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:
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.
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 Smithsonian, Providence 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.
Congratulations to the Rhode Island Afterschool Plus Alliance, the Maryland Out of School Time Network, OregonASK, 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.
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 email@example.com 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.
The Afterschool Alliance has been following the emergence of digital badges for almost a year now. More recently, we’ve joined with the MacArthur Foundation, Mozilla and HASTAC to dig deeper into the potential of digital badges in the out-of-school space.
Part of better understanding what digital badges can mean for afterschool is understand what the afterschool field knows about digital badges and the perceptions of digital badges.
That is why we want to hear from you. Take this short survey and help us better understand the afterschool field’s awareness of digital badges and perceptions of this emerging innovation.
If you’ve never heard of heard of digital badges, we want to know that. If you’ve worked with digital badges, we want to know that too.
Your responses will be incredibly helpful to shape and coordinate our work in the digital badge space.
Making learning relevant, incorporating workforce development into programming, emphasizing healthful eating and physical activity, providing a safe and supportive environment, and engaging parents are just a few of the key components of effective out-of-school-time programs highlighted in a new report by the D.C. Children and Youth Investment Trust Corporation.
“Building Bridges: Connecting Out-of-School Time to Classroom Success Among School-Age Black Males in the District of Columbia” takes a look at policies and practices afterschool programs can adopt to best support the success of young black males in D.C. The report demonstrates the need for targeted support for young black males in D.C., beginning with an overview of the data on black men and boys in the District of Columbia. This includes data on graduation and dropout rates, grade school retentions, disability diagnosis, suspensions, household structure, employment, and household income. For example, the report found that in Washington, D.C., the dropout rate for black males is 14 percent, compared to less than 2 percent for white males. Another sobering statistic is the wealth gap that has grown in D.C. In 1990, just less than 3 in 10 black children in D.C. were being raised in families living in poverty and approximately 7 in 10 white children were being raised in families in “comfortable homes”—or in families with an income more than five times the rate of poverty. In 2011, approximately 4 in 10 black children in D.C. were living in poverty, compared to 9 in 10 white children who were living in a comfortable home.
In New Britain, Conn., New Britain YWCA STRIVE is the only program in the area that provides academic enrichment, health and wellness programming, and positive youth development during the after school hours to middle school girls identified as at-risk. A program alumnus from YWCA STRIVE shares:
“Growing up in New Britain can be tough [sic.] there are many factors that can distract a young person and guide them through the wrong path. The transition from elementary school to middle school and middle school to high school can be rough on pre-teens and teens…The pressure to fit in for young people is very strong, especially for girls. During my middle school career, I found comfort in a wonderful program offered at the YWCA STRIVE…This program helped me blossom… STRIVE became my safe zone… STRIVE was more than a program. It was a sisterhood.”