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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.
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Recent Afterschool Snacks
OCT
31

IN THE FIELD
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Focusing on the role of afterschool programs during bullying prevention month

By Erik Peterson

While Bullying Prevention Awareness Month concludes today, thousands of afterschool programs nationwide will continue to play an important role in helping to combat bullying among students.  One of our 2011 MetLife Foundation issue briefs outlines strategies that schools and communities can use to help combat bullying through quality, effective afterschool programs. The brief, entitled “Afterschool: A Strategy for Addressing and Preventing Middle School Bullying,” exhibits how afterschool programs that provide access to caring adults and offer a more informal environment that is distinct from the school day allow children to feel safe from peer pressure, build confidence and learn how to deal with bullies.  

The brief delves into every aspect of bullying, including cyber-bullying, and displays the potentially damaging future effects that peer intimidation can have on both the person being bullied and the bullies themselves. In particular, it highlights how dangerous the middle school years can be for children, showing that middle school students—who are undergoing physical, social and emotional transitions—are particularly vulnerable to teasing and intimidation. However, the brief counters with successful examples, showing that afterschool programs can have immense benefits on children’s social and emotional well-being by offering them a sense of community, a chance to develop leadership skills and a safe place to go once the school day ends. Beneficial programs across the country are aiding in the fight against bullying and teaching children that aggressive and detrimental behaviors are not something to be taken lightly.

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learn more about: Issue Briefs MetLife Innovator Awards Youth Development
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OCT
31

RESEARCH
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Are we an opportunity nation?

By Nikki Yamashiro

Yesterday I tuned into a webinar hosted by Opportunity Nation on their 2014 Opportunity Index (my colleague wrote a blog post last week that offers a more in-depth description of the Opportunity Index).  The primary purpose of the webinar was to take us through what indicators were used to calculate the Opportunity Index, why these indicators were selected and how to use the index overall in our own work.  What struck me the most while they were describing each indicator is that while overall opportunity in America has improved since they first conducted their study in 2011, there are still significant areas of the country where an individual’s chance of economic mobility is severely limited by the conditions of opportunity in their community.  For example, a child growing up in Fayette County, Ga., has an opportunity grade of B and a child growing up in Cecil County, Md., has an opportunity grade of C when looking at the two counties’ poverty rate, the percentage of adults with an associate’s degree or higher, the preschool enrollment rate and the percentage of disconnected youth.

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learn more about: Equity
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OCT
27

LIGHTS ON
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49 governors recognize Lights On Afterschool

By Sarah Simpson

Throughout the month of October, thousands of afterschool programs rallied their communities to build support for the afterschool programs that keep kids safe, inspire learning and help working families. 

And governors across the country got in on the action, too! In all, 49 governors and the mayor of Washington, D.C., recognized Lights On Afterschool—some proclaimed Oct. 23 as Lights On Afterschool Day in their state, others issued public letters of support and recognition of the good work being done in the state to support students and working families during the hours after school.  A few others went above and beyond and declared the entire week—or month!—to be a celebration of Lights On Afterschool.

We want to extend a special thank you to all of the governors who took the time to help make Lights On Afterschool 2014 such a special event. Here’s the list of governors who proclaimed Oct. 23 to be Lights On Afterschool Day in their state; different actions are noted:

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learn more about: Media Outreach State Policy
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OCT
27

LIGHTS ON
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A million people rallied to keep the lights on after school

By Sarah Simpson

On the heels of the new America After 3PM study that found that, despite rapid growth in afterschool participation, 1 in 5 children in the United States is unsupervised in the afternoons, students, parents, educators, community leaders, policy makers, business leaders and others rallied for afterschool programs on Thursday as part of the 15th annual Lights On Afterschool. The only nationwide rally for afterschool programs included more than 8,100 events in every corner of the country, and at U.S. military bases worldwide to highlight the many ways quality afterschool programs support children, families and communities.

America After 3PM found that there is huge unmet demand for afterschool programs; the parents of 19.4 million students said they would enroll their child, if an afterschool program were available. In response, in classrooms, community centers, science museums, parks and recreation centers, malls and other settings, more than one million people came together to celebrate and support the quality afterschool programs that keep kids safe, inspire them to learn and help working families.

