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Resources to help you Engage Every Student from wherever you sit

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Resources to help you Engage Every Student from wherever you sit

New parent data shows that for every child in an afterschool program, there are now four more who are waiting for an available program. It is more important than ever to amplify ways for programs, communities, districts, and states to connect every student to an afterschool program that wants one.

The Afterschool Alliance recently hosted the #EngageEveryStudent Twitter Chat with initiative partners U.S Department of Education, AASA: The Schools Superintendents Association, Comprehensive Center Network, National League of Cities, and National Summer Learning Association. The chat highlighted what the Engage Every Student initiative is and how groups can become involved, examples of investments in afterschool and summer learning programs, and resources available to help communities and districts form partnerships with programs to support learning recovery. The Twitter chat included a diverse range of national organizations, afterschool state networks, cities, and local programs. 

Wherever you are in the process, below you will find resources to help you start partnering with your districts, building your case for investments for out-of-school time programs, and engaging every student.

Current situation

Now more than ever, every child needs access to the critical supports and benefits out-of-school (OST) time programs provide. Every Hour Counts adds, "#afterschool and #summer programs don’t just focus on learning, they also attend to the needs that must be met if children are to learn, grow, and thrive– free meals in summer, access to wellness checks, etc. are accessed through these programs.” 

At the local level, the Alabama Expanded Learning Alliance cites that the state ranks 49th in reading and 52nd in math. They assert, “to close the gap, children need the opportunity to participate in #afterschool programs aimed at providing better academic and life outcomes.”

However, support for afterschool remains strong. Emily Young, Program Specialist for National League of Cities highlights that an increasing number of cities acknowledge the role OST programs play in supporting families during the pandemic. “NLC research finds cities are increasing their investments in OST programs during pandemic recovery, and many plan to continue doing so,” tweets the National League of Cities.

Available funding and how states are investing in afterschool

Through the American Rescue Plan (ARP), states and districts now have funding to support partnerships with out-of-school time learning programs to support the recovery of students nationwide. A new map from the Afterschool Alliance and National League of Cities shows where and how these funds are being invested, with success stories to help guide others in their pursuit of funds for afterschool.

Alabama Expanded Learning Alliance tweets a local example of ARP investments in afterschool, “ARP funding allows districts like Oneonta City Schools to provide an afterschool program for grades K-6 which includes small group instruction on reading, math, science, social studies, and social-emotional learning.” Similarly, National League of Cities shares that the city of Memphis, Tennessee has invested more than $20 million into afterschool and summer programs. In Kentucky, Covington Schools and Covington Partners partnered together to use ARP funds to create Camp Covington. For more innovative uses of ARP funds, see a new video from the Comprehensive Center Network.

Evidence-based practices and what makes a good program

Out-of-school time programs help meet the academic, social, emotional, and mental health needs of students, and have strong reach in underserved communities. U.S Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona adds, “a quality program blends the rigor of school with the relaxing nature of summer & after school. We’re not trying to take away students’ free time, but rather, show them how learning & fun can intersect.” Every Hour Counts uplifts a Measurement Framework from the Wallace Foundation, where programs can assess their programming and ensure youth are engaged meaningfully. 

Comprehensive afterschool programs follow key principles that can lend themselves to fostering a supportive and engaging program. These can include “strong school-community partnerships, hands-on learning opportunities, and diverse staff.” Other participants also necessitate the need for fun activities and time for connecting with peers. The Boys & Girls Club of America tweets, “Programs at Clubs provide youth a safe space to learn, grow and have FUN!” The Wyoming Afterschool Alliance highlights the importance of hands-on learning opportunities that empower youth to try new things. 

Resources available

An abundance of resources were mentioned for those looking to strengthen and expand afterschool supports and programming. For districts, community organizations, or cities looking to implement high-quality, comprehensive programming, the Afterschool Alliance points participants to brief with key principles for comprehensive afterschool programs. Community organizations that run afterschool and summer programs can also find tips on reaching out to school districts on the Afterschool Alliance ARP page. The National League of Cities tweets a link to the Afterschool Policy Advisors’ Network, where afterschool professionals can connect with other leaders in the field. For technical assistance in “developing RFPs, identifying contracting structures, specifying outcomes and measures, recruiting, and selecting vendors, monitoring progress, and more,” Comprehensive Center Network shares a previous webinar with expert tips and strategies.

