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Snacks by Nikki Yamashiro
FEB
2

RESEARCH
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A second look at "Parenting in America"

By Nikki Yamashiro

Last month, we wrote a blog highlighting key findings from the Pew Research Center’s report, Parenting in America: Outlook, worries, aspirations are strongly linked to financial situation. Due to the enormous amount of questions asked in the Pew survey and the variety of demographic breakdowns covered in the 100-plus report, we weren’t able to dive deep into each and every one of the findings that stood out to us. Which is why we decided to go back, take a second look at the report, and this time take parents’ responses related to afterschool in Pew’s survey and compare them to parents’ responses from America After 3PM, our national household survey examining how children spend the hours after school.

A key takeaway from Pew’s report that I'd like to spend a little more time on are the socioeconomic and racial gaps that arise, especially when looking at parents’ ability to find afterschool opportunities for their children. The report found that for some parents—especially lower-income families and African-American parents—locating affordable, high-quality afterschool activities and programs in their community is challenging. More than half of families making less than $30,000 annually (52 percent) report that it is hard to find affordable, high-quality afterschool programs and activities. This is 23 percentage points higher than families with an annual income of over $75,000. African-American parents are even more likely to report difficulties. Fifty-six percent of African-American parents report that it is hard to find afterschool programs and activities. This is also higher than both White and Hispanic parents (35 percent and 38 percent, respectively). 

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learn more about: Working Families
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JAN
11

RESEARCH
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New resource: Interactive community mapping tool

By Nikki Yamashiro

A new online mapping tool illustrates the systems, services and connections that unite to form a workforce that supports young children and their families. The map draws from the report, “Transforming the Workforce for Children Birth Through Age 8: A Unifying Foundation,” released last year by the Institute of Medicine and National Research Council, which found that, although the youth development workforce holds shared objectives to improve children’s wellbeing, the broad diversity of involved stakeholders poses challenges to improving the workforce as a whole.

The map confirms the complexity of the youth development landscape, revealing the large number of stakeholders from the education, health care and social services sectors—including afterschool—involved in a child’s early development. Based on a key finding from the 2015 report that “the relevant professional roles, systems and services are diverse and often decentralized,” one goal of the map is to show the various ways stakeholders in child development and early learning can coordinate their efforts and forge collaborations with one another. 

The interactive map also allows you to use the existing structure as a template for new visualizations. The map also allows you to modify it and incorporate your local resources to reflect what is available in your community. If you are working on mapping out the services or policies that affect youth development in your community, I hope that you will find this tool useful!

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learn more about: Youth Development Community Partners
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NOV
2

IN THE FIELD
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Congratulations to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Wyoming - Glenrock Branch!

By Nikki Yamashiro

The winner of a $200 Amazon gift card from the Afterschool Alliance is the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Wyoming - Glenrock Branch! The program was randomly selected from the more than 650 survey responses we received from rural afterschool program providers across the country. Our profound thanks to the program providers who took time out of their busy schedules to help us better understand the challenges facing rural afterschool programs. As we begin reviewing the responses we received, we appreciate the thoughtfulness and detail provided by many program staff.

To help you get to know our winner, we asked branch director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Wyoming Jacque Stoldt to share this brief blog post:

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Wyoming - Glenrock Branch is off to a great start this school year! There are several programs running to keep our kids engaged after school and give them hands-on chances to learn exciting topics. Our “SMART Moves” program teaches our students how and when to say "no," decision-making skills, and how to develop assertiveness. The “Be Somebody” program teaches our students how to exhibit core values that help them become the best they can be. Our “Power Hour” program gives students a chance to get homework help and provides a quiet place to "chill" and engage in educational activities and games. We have a great learning center where kids can choose books to read if they don't have their own. Along with these core programs, we offer daily art and sports activities. We also provide programming in our tech lab each week, thanks in large part because we rent our operating space from our local recreation center. 

Our club is located in a very unique location. We are in a small town of only about 2,500 people and we generally see about 50-60 students every day. As the only afterschool program in our town, parents rely heavily on the resources we provide to keep their children safe and provide a quality, educational experience. Our club strives to give every child the opportunity to be the best they can be!  

The Amazon gift card that we won will help us fulfill our goal of purchasing sports equipment we desperately need, as well as materials for Power Hour and homework supplies. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to give our students even more!

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OCT
27

RESEARCH
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Learn how to use data to improve afterschool programs during Connected Educator Month

By Nikki Yamashiro

As a part of Connected Educator Month—an initiative to connect millions of educators and education stakeholders through professional learning opportunities—the Beyond the Bell Service Line at American Institutes for Research (AIR) is hosting a series of events focused on how to build quality in afterschool and summer learning programs. Last week, AIR presented the webinar, “How to Use Data to Improve Your Program or Practice,” as the fourth event in their “Building Quality Beyond the Bell” series. 