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learn more about: Advocacy Afterschool Voices Events and Briefings Inside the Afterschool Alliance State Networks Community Partners
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OCT
23

RESEARCH
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Two new reports add to the case for investing in youth programs

By Erik Peterson

With Lights On Afterschool upon us and fresh on the heels of the new America After 3PM (AA3) data, two additional reports further make the case for supporting afterschool and summer learning programs. This week, Opportunity Nation released the 2014 Opportunity Index and the Children’s Leadership Council announced a new public opinion poll showing strong support for investing in effective programs that improve the lives of children and youth.

The Opportunity Index is an annual composite measure at the state and county levels of 16 economic, educational and civic factors that expand or restrict upward mobility. The Opportunity Index ranks all 50 states plus Washington, D.C., and found that access to opportunity has increased by more than 6 percent nationwide since the first iteration of the Index in 2011. Much of this growth is due to large improvements on specific economic and educational indicators (such as the unemployment rate, Internet access and on-time high school graduation rate). There was less robust improvement on civic indicators such as access to healthful food, volunteerism and access to health care. In spite of gains in opportunity overall, the Index also shows that this progress is not enough to ensure that all Americans, particularly teens and young adults, get their fair shot at the American Dream. In particular, while the number of young Americans ages 16-24 who are neither in school nor working dropped significantly since 2013—from 5.8 million to 5.6 million in 2014—the four-year trend is more modest: there were 5.66 million disconnected youth in 2011. Afterschool and summer learning programs, particularly for older youth, can help close the opportunity gap by engaging young people through quality college and career readiness programs.

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learn more about: America After 3PM Equity Evaluations Youth Development
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OCT
23

RESEARCH
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Afterschool across three cities: New data from America After 3PM

By Jen Rinehart

Over the past few weeks, I’ve had the opportunity to talk to hundreds of afterschool providers, funders and advocates about the new America After 3PM data—research that shows more kids than ever are in afterschool programs, but that the unmet demand for programs is also at its highest ever.  Each time I talk to folks about the 2014 findings, a new aspect of America After 3PM grabs my attention.  For instance, the finding that for every one child in an afterschool program now, two more would be enrolled if programs were available.  Or the findings that show that low-income and minority youth are more likely to be in afterschool programs and are also more likely to enroll if more programs were available. 

Most recently I spoke at a conference with Audrey Hutchinson from the National League of Cities, and naturally my attention drifted to what America After 3PM tells us about afterschool in cities.  We have data from three urban communities available—Washington D.C., New York City and Pittsburgh/Allegheny County, PA.  Aside from all being on the east coast, these three communities are quite different in many respects—size, both in terms of population and square miles; industry and workforce; numbers and ethnicity of school-age children and more. 

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learn more about: America After 3PM
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OCT
23

STEM
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New resources on youth outcomes for afterschool STEM

By Anita Krishnamurthi

Hopefully you’ve seen our 2013 study “Defining Youth Outcomes for Afterschool STEM,” which outlines a practitioner-defined framework of youth outcomes that are appropriate and feasible for afterschool STEM programs.

If you haven’t read it yet, or are looking to forward it on to colleagues, we’ve created a quick summary of the study and its major findings.

We’ve also created a guide to using the framework of youth outcomes developed in the study.  This Prezi presentation takes you through several ways the framework can strengthen and inform your work.

Let us know how you like these new resources.  And as work on outcomes and evaluation continues within the out-of-school-time field, we’ll keep you updated on the latest developments!

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learn more about: Evaluations Science
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OCT
17

RESEARCH
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Guest blog: Why the afterschool learning context matters when using technology with at-risk students

By Sarah Simpson

Kamila Thigpen is the Digital Learning Policy and Advocacy Manager at Alliance for Excellent Education.

 

The nation’s 23.8 million minority students comprise nearly half of the school population, and many of them are underserved by their school systems. Try walking into one of these schools and you’ll notice very little changes in modern classrooms and those from more than a century ago. Although SMART Boards may have replaced black boards and a handful of computers may be visible around the room, in most cases there are few differences in the actual teaching and learning process.

After the school day and school year ends, disparities in access to technology are further compounded. Only 3 percent of teachers in high-poverty schools agree that “students have the digital tools they need to effectively complete assignments while at home,” compared to 52 percent of teachers in more affluent schools. As students get older and afterschool participation decreases, opportunities to engage in high-quality digital learning are few and far between for high-school aged students who need it most.

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learn more about: Digital Learning Education Reform Equity Guest Blog
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