From wherever you sit, there are resources available to help you make the case for afterschool in your community. From messaging guides for city leaders to pointers for reaching out to your school district, participants shared comprehensive and timely resources for all afterschool advocates to help strengthen afterschool systems in their community.

Secretary Miguel Cardona closes, “Find what your community and students enjoy & need - then work to meet that need. Bring students, teachers, and families to the table! Programs should be starting points for student leadership and exploration in addition to academics.” 

To learn more about the initiative, head to the Engage Every Student website and see how you can become an ally. To see the full event recap, check out part one and part two of our #EngageEveryStudent Twitter moment. 

Never giving up is the key to opening doors that have traditionally locked out disadvantaged children.

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BY: Guest Blogger      01/11/24

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BY: Elizabeth Bannan      07/25/23

U.S. Dept. of Ed. calls for more afterschool and summer supports

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BY: Ursula Helminski      07/17/23

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BY: Charlotte Steinecke      05/04/23

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Highlights from Youth Voice Week 2023

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Find essential OST research on the new Wallace Foundation website

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Promising practices and innovative responses for high-quality arts programming in OST

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Guest blog: Sparking joy… districtwide

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Connecting young people with high-quality arts programming in multipurpose OST settings

Welcome to our two-part series unpacking The Wallace Foundation’s recent report, “Setting the Stage: Practical Ideas for Implementing High-Quality Afterschool Arts Programs.” In this blog post, we will discuss the Youth Arts Initiative’s efforts to connect youth from...

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New podcast discusses youth perspectives on program design

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U.S. Dept. of Ed. calls for more afterschool and summer supports

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21st CCLC youth gain life and work skills

Parents and youth alike value the opportunities that afterschool and summer programs offer to develop life and work skills, such as teamwork, problem-solving, decision-making, and communications, as well as exposure to career paths. In a fall 2022 survey, 88 percent of parents said that afterschool...

BY: Ursula Helminski      06/29/23

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BY: Maria Rizo      01/19/23

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By Ava Havidic, Afterschool Youth Ambassador, class of 2024.  As a shy eighth grader, I yearned to step outside my comfort zone. However, I did not know where to start. As soon as I attended an online webinar from Broward Youth Coalition (BYC) in the summer before ninth grade, I felt...

BY: Guest Blogger      01/30/24

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By Aurie-Anne Vixama, Afterschool Youth Ambassador, class of 2024. For the past two years, I’ve had the honor to participate as the youth advisory board president for South Florida After-School All-Stars. Being a part of an afterschool program has truly changed my life. At the young age of...

BY: Guest Blogger      01/26/24

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By Issa Ouarid, Youth Afterschool Ambassador, class of 2024. I started Life Pieces in October 2011 at the age of three. I was very shy and struggled to make friends, but Life Pieces provided an environment for me to open up. In 2013, I lost my grandmother and my form of grieving caused me to...

BY: Guest Blogger      01/16/24

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By James Tonetti, Youth Afterschool Ambassador, class of 2024.  My exposure to afterschool programs came at an early age. I was just six years old when the note went home that I was to stay after school two days a week to work on reading. Snacks would be provided. I loved my afterschool...

BY: Guest Blogger      01/11/24

Meet our 2024 cohort of Youth Afterschool Ambassadors!

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Apply to become an Afterschool Alliance Youth Ambassador!

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BY: Elizabeth Bannan      07/25/23

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“For me, the introduction to my culture and the feeling of being a part of something bigger than myself, goes hand in hand with a spark or an increase to my mental, spiritual, and physical health,” writes Sasha Neyra, 16. Sasha is a high school junior and Member of Big Lagoon Rancheria....

