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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
NOV
10

IN THE FIELD
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Guest Blog: Inclusive Out-of-School Time

By Nikki Yamashiro

This blog post was originally published on the National Center on Health, Physical Activity and Disability’s (NCHPAD) blog, which promotes information sharing around increased participation in physical activity among people of all abilities.  Nora Niedzielski-Eichner, executive director of the New York State Afterschool Network (NYSAN), is a contributing author to this blog post and works to raise the profile of the OST field in New York and strengthen OST programs across the state, including promoting the importance of inclusion of youth with disabilities in afterschool, expanded learning, and out-of-school time opportunities.  For additional information regarding afterschool programs providing an inclusive environment where students of all abilities can learn and grow side-by-side, read “Afterschool Supporting Students with Disabilities and Other Special Needs,” a joint issue brief by MetLife Foundation and the Afterschool Alliance.

The purpose of this article is to promote inclusion of youth with disabilities in after-school, expanded learning, and out-of-school time programs. For the purposes of this article, the term “include” and “inclusion” embodies the values, policies, and practices that support all youth, those both with and without disabilities, to participate in a broad range of out-of-school time activities.

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learn more about: America After 3PM Equity Guest Blog Issue Briefs State Networks
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OCT
31

RESEARCH
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Are we an opportunity nation?

By Nikki Yamashiro

Yesterday I tuned into a webinar hosted by Opportunity Nation on their 2014 Opportunity Index (my colleague wrote a blog post last week that offers a more in-depth description of the Opportunity Index).  The primary purpose of the webinar was to take us through what indicators were used to calculate the Opportunity Index, why these indicators were selected and how to use the index overall in our own work.  What struck me the most while they were describing each indicator is that while overall opportunity in America has improved since they first conducted their study in 2011, there are still significant areas of the country where an individual’s chance of economic mobility is severely limited by the conditions of opportunity in their community.  For example, a child growing up in Fayette County, Ga., has an opportunity grade of B and a child growing up in Cecil County, Md., has an opportunity grade of C when looking at the two counties’ poverty rate, the percentage of adults with an associate’s degree or higher, the preschool enrollment rate and the percentage of disconnected youth.

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learn more about: Equity
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OCT
16

FUNDING
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Brand new! America After 3PM interactive dashboard

By Nikki Yamashiro

Releasing our findings from America After 3PM is incredibly exciting, but one of the new features that we’ve launched this time around that I’m especially thrilled about is our interactive Web dashboard.  The dashboard makes all of the valuable America After 3PM data come to life and I think it’s a useful tool to see the state of afterschool across the country.  
 
There are national maps that help you see how each state, plus the District of Columbia, stacks up when it comes to afterschool program participation, demand for afterschool programs, satisfaction with afterschool programs, public support for afterschool programs, and much, much more.   
You also have the ability to take a closer look at all of the information at the state-level.  Interested in finding out how many children are participating in an afterschool program in Vermont?  Want to know how parents in Texas feel about their kid’s afterschool program?  Need the number of children in Oregon who would be enrolled in an afterschool program if one were available to them?  Those answers, as well as answers to a number of other questions you might have about afterschool programs, are easy to find on our dashboard.   
Happy exploring! 
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learn more about: America After 3PM Education Reform Inside the Afterschool Alliance Media Outreach State Policy
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OCT
16

RESEARCH
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Which states made the top 10 list for afterschool?

By Nikki Yamashiro

A huge congratulations to California, D.C., Florida, Vermont, Massachusetts, Arizona, Oregon, Nebraska, Tennessee and Hawaii for making America After 3PM’s “Top 10 States for Afterschool”! 
 
These states made the list because they have some combination of strong afterschool participation rates, high parent satisfaction with their child’s afterschool program, and low rates of children who are alone and unsupervised after school.  For example, California, which secured the number one spot, has an afterschool program participation rate of 25 percent, third highest in the nation, and a participation rate higher than the national average of 18 percent.  America After 3PM also found that the Golden State has strong parent satisfaction when it comes to their child’s afterschool program.  Nine in 10 California parents are satisfied with their child’s afterschool program and 92 percent are satisfied with the program’s quality of care.  
 
There are a handful of familiar states that were on the top 10 list from our 2009 edition of America After 3PM, but there are also a few newcomers to list, including Washington, D.C.  This is the first time in the three rounds of America After 3PM that we were able to report on the District of Columbia.  
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learn more about: America After 3PM Education Reform Media Outreach State Networks State Policy
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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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