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Virtual Hill Briefing recap: Helping Students Recover and Accelerating Success

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Virtual Hill Briefing recap: Helping Students Recover and Accelerating Success

On July 20, the House Afterschool Caucus in partnership with the Afterschool Alliance hosted a Capitol Hill Briefing Helping Students Recover and Accelerating Success for congressional staff and afterschool stakeholders. With a proven track record for increasing resilience, supporting positive youth development, and teaching life skills, afterschool and summer enrichment are critical to the recovery of youth and their communities. The briefing was moderated by the Afterschool Alliance’s newest board member Letty Mederos, and was joined by panelists from the National Summer Learning Association, Arkansas Out of School Network, and Camp Fire Heartland from Missouri. The briefing was held in partnership with the Boys and Girls Club of America, Girls Inc., National League of Cities, National Summer Learning Association, and the National Recreation and Park Association.

House Afterschool Caucus Co-Chair Congressman Don Young (R- Alaska) began the conversation by recounting how his experience as a former school teacher opened his eyes to the importance of preparing youth for the road ahead, and ensuring that youth have all the tools they need to succeed in school and in life. He then highlighted that summer programs are especially critical in filling in the needs of youth but also families because summer is a time where young people are not accessing the meals that they receive throughout the traditional school day. With the introduction of the Summer Meals Act, Congressman Young hopes to combat this deficit. Congressman Young made a call to action for all afterschool advocates, “Kids are the future of America..let’s keep this job going and make sure we are taking care of all our young people.”

House Afterschool Caucus Co-Chair David Cicilline (D-R.I.) spoke about the unmet demand of afterschool and summer programs at a time where youth need them the most. During his time as mayor of Providence, RI, he established the Providence Afterschool Alliance. This network provides high-quality afterschool for more than 2,000 families in the community. His work has continued at the federal level, he assured, where he advocates for funding for afterschool through 21st CCLC programs. 

The Congressman stated: “21st Century Community Learning Centers provide the only dedicated funding stream for afterschool. The funding Community Learning Centers provide programs are some of the most effective ways to keep children safe in the late afternoon and early evening, and they help keep kids on the right path in school.” Congressman Cicilline continued to list the benefits of afterschool. He affirmed that students perform better in school, have better rates of school attendance, and higher rates of graduation than those who did not have access to OST programs. “We can not afford to let up on our strong support for afterschool,” he concluded. 

Nikki Yamashiro, our Vice President of Research, outlined what summer looked like for families throughout the pandemic, and where unmet demand was highest. The three takeaways from the America After 3PM survey were 1) Demand for summer programs is evident, 2) Parents see key benefits, and 3) There is a need for more programs. Nikki noted that although participation in summer programs was at an all time high, unmet demand was far greater.  For every child in a summer program, one more is waiting to get in. Those missing out were youth from families with low-income, due to cost and additional participation barriers. Nikki elevated the need for these programs as we move towards recovery, and many parents agreed. Parents gave summer programs top marks in supporting youth recovery, promoting positive outcomes, and providing a safe space for exploration and play. However, Nikki touched on the challenges that program providers face in their bounce-back from the pandemic; cost remains the greatest barrier for programs to re-open, retain staff, and implement additional safety protocols.

Aaron Dworkin of the National Summer Learning Association dove into the role of summer learning as one of the key strategies to respond to the effects of Covid and prepare students for the upcoming year. Aaron outlined that this summer especially is a summer of improvement, innovation, integration, and impact as we find ways to help youth rebound from a year indoors. With many steps to be taken, Aaron assured that recovery is a multi-year effort that requires time and support, and that programs need to prioritize connection over content as we slowly build our youth up. 

Aaron passed the conversation to Laveta L. Wills-Hale, Network Director of the Arkansas Out of School Network (AOSN) who showed the audience what afterschool looked like in Arkansas and how the state was using ARP funds to support afterschool. The effects of COVID were dire, and Laveta shared that over 400,000 young people were displaced from school and routine in her state. As one example of states using ARP funds, Laveta laid out how the funds were reaching her students in afterschool and summer programs, although many of these funds were leaving rural and low-income communities underserved. 

“We want to continue to ensure that we connect our families to the resources that they need to ensure that young people are healthy and thriving, but we also want to connect families to the resources that will make them whole and more secure in their communities.” 

