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DEC
15

IN THE FIELD
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Guest blog: Informing policy makers and the OST field on the opportunity gap

By Nikki Yamashiro

Sara Beanblossom is the director of communications and special events at the Indiana Afterschool Network, a nonprofit organization that inspires, empowers, and mobilizes the advocates, partners, and practitioners of afterschool and summer programs in Indiana.

AFTERSCHOOL AND SUMMER PROGRAMS CAN ADD 1,080 HOURS OF ACADEMIC ENRICHMENT TO A CHILD’S YEAR, EQUIVALENT TO THE NUMBER OF HOURS IN 144 SCHOOL DAYS. Yet, access is not equal. Low-income youth experience 6,000 fewer hours of enrichment and academic learning than their more affluent peers by the eighth grade (Hechinger Report, 2013).

Great piece of data, right?

The Indiana Afterschool Network (IAN) thinks so, too. That is why we are communicating this point and other important data to Indiana program providers to help them voice the need for and the impact of high quality out-of-school time (OST) programs to their policy makers and funders.

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learn more about: Advocacy America After 3PM Guest Blog State Networks State Policy
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DEC
10

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup  December 10, 2014

By Luci Manning

Discovery Space Program Aims to Extend Science Education Past School Bell (Centre Daily Times, Pennsylvania)

An afterschool science program through Benner Elementary School and Discovery Space of Central Pennsylvania is encouraging students to think like engineers. During one week, the students, split into groups by grade, were encouraged to build structure-like objects from an assortment of tools, including wooden objects, rubber bands, magnetic links and cards. “Our mission is to teach them that being an engineer is not just driving a train,” Discover Science executive director Allayn Beck told Centre Daily Times. “We teach them all the different ways of engineering, and encourage them to think critically if something doesn’t work out.” Organizers say they hope the program will return next semester to continue to interest students in science after the bell rings.

Stevens Elementary Teacher Gives STEM Subjects a Musical Remix (The Spokesman-Review, Washington)

Teacher Shawn Tolley is combining his two passions—music and computer science—to show fifth- and sixth-graders in his before- and afterschool program how to mix and master music, record audio tracks, synthesize sounds and create electronic music. His students dream of becoming disc jockeys, video game designers, sound technicians or audio engineers, and just a couple months into the program, they’re already learning how to record music, move around audio tracks and manipulate sound. “I’ve been interested in how music can work in electronics,” 10-year-old Faith White told the Spokesman-Review. “I want to make music for a video game when I get older, and it shows me how to do that stuff.”

Letter to the Editor: A Great Program (Hudson Register-Star, New York)

Germantown High School senior Joshua Wyant wrote a letter to the editor for the Hudson Register-Star about his experiences with the Germantown After School Program (GAP).  He writes: “One of the best things ever to happen at Germantown Central School was the implementation of the Germantown After School Program…Besides providing time for homework, GAP also provides kids with many things to do so it will never get boring…This program offers activities where the kids can learn something. These activities include things such as violin lessons, jazz lessons, computer classes, and crafts…GAP also offers the kids a structured, safe environment…Since this program is so great, other school districts should offer it at an affordable rate.” 

Pirate Underground a Space for Marshfield’s Creative Crowd (Coos Bay The World, Oregon)

After noticing several students on the outskirts of Marshfield High School’s social scene, librarian Peggy Christensen launched a new afterschool library program called The Pirate Underground. “I just wanted kids who did not feel like they had a place to belong or a club to join, that they were welcomed in the afterschool library program,” Christensen told Coos Bay World. So far the group has focused on creative writing, art and music. Community artists come in to mentor the students and lead art projects, and students are encouraged to explore their creativity through various exercises. “It’s a nice break from doing school work,” student Jessica Baimbridge said. “You’re sitting in a classroom for 45 to 50 minutes straight and here you get to do what you actually like.”

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learn more about: Media Outreach
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DEC
10

POLICY
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FY15 spending bill filed, on its way to House, Senate floor for passage

By Erik Peterson

House and Senate Appropriations Committee Chairs Hal Rogers (R-KY) and Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) filed their compromise Fiscal Year 2015 spending bill last night that, if passed by both Chambers and signed into law by President Obama, will keep the federal government funded through September 30, 2015. Currently, the government is funded through a Continuing Resolution that expires tomorrow, December 11th. The bill has strong implications for federal afterschool funding. 

The Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015 funds the government at $1.014 trillion in discretionary spending in compliance with the bipartisan Murray-Ryan budget agreement of December 2013. Overall the Department of Education was funded at $70.5 billion, a decrease of $133 million compared to FY14. With regard to afterschool and summer learning programs, funding for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) initiative was increased by $2.3 million for FY15, bringing the total to $1.152 billion, up from $1.149 billion in FY14. 

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learn more about: 21st CCLC Advocacy Budget Congress Department of Education ESEA Federal Funding Federal Policy Legislation
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DEC
8

STEM
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Celebrate computer science education week with the "Hour of Code"

By Melissa Ballard

We live in a world surrounded by technology.  And we know that whatever field our students choose to go into as adults, their ability to succeed will increasingly hinge on understanding how technology works.  Computer science is foundational for all students today—it’s about teaching students to create technology, not just how to use it.  Yet 90% of schools don’t teach it.  Let’s change that!

This week, Dec. 8-12, is Computer Science Education week.  Afterschool programs can play a huge role in introducing students to computer science. 