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BY: Lisa Lederer      04/27/23

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Highlights from Youth Voice Week 2023

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BY: Charlotte Steinecke      04/06/23

New podcast discusses youth perspectives on program design

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BY: Elizabeth Bannan      08/01/23

U.S. Dept. of Ed. calls for more afterschool and summer supports

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BY: Ursula Helminski      07/17/23

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BY: Maria Rizo      06/27/23

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BY: Ursula Helminski      05/15/23

An afterschool program that feels like a family

By Trinity Ansley, Afterschool Youth Ambassador, class of 2023.  Hi everyone, my name is Trinity Ansley! My afterschool program is San Diego Urban League, Project Ready. Having been a member since freshman year and now being the chair of the program as a junior, I really appreciate this...

BY: Guest Blogger      02/27/23

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BY: Anita Krishnamurthi      09/27/22

Guest blog: Advancing equity and inclusion in hiring and staff development in OST

By Angelica Portillo, National AfterSchool Association’s Director of Advocacy and Workforce Initiatives, and Shawna Rosenweig, Camp Fire Chief Strategy Officer and member of the National AfterSchool Association's Board. For the last 20 years, out-of-school time (OST) has...

BY: Guest Blogger      07/28/22

Afterschool supports LGBTQ students

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Celebrating Juneteenth in afterschool programs

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The power of representation: Being a role model for the next generation

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BY: Guest Blogger      07/27/23

U.S. Dept. of Ed. calls for more afterschool and summer supports

The U.S. Department of Education’s Engage Every Student Initiative marked its one-year anniversary last week with the Raise the Bar Summit, a celebration of the progress made toward expanding afterschool and summer programs for youth across the nation and a platform to exchange...

BY: Ursula Helminski      07/17/23

Creating a safe space in afterschool for LGBTQIA+ youth

Photo courtesy of The Gender Spectrum Collection Afterschool programs provide a safe space for youth to be their most authentic selves, with opportunities to engage with peers outside of the school day, connect with caring adults, and explore their interests and passions. But LGBTQ+ youth in...

BY: Maria Rizo      06/27/23

Success stories: The Burma Center

Reflecting on the findings from our recent voter poll, "Afterschool a Priority for Asian American and Pacific Islander Voters," the Afterschool Alliance is amplifying the work of out-of-school providers supporting AANHPI students and their families. The Burma Center is a...

BY: Sophie Kidd      06/26/23

Building peer-to-peer relationships and taking "safe risks": Project Morry

In a conversation with Dawn Ewing, Executive Director of Project Morry, we sat down to discuss how the program is fostering a safe space for youth to re-engage during the summer and how youth are able to define success on their own terms. Project Morry was one of the 36 grantees of the 2021 Aim...

BY: Maria Rizo      01/19/23

January is National Mentoring Month

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BY: Charlotte Steinecke      01/10/23

New video: This Is Afterschool

We're starting 2023 off with the release of our anthem video, This Is Afterschool, which puts a spotlight on some of the amazing activities available in quality afterschool and summer learning programs. From ballet to sailing, and from rocketry to theater, afterschool programs are...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      01/03/23

Celebrating 25 years of masterpieces with a masterpiece of a movie

“We want to show the softness.” – Mingotae Kebede, director and producer A filmmaker and former staff of a long running Washington, DC Afterschool program, Life Pieces to Masterpieces was asked to help the program create a small video to commemorate the program’s 25th...

BY: Jillian Luchner      12/09/22

California celebrates the 20th Anniversary of Proposition 49

The energy was buzzing at Bell Gardens Intermediate as students, school leaders, and afterschool advocates including former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona gathered to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Proposition 49, the initiative that created...

BY: Emily Murtaugh      12/05/22

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BY: Maria Rizo      11/22/22

Culturally responsive STEM programming: Aim High awardee Geeking Out Kids of Color

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Recapping NIEA's Convention: Education Sovereignty. It Begins with Us.

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BY: Sophie Kidd      11/03/23

The power of representation: Being a role model for the next generation

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BY: Guest Blogger      07/27/23

Success stories: The Burma Center

Reflecting on the findings from our recent voter poll, "Afterschool a Priority for Asian American and Pacific Islander Voters," the Afterschool Alliance is amplifying the work of out-of-school providers supporting AANHPI students and their families. The Burma Center is a...

