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JUN
12
2017

CHALLENGE
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Facts and figures from the 16th annual Afterschool for All Challenge

By Erik Peterson

Thank you to the thousands of friends of afterschool for the hard work this week in Washington and nationwide to send a clear message Congress that afterschool works!

More than 200 attendees were in Washington DC this week for the 16th annual Afterschool for All Challenge. Advocates from 45 states participated in 200 meetings with members of Congress and their staff on Capitol Hill on June 7. While the congressional visits were happening, a team of afterschool STEM advocates met with officials from the Office of Management and the Budget (OMB), the Department of Education, and the National Science Foundation (NSF). Outside of Washington, D.C. friends of afterschool made hundreds of phone calls and sent thousands of emails to congressional offices. In one day, there were 3,700 meetings, calls and emails in support of federal afterschool funding.

We are still getting feedback from the meetings and calls, but so far three members of Congress have signed up as new Afterschool Caucus members (one Republican and two Democrats) and 12 members signed on as new co-sponsors of H.R. 2353 The Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (11 Republicans and one Democrat). The feedback on 21st CCLC support has also been overwhelmingly positive!

On June 6, an inspiring Afterschool Showcase celebrated the power of afterschool with youth and staff from amazing afterschool programs from around the country. Sens. Patty Murray (D-WA), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Reps. Bobby Scott (D-VA) and Nita Lowey (D-NY) made brief speeches and the American Federation of Teacher’s president Randi Weingarten made a passionate appeal for afterschool.

JUN
9
2017

POLICY
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Secretary DeVos testifies before Senate Appropriations subcommittee

By Erik Peterson

On June 6, hours before afterschool advocates took to the Hill to meet with 200 members of Congress, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos testified in front of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (LHHS) on the U.S. Department of Education (ED) Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 budget proposal. Senators of both parties who questioned the proposed elimination of the 21st Century Community Learning Center (21st CCLC) initiative brought up the topic of federal afterschool funding.

Just as the House hearing last month was highly partisan and politically charged, so was the Senate hearing. Democrats and DeVos clashed about the federal role in protecting students from discrimination, whether federal laws would apply to students who used vouchers to attend private schools, and about cuts to federal grant and loan programs.

Republicans were considerably friendlier to DeVos, but many expressed their support for programs that were on the chopping block, including Community Learning Centers, Perkins Career and Technical Education program, student grants for higher education and Impact Aid. Repeatedly, DeVos reiterated well-rehearsed lines such as “if schools are taking federal funds, they need to follow federal law” while refusing to elaborate. While the partisanship was palpable, DeVos remained measured and calm.

JUN
8
2017

CHALLENGE
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Memorable moments from the Afterschool for All Challenge

By Charlotte Steinecke

We’ve had a whirlwind two days in Washington, D.C., working with afterschool youth, parents, program providers, and concerned community members in anticipation of meetings with members of Congress. The Afterschool for All Challenge kicked off with a day of workshops and sessions, followed by a showcase on the Hill with speakers including Sens. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), and Reps. Bobby Scott (D-Va.) and Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.).

On Wednesday, teams from 45 states and D.C. attended 200 meetings all across the Hill to bring the case for afterschool to the Capitol. The delegations got an early start with a prep session at 7:30 a.m. and met with elected officials throughout the day – and even into the evening.

The 2017 Afterschool for All Challenge was an inspiring event for friends of afterschool across the country! Here are a few snapshots from Tuesday and Wednesday:

JUN
8
2017

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup: June 8, 2017

By Luci Manning

After-School Programs Are a Lifeline for Kids and Parents (Boston Globe, Massachusetts)

Former Treasury Secretary and Harvard University President Emeritus Lawrence Summers and Citizen Schools CEO Emily McCann argue that afterschool programs are a key part of America’s educational system in a Boston Globe op-ed: “We need to recognize as a nation that education is about more than the school day and school year. It is about what happens before children are ready to enter school, what happens during half the days in the year when they are not in school, what happens after school ends and before a parent comes home, and about how students transition from school to work…. The reality is that a significant majority of Americans support federal funding for after-school programs because those programs measurably benefit students, working families, and the broader economy – and that’s good for all of us.”

Trump’s Proposed Budget Targets After-School Program in 12 St. Louis-Area School Districts (St. Louis Public Radio, Missouri)

Under President Trump’s budget proposal, some 600 students in the St. Louis area would lose out on tutoring, healthy meals, educational opportunities and more benefits of a popular afterschool program. Judy King, the leader of St. Louis Public Schools extracurricular activities, told St. Louis Public Radio that afterschool programs “provide just a really safe place for our kids to be, keeps them off the streets, gives them some place to go.” The program relies on federal funding, which is in jeopardy under the president’s budget.

