By Jen Rinehart
I’m not much of a Black Friday or Cyber Monday shopper. But the one purchase I did make over the Thanksgiving weekend was putting a deposit down toward my daughter’s summer program. Her afterschool program heeded the advice of the National Summer Learning Association, the Wallace Foundation and others by starting their summer planning early and offering parents an incentive to sign up now so that the program can effectively continue to plan and be ready when school lets out for the summer.
A report released by the Wallace Foundation earlier this year, Getting to Work on Summer Learning: Recommended Practices for Success, provides summer learning programs with research-based strategies to help them effectively meet the needs of kids and families. A key practice in the report is that summer learning programs should start planning at least six months early—for most programs that means planning should be underway right about now. The recommended practices—which were covered in a previous Afterschool Snack post—focus on:
By Shaun Gray
The President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities—in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services—is pleased to invite applications for the 2014 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards.
The 12 award-winning programs this year will receive $10,000 and an invitation to accept their award from the President’s Committee’s Honorary Chairman, First Lady Michelle Obama, at a ceremony at the White House. In addition, winners will receive an award plaque, the opportunity to attend the Annual Awardee Conference in Washington, D.C., in the summer of 2014, and will be featured on the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award website.
Afterschool and out-of-school-time arts and humanities programs sponsored by museums, libraries, performing arts organizations, educational institutions (e.g., preschools; elementary, middle, and high schools; universities; and colleges), arts centers, community service organizations, businesses, and eligible government entities are encouraged to consider submitting an application. Programs applying for the award must meet all of the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award’s eligibility criteria.
The 2014 Visitor Studies Association Conference is to be held July 15-19, 2014, in Albuquerque, NM, around the theme Building Capacity for Evaluation: Individuals, Institutions, the Field.
For their 2014 conference, VSA invites the informal learning community to join them in creating a conference program that pushes the field of visitor studies forward by addressing the increasing interest in evaluation and the growing demand for evidence. This year, VSA will think strategically about how to continually build capacity for evaluation.
The deadline for submissions is: Monday, Dec. 16, 2013.
For more details and to submit a proposal, go to: http://visitorstudies.org/conference-overview/call-for-proposals
By Sarah Watson
Local housing authorities represent ideal partners for community-based afterschool providers. Often, housing authorities can provide on-site facilities for afterschool programs, while community-based afterschool providers can offer trained staff and curriculum. A Boys & Girls Club and housing authority in Southern California recently entered into a partnership that continues to reap rewards for the local community.
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Monica (BGCSM) has created a sustainable partnership model intended to strengthen communities and meet the needs of local students. In 2011, the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles (HACLA) reached out to BGCSM to gauge their interest in taking over out-of-school-time programming at a public housing community—Mar Vista Gardens (MVG)—when a lack of sustainable funding meant that the City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks and HACLA could no longer offer programming to resident families. MVG is the third-largest public housing site in the city of Los Angeles and struggles with high crime and poverty rates. The community includes more than 600 students who, before BGCSM’s arrival, did not have access to engaging learning opportunities in the hours after school.
The Hour of Code is next week. If you haven’t heard already, we’re supporting this unprecedented movement to help 10 million students try computer science this Dec. 9-15. We’re asking you to join us.
Why computer science?
Technology is everywhere today. But only a tiny fraction of students are learning how to create technology. The Hour of Code is a campaign to prove that every child can start learning the basics. Code.org will provide tutorials with options for every age, every device, and even “unplugged.” No prep from teachers needed.
While tutorials are still under construction, we invite you to check them out - featuring Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates and Angry Birds.
Please allow us a moment to toot our own horn a little bit.
One of the Afterschool Alliance’s core beliefs is that afterschool programs are essential for supporting working families. We believe that when children are safe, supported and learning, working parents are free to focus on the workplace, helping them to be more successful, and in turn, helping to create a better situation for the whole family.
Throughout the Afterschool Alliance’s 14 year history, we have remained committed to working families, including those on our own staff. That’s why we’re thrilled and honored to announce that the Afterschool Alliance has been recognized by Washingtonian magazine as one of the best places to work in Washington, D.C.
Washingtonian magazine named the Afterschool Alliance a ‘small gem’ as part of its "50 Great Places to Work" issue for the Washington, D.C., metro area. The bi-annual issue on the best places to work in the D.C.-area states that “staffers at this DC nonprofit, which supports afterschool programs, feel challenged and recognized and love the warm culture.”
The arts can play an incredibly important role in a young person’s life. They can spark creativity and motivation in students—they are a way for young people to express themselves, to gain a better understanding of who they are as individuals, to build confidence and increase engagement in learning. Afterschool arts programs are a critical partner to help ensure that the arts—which encompass everything from dance to digital media arts to poetry slams and everything in-between—is accessible to all youth, especially those in low-income areas where participation is low.