When a recovery plan did not come out fast enough, Erin Balleine, Executive Director of Camp Fire Heartland in Kansas City, Missouri, wrote her own to address the academic, social, and emotional needs of youth as the state responded to COVID-19. She described her experience in forming partnerships with local organizations to best serve youth safely and efficiently, and ended up providing programming for the entire school year during quarantine. “We learned very quickly that we were going to be the final safety net for most of the kids that we worked with,” Erin noted. Erin implemented a social and emotional learning curriculum to help offset the internal impact of youth during COVID. She found that the students that participated in these courses made considerable strides in their learning and their engagement. With the next school year approaching, Erin called on funders and state leaders to help programs make the case for afterschool, “we are ready to hit the ground running.”

The briefing concluded with a short Q & A as panelists addressed questions on how to overcome challenges in accessing ARP funds and where to find funding in their state. The full briefing is available on Youtube. To access the Briefing resources, head to our webinar library.

State tackles learning loss with new law on summer & afterschool STEAM engagement

With the federal government working hard to get much needed relief funds to states, including for education to help stem some of the harshest effects of COVID, states as well recognize their essential role in recovery. On February 9, Tennessee passed the Tennessee Learning Loss Remediation and...

BY: Jillian Luchner      02/18/21

House Education Committee approves additional education, learning recovery support

This week, House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (VA-03) released the Education and Labor Committee’s portion of the FY21 budget reconciliation bill, which enacts President Biden’s American Rescue Plan. After a mark-up that began...

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Learning Recovery Act introduced in the House of Representatives

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BY: Erik Peterson      02/01/21

President Biden proposes American Rescue Plan including education funding

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Federal afterschool policy update: Seizing the funding opportunities in the CRRSA

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BY: Erik Peterson      01/14/21

FY 2021 omnibus spending bill and COVID-19 relief package finalized and passed

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BY: Erik Peterson      12/22/20

Policy update: New bipartisan COVID-19 relief bill and FY 2021 spending bill gain momentum

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BY: Erik Peterson      12/16/20

Senate funding bills released with flat funding for afterschool

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BY: Jillian Luchner      11/12/20

Bipartisan 21st Century Community Learning Centers Coronavirus Relief Act of 2020 introduced in Senate, would provide $1.2B in additional funding

On October 26, 2020, Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Tina Smith (D-Minn.) introduced S. 4868, the bipartisan 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) Coronavirus Relief Act of 2020, which is designed to expand access to supervised learning for students through the remainder of the...

BY: Erik Peterson      10/27/20

10 FAQs on the 21st CCLC "non-school hours" waiver

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BY: Jillian Luchner      09/30/20

House Education Committee approves additional education, learning recovery support

This week, House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (VA-03) released the Education and Labor Committee’s portion of the FY21 budget reconciliation bill, which enacts President Biden’s American Rescue Plan. After a mark-up that began...

BY: Erik Peterson      02/10/21

Learning Recovery Act introduced in the House of Representatives

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BY: Erik Peterson      02/01/21

President Biden proposes American Rescue Plan including education funding

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Federal afterschool policy update: Seizing the funding opportunities in the CRRSA

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Child Care Protection Improvement Act of 2020 signed into law

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BY: Erik Peterson      01/04/21

President-elect Biden nominates Connecticut Education Commissioner Cardona for Sec. of Education

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BY: Erik Peterson      12/23/20

FY 2021 omnibus spending bill and COVID-19 relief package finalized and passed

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Policy update: New bipartisan COVID-19 relief bill and FY 2021 spending bill gain momentum

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Bipartisan 21st Century Community Learning Centers Coronavirus Relief Act of 2020 introduced in Senate, would provide $1.2B in additional funding

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Learning Recovery Act introduced in the House of Representatives

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BY: Erik Peterson      02/01/21

FY 2021 omnibus spending bill and COVID-19 relief package finalized and passed

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Policy update: New bipartisan COVID-19 relief bill and FY 2021 spending bill gain momentum

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BY: Erik Peterson      12/16/20

Senate funding bills released with flat funding for afterschool

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BY: Jillian Luchner      11/12/20

Two new Community School bills introduced in Congress this fall

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BY: Jillian Luchner      11/10/20

Election 2020 – a first look at the results from an afterschool policy perspective

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BY: Erik Peterson      11/06/20

Bipartisan 21st Century Community Learning Centers Coronavirus Relief Act of 2020 introduced in Senate, would provide $1.2B in additional funding

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BY: Erik Peterson      10/27/20

Federal Policy Update: Status of FY21 Appropriations and Coronavirus Relief

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BY: Erik Peterson      09/29/20

Supporting our Youth throughout COVID-19 and Beyond: Hill Briefing recap

On September 23, the Afterschool Alliance hosted a virtual Hill briefing, Supporting our Youth throughout COVID-19 and Beyond: Why Afterschool Providers are More Essential than Ever, that focused on the important role afterschool providers play during these unprecedented times. The brief featured...

