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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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FEB
25

POLICY
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Afterschool for America's Children Act introduced in the House

By Erik Peterson

Yesterday, Rep. Dan Kildee (D-MI) introduced the Afterschool for America's Children Act (HR 1042) in the House of Representatives.  The  legislation would reauthorize and strengthen the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) initiative—the nation’s chief federal funding stream for afterschool programs—by supporting innovative advances taking root in before-school, afterschool and summer learning programs. The bill was announced at an event in Flint, Mich. last week and is companion legislation to bipartisan S. 308 introduced previously in the Senate.  A summary of the legislation is available here.

The reintroduction of the Afterschool for America’s Children Act comes as the full House of Representatives prepares to debate and vote this week on HR 5, a partisan ESEA reauthorization bill that would eliminate 21st CCLC and replace it with a block grant that can be used for afterschool or in-school programming.

The House Afterschool for America’s Children Act:

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learn more about: 21st CCLC Congress Federal Funding Federal Policy Legislation
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FEB
24

STEM
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STEM Education Act reintroduced in House and headed to the floor today

By Sophie Papavizas

Congress has returned from the President’s Day recess, and while the Senate grapples with the Department of Homeland Security funding bill, the House will consider several education bills.  Among those bills is the bipartisan STEM Education Act (H.R. 102), which was reintroduced in the House on February 20, 2015 by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), Chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology.  The bill is considered non-controversial and passed under suspension of the rules last Congress with widespread bipartisan support but saw no action once passed to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.  The Afterschool Alliance wrote about the STEM Education Act last August when it was first introduced.

The STEM Education Act is a short bill with three main goals:

  1. It expands the definition of STEM education as it pertains to federally funded programs to include disciplines such as computer science;
  2. Grows programs at the National Science Foundation (NSF) to support informal STEM education activities; and
  3. Extends eligibility for NSF’s Noyce Teacher Fellowship program to teachers pursuing master’s degrees in their fields.

Let Congress know you support their commitment to afterschool STEM by contacting them today to discuss the STEM Education Act, the Supporting Afterschool STEM Act and the Afterschool for America’s Children Act!

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learn more about: Congress Federal Policy Science
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FEB
23

STEM
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Cognizant awards 34 grants to provide Maker programming in out-of-school time

By Sophie Papavizas

Cognizant has announced its grantees for the 2015 Making the Future program.  The program provides grants to community based organizations to run hands-on, Maker Movement-inspired programs in afterschool or summer camp settings.  This year, the 34 total grants will provide Maker programming to 5,000 students across 54 sites.  Working in partnership with the Maker Education Initiative and the New York Hall of Science , Cognizant committed in 2014 to providing 1.5 million hours of making experiences to 25,000 youth in over 200 communities by the end of 2017. Maker programs allow to students to be exposed to a range of STEM activities in informal and creative environments.

For more information about Maker spaces and Maker programs in afterschool check out our webinar series on making in afterschool—part 1part 2, and part 3.  And stay tuned for a spring webinar about equity and making with the Exploratorium’s Afterschool Tinkering NetworkCommunity Science Workshops and the Computer Clubhouse!

The 2015 grantees are:

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learn more about: Science
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FEB
20

IN THE FIELD
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Advocates continue calling on Congress to save 21st CCLC

By Rachel Clark

With the fight to save 21st Century Community Learning Centers continuing, hundreds of afterschool advocates have been taking action.  During just one hour this week, participants in our social media storm reached nearly 70 policy makers in 19 states.  Advocates have also continued to make progress toward our goal to see the afterschool community send 10,600 emails to Congress on behalf of the 1.6 million kids at risk of losing their programs if 21st CCLC isn't protected—2,073 emails have been sent so far this month, and a few states have climbed up our leaderboard.  In the coming days, activate your networks to help reach this goal—and to make sure your state has a slot on the leaderboard.

It's also critical to raise awareness in our communities—and reach policy makers in as many ways as possible—so be sure to check out our social media guide and keep tweeting and posting to keep up the momentum from this week.

This week in the spotlight for going above and beyond in support of afterschool programs: Afterschool Ambassadors in Kansas, who took Topeka by storm yesterday to share their stories and urge legislators to invest in afterschool.

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learn more about: 21st CCLC Advocacy Congress ESEA Federal Funding Federal Policy Legislation
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FEB
19

POLICY
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Senate Afterschool Caucus briefing highlights the value of afterschool programs

By Sophie Papavizas

A winter storm that shut down the federal government in Washington, DC on Tuesday, could not stop afterschool advocates from taking their message to the Capitol the next day.  On Wednesday, February 18th, the Senate Afterschool Caucus, chaired by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), hosted a briefing titled “America After 3PM: Supporting Student Success Through Afterschool and Summer Learning Programs.”  The briefing focused on recently released America After 3PM data on the need for high-quality afterschool and summer learning programs and experiences at the state and local level of how the 21st Century Community Learning Center initiative plays a critical role in providing young people with educational and engaging experiences to help them succeed in school and in life.

A packed room of Congressional staff from both the House and Senate as well as afterschool advocates from national, state and local organizations heard from the panel of experts.  The panels was moderated by Nicole Johnson, a member of the board of the Maryland Out of School Time Partnership, consultant for Extraordinary Changes, and previously Senior Director for Elev8 Baltimore, a full-service community schools initiative.

The panelists painted a comprehensive picture of the supports that afterschool  programs provide:

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learn more about: 21st CCLC Congress ESEA Events and Briefings Federal Funding Federal Policy
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FEB
19

FUNDING
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Guest blog: Grants available from KaBOOM! support creative play in afterschool settings

By Rachel Clark

David Flanigan is Director of Operations for Program Management at KaBOOM!

