If you have ever wondered what a successful data sharing partnership looks like, or wished that there was a resource available to help you make the case for data partnerships in afterschool, look no further. A new video released by the National League of Cities—in partnership with the Data Quality Campaign (DQC) and the Nashville After Zone Alliance (NAZA)—showcases the power of data in afterschool programming. This three-minute video, made possible with support from The Wallace Foundation, takes a look at the city of Nashville, TN and highlights the successful data sharing partnership between Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools and NAZA, a network of high-quality afterschool programming serving the city’s middle school students.
Adam Yockey, Northeast Zone Director of NAZA, summarizes the value of data sharing partnerships, stating, “I believe that the afterschool providers want to be seen as a partner and a support for what is going on in the school day. If you only get data at the end of the school year, you’ve lost an entire year that you could have been working intentionally with that student. It helps the afterschool providers focus more on what the students actually need instead of just a program that they offer.”
This video is a great example of why partnerships like the one in Nashville are so critical if we are serious about making sure that all students have the supports in place both in and out of school that will set them up for success. If you are interested in learning more about what steps can be taken to promote data sharing among partners, you can take a look at a blog I wrote earlier this summer on four policy priorities released by the DQC outlining how district leaders can take the initiative to make data work for students.
The third edition of the Journal of Expanded Learning Opportunities (JELO) has arrived! This spring issue features a conversation about quality programming in afterschool, an article on the role that social emotional learning can play to close the achievement and learning gaps, and an article focusing on the links between professional development and quality STEM learning experiences.
The JELO is an incredibly important resource for the afterschool field; it not only adds to the body of research on afterschool programs, but it makes the connection between research and practice for afterschool program providers and increases public awareness of the expansive work taking place in afterschool programs. In this issue, readers can:
- Review a researcher and practitioner dialogue on quality in afterschool with Carol McElvain, managing technical assistance consultant for the American Institutes for Research and Michael Funk, afterschool division director for the California Department of Education. This piece provides a valuable look at the topic of program quality from both a researcher’s and a practitioner’s perspective—asking each about the value of quality standards, the costs associated with running a quality program, recommendations on how to run a quality program, and more.
- Learn more about the relationship between professional development, staff beliefs, the quality of STEM learning activities and the impact on student outcomes. This research-based article digs into the impact that professional development in afterschool programs has not only on program staff, but on students in the program as well.
- Better understand how afterschool programs’ focus on social emotional learning can help support its students’ school day success.
There’s too much information in this issue for one blog post to do it justice! Stay tuned for future blog posts dedicated to the link between professional development and STEM learning experiences and promising practices connected to social emotional development.
Student data is a valuable resource for afterschool programs. It helps inform program providers about their students’ needs, the programming that will best support their students and the program’s impact on students’ progress. As important of a role that data play for afterschool programs to best meet the needs of their students, many programs face obstacles accessing their students’ data collected by schools due to privacy and sharing concerns.
Recognizing that data collection and data sharing are essential to ensure that all students receive a great education, the Data Quality Campaign (DQC) released four policy priorities to take quality data collection and data sharing from a vision to a reality. DQC’s fact sheet, Time to Act: District Actions to Make Data Work for Students, outlines how district leaders can take the initiative and make progress on this front, many of which encourage data sharing with partners, including afterschool programs.
Here are the four policy priorities to make data work for students:
- Measure what matters. This includes establishing a governance body that oversees the district’s data use and policies, as well as designing data systems that meet the district’s specific needs.
- Make data use possible. Establish a culture that understands the value data brings and provide the necessary support—such as policies, practices and trainings—to make sure that all stakeholders, including afterschool programs and parents, know how to use the data effectively.
- Be transparent and earn trust. Communicate regularly with the community to identify their needs and constantly talk to parents about the ways in which their child’s data is being protected. Engage all stakeholders in planning and governance activities.
- Guarantee access and protect privacy. Make certain that student data is kept private while allowing all stakeholders, including afterschool programs and parents, to access student data that is tailored to their needs.
