More than 11,000 votes were cast in this year’s Lights On Afterschool Facebook photo contest, and we think you did a great job picking some awesome winning photos. We were really impressed with the quality of photos we received this year and amazed at your ability to activate your networks and get out the vote—it was great to see entire communities band together to support their local programs!
There were lots of ways to win this year. The top vote-getter from Bright House Networks’ service area received $2,000. The next top three photos (from anywhere) each won $1,000. We even teamed up with five state afterschool networks to offer prizes for the top vote-getter in their state!
Timber Lakes Extended Day
The newly-released School Improvement Grants (SIG) analysis and assessment data shows that schools receiving such grants have increased proficiency rates in math and reading since the program was implemented two years ago. The SIG Program is a major component of the Department of Education’s game plan to help turn around the nation’s lowest performing schools. SIG funds are awarded by state education agencies to local education agencies to close, transform, restart or turn around low performing schools. Afterschool is mentioned in Department of Education guidance as part of turnaround and transformational strategies.
Education Secretary Arne Duncan commented on the progress and said “To build on this success in our disadvantaged communities, we must expand the most effective practices to accelerate progress for students and prepare them for success in college and careers.”
So what are some of these effective practices? Of the three programs highlighted in the department’s press release two weeks ago, two grantees used expanded learning time within school and/or afterschool programs within their turnaround plans. Using SIG funds for expanded learning time ensures other funding streams like the 21st Century Community Learning Centers initiative can support afterschool, summer learning and before-school programs.
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.