Money Well Spent: Area Before- and After-School Programs Are Worth the Investment (Keene Sentinel, New Hampshire)

A Keene Sentinel editorial urges local school districts to continue funding afterschool programs: “Before- and after-school programs offer students from kindergarten thought middle school a chance for extra learning and homework help, raising test scores and academic skills…. at a time when federal and state support of public education seems shaky, at best, programs that give students – and parents – a needed boost are more important than ever.”

After-School Programs Investment in Safety and Security (East Bay Times, California)

In an East Bay Times op-ed, Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley and retired U.S. Coast Guard vice admiral Jody Breckenridge urge California legislators to prioritize funding for afterschool in the state’s FY 2017-18 budget: “After-school programs make us safer and stronger in the short term, by keeping kids off the streets and in productive and healthy environments during peak hours for crime by and against children. Over the long term, these programs improve attendance and keep students on track to graduate – increasing the odds that they will become productive, law-abiding citizens.… The safety and security of our communities in Alameda County and across the state depends on keeping after-school programs adequately funded.”

JUN
7
2017

CHALLENGE
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Congratulations to Columbus State Community College's ESL Afterschool Communities!

By Nikki Yamashiro

We are proud to announce that this year’s Dollar General Afterschool Literacy Award winner is Columbus State Community College’s ESL Afterschool Communities (ESLAsC)! Thanks to the generous support of the Dollar General Literacy Foundation, the Ohio program is the recipient of the $10,000 award and is featured in a Dollar General afterschool literacy issue brief, Afterschool Providing Key Literacy Supports to English Language Learner Students.

JUN
6
2017

IN THE FIELD
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Evaluating afterschool: Answering questions about quality

By Charlotte Steinecke

By Jocelyn Michelsen, Senior Research Associate at Public Profit, an Oakland, California-based evaluation consultancy focused on helping high-performing organizations do their best, data-driven work with children, youth, and families.

The Afterschool Alliance is pleased to present the fifth installment of our "Evaluating afterschool" blog series, which answers some of the common questions asked about program evaluation. Be sure to take a look at the firstsecondthirdand fourth posts of the series.

Raise your hand if this scenario sounds familiar: you keep up with new research on afterschool by reading articles and newsletters, following thought leaders, and attending conferences—but it is still hard to sort through all the information, let alone implement new strategies. Research often seems out of touch with the realities of programs on the ground, and while many anecdotal examples are offered, how-to guidelines are few and far between.

As an evaluator consulting with diverse afterschool programs across the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond, I frequently hear this frustration from program leaders. There is a real gap between the research and the steps that staff, leadership, and boards can take to build quality in their own programs. Additionally, it can be hard to sift through the research to get to the ‘why’—why implement these recommendations, why invest time and resources, why change?

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learn more about: Evaluation and Data
JUN
5
2017

IN THE FIELD
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New Wallace Foundation guide offers strategies and applications for SEL in afterschool

By Dan Gilbert

Recent years have seen a massive expansion of recognition for and research around social and emotional learning, both within the afterschool field and in the education field as a whole. Building on this momentum, the Wallace Foundation’s incredible new guide, “Navigating Social and Emotional Learning from the Inside Out,” serves as a valuable resource containing findings from decades of research and the best strategies to apply to your program.

The guide provides an in-depth view on a broad selection of 25 evidence-based programs, offering insights on how they leverage different program approaches and curricula to improve the lives of youth by providing them with opportunities to develop social and emotional skills.

The guide was designed to help anyone actively selecting, recommending, or evaluating SEL programs for elementary-aged youth. It carries practical insights and a wealth of information to help practitioners around the country – both in-school and out – make informed choices about SEL-focused programming.

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learn more about: Social and Emotional Learning
JUN
2
2017

IN THE FIELD
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Guest blog: Libraries can build college and career readiness in rural and tribal communities

By Guest Blogger

By Hannah Buckland, librarian at Bezhigoogahbow Library on the Leech Lake Nation in northern Minnesota.

Libraries can be dynamic partners in afterschool programming, especially in rural and tribal communities where poverty rates are often higher and children have fewer options for afterschool activities. As rural communities work toward strong futures, libraries are well poised to provide afterschool College and Career Readiness (CCR) services that support youth in exploring career pathways in a fun, informal community setting.

However, rural librarians may not have easy access to the training or tools needed to implement these programs. In partnership with the Association for Rural and Small Libraries (ARSL), the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) addresses this need through Future Ready with the Library, a project funnded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services and launched in January 2017.