RSS | Go To: afterschoolalliance.org
Subscribe to the Afterschool Advocate newsletter
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.
Afterschool Donation
Afterschool on Facebook
Afterschool on Twitter
Blogs We Read Afterschool Snack Bloggers
Select blogger:
Recent Afterschool Snacks
FEB
26

POLICY
email
print

Farm to School Act of 2015 introduced in Congress, would include afterschool programs

By Erik Peterson

The bipartisan Farm to School Act of 2015 was introduced in Congress yesterday by Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Thad Cochran (R-MS) and Reps. Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) and Marcia Fudge (D-OH).  The Farm to School Act of 2015 builds on the success of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 by proposing an increase in funding from $5 million to $15 million for the USDA Farm to School Grant Program.  The bill would also ensure that the grant program fully includes afterschool programs and summer learning programs as well as preschools and tribal schools while improving program participation from beginning, veteran and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers. 

The legislation has wide support from a variety of sectors for several reasons:

  • Farm to school is a proven method for improving the health of our nation's children.  Today, more than 23 million students are making healthier food choices at school, afterschool, and at home thanks to farm to school activities like school gardens, cooking classes and incorporating local foods in school meals. 
  • Demand for the successful USDA Farm to School Grant Program far exceeds supply.  In its first three years, the program received more than 1,000 applications but only had enough funding to award 221 grants.  In other words, just one in five projects was funded.

A complete summary of the bill and ways to take action in support of the bill can be found here. The Afterschool Alliance supports the bipartisan legislation and will be tracking the bill throughout the child nutrition reauthorization process this year. 

share this link: http://bit.ly/1LJskvC
learn more about: Congress Federal Policy Health and Wellness Legislation Nutrition
Comments: (0)
FEB
25

NEWS ROUNDUP
email
print

Weekly Media Roundup  February 25, 2015

By Luci Manning

The 'T' in STEM: KidsTek Celebrates 15 Years (Denver Post, Colorado)

A small busload of well-dressed high school students arrived early at Mile High Station on Thursday with computers in tow. While a bit shy, any one of them could demonstrate how to troubleshoot a computer that stubbornly refused to get on a company network, thanks to the skills they learned at KidsTek, a nonprofit afterschool program that teaches technology to minority and lower income students. The program wants to steer high school students into computer careers, but they hope the skills they learn through the program can help them on whatever path they choose. “It’s not about getting them interested in technology. That is a byproduct,” executive director Richard Liner told the Denver Post. “We’re trying to give the kids the tech knowledge they need for any career they get into.”

Boise Rock School Rolls into Treasure Valley’s Cultural Scene (The Statesman, Idaho)

At 4 PM on any given weekday, a stream of kids rushes through the doors at Boise Rock School. The afterschool program teaches kids to rock like AC/DC or croon like Sam Smith, with classic rock, pop and indie folk music all mixing in the common area. What makes Rock School unique is that the students drive the curriculum – teachers are mostly there to coach and nurture, not push and prod. For kids who can’t make it to the actual Rock School, the program’s nonprofit arm, Rock on Wheels, visits schools, juvenile corrections facilities, homeless shelters and the Horseshoe Bend school district’s 21st Century Community Learning Center. “We throw around the word ‘cool’ a lot, but this really is,” program director Kim Hall told the Idaho Statesman. “This is an opportunity for these kids to shine that they might not get in other areas of their lives.”

Program Teaches About Girls Who Rock (Beloit Daily News, Wisconsin)

What do Rosa Parks, Frida Kahlo and Bethany Hamilton – the surfer whose left arm was bitten off in a shark attack – have in common? They are strong women who overcame obstacles to achieve their dreams. They are the kind of women fifth graders learn about in the afterschool program Girls Who Rock (GWR) in Beloit. At GWR, girls chat with adult female mentors about self-esteem, friendship, good decision-making and more. Each session finishes with a large group circle where girls can discuss their lives. Founder and coordinator Jan Knutson said that fifth grade is the perfect time for girls to gain more self-esteem before entering middle school. “Role models are really important, especially for kids this age,” she told the Beloit Daily News.