BY: Bella DiMarco      09/25/20

Federal Policy Update: House passes 21st CCLC Coronavirus Relief Act

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BY: Erik Peterson      09/16/20

FY 2021 omnibus spending bill and COVID-19 relief package finalized and passed

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Policy update: New bipartisan COVID-19 relief bill and FY 2021 spending bill gain momentum

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Senate funding bills released with flat funding for afterschool

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BY: Jillian Luchner      11/12/20

Bipartisan 21st Century Community Learning Centers Coronavirus Relief Act of 2020 introduced in Senate, would provide $1.2B in additional funding

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BY: Erik Peterson      10/27/20

10 FAQs on the 21st CCLC "non-school hours" waiver

On Friday, September 18, the Department of Education put forth the waiver request form for the 21st Century Community Learn Center program to operate during non-school hours as a follow up to the earlier notice in the Federal Register. This allows states to begin the application process...

BY: Jillian Luchner      09/30/20

Federal Policy Update: Status of FY21 Appropriations and Coronavirus Relief

With October knocking on the door and the 2020 federal fiscal year winding down, legislative activity in Congress has heated up again. In particular it is a good time for an update on the appropriations process for federal fiscal year 2021 (FY2021) as well as an update on the status of a possible...

BY: Erik Peterson      09/29/20

Federal Policy Update: House passes 21st CCLC Coronavirus Relief Act

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BY: Erik Peterson      09/16/20

21st Century Community Learning Centers Coronavirus Relief Act of 2020 introduced in House

Today, in a move the afterschool community welcomes, U.S. Representative Susan Wild (D-PA) along with Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Jeff Van Drew (R-NJ), Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), Dwight Evans (D-PA), and Don Young (R-AK) introduced the bipartisan 21st Century Community Learning Centers...

BY: Erik Peterson      09/04/20

Department of Education to allow states greater flexibility through 21st CCLC waivers

This morning (Sept. 3, 2020) the U.S. Department of Education(ED) posted a notice in the Federal Register  on their intent to offer a waiver to allow State Education Agencies (SEAs) to waive the definition of Community Learning Center(s) for implementation of services during “non-school...

BY: Erik Peterson      09/03/20

Congress and the next COVID-19 relief bill – where do things stand?

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BY: Erik Peterson      08/19/20

Learning Recovery Act introduced in the House of Representatives

The Learning Recovery Act of 2021 was introduced on January 28 in the House of Representatives as part of a three-bill package from the House Education and Labor Committee led by Chairman Bobby Scott (D-Va.). The other two bills address school infrastructure needs and saving education jobs....

BY: Erik Peterson      02/01/21

FY 2021 omnibus spending bill and COVID-19 relief package finalized and passed

After almost a week of lengthy negotiations concluded on Sunday evening, December 20, the House and Senate approved final text on Monday night for the FY 2021 omnibus spending bill and a new COVID-19 relief bill. This package differs from the one unveiled last Monday by a group of bipartisan...

BY: Erik Peterson      12/22/20

Policy update: New bipartisan COVID-19 relief bill and FY 2021 spending bill gain momentum

This Friday, December 18, 2020, is the new deadline for Congress to pass a FY 2021 spending bill (or another short-term continuing resolution) to ensure the federal government continues to operate. To meet that deadline, both House and Senate leadership are convening this week in an effort to build...

BY: Erik Peterson      12/16/20

Senate funding bills released with flat funding for afterschool

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BY: Jillian Luchner      11/12/20

Bipartisan 21st Century Community Learning Centers Coronavirus Relief Act of 2020 introduced in Senate, would provide $1.2B in additional funding

On October 26, 2020, Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Tina Smith (D-Minn.) introduced S. 4868, the bipartisan 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) Coronavirus Relief Act of 2020, which is designed to expand access to supervised learning for students through the remainder of the...

BY: Erik Peterson      10/27/20

Federal Policy Update: Status of FY21 Appropriations and Coronavirus Relief

With October knocking on the door and the 2020 federal fiscal year winding down, legislative activity in Congress has heated up again. In particular it is a good time for an update on the appropriations process for federal fiscal year 2021 (FY2021) as well as an update on the status of a possible...

BY: Erik Peterson      09/29/20

Federal Policy Update: House passes 21st CCLC Coronavirus Relief Act

Just after noon on Sep. 16, the House of Representatives unanimously approved HR 8162, the bipartisan 21st Century Community Learning Centers Coronavirus Relief Act of 2020. The legislation provides much needed flexibility for the current 2020-2021 school year, allowing local afterschool programs...

