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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
MAR
19

RESEARCH
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New afterschool infographic: Helping kids get healthy and stay healthy

By Nikki Yamashiro

To complement last week’s release of Afterschool Alliance’s America After 3PM special report, “Kids on the Move: Afterschool Programs Promoting Healthy Eating and Physical Activity,” and in conjunction with our participation in MomsRising’s #WellnessWed TweetChat yesterday, we just released a brand new infographic that illustrates the important role that afterschool programs play to keep kids healthy and active during the after school hours.  Based on responses from our national household survey, this infographic shows that parents want healthy options for their children after school, and among parents who have a child in an afterschool program that offers healthy foods or opportunities for physical activity, satisfaction is high.

This infographic—the third in our series of afterschool infographics—is another simple, but powerfully engaging way to make the case of the importance of afterschool programs. 

Help us spread the word about why we need afterschool programs and post, tweet or pin this!

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MAR
13

RESEARCH
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What does health and wellness in afterschool look like in your state?

By Nikki Yamashiro

Thanks to new state maps on our interactive Web dashboard, the answers to this question are right at your fingertips.  Building off of the recent release of our America After 3PM special report, “Kids on the Move: Afterschool Programs Promoting Healthy Eating and Physical Activity,” the updated dashboard gives you a state-level look at a number of health and wellness findings, including the role parents believe afterschool programs should play providing healthy foods and keeping kids active and how afterschool programs are faring in meeting the needs of their students and families in these areas.

Color-coded maps, as well as bar graphs, make it easy to see how parents in Montana feel about afterschool programs providing healthy foods compared with parents in Missouri.  It turns out 3 in 4 parents in both states agree that afterschool programs should provide healthy foods. 

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learn more about: America After 3PM Health and Wellness Nutrition
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MAR
12

RESEARCH
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And the Dollar General Afterschool Literacy Award winner is...

By Nikki Yamashiro

Congratulations to New American Pathways’ Bright Futures Afterschool Program, our first Dollar General Afterschool Literacy Award winner!  The Afterschool Alliance and the Dollar General Literacy Foundation recognized Bright Futures yesterday morning at the joint National AfterSchool Association (NAA) annual convention and Afterschool Alliance Afterschool for All Challenge.

Jackson Routh, community initiatives manager at the Dollar General Literacy Foundation, shared with the audience a moving story of Dollar General’s co-founder, J.L. Turner, who had to drop out of school in the third grade due to his father’s passing, leaving school without the ability to read.  Turner went on to successfully establish Dollar General, but recognizing that all children are not afforded equal educational opportunities, the Dollar General Literacy Foundation was created to ensure that every individual has the foundational skills to succeed in school and career and supports literacy building efforts across the country.

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learn more about: Events and Briefings Literacy
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JAN
22

RESEARCH
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Afterschool programs inspiring students with a connected learning approach

By Nikki Yamashiro

Today, afterschool programs are providing their students a host of learning opportunities—from designing websites to writing poetry to gardening, he list goes on and on.  But what many afterschool programs share is the way in which they approach creating learning opportunities for their students—finding new ways for students to take part in activities that are relevant to them, while building academic and workplace skills and knowledge.  Afterschool programs have been among the pioneers in applying a connected learning approach—creating a learning environment for students that builds on their interests; introduces them to new passions; provides mentors and a supportive peer network; and links this engagement to academics, careers and civic participation. 

Our new report, “Afterschool Programs: Inspiring Students with a Connected Learning Approach,” discusses the role afterschool programs play in the ecology of learning, where programs can help bridge the divides that exist in terms of access to additional learning opportunities, access to caring mentors, and access to resources and peer networks that can excite young people about the acquisition of knowledge.  The report also dives into connected learning, exploring this educational approach that is the intentional linkage of ones’ interests, peer groups and academics, and how it capitalizes on the benefits of all three areas to create a learning experience that is both powerful and enduring. 

Included in the report are examples of afterschool programs that are offering connected learning opportunities that join together their students’ interests, peer networks and academics, as well as key takeaways from programs.  For example, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, students at Createch Studio—a partnership between the St. Paul Public Library and the St. Paul Parks and Recreation Department—are able to help design the program’s space, can take part in a youth advisory council and provide input on activities offered at the program.  Students can take part in a variety of activities—such as videography, dance, design and photography—where they have the ability to create, remix and share their work.

If you’re interested in learning more about connected learning, be sure to take a look at the “Resources” section at the end of the report that includes information on networks for educators, additional reports and websites focused on connected learning.

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JAN
20

RESEARCH
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New report: Findings on expanded learning time in four states

By Nikki Yamashiro

Last week, the Center on Education Policy (CEP), based at George Washington University’s Graduate School of Education and Human Development, released “Expanded Learning Time: A Summary of Findings from Case Studies in Four States,” a report examining the strategies being used by schools and school districts to expand learning time, as well as the impact, challenges and successes of expanded learning time (ELT) initiatives.  While the report includes a number of insights regarding what ELT looks like at various sites and how schools and districts have implemented ELT, a central takeaway of the report is that ELT is just one way schools can help improve student achievement.  Authors of the study, as well as education leaders interviewed for the study, agree that although ELT can have a positive effect on student achievement in school if it is a part of school improvement efforts, it should be one of an assortment of strategies to improve student achievement. 

The report focuses on 17 low-performing schools within 11 school districts that have implemented expanded learning time.  The four states in which the school districts are located—Connecticut, Colorado, Oregon, and Virginia—have been granted Elementary and Secondary Education (ESEA) waivers, which means that they have greater flexibility on how to use certain federal funding streams for increased learning time, and a majority of the schools either received School Improvement Grant (SIG) funding or were identified as a “priority” school under ESEA waivers.  The report’s authors conducted site visits of all 11 school districts and a majority of the schools, interviewing close to 50 education leaders, including education officials, district leaders and school principals.  Below are key findings from the report:

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learn more about: Extended Day
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JAN
15

RESEARCH
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Finding afterschool data is as easy as 1, 2, 3

By Nikki Yamashiro

An interactive data dashboard was one of the exciting new features that we released last October in conjunction with our report, “America After 3PM: Afterschool Programs in Demand.”  The dashboard includes a decade of data that highlights the trends of afterschool program participation, the demand for afterschool programs, the supports provided by afterschool programs and parent satisfaction with these supports, and what parents have to say about the benefits of programs for their child and family. 

There is a wealth of information on our dashboard, and I know it can be a bit overwhelming to get started, so I’ve come up with these three simple steps to help:

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learn more about: America After 3PM
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DEC
16

RESEARCH
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Making the case for afterschool using America After 3PM

By Nikki Yamashiro

To make a convincing argument, you need two essential components.  The first is a compelling story.  In the afterschool field, there is no shortage of compelling stories about the power of afterschool programs and their ability to keep kids safe, inspire learning and support working parents.  The second are data to support and substantiate your point.  This is where America After 3PM—our recently released national household survey on afterschool program participation and demand for afterschool programs—comes in.   

Last week, we hosted a webinar that focused on the variety of ways afterschool program providers, parents, students and advocates can use the recently released America After 3PM data to make the case for afterschool.  If you missed the webinar, you can still watch the recording or take a look at the PowerPoint presentation

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learn more about: Advocacy America After 3PM Media Outreach State Policy
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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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