After-School Programs a Big Hit in Westerly (Westerly Sun, Rhode Island)

At one end of State Street Elementary school, a small group of students is learning how to putt. Down the hall, another group is rehearsing lines for a play. In various classrooms in between, students are learning Italian, singing in a music ensemble, cooking, learning jazz dance and a little about nutrition. However, all of this takes place after the school day ends.  “It’s the second year the school has offered its afterschool enrichment program, and it’s thriving,” the Westerly Sun reports.  Organizers had to turn away 60 students who wanted to participate.

share this link: http://bit.ly/1FtpKHX
learn more about: Science Arts
Comments: (0)
FEB
25

POLICY
email
print

Afterschool for America's Children Act introduced in the House

By Erik Peterson

Yesterday, Rep. Dan Kildee (D-MI) introduced the Afterschool for America's Children Act (HR 1042) in the House of Representatives.  The  legislation would reauthorize and strengthen the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) initiative—the nation’s chief federal funding stream for afterschool programs—by supporting innovative advances taking root in before-school, afterschool and summer learning programs. The bill was announced at an event in Flint, Mich. last week and is companion legislation to bipartisan S. 308 introduced previously in the Senate.  A summary of the legislation is available here.

The reintroduction of the Afterschool for America’s Children Act comes as the full House of Representatives prepares to debate and vote this week on HR 5, a partisan ESEA reauthorization bill that would eliminate 21st CCLC and replace it with a block grant that can be used for afterschool or in-school programming.

The House Afterschool for America’s Children Act:

share this link: http://bit.ly/17XyyL6
learn more about: 21st CCLC Congress Federal Funding Federal Policy Legislation
Comments: (0)
FEB
24

STEM
email
print

STEM Education Act reintroduced in House and headed to the floor today

By Sophie Papavizas

Congress has returned from the President’s Day recess, and while the Senate grapples with the Department of Homeland Security funding bill, the House will consider several education bills.  Among those bills is the bipartisan STEM Education Act (H.R. 102), which was reintroduced in the House on February 20, 2015 by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), Chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology.  The bill is considered non-controversial and passed under suspension of the rules last Congress with widespread bipartisan support but saw no action once passed to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.  The Afterschool Alliance wrote about the STEM Education Act last August when it was first introduced.

The STEM Education Act is a short bill with three main goals:

  1. It expands the definition of STEM education as it pertains to federally funded programs to include disciplines such as computer science;
  2. Grows programs at the National Science Foundation (NSF) to support informal STEM education activities; and
  3. Extends eligibility for NSF’s Noyce Teacher Fellowship program to teachers pursuing master’s degrees in their fields.

Let Congress know you support their commitment to afterschool STEM by contacting them today to discuss the STEM Education Act, the Supporting Afterschool STEM Act and the Afterschool for America’s Children Act!

share this link: http://bit.ly/1MOUqZH
learn more about: Congress Federal Policy Science
Comments: (0)
FEB
23

STEM
email
print

Cognizant awards 34 grants to provide Maker programming in out-of-school time

By Sophie Papavizas

Cognizant has announced its grantees for the 2015 Making the Future program.  The program provides grants to community based organizations to run hands-on, Maker Movement-inspired programs in afterschool or summer camp settings.  This year, the 34 total grants will provide Maker programming to 5,000 students across 54 sites.  Working in partnership with the Maker Education Initiative and the New York Hall of Science , Cognizant committed in 2014 to providing 1.5 million hours of making experiences to 25,000 youth in over 200 communities by the end of 2017. Maker programs allow to students to be exposed to a range of STEM activities in informal and creative environments.

For more information about Maker spaces and Maker programs in afterschool check out our webinar series on making in afterschool—part 1part 2, and part 3.  And stay tuned for a spring webinar about equity and making with the Exploratorium’s Afterschool Tinkering NetworkCommunity Science Workshops and the Computer Clubhouse!