BY: Erik Peterson      09/16/20

Congress and the next COVID-19 relief bill – where do things stand?

As we move into the second half of August we wanted to give you an update on the status of Covid-19 relief legislation negotiations in Washington, DC. The hope was that by this time, with many school districts starting to return for the new school year, a new COVID-19 relief bill would have already...

BY: Erik Peterson      08/19/20

New Senate bill tackles education and child care needs resulting from COVID-19

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BY: Erik Peterson      07/14/20

FY21 Appropriations process kicks off in the House

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BY: Erik Peterson      07/08/20

President Biden proposes American Rescue Plan including education funding

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BY: Erik Peterson      01/20/21

President-elect Biden nominates Connecticut Education Commissioner Cardona for Sec. of Education

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BY: Erik Peterson      12/23/20

First glance: What a Biden-Harris administration may mean for afterschool

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BY: Jillian Luchner      11/19/20

Election 2020 – a first look at the results from an afterschool policy perspective

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BY: Erik Peterson      11/06/20

One week until the Virtual Afterschool for All Challenge: A policy and appropriations update

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BY: Erik Peterson      03/10/20

Primary season is here! Where do candidates stand on afterschool?

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BY: Erik Peterson      02/13/20

Trump administration proposes eliminating afterschool, again

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BY: Erik Peterson      02/10/20

FY2020 appropriations update: Afterschool funding increased!

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BY: Erik Peterson      12/17/19

Afterschool and the 2020 presidential candidates

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BY: Erik Peterson      07/26/19

House appropriators propose substantial increase to 21st CCLC afterschool funding

Update: On May 8, the full House Appropriations Committee voted to approve the FY2020 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education (LHHS) and Related Agencies Appropriations Act by a party line vote of 30 to 23, sending the bill on to the House floor. The approved bill included several changes...

BY: Erik Peterson      05/01/19

State tackles learning loss with new law on summer & afterschool STEAM engagement

With the federal government working hard to get much needed relief funds to states, including for education to help stem some of the harshest effects of COVID, states as well recognize their essential role in recovery. On February 9, Tennessee passed the Tennessee Learning Loss Remediation and...

BY: Jillian Luchner      02/18/21

Two new Community School bills introduced in Congress this fall

For community school adherents, school has always had a central function as a hub of integrated student supports. The COVID health emergency has not only impacted how, where, and when education is delivered but also reinforced the idea of schools as a conduit for children and families to other...

BY: Jillian Luchner      11/10/20

New brief released: State re-opening plans reveal importance of partnerships with afterschool across a broad range of goals

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BY: Jillian Luchner      09/17/20

How states are using CARES Act funding to support afterschool & summer learning

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BY: Erik Peterson      07/24/20

How federal government funding is supporting child care in the states

Economic recovery cannot happen without child care, including quality, comprehensive care for school-age children of working parents. If the concern has not already impacted you directly, you may have become aware from the news stories which keep flooding in. “Will Child Care Be There...

BY: Jillian Luchner      05/12/20

State flexibility supports 21st CCLC ability to adapt to COVID Emergency

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash. As governors, state agencies, and school districts across the U.S. grapple with school closure decisions, the afterschool programs that provide out-of-school time academic support and the child care working parents need are also finding their...

BY: Jillian Luchner      03/24/20

New York City Council considers move to universal afterschool

Today, less than half of New York City public schools offer free city funded afterschool programs. City Councilman Ben Kallos, joined by parents and afterschool advocates, aims to change that. Last week, the New York City Council held a hearing to discuss bill 1100 introduced by Councilman...

BY: Chandler Hall      01/30/20

Vermont’s governor calls for universal access to afterschool programs

In his State of the State address to the Vermont legislature on January 9, Vermont Gov. Phil Scott (R) outlined his 2020 legislative agenda, including a proposal to make K-12 afterschool programming more accessible to Vermonters through implementation of universal afterschool. In the speech, the...

BY: Erik Peterson      01/28/20

Afterschool policy 2019: State legislative round up

State legislatures have been busy this year envisioning new ways to support their constituents and respond to large cultural, social, and financial shifts. Most state budgets were signed by early summer and they, along with other legislative initiatives, show how states are investing in youth...

BY: Jillian Luchner      12/03/19

Fireman costumes to full-on careers: October is a big month to talk career and technical education

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BY: Jillian Luchner      09/30/19