BY: Sophie Kidd      06/26/23

Activities and resources to celebrate Asian American and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Heritage Month

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BY: Ursula Helminski      05/15/23

Building peer-to-peer relationships and taking "safe risks": Project Morry

In a conversation with Dawn Ewing, Executive Director of Project Morry, we sat down to discuss how the program is fostering a safe space for youth to re-engage during the summer and how youth are able to define success on their own terms. Project Morry was one of the 36 grantees of the 2021 Aim...

BY: Maria Rizo      01/19/23

Celebrating 25 years of masterpieces with a masterpiece of a movie

“We want to show the softness.” – Mingotae Kebede, director and producer A filmmaker and former staff of a long running Washington, DC Afterschool program, Life Pieces to Masterpieces was asked to help the program create a small video to commemorate the program’s 25th...

BY: Jillian Luchner      12/09/22

Guest blog: A book about everyday superheroes inspired Girlstart campers to pursue world-changing careers in STEM

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BY: Guest Blogger      09/12/22

Afterschool supports LGBTQ students

By Tran Tonnu, marketing manager at School's Out Washington, and Janell Jordan, King County program manager. This article originally appeared on School's Out Washington's blog on June 17, 2021. It has been republished here with their permission. For LGBTQ folks, June...

BY: Guest Blogger      06/28/22

Celebrating Juneteenth in afterschool programs

Image by William Adams from Pixabay Juneteenth National Independence Day also known as Freedom Day, or Jubilee day honors the emancipation of slaves in the United States. More than 150 years after its first celebration, the Juneteenth holiday provides an opportunity to learn and teach about the...

BY: Tierra Easter      06/17/22

Impact of belonging in out-of-school time learning

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BY: Guest Blogger      12/11/23

The five A's to navigating SEL from the inside out with older youth

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BY: Guest Blogger      08/14/23

Creating a safe space in afterschool for LGBTQIA+ youth

Photo courtesy of The Gender Spectrum Collection Afterschool programs provide a safe space for youth to be their most authentic selves, with opportunities to engage with peers outside of the school day, connect with caring adults, and explore their interests and passions. But LGBTQ+ youth in...

BY: Maria Rizo      06/27/23

January is National Mentoring Month

Afterschool programs are excellent places for young people to meet and engage with supportive adults and find mentors. From STEM superheroes introducing girls to 21st century STEM careers, to caring adults helping with homework and encouraging students realize their full potential, mentorship in...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      01/10/23

Program Toolbox recently updated for new, established, and growing programs

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BY: Maria Rizo      11/22/22

Afterschool supports LGBTQ students

By Tran Tonnu, marketing manager at School's Out Washington, and Janell Jordan, King County program manager. This article originally appeared on School's Out Washington's blog on June 17, 2021. It has been republished here with their permission. For LGBTQ folks, June...

BY: Guest Blogger      06/28/22

$1.8M awarded to middle school out-of-school time programs

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BY: Dan Gilbert      06/14/22

Guest blog: Social and emotional learning in the spotlight

By Jenna Tomasello, associate director at The Hatcher Group. This blog post was originally published on the Wallace Foundation blog on March 11, 2022.  The social isolation students experienced because of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent school closures has shined a spotlight on unmet...

BY: Guest Blogger      04/21/22

Afterschool field creates resources to help support the mental health of young people

With year 3 of the COVID-19 pandemic now underway, mental health is recognized as one of the largest issues among youth today. The ways in which young people have suffered during the pandemic are heartbreaking - from increased anxiety and social isolation to coping with grief and loss. Fortunately,...

BY: Christopher Echevarria      03/15/22

Celebrating Black History 365 with Howard University Television

By Keisha Nelson, Education and Outreach Manager WHUT- Howard University Television. Black History Month may only last 28 days, but opportunities for learning don’t end in February. There are many ways to celebrate the past and present contributions of Black people to U.S. history,...

BY: Guest Blogger      02/28/22