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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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AUG
4

STEM
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Guest blog: Help develop evaluation tools for STEM out-of-school-time programs!

By Melissa Ballard

This post was written by Amy Grack Nelson, an evaluator and researcher in the Science Museum of Minnesota’s Department of Evaluation and Research in Learning. 

 

 

 

Teamwork and collaboration are essential 21st century skills and becoming increasingly vital to the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields. Afterschool programs are important environments for youth from diverse backgrounds to develop the teamwork and collaboration skills they need to enter and prosper in the STEM workforce. To help evaluators and practitioners evaluate the development of these skills, the University of Minnesota and the Science Museum of Minnesota are conducting research to develop surveys to measure teamwork and collaboration skills in STEM out-of-school-time (OST) programs. Both institutions have a long history in their commitment to STEM and afterschool education and will be working closely with STEM OST programs throughout the research process to ensure the final surveys are useful and relevant to the needs of a broad range of programs.

Before we can create surveys to evaluate these skills, we need to understand how STEM OST programs define teamwork and collaboration and how they are teaching these skills. We are inviting STEM OST educators to participate in an interview with a member of our research team about the teamwork and collaboration skills addressed in their program.  The interviews will last up to an hour and will take place over the phone. Educators will receive a $25 VISA pre-loaded card in appreciation for their time.  

We are looking for educators from a wide range of STEM OST programs that reach middle and high school youth. If you are interested in participating in this research, please fill out an interest form. We’ll then choose a sample of educators from those that express interest to help ensure we talk to a diversity of STEM OST programs.  Please fill out an interest form by Friday, Aug. 15.

If you have any questions about the study, please contact Amy Grack Nelson, Senior Evaluation & Research Associate at the Science Museum of Minnesota at 651-221-4575 or agnelson@smm.org.  

Thank you in advance for your help!

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learn more about: Evaluations Guest Blog Science Community Partners
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AUG
4

LIGHTS ON
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Grant opportunity to partner with a science center

By Melissa Ballard

You probably already know how important partnerships are to offering quality STEM programming in your afterschool program. To help you start identifying and reaching out to potential partners, we’ve also started a new partnership—with the Association of Science–Technology Centers (ASTC)! Together, we’re offering 20 minigrants of $1,500 each to science centers to host a Lights On Afterschool event in partnership with an afterschool provider.

IMPORTANT: Applications must be submitted by a science center or museum, and they must be an ASTC-member institution located in the U.S.

This is a great opportunity to start a relationship with your local science center or museum, and to let them know about all of the great ways that they can partner with your afterschool program to facilitate quality STEM learning outside of the school day.

Read the Request for Applications and FAQ’s for more information.

We will hold an informational webinar this Wednesday, Aug. 6 at 1:30 p.m. ET. You and/or your partner science center should attend for the inside scoop!

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learn more about: Events and Briefings Funding Opportunity Science Community Partners
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AUG
1

IN THE FIELD
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Guest Blog: The summer camp's academic achievement link

By Sarah Simpson

George Garrow is the executive director of Concerned Black Men National.

This week, the CBM Summer Camp Experience comes to an end. Concerned Black Men National sponsors a “camp” for low-income elementary school kids in the nation’s capital every year. The children who attend the five week, day-long sessions come from families whose parents otherwise might not be able to afford to send their kids to a summer program that offers free meals, safety and structure, and equally important, a quality out-of-school-time experience. The young people in our program are wide-eyed and curious about the world like those who attend summer camps throughout the country.  They join the tens of thousands of children who attend a variety of camps or similar events during the summer months.

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learn more about: Advocacy Equity Guest Blog Summer Learning Sustainability Academic Enrichment
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AUG
1

IN THE FIELD
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New BGCA Great Futures Campaign elevates the role of out-of-school time

By Erik Peterson

This week the Boys & Girls Clubs of America launched the Great Futures Campaign to call attention to the crisis facing America’s young people and to "redefine the opportunity equation" by elevating the role of out-of-school-time programs in reversing negative trends like poor academic performance, obesity, drug use, and youth-related violence. The Great Futures Campaign seeks to mobilize the nation in support of afterschool and summer learning programs that tackle these issues to inspire and empower more youth toward success.

The campaign identifies out-of-school-time programs as a key component of the solution to America’s youth crisis—but emphasizes that every day, 15 million kids (1 in 4) leave school with no place to go, putting them at risk of being unsupervised, unguided and unsafe. During the summer, an alarming 43 million (3 out of 4) kids in America lack access to summer learning programs, increasing their risk of learning loss and putting them at a disadvantage for the next school year.

The Afterschool Alliance supports the Great Futures Campaign in its mission to build additional support for afterschool, before school and summer learning programs. Research shows that out-of-school-time programs work: young people who attend afterschool and summer learning programs have better attendance, improved behavior, higher grades and improved test scores among other outcomes. Boys & Girls Clubs offer a variety of programs in the areas of education, health and nutrition, and character and leadership development at its more than 4,100 clubs nationwide. BGCA is also developing new programs to close the achievement gap for children most in need, including expanding programs like Summer Brain Gain to prevent summer learning loss, enhance STEM programs to nurture 21st century skills, and deploy a robust teen engagement strategy to ensure more young adults are on track to graduate from high school and become college- or career-ready.

