, Labor, and Health and Human Services, the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) and the Institute for Museum and Library Services. Authorized as part of the FY2014 Omnibus spending bill, P3 allows new flexibility under Federal statutes, regulations, and other requirements to overcome barriers and align program and reporting requirements, enabling applicants to propose the most effective ways to use these dollars. In addition, these pilots will receive start-up grants of up to $700,000.

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learn more about: Department of Education Federal Funding Federal Policy Funding Opportunity Youth Development
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DEC
1

IN THE FIELD
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Closing tomorrow: survey on afterschool snacks and meals

By Nikki Yamashiro

Does your afterschool program provide snacks?  Are you an afterschool program provider who would like to offer food, but are unable to do so?  Complete this short survey by Tuesday, Dec. 2 and help us identify how providing afterschool snacks and meals has changed over time, and what barriers afterschool programs face in providing food.

With your help, we can better understand the landscape around providing afterschool snacks and meals. 

If you are interested in learning more about afterschool meals, nutrition education and physical activity in an afterschool setting, visit our Afterschool Meals web page.

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learn more about: Equity Nutrition
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NOV
25

IN THE FIELD
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Smile: It's Thanksgiving

By Shaun Gray

"I believe that afterschool programs are an essential part of bettering our youth. Afterschool programs have helped me learn and grow, and will help other students do the same."
– Gabby, age 17

This has been an incredible year for the Afterschool Alliance! Thanks to your support of our work, more students like Gabby are taking advantage of expanded educational opportunities. Our highly-publicized landmark research study, America After 3 PM , released this October, found that more than 10 million children now participate in afterschool programs, a 57% increase over the last 10 years. However, for every student currently in an afterschool program, parents report that there are two more waiting to get in—that’s 20 million students whose parents would enroll them if an afterschool program were available.

You can help support afterschool programs and our year-round work, by doing your holiday shopping online through Amazon Smile. It’s easy.  On your first visit to smile.amazon.com, select the Afterschool Alliance as your charitable organization, then browse through the tens of millions of products that Amazon Smile has to offer and are eligible for donations. The AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price to us.

This past year has seen some remarkable achievements in advocating for more afterschool investments and expanding afterschool resources to support this work.

You can help ensure that all children have access to quality, affordable afterschool programs that keep them safe, inspire them to learn and help America’s working families.

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NOV
19

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup - November 19, 2014

By Luci Manning

Mentoring Program Opens at Church: Location Is Newest of Five Sites in Fallbrook Where Kids Attend After-School Sessions (San Diego Union-Tribune, California)

Thanks to a $6,000 donation, the GANAS (Guide, Advise, Nurture and Support) mentoring program opened a fifth site last month at the St. John’s Episcopal Church in San Diego, CA.  At GANAS, youth aged 9 to 14 can participate in afterschool activities led by trained mentors and local high school students, who serve as positive role models and help steer youth away from gangs and drugs.  The program provides snacks and encourages children to share news of the day and play brain games.  Pat Braendel, the program’s founder, told San Diego Union-Tribune, “The program develops critical thinking and leadership skills that help kids build confidence and healthy, balanced minds and bodies.”

In Englewood, New Program Puts Greater Emphasis on Black History (Northern Valley Suburbanite, New Jersey)

Vanisha Williams attributes her confidence and sense of pride to an African-American studies class she took in college.  Hoping to pass on this eye-opening experience to younger students, Williams began an afterschool program called “Sons of Sankofa” to teach seventh through twelfth grade students about black history, hopefully giving them pride and a sense of self in their community.  In the Akan language of Ghana, “Sankofa” translates roughly to “reach back and get it.”  “It’s about taking what’s good in the past and bringing it to the present for positive progress,” Williams told Northern Valley Suburbanite.  “I feel that’s necessary for any success.” Sons of Sankofa will incorporate technology and social media to better engage students as they learn.

Elementary School Students Explore How Water Works (Montrose Daily Press, Colorado)

Last week, Montrose, CO area elementary school students, with the help of park rangers, worked on hands-on projects to learn about the Colorado River system at their 21st Century Community Learning Center afterschool program.  Students built a replication of the river system and subjected a model town to pollution and precipitation to demonstrate effects on the watershed.  Teachers at the Montrose Elementary After-School Program have planned many other unique and highly creative projects for students, with titles like “Boredom Blasters” and “European Escapades.” “The growth and the quality that we’ve been able to build and establish, and… the amount of children we have every day in our program is amazing,” Director Erica Jiron told the Montrose Daily Press.

Clairton Kids Learn Healthy Snacking in CASTLE Class (The Daily News, Pennsylvania)

First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative encourages chefs to visit schools and educate children on healthy snack options.  In that spirit, Duquesne University Executive Sous Chef Zachary Puhala recently taught fifth and sixth-graders in CASTLE—Clairton’s After-School Teaching & Learning Experience—how to make hummus and applesauce.  Puhala believes the key to getting children to eat healthier is getting them engaged in cooking and finding ways to make nutrition fun – in this case, by letting them crush chickpeas and mash apples to make healthy snacks. CASTLE program coordinator Greg Spotti hopes the students will apply what they’ve learned at home, thereby promoting healthy eating in their communities. “It's not something that has to be done at school,” he told The Daily News. “They can take this learning and share with their family and pretty much everybody else.”

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learn more about: Equity Health and Wellness Nutrition Science Youth Development
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NOV
19

POLICY
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Texas publishes statewide plan for expanded learning opportunities

By Sophie Papavizas

The Expanded Learning Opportunities (ELO) Council was established by the Texas Legislature in 2013 in order to improve quality and access to expanded learning opportunities in the state, including afterschool and summer programs. On November 1, the ELO Council published its first report, 2016-2017 Statewide Strategic Plan for Expanded Learning Opportunities, with the support of the Texas Partnership for Out of School Time (TXPOST). In the report, the council states that “high-quality ELO programs provide safe places, support economic growth, and help close the academic achievement gap by offering supplemental activities that support but do not replicate the general education program.”

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learn more about: Advocacy Extended Day State Networks State Policy Summer Learning Youth Development
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