The incredibly informative webinar featured researchers from AIR, as well as Ann Durham, director of quality initiatives at the Providence After School Alliance (PASA) and Debra Appleton, program supervisor with Washington State’s Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction. The webinar was bursting with valuable insights and materials for the afterschool field on how to best implement ongoing quality improvement cycles, which programs can use to build on their existing strengths and continuously improve their practices.

The webinar provided attendees with a diverse mix of conceptual and practical information—including an overview of the foundations a program should have in place before diving into evaluation, and real world examples of how programs have applied their data to better themselves.

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learn more about: Digital Learning Events and Briefings School Improvement Community Partners
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SEP
8

RESEARCH
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Afterschool programs stepping up to provide the building blocks for student success

By Nikki Yamashiro

Although it may still feel like summer here in Washington, D.C.—with temperatures reaching a scorching 93 degrees today—the passing of Labor Day weekend signals the unofficial end of the summer and for many kids across the country, time to head back to school and back to afterschool. To mark the back to afterschool season, the Afterschool Alliance released a brand new infographic illustrating the essential role quality afterschool programs play to support the growth and development of its students by building strong communication skills, inspiring learning and helping improve academic performance.

A number of research studies and reports—including findings from America After 3PM—were synthesized to create this single infographic that is meant to show that both academics and social-emotional learning are integral components to a successful youth development effort. This infographic allows readers to visualize how the developmental skills that afterschool programs help foster, such as the ability to understand and negotiate social situations and control one’s actions and reactions, are intrinsically linked to students’ success in school and out. A recent report by the Wallace Foundation, “Foundations for Young Adult Success,” delves in greater detail into the developmental skills students need to excel and is an excellent read if you are interested in learning more about the three factors they identified as key to success in life—agency, integrated identity and competencies—and the four foundational components that these three factors rest upon—self-regulation, knowledge and skills, mindsets and values.

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learn more about: Youth Development
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AUG
26

IN THE FIELD
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Deadline extended! Nominate a program for the Dollar General Afterschool Literacy Award by Sept. 6!

By Nikki Yamashiro

If you haven’t heard about the Dollar General Afterschool Literacy Award yet, you’re in luck! If you know of an afterschool program that is providing year-round support, has a strong literacy focus and is helping improve its students’ reading, writing and critical thinking skills, you now have until Sept. 6 to nominate it for a chance to win a $10,000 award. A steady stream of nominations has been rolling in and we can’t wait to see what other afterschool programs we’ll find out about over the course of the next week and a half.

Together with the Dollar General Literacy Foundation, we are excited to hear from the field about the work taking place around building students’ literacy skills and to recognize one program with a $10,000 award. This is a great opportunity to showcase the achievements and impact of your program or of a program with which you are familiar.

We encourage nominators to download a copy of the nomination form and review the questions prior to filling out and submitting the form online. Be sure to visit our awards page to learn more about the eligibility requirements.

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learn more about: Competition Funding Opportunity Literacy
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JUL
23

IN THE FIELD
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It's back! Nominate a program today for the Dollar General Afterschool Literacy Award

By Nikki Yamashiro

For the second year in a row, the Dollar General Literacy Foundation and the Afterschool Alliance are thrilled to present the Dollar General Afterschool Literacy Award. We need your help to find the next Dollar General Afterschool Literacy Award winner that will receive $10,000 for their program, be recognized in a joint Dollar General Literacy Foundation and Afterschool Alliance issue brief, and be featured in upcoming webinars and national conferences.  

This year we are searching for afterschool programs that provide year-round support to help improve their students’ reading, writing and critical thinking skills. In a departure from last year’s eligibility requirements, we are opening up the award to afterschool programs that serve students of any age, including elementary, middle and high school students.

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learn more about: Funding Opportunity Literacy
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JUL
14

IN THE FIELD
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Deadline extended: One more week to answer a short survey and a chance to win a $200 prize!

By Nikki Yamashiro

Photo via Cumberland County 4H.

A huge thank you to all of the rural afterschool program providers who have completed our survey and shared with us the unique opportunities and challenges they face in their rural afterschool programs. The response to the survey has been so great—with responses from afterschool programs in nearly all 50 states—that we don’t want to stop just yet. 

We have extended the deadline for the survey by one week. You now have until Wednesday, July 22 at 11:59 p.m. EDT to complete a short survey that will help us better understand the needs of rural afterschool program providers and that will give you a shot at winning a $200 Amazon gift card. To be eligible for the drawing for the $200 Amazon gift card, respondents must:

  • Be a rural afterschool program provider and
  • Complete the full survey.

Again, please one survey response per afterschool program.

It will take less than 10 minutes of your time to let us know about the great work you are doing for the children and families in your community and what supports are necessary for your program to better meet the needs of your community.

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learn more about: Rural
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