Promoting policies that form stronger data sharing partnerships between schools and afterschool programs is a win-win for all parties involved. It’s a win for schools, whose partners will have greater information on how to support students; it’s a win for afterschool programs, who will be able to better serve their students; and, most importantly, it's a win for students, whose educational experience will be better tailored to their needs. Visit DCQ’s website to download the fact sheet or learn more about their new agenda launched last April that focuses on data sharing.
In addition to rain showers, April also brings two exciting new webinars to build on the most recent Afterschool Alliance research materials. We hope that you will tune in for one, or both!
The first webinar, Creating Year-Round Opportunities for Literacy, will occur on Wednesday, April 13 at 2:00 p.m. EST, and feature two programs included in the newly released issue brief, Taking a Year-Round Approach to Literacy—one of which is the 2016 Dollar General Afterschool Literacy Award Winner. If you are interested in learning more about the variety of ways programs are helping to build students’ reading, writing and critical thinking skills during the school year and summer months, this webinar is for you. Redhound Enrichment, an afterschool program located in Corbin, Kentucky, and Simpson Street Free Press, located in sites across Dane County, Wisconsin, will discuss their approach to integrate literacy into their programming, how they develop their students’ literacy skills, and the ways in which they create meaningful connections to literacy among their students.
The second webinar, Afterschool in Rural Communities: What You Need to Know, on Thursday, April 28 at 1:00 p.m. EST, follows the release of the Afterschool Alliance’s America After 3PM special report, The Growing Importance of Afterschool in Rural Communities. In addition to sharing key findings from the report on the state of afterschool in rural America, guest speakers on this webinar will share systems of support in place at the state level, promising practices and key strategies to address the challenges unique to afterschool programs in rural communities.
We also want to hear from you! If you have two minutes to spare, fill out this short, two question survey to let the speakers on this webinar know what topics would be most helpful. Help us tailor this webinar to fit your needs.
Additionally, check out our webinars page! Our webinar calendar for the month of April is jam-packed with great subject matter—covering our upcoming Afterschool for All Challenge and the Framework for K-12 Science Education, developed by the National Academies of Sciences.
|Executive Director of Redhound Enrichment Karen West receives the Dollar General Afterschool Literacy Award from Dollar General's Community Initiatives Administrator Lindsey Sublett|
We are thrilled to announce the winner of the 2016 Dollar General Afterschool Literacy Award and $10,000 prize: Redhound Enrichment afterschool program! The Corbin, Kentucky based afterschool program was recognized today at the National AfterSchool Association’s annual convention at the conclusion of the general session.
Redhound Enrichment stood out from more than 150 nominations for this year’s award through its holistic approach to learning and ability to find fun and engaging avenues to integrate literacy into its programming. Executive director of the program Karen West spoke about strategies Redhound Enrichment implements in a workshop during the convention, Creating Year-Round Literacy Opportunities.
In conjunction with the announcement of the award winner, the latest Dollar General afterschool literacy issue brief, Taking a Year-Round Approach to Literacy, was also released. Check out the issue brief to find out more about the award winning program, as well as learn the variety of ways programs across the country are taking advantage of after school hours and summer months to build students’ reading, writing and critical thinking skills.
Stay tuned for details about an upcoming webinar this April featuring programs highlighted in the issue brief who will discuss how they are helping develop their students’ reading and writing skills, as well as create meaningful connections to literacy.
Last week, we released our new America After 3PM report The Growing Importance of Afterschool Programs in Rural Communities, which examines the current state of afterschool in rural areas. The report covers everything from rural afterschool program participation and demand to how rural parents feel about their child’s afterschool program. While the 49-page report is packed full of data on rural afterschool, we also want to provide a quick and easy way to access the report’s topline numbers.
Visit the America After 3PM interactive dashboard to explore updated findings from the special report on rural communities. Curious about rural parents’ satisfaction with their child’s afterschool program? Interested in what STEM learning opportunities look like in rural afterschool programs? You can find answers to those questions, and many more, in the charts available on the rural community-specific dashboard.
