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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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Snacks by Nikki Yamashiro
SEP
30

RESEARCH
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Just released - Afterschool in Action: Promoting Middle School Success Through Innovative Afterschool Programs

By Nikki Yamashiro

The Afterschool Alliance and MetLife Foundation are proud to release “Afterschool in Action: Promoting Middle School Success Through Innovative Afterschool Programs.”  Released last week at the 21st Century Community Learning Centers Multi-State Conference in Louisville, Ky., this year’s compendium takes a reflective look at the six rounds of the MetLife Foundation Afterschool Innovator Awards; features an in-depth profile on each of the five most recent MetLife Foundation Afterschool Innovator Award winners, highlighting each program’s mission and goals, activities, history, evolution and expansion; and includes MetLife Foundation issue briefs covering the topics of the Common Core State Standards, supporting students with disabilities and other special needs, keeping kids safe and supported in the hours after school, and using data to better serve students.

It’s inspiring to view the MetLife Foundation Afterschool Innovator Awards in its entirety—where close to 100 afterschool programs across 30 states and more than 60 cities have been highlighted for their work supporting middle school students,  their families and their community.  At the Afterschool Alliance, we know that this is a small sampling of the thousands of afterschool programs across the county that are providing integral supports to kids of all ages—exciting kids about learning, providing healthful snacks and meals, encouraging students to explore their interests and discover new skills, and providing supportive mentors. 

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learn more about: Issue Briefs MetLife Innovator Awards
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AUG
8

FUNDING
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One week left! Nominate a program today for the Dollar General Afterschool Literacy Award

By Nikki Yamashiro

You still have one more week to nominate an afterschool program for the Dollar General Afterschool Literacy Award and a chance to win $10,000.  We're looking for afterschool programs that are excelling at working with middle school students on their literacy skills, which includes improving their reading skills, developing their writing skills, and helping them with their critical thinking and comprehension skills.

The call for nominations closes next Friday, Aug. 15 at 11:59 p.m. ETNominate a program today!

Detailed instructions are on the online nomination form here.

The Dollar General Afterschool Literacy Award winner will be announced at the Afterschool for All Challenge in March 2015, as well as be featured in an Afterschool Alliance and Dollar General Literacy Foundation issue brief. 

We’re excited to learn more about the great work taking place in afterschool programs across the U.S.  Let us hear from you! 

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learn more about: Funding Opportunity Inside the Afterschool Alliance Literacy
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AUG
5

RESEARCH
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New MetLife Foundation issue brief: Afterschool Programs Using Data to Better Serve Students

By Nikki Yamashiro

FUSE, an afterschool program in Chicago, Illinois, uses the student participation information they’ve collected—through their Web platform, in-person observations, video observations and student surveys—to determine what activities are most appealing to their students, why they sustain student interest, and then designs new activities that can better support the development and continuation of students’ learning pathways.

BUILD, a 2014 MetLife Foundation Afterschool Innovator Award winner, developed a new program aimed at addressing their students’ mental health, physical health and overall wellness after they discovered through program data that 10 percent of their students identified as LGBTQ and 40 percent were unsure if they had health insurance. 

These are just a few examples of afterschool programs that are using data to improve programming and are featured in the final issue brief of our latest MetLife Foundation issue brief series. “Looking at the Data: Afterschool Programs Using Data to Better Serve Students” was released today at the National Summit on Authentic Youth Engagement in Chicago, where our Field Outreach Manager Alexis Steines and Dr. Roslind Blasingame-Buford, executive director of BUILD, spoke about how afterschool programs can engage youth by connecting them to a network of supports.

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learn more about: Evaluations Issue Briefs MetLife Innovator Awards
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JUL
21

RESEARCH
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Just released: Report on the effects of increased learning time

By Nikki Yamashiro

A new report, released by the Department of Education and written by the Regional Educational Laboratory Appalachia, examined the impact afterschool, before-school and summer learning programs have on their students’ academic achievement and socio-emotional development.  The report, “The effects of increased learning time on student academic and nonacademic outcomes: Findings from a meta-analytic review,” found that out-of-school-time programs, as well as full-day kindergarten programs, can have a positive effect on student participants, such as improving students’ academic motivation, self-confidence and self-management.  Effects did vary by program and type of instruction, and the authors of the report conclude that the elements of a program—such as program instruction and focus, the types of students targeted, and staff—have an impact on student outcomes. 