Are you looking to bring unique and innovative play opportunities to the kids that you serve? KaBOOM! is now accepting applications for their Creative Play grants. Made possible by their generous funders, they are now able to provide Imagination Playground and Rigamajig grants to eligible child serving nonprofits and schools that are seeking to ensure all children are getting active and balanced play so that they can thrive! Nonprofit afterschool providers are eligible! Click here to apply for this incredible opportunity.

Imagination Playground is an innovative design in play equipment that encourages creativity, communication, and collaboration in play. With a collection of custom-designed, oversized blue foam parts, Imagination Playground provides a changing array of elements that allow children to turn their playground into a space constantly built and re-built by their imagination.

Rigamajig is a collection of wooden planks, wheels, pulleys, nuts, bolts and rope allow that children to follow their curiosity while playing. There are no wrong answers, and while the pieces can come together as a crane used to convey buckets or materials, they can also become a giraffe, monster, robot, airplane or just a "thingy." 

Act now! The deadline to get in your application is March 4, 2015.

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learn more about: Funding Opportunity Guest Blog
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FEB
19

POLICY
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Congressman Kildee announces bill to support afterschool programming

By Erik Peterson

At an event at Potter Elementary School in Flint, Mich. on Tuesday, Congressman Dan Kildee (D-MI) announced new legislation in Congress to invest in successful afterschool programs in cities across the U.S.  The bill, the Afterschool for America’s Children Act, leverages local and private support for afterschool and summer learning programs to provide a safe space for young people after school and help increase opportunities for children both in and out of the classroom.

Congressman Kildee’s legislation, the Afterschool for America’s Children Act, would:

  • Invest in successful 21st Century Community Learning Center (21st CCLC) programs.
  • Increase flexibility for states to tailor their afterschool activities toward non-traditional programs such as STEM education, health, fitness, art and music.
  • Expand afterschool programming from simply preparing students for a standardized test to providing children with a safe and constructive environment.
  • Establish rigorous state-based reviews to improve the quality of afterschool programs and ensure that funding is maximizing a child’s education.

The announcement of the bill comes just a week after the House Education and the Workforce Committee voted to pass ESEA reauthorization bill H.R. 5 out of Committee, sending it to the House floor.  The partisan HR 5 would eliminate 21st CCLC.  Friends of afterschool can continue to reach out to Congress in support of afterschool and summer learning programs.

The announced bill is companion legislation to the bipartisan S. 308 introduced in the Senate last month by Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV).  Congressman Kildee is expected to introduce the bill next week when Congress is back in session.

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learn more about: 21st CCLC Congress ESEA Federal Funding Federal Policy Legislation
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FEB
18

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup  February 18, 2015

By Luci Manning

My Valentine to Operation Shoestring (Jackson Clarion-Ledger, Mississippi)

Mother of three Wytreace Clark wrote a column for the Jackson Clarion-Ledger about her sons’ experience with Project Rise, the afterschool and summer program at Operation Shoestring. She writes: “I love Operation Shoestring’s Project Rise because the staff there truly care about my sons… I love it because it’s connected by sons with mentors who guide them in becoming responsible young men who respect themselves and others… I love it because it is giving my children the chance to try things that are new to them, like horseback riding, fishing, kickball tournaments and soccer… Operation Shoestring… is making a huge difference for my family by allowing me to work, keeping my kids safe, and inspiring them to learn.”

Homework Club, Naval Hospital Sailors Give Back (Pensacola News Journal, Florida)

Anywhere between 30 and 50 students can be seen bouncing down the halls of West Pensacola Elementary School on Tuesdays and Thursdays, excited to spend time with some special guests. The students, part of an afterschool program called the Homework Club, get to receive tutoring from Pensacola Naval Hospital sailors in subjects such as math and reading. Laurie Cothran, West Pensacola curriculum coordinator and co-creator of the tutoring program, said she has seen a positive change in the students and their work ethic since launching the program. “I’ve talked to some of the teachers and they say the ones who are participating come to class a lot more prepared and they’re participating a lot more,” she told the Pensacola News Journal.

After-School Program at Six-Month Mark (Norfolk Daily News, Virginia)

“Aftershock,” a fledgling afterschool program at Norfolk Public Schools, is creating waves of enthusiasm among more than 200 students. The program includes 27 afterschool “clubs” that cover a wide range of interests from the arts to science to physical fitness, giving students ownership over their afterschool classes and, perhaps, their future careers. “It provides students with a safe, fun, learning environment during those key hours after school when many students could be unsupervised,” superintendent of schools Dr. Jami Jo Thompson, told the Norfolk Daily News. “It is also a great way for our students to connect with community members who have special talents or interests that our students might not otherwise be exposed to.”

A Second Chance at Success for Kingman Middle School Students (Kingman Daily Miner, Arizona)

For students at Kingman and White Cliffs middle schools, especially those with low or failing grades, the afterschool activities offered are a second chance at success. Not only do they teach students unexplored skills – like how to lift weights, play the guitar or build a raised brick garden bed – the learning centers also offer them a chance to improve their behavior, productively apply themselves and connect with the community. WCMS coordinator Laura Orendain said about 60 kids currently attend the afterschool program, and parents often take advantage of the learning center’s other services as well, such as family fitness activities and employment counseling. “This program is very beneficial and opens up opportunities for the school that we didn’t have before,” she told the Daily Miner. “We’re getting more involved in our families’ lives, and that’s changing things for the kids.” 

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learn more about: Health and Wellness Academic Enrichment
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