The dashboard is easy to navigate, with the rural-specific charts separated into six sections:
- Demand: This includes information on the percentage of children in afterschool and the percentage of children who are not enrolled in a program, but would be if one were available to them.
- Benefits: This section focuses on the benefits and supports rural parents believe afterschool programs provide children.
- Support: The charts in this section include rural parents’ support for public funding of afterschool programs, as well as the supports programs provide for working parents.
- Summer: General information on summer learning in rural communities can be found in this section.
- Health & Wellness: The charts in this section include information on physical activity opportunities and the snacks and/or meals offered in programs.
- STEM: This section covers rural parents’ opinions on STEM learning in afterschool.
We hope that the dashboard provides a useful resource to help share the story of why afterschool programs in rural communities is so important!
It’s true that a picture can be worth a thousand words. Just take a look at our new set of infographics! These infographics illustrate the afterschool experience for children living in rural communities, highlighting the opportunities afterschool programs offer, as well as the challenges afterschool program providers face to meet community demand for programs. The infographics translate key takeaways from the latest America After 3PM special report, The Growing Importance of Afterschool in Rural Communities, the first America After 3PM report focused solely on afterschool and rural communities.
The new infographics are a quick and easy way for you to share central findings from the report. They also help bring numbers from the report—what some think of as dry and unexciting—to life. For instance, this infographic depicts the high demand for afterschool programs in rural communities, where for every one child in an afterschool program, three more are waiting to get in.
Rural parent satisfaction with their child’s afterschool program—from academic enrichment to physical activity and healthy snack offerings—is also a focus of the infographic series, with 85 percent of rural parents reporting satisfaction with their child’s afterschool program overall. Given the overwhelming majority of rural parents satisfied with afterschool, it is of little surprise that parents living in rural communities are in favor of public funding for afterschool and summer learning programs. The third infographic in this series concentrating on rural America illustrates the overwhelming support among rural parents regarding funding for afterschool and summer learning.
We hope that these infographics can serve a useful tool to help raise awareness of the need for afterschool programs in rural communities and encourage you to post, tweet, Instagram or pin any or all of them!
How many children in rural communities participate in an afterschool program? Are there any rural children who aren’t in a program, but would like to be? What do parents in rural communities think about afterschool in their area? These are just a sampling of the many questions answered in our new America After 3PM special report, The Growing Importance of Afterschool in Rural Communities.
If you've ever wondered about the state of afterschool in rural communities, this report allows you to learn about participation in afterschool programs and the unmet demand for programs, the challenges parents face when it comes to enrolling their child in an afterschool program, rural parents’ perceptions of afterschool programs, and the afterschool program activities and supports offered in rural communities.
This special report, made possible by the generous support of John Deere, was released at Foundations’ Beyond School Hours XIX national conference in Dallas, Texas. It is the first time we have comprehensively examined rural findings from America After 3PM to help give a complete look at afterschool in rural communities. The report also serves to examine the ways programs are opening new opportunities in these often underserved and overlooked communities, and what more can be done to make certain that all children—regardless of geographic location—are given the array of supports they need to achieve their full potential.
Key findings from the report include:
- The number of rural children who are taking part in afterschool programs continues to grow. In 2014, 13 percent of children in rural communities—approximately 1.2 million children—participated in an afterschool program, an increase from 11 percent in 2009.
- However, a large number of rural children are still unable to participate in afterschool and summer learning programs. In 2014, 3.1 million rural children not currently in an afterschool program would be enrolled in a program if one were available to them.
- In rural communities, the overall demand for afterschool programs among minority and low-income families is particularly strong. 51 percent of rural Hispanic children and 45 percent of rural African-American children who are not in a program, would be enrolled if a program were available to them, compared to 37 percent of rural White children. Among rural children in low-income families, 44 percent who are not in a program would be enrolled in one if a program were available to them, compared to 34 percent of rural children in higher-income families.