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learn more about: Advocacy Celebrities Summer Learning Academic Enrichment Youth Development
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JUL
30

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup - July 30, 2014

By Luci Manning

Young Kids Learn Spanish at Nebraska Summer Camp (Associated Press, Nebraska)
Students at Grand Island’s YWCA’s Immersion Ranch Summer Camp are finding that learning a foreign language is fun! The summer program is teaching young students Spanish through games and activities. Participating preschool and elementary aged students can only speak English freely for ten minutes per day during this weeklong program. The rest of the three hours is spent learning the basics, including directions, animals and much more. Instructor Lisa Brown-Olsen told the Associated Press that at this age, the children are predisposed to learning the language well because their minds are like sponges.

New York Students Are Spending Their Summer in City’s Top Kitchens (Wall Street Journal, New York)

This summer, Manhattan’s most elite kitchens are getting help from 85 high school students.  The aspiring chefs are part of the Careers through Culinary Arts Program, a nonprofit dedicated to creating opportunities for at-risk young people to enter the food industry.  Chef Daniel Boulud told the Wall Street Journal, that for young people this program is essentially “like opening one of the greatest cookbooks and living through it.” The students gain valuable, real-life experiences, from honing their knife skills to balancing flavors to plating intricate dishes.

Young Riders Earn Their Bikes in Church Program (Cape Cod Times, Massachusetts)

Students graduating from John Wesley United Methodist Church’s Earn-a-Bike program can travel home in style this Friday.  As participants in the program, students will become the new owners of the bikes they have diligently repaired. The weeklong curriculum teaches students how to maintain bicycles and educates them on important safety lessons. Church Youth Director Jeremy Tagliaferre told the Cape Cod Times that they are hoping to expand the camp into an afterschool program in the fall.   

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learn more about: Summer Learning Community Partners
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JUL
23

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup - July 23, 2014

By Luci Manning

Chambersburg Students Paint ‘Pathways to Diversity’ (Public Opinion, Pennsylvania)

Chambersburg students participating in the Kids Learning After School summer program celebrated the program’s 11th annual Diversity Day with a colorful poster display this week! The artwork showcased the themes in three posters illustrating people of all colors holding hands next to a globe.  When the Public Opinion asked Odalys Ramos what she learned at camp she replied, “We can all communicate in different ways and that we each are different, we love to do stuff together and we like getting to know each other and knowing who we are deep inside.”

YWCA Expands Its After-School Program at New Bresnahan Elementary (Newburyport News, Massachusetts)

A new building will house the YWCA afterschool program, allowing it to expand to accommodate all the families who have been eagerly waiting to get off the afterschool program’s waiting list, reports the Newburyport News. The maximum capacity of the space has doubled, enabling the Y to serve the community better than ever, providing a safe environment for many more Newsburyport children to learn through play.

A Boatload of Westerly Kids and a Whole Lot of Learning (Westerly Sun, Rhode Island)

Tower Street Community Center’s summer learning program, an extension of Westerly Public Schools’ Before and After School Enrichment Program, is partnering with Save the Bay, a local environmental organization, to teach students about science, water quality, habitats and biodiversity. The Westerly Sun reported on the program’s latest adventure—a trip aboard the Elizabeth Morris where students explored the ecology of the Little Narragansett Bay. The students, equipped with binoculars and maps, were excited to spot a cunner, a tautog, and a black-fingered mud crab.

Boxer Speaks at Anti-Bullying Presentation (Caller Times, Texas)

Local boxer Jerry Belmontes visited Corpus Christi Parks & Recreation Department’s Latchkey Program at Schanen Elementary School to give 130 children some heartfelt advice about bullying. Belmontes dropped out of prekindergarten and kindergarten because he was bullied and now he’s determined to help others. According to the Caller Times, Latchkey Program students have also heard from members of the military representatives from colleges about reading, nutrition and recycling.  

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learn more about: Summer Learning Community Partners
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JUL
22

IN THE FIELD
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My Brother's Keeper: Share your story

By Sarah Simpson

How is your afterschool program creating opportunities for disadvantaged youth? There's still time to share your story!

The White House initiative My Brother's Keeper is focused on creating opportunities for boys and young men of color. To help the White House better understand the important role that afterschool programs are playing in supporting boys and young men of color, we've been gathering stories from the field to share with the White House. We may also ask you to share additional details in a guest blog or on a conference call or webinar.

Please submit your story here.

Click here to read a submitted story from Afterschool Ambassador Rennell Woods.

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learn more about: Afterschool Voices Education Reform Equity Media Outreach Obama Youth Development
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JUL
21

RESEARCH
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Just released: Report on the effects of increased learning time

By Nikki Yamashiro

A new report, released by the Department of Education and written by the Regional Educational Laboratory Appalachia, examined the impact afterschool, before-school and summer learning programs have on their students’ academic achievement and socio-emotional development.  The report, “The effects of increased learning time on student academic and nonacademic outcomes: Findings from a meta-analytic review,” found that out-of-school-time programs, as well as full-day kindergarten programs, can have a positive effect on student participants, such as improving students’ academic motivation, self-confidence and self-management.  Effects did vary by program and type of instruction, and the authors of the report conclude that the elements of a program—such as program instruction and focus, the types of students targeted, and staff—have an impact on student outcomes. 

Authors of this report reviewed more than 7,000 studies, and out of the 7,000 identified 30 studies to analyze, with the goal of helping schools and school districts determine the types and features of afterschool programs best suited to their needs.  After finding that out-of-school-time programs had mixed effects on student outcomes, researchers concluded:

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learn more about: Department of Education Education Reform Evaluations Sustainability Youth Development
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