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learn more about: Digital Learning Science
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DEC
4

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup  December 4, 2014

By Luci Manning

New Afterschool Program Is Creating Future Entrepreneurs (The Avenue News, Maryland)

Fourth through twelfth-grade students are developing business models and becoming future leaders through I AM O’Kah!’s entrepreneurship program. The 10-week course provides students with entrepreneurship training and communication and each week guest speakers talk to students about their own journey and overcoming obstacles. Aisha DaCosta, CEO of I AM O’Kah!, told The Avenue News that by the end of the program, each student will create a viable business idea to present to a panel of local entrepreneurs. The top three winners will be awarded a micro-grant to help start their business and will be assigned a local entrepreneur as a mentor for the first 30 days of their business venture.

Centre Mentors Coeds Spark Boyle Middle School Girls' Interest in Math, Science (The Advocate-Messenger, Kentucky)

Centre College sophomore Ceci Vollbrecht and several of her classmates formed GEMS (Girls in Engineering, Math and Science), an afterschool program at Boyle County Middle School, in an effort to grow the scientific interest in the next generation of girls. The mentoring program is funded by a grant from the National Girls Collaborative Project, which allows for the group to go on field trips to expose the students to the world of science. “Our goal is to keep them interested, do fun stuff with science, keep them active in it, provide role models for the ones who are pursuing higher level science – and college in general,” Vollbrecht told The Advocate-Messenger.

Digital Harbor Foundation Is Using 3-D Printing to Attract More Girls to Technology (Baltimore Business Journal, Maryland)

Even though the technology field is known for being male-dominated, girls dominate the Digital Harbor Foundation's 3-D printing competition every year. In order to develop even stronger interest among girls, the Baltimore technology education organization is launching a club called the Makerettes, which allows middle school and high school girls to work together on projects (3-D printed or otherwise) and get to know each other. Greer Melon, the foundation’s director of business operations told Baltimore Business Journal, “The culture of tech jobs is something that can be really off-putting for girls.” Organizers hope the club will not only attract new students, but also help female students overcome the male-dominated technology culture.

School Spotlight: Whitehorse Makers Club Spurs Creativity (Wisconsin State Journal, Wisconsin)

Recently at the Whitehorse Makers Club, 11 year-old Kodie Kramer created a game app featuring a roving tank that can now be found in the iTunes store. The club allows children to explore their creativity through inventions like Kodie’s and other projects like stop-motion animation, Post-it note murals, video games, music and avatars. Jennifer Milne-Carroll, library media technology specialist and creator of the Whitehorse Makers Club, told the Wisconsin State Journal that the club can help students explore different careers. Whitehorse art teacher Andrew Erickson said it helps them learn to work together and the students have a great deal of freedom. “It’s a place for them to make things, use their creativity. It’s a way to challenge themselves,” he said. “It’s fun to watch them explore and figure out what they want to do and how to accomplish it.”

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learn more about: Media Outreach
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DEC
2

POLICY
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Application currently being accepted for Performance Partnership Pilot (P3)

By Erik Peterson

Late last month, five Federal agencies came together to offer a new opportunity to help communities overcome the obstacles they face in achieving better outcomes for disconnected youth – young people at high school age and older who are not in school and not employed. States, tribes, and municipalities can apply by March 4, 2015, to become Performance Partnership Pilots (P3) to test innovative, outcome-focused strategies aimed at achieving significant improvements for disconnected youth in educational, employment, and other key outcomes.

The P3 initiative enables up to 10 pilot programs to blend funds that they currently receive from different discretionary programs administered by the Departments of Education, Labor, and Health and Human Services, the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) and the Institute for Museum and Library Services. Authorized as part of the FY2014 Omnibus spending bill, P3 allows new flexibility under Federal statutes, regulations, and other requirements to overcome barriers and align program and reporting requirements, enabling applicants to propose the most effective ways to use these dollars. In addition, these pilots will receive start-up grants of up to $700,000.

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learn more about: Department of Education Federal Funding Federal Policy Funding Opportunity Youth Development
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DEC
1

IN THE FIELD
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Closing tomorrow: survey on afterschool snacks and meals

By Nikki Yamashiro

Does your afterschool program provide snacks?  Are you an afterschool program provider who would like to offer food, but are unable to do so?  Complete this short survey by Tuesday, Dec. 2 and help us identify how providing afterschool snacks and meals has changed over time, and what barriers afterschool programs face in providing food.

With your help, we can better understand the landscape around providing afterschool snacks and meals. 

If you are interested in learning more about afterschool meals, nutrition education and physical activity in an afterschool setting, visit our Afterschool Meals web page.

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learn more about: Equity Nutrition
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NOV
25

IN THE FIELD
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Smile: It's Thanksgiving

By Shaun Gray

"I believe that afterschool programs are an essential part of bettering our youth. Afterschool programs have helped me learn and grow, and will help other students do the same."
– Gabby, age 17

This has been an incredible year for the Afterschool Alliance! Thanks to your support of our work, more students like Gabby are taking advantage of expanded educational opportunities. Our highly-publicized landmark research study, America After 3 PM , released this October, found that more than 10 million children now participate in afterschool programs, a 57% increase over the last 10 years. However, for every student currently in an afterschool program, parents report that there are two more waiting to get in—that’s 20 million students whose parents would enroll them if an afterschool program were available.

You can help support afterschool programs and our year-round work, by doing your holiday shopping online through Amazon Smile. It’s easy.  On your first visit to smile.amazon.com, select the Afterschool Alliance as your charitable organization, then browse through the tens of millions of products that Amazon Smile has to offer and are eligible for donations. The AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price to us.

This past year has seen some remarkable achievements in advocating for more afterschool investments and expanding afterschool resources to support this work.

You can help ensure that all children have access to quality, affordable afterschool programs that keep them safe, inspire them to learn and help America’s working families.

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