The 2015 grantees are:

share this link: http://bit.ly/1B69hu3
learn more about: Science
Comments: (0)
FEB
20

IN THE FIELD
email
print

Advocates continue calling on Congress to save 21st CCLC

By Rachel Clark

With the fight to save 21st Century Community Learning Centers continuing, hundreds of afterschool advocates have been taking action.  During just one hour this week, participants in our social media storm reached nearly 70 policy makers in 19 states.  Advocates have also continued to make progress toward our goal to see the afterschool community send 10,600 emails to Congress on behalf of the 1.6 million kids at risk of losing their programs if 21st CCLC isn't protected—2,073 emails have been sent so far this month, and a few states have climbed up our leaderboard.  In the coming days, activate your networks to help reach this goal—and to make sure your state has a slot on the leaderboard.

It's also critical to raise awareness in our communities—and reach policy makers in as many ways as possible—so be sure to check out our social media guide and keep tweeting and posting to keep up the momentum from this week.

This week in the spotlight for going above and beyond in support of afterschool programs: Afterschool Ambassadors in Kansas, who took Topeka by storm yesterday to share their stories and urge legislators to invest in afterschool.

share this link: http://bit.ly/1DBL4xL
learn more about: 21st CCLC Advocacy Congress ESEA Federal Funding Federal Policy Legislation
Comments: (0)
FEB
19

POLICY
email
print

Senate Afterschool Caucus briefing highlights the value of afterschool programs

By Sophie Papavizas

A winter storm that shut down the federal government in Washington, DC on Tuesday, could not stop afterschool advocates from taking their message to the Capitol the next day.  On Wednesday, February 18th, the Senate Afterschool Caucus, chaired by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), hosted a briefing titled “America After 3PM: Supporting Student Success Through Afterschool and Summer Learning Programs.”  The briefing focused on recently released America After 3PM data on the need for high-quality afterschool and summer learning programs and experiences at the state and local level of how the 21st Century Community Learning Center initiative plays a critical role in providing young people with educational and engaging experiences to help them succeed in school and in life.

A packed room of Congressional staff from both the House and Senate as well as afterschool advocates from national, state and local organizations heard from the panel of experts.  The panels was moderated by Nicole Johnson, a member of the board of the Maryland Out of School Time Partnership, consultant for Extraordinary Changes, and previously Senior Director for Elev8 Baltimore, a full-service community schools initiative.

The panelists painted a comprehensive picture of the supports that afterschool  programs provide:

share this link: http://bit.ly/1Aa9KKV
learn more about: 21st CCLC Congress ESEA Events and Briefings Federal Funding Federal Policy
Comments: (0)
FEB
19

FUNDING
email
print

Guest blog: Grants available from KaBOOM! support creative play in afterschool settings

By Rachel Clark

David Flanigan is Director of Operations for Program Management at KaBOOM!

Are you looking to bring unique and innovative play opportunities to the kids that you serve? KaBOOM! is now accepting applications for their Creative Play grants. Made possible by their generous funders, they are now able to provide Imagination Playground and Rigamajig grants to eligible child serving nonprofits and schools that are seeking to ensure all children are getting active and balanced play so that they can thrive! Nonprofit afterschool providers are eligible! Click here to apply for this incredible opportunity.

Imagination Playground is an innovative design in play equipment that encourages creativity, communication, and collaboration in play. With a collection of custom-designed, oversized blue foam parts, Imagination Playground provides a changing array of elements that allow children to turn their playground into a space constantly built and re-built by their imagination.

Rigamajig is a collection of wooden planks, wheels, pulleys, nuts, bolts and rope allow that children to follow their curiosity while playing. There are no wrong answers, and while the pieces can come together as a crane used to convey buckets or materials, they can also become a giraffe, monster, robot, airplane or just a "thingy." 

Act now! The deadline to get in your application is March 4, 2015.

share this link: http://bit.ly/1FyGyAK
learn more about: Funding Opportunity Guest Blog
Comments: (0)