Authors of this report reviewed more than 7,000 studies, and out of the 7,000 identified 30 studies to analyze, with the goal of helping schools and school districts determine the types and features of afterschool programs best suited to their needs.  After finding that out-of-school-time programs had mixed effects on student outcomes, researchers concluded:

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learn more about: Department of Education Education Reform Evaluations Sustainability Youth Development
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JUL
8

FUNDING
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New $150,000 award opportunity: The Trust Challenge

By Nikki Yamashiro

The Humanities, Arts, Science and Technology Alliance and Collaboratory (HASTAC) and the MacArthur Foundation have announced their fifth Digital Media and Learning Competition—the Trust Challenge: Building Trust in Connected Learning Environments.  The Trust Challenge will award a total of $1.2 million—in $10,000 to $150,000 year-long development grants—to institutions and organizations that look to answer questions around trust, privacy, safety and learning in an open online world.  Proposals will address questions such as:

  • How can learners exercise control over who sees and uses their data?
  • What tools do they need in order to navigate, collaborate and learn online with confidence?
  • What solutions will foster greater civility and respect in online learning environments?
  • How can open technical standards create more opportunities to share and collaborate online in a spirit of trust?

Applications will be accepted Sept. 3 to Nov. 3, 2014.

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learn more about: Digital Learning Funding Opportunity Science Arts
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JUN
30

IN THE FIELD
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Guest blog: Statewide afterschool networks building badge ecosystems

By Nikki Yamashiro

Ellie Mitchell is director of the Maryland Out of School Time Network (MOST), a statewide youth development organization dedicated to more and better opportunities in the out of school hours for all of Maryland’s young people.

 

The afterschool field has long embraced the idea that learning happens all the time and in many different settings and environments.  We constantly seek new ways to capture, share, encourage and reward the learning that happens outside of the school day and school year.  The growing Open Digital Badges movement offers an innovative, technology-based tool to make visible the learning and skill development happening in afterschool and summer programs.  The SmithsonianProvidence After School Alliance and the Chicago Summer of Learning provide excellent pioneering examples of how to use digital badges for engagement and recognition with young people in the out-of-school-time space. 

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learn more about: Digital Learning Guest Blog State Networks
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JUN
30

FUNDING
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New mini-grants are supporting digital badges in five states

By Nikki Yamashiro

Congratulations to the Rhode Island Afterschool Plus Alliance, the Maryland Out of School Time NetworkOregonASK, the Michigan After-School Partnership and the Ohio Afterschool Network for being awarded mini-grants of $10,000 to pilot digital badge projects in their states! 

Over the course of the next year, these five statewide afterschool networks will pilot new badge systems to offer digital badges to youth in afterschool and summer programs and/or offer digital badges to afterschool professionals.  

At the Afterschool Alliance, every day we hear stories of the range of activities and learning experiences students participating in afterschool programs are exposed to.  For instance, hands-on activities—such as creating and testing computer simulations of how a disease might spread; learning about health and wellness, as well as environmental science, through the cultivation of a community vegetable garden; and developing leadership skills through group projects that focus on collaboration and effective communication.  We also continuously review research demonstrating the multitude of positive outcomes associated with regular participation in quality afterschool programs. 

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learn more about: Digital Learning Inside the Afterschool Alliance State Networks
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JUN
12

FUNDING
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New $10,000 award opportunity: The Dollar General Afterschool Literacy Award!

By Nikki Yamashiro

We're thrilled to announce that we have partnered with the Dollar General Literacy Foundation to offer the first ever Dollar General Afterschool Literacy Award.  We need your help to find exceptional afterschool programs that are providing strong literacy support to middle schoolers—helping them to develop their reading, writing and critical thinking skills.  The winning afterschool program will be awarded $10,000 and recognized at the Afterschool Alliance’s national Afterschool for All Challenge.  

Nominate a program today!  Or, nominate your own program today!  We also encourage afterschool program directors, staff, volunteers and students to nominate their own program.

The Dollar General Afterschool Literacy Award is a great opportunity to highlight the critical work taking place outside of the school day to ensure that middle school students have the necessary support and guidance to build the literacy skills that will help them succeed both in and out of school. 

The deadline for nominations is Aug. 15

The online nomination form has more detailed instructions, but feel free to email nyamashiro@afterschoolalliance.org to answer any questions you may have about this process.

Good luck and we look forward to learn more about the valuable work to strengthen students’ literacy skills that is taking place in afterschool programs across the country.

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learn more about: Competition Funding Opportunity Inside the Afterschool Alliance Literacy
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