On the heels of the president’s FY2015 budget request submitted to Congress last month, the House and Senate appropriations subcommittees have begun the process of setting spending levels for FY2015. While the House has their own proposed budget blueprint to work from, the Senate is using the budget agreement worked out in December as a guideline for FY2015 spending decisions.
Despite the differences, House and Senate appropriations committees have begun holding hearings on the FY2014 spending bills and will hear testimony from Education Sec. Arne Duncan this month.
With regard to funding for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) initiative, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) led efforts to organize ‘Dear Colleague Letters’ asking appropriators to support funding for 21st CCLC. According to the Harvard Family Research Project, the 21st CCLC initiative has been a major factor in helping to close the socioeconomic gap in afterschool participation. While afterschool participation rates have increased at every level of family income nationwide, lowest income youth have shown the greatest increase in participation due in large part to the access provided to quality programs through 21st CCLC.
By Luci Manning
Star-Telegram columnist Bob Ray Sanders makes a compelling case for why Fort Worth’s crime prevention tax needs to be renewed, citing the positive learning experiences at the Fort Worth After School (FWAS) program. Miguel Garcia, an Afterschool Ambassador and program director of FWAS, told the Star-Telegram how the afterschool programs “provide a safe, positive learning experience for students at the end of the school day when many of them otherwise would be at home, or somewhere else, without adult supervision.” Sanders calls the $1.1 million the FWAS program receives in Crime Control and Prevention District funding, “a small amount of money for all the benefit that comes from this exceptional program.”
Roxbury coach Tony Richards was there many years ago when Shabazz Napier, point guard for the University of Connecticut, learned to play the sport he loved at the Roxbury YMCA. Richards started coaching kids in Boston neighborhoods in his “No Books, No Ball” program to keep his son and nephew off the streets. Richards told the Boston Globe, “You see these single mothers, you see these kids that need mentoring… that’s the energy that keeps me coming back.” Napier will play in this year’s Final Four on Saturday.
On any given Monday night, dozens of students are engaged in some friendly competition at Jacksonville High School’s chess club. The newly formed club was intended not only for the students to improve their chess skills for the sake of winning the game, but to employ those skills in all areas of life. Club co-founder Larry Richmond told the Jacksonville Daily Progress that to excel in chess, the students need to utilize logical thinking and a strong work ethic, qualities he believes are “the greatest value to academics.”
Donors at Hicksville blood drives were treated to snacks and juice from a special group of “little doctors.” Students from seven Hicksville Elementary schools, who volunteer through the Little Doctors afterschool program, not only served refreshments but also assisted potential donors before clinicians took over the process. “Little Doctors is an opportunity for students to learn the value of volunteerism and the importance of participating in community service,” Fork Lane School Principal Christopher Scardino told the Hicksville Illustrated News.
David Reeves is Marketing Manager of Playland Inc. in Carrollton, GA. Playland Inc., is a total solutions manufacturer and supplier to many industries, with its roots deep in the park and playground markets including churches, schools, and day care centers.
As kids spend more time watching TV, they spend less time exercising and playing. Just like adults, kids need exercise, and there are plenty of benefits of exercising for school-aged children. As you may know, one hour of physical activity per day is the commonly suggested amount for kids to get the most out of these benefits.
Some benefits of exercise for school-aged children are pretty obvious, such as weight control. Kids who exercise also fulfill a great number of vital emotional, social and cognitive needs. Play helps kids feel better, act better and think better. They feel less stressed, and higher levels of physical fitness also improve confidence. They sleep better at night and are ready to learn more in school. Exercise helps kids build and keep healthy bones, muscles and joints. Kids who exercise with their peers also learn teamwork and goal setting, and the chance of developing diseases later in life is greatly reduced.
This guest post is by Saint Jude Retreats, a non-12 step non-treatment alternative to traditional drug and alcohol rehab. The program concentrates on self-directed positive neuroplastic change and positive self-change as an alternative to traditional alcohol and drug treatment.
America After 3PM found that nearly one-quarter of American children are left unsupervised after school each day. Creating accessible afterschool programs and encouraging youth attendance can help promote better well-being for thousands of children. Afterschool programs also provide an opportunity for interaction with trusted adults outside the classroom, making them a rich space for discussing issues such as drug and alcohol use and prevention.
A study published in the Journal of Alcohol & Drug Education found that building and maintaining trust is essential in effective drug and alcohol prevention programs. The middle school students interviewed for the study overwhelmingly cited the importance of trusting educators in the effectiveness of the program for two important reasons: quality of information and confidentiality. On one hand, the students recognized the need for good information regarding drugs and alcohol. On the other hand, students perceived that asking questions about drugs and alcohol could be tantamount to an admission of using drugs or alcohol, or at least considering it. Many students in the study considered their teachers trustworthy when it came to the quality of the information, but had doubts about their confidentiality. Students with these doubts were worried about their teacher's or peers' opinions about them and if asking a question would affect their academic and social futures. In some cases, they were more likely to talk to a D.A.R.E. officer than their teacher, even though the officer was a police representative.
This blog post was contributed by Laura Batt, director of educational programs at JASON Learning, an exploration-based organization that links students to real science and scientists. Laura works in JASON's out-of-school-time division, Immersion Learning, which focuses on developing multi-media ocean science curricula.
This Weds., 3/26, raise awareness about the value of afterschool programs and support the Afterschool for America’s Children Act: S. 326!
Every afternoon between the hours of 3 to 6 p.m. children nationwide should have the opportunity to participate in engaging afterschool programs that support their learning and development and spark their passions and creativity. In recognition of the afterschool hours of opportunity from 3 to 6 p.m., on 3/26 use your own social media network to promote afterschool and build support for Senate Bill 326—the Afterschool for America’s Children Act.
The bipartisan Afterschool for America’s Children Act, S. 326 and HR 4086—led by Sens. Boxer, Murkowski and Murray in the Senate and by Reps. Kildee and DeLauro in the House—would reauthorize and strengthen the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) initiative—the nation’s chief federal funding stream for afterschool and summer learning programs—by supporting innovative advances that support student success.
Quick ways you can take action!
Following up on my colleague’s fantastic post on available resources on girls in STEM to celebrate Women’s History Month, I want to highlight a recent report from the Girl Scout Research Institute, “The State of Girls: Unfinished Business.”
The primary takeaway from this in-depth report that covers several key issues affecting girls’ healthy development is that there is progress to be proud of regarding girls’ educational attainment, reduction of risky behaviors, extracurricular activities and connection to technology. For example, the report found that there are 130 women enrolled in college for every 100 men, girls make up less than one-third of juvenile arrests and more than half of high school girls play on at least one sports team. However, as the report’s title implies, there’s still much more to be done.
By Jodi Grant
On Monday, the National AfterSchool Association released their list of the top 25 most influential people in afterschool. I was honored to be included on that list, along with our wonderful board members Terry Peterson and Lucy Friedman. The recognition provided a nice moment to step back and celebrate the hard work of our team, and to reflect on why this work is so important, and why we are so determined to expand afterschool resources nationwide.
We are dogged in our work because the people and programs in the afterschool field are nothing short of amazing. Afterschool programs are changing lives; saving a child from hunger; creating innovative approaches to learning; and developing our next generation of leaders, citizens and scientists. And they are doing it on a shoestring budget with a will that won’t quit and a mind for innovation.
There are hundreds of stories and people that come to mind, but I thought I’d share just a few examples of what drives us to get up and work as hard as we possibly can to give voice to the afterschool field. I’d love to hear your afterschool inspirations, too, so please take a moment and send in your thoughts in the comment field below.