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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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SEP
18
2017

IN THE FIELD
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Afterschool Spotlight: Michigan Engineering Zone

By Marco Ornelas

As the home of the American auto industry and birthplace of Motown, Detroit has always been a hub for American ingenuity and creativity. But in 2013, Detroit became the largest American city to declare bankruptcy after decades of economic. The city officially exited bankruptcy in 2014 following a debt restructuring plan, but many feel that the work to get the city back on track has just begun.

Still, the transformation that’s begun in the heart of downtown Detroit, which city leaders and residents are working to channel into the outer neighborhoods, signals hope. The residents of Detroit have worked hard to fight widespread economic hardships and earned their home the nickname “Renaissance City.”

What is catalyzing the economic revival of this city? Efforts like the University of Michigan’s Michigan Engineering Zone (MEZ) are definitely a helping hand in restarting the economic engine.

SEP
15
2017

IN THE FIELD
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Guest blog: Standing up for immigrant kids

By Guest Blogger

By Sil Ganzó, executive director of ourBRIDGE for KIDS

Based in Charlotte, North Carolina, ourBRIDGE for KIDS is an afterschool program focused on helping newly-arrived and first-generation American children achieve academic success and integration into the community through innovative instructional methods and a celebration of cultural diversity. Our students represent more than 20 cultures from Southeast Asia, Africa, Middle East and Latin America.

In my role as executive director, I often have the opportunity to present our work to representatives of various corporations and foundations and meet potential advocates, volunteers, and donors who will further our mission of creating a community that embraces refugees and immigrants. The questions, feedback, and constant surge of ideas improves our program and makes my job truly exciting, and I love it. I like to think of myself as a fearless, outspoken advocate, but recently this notion was put up to the test.

SEP
13
2017

POLICY
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Diverse voices gather on Capitol Hill to testify for afterschool

By Jillian Luchner

On September 12, 2017 the Senate Afterschool Caucus led by Senators Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Franken (D-Minn.) hosted a “Back to Afterschool” briefing highlighting a diverse panel of experts from the military, health, education, government, and philanthropic sectors. Each speaker attested to the value of afterschool and summer programs from their unique vantage point and the need for a combination of federal, state, and local support.

Afterschool Alliance Executive Director Jodi Grant opened the panel by noting that the research on the positive impacts of afterschool programs is clear, and programs across the country are making a huge difference for students and families.

“The effectiveness of high quality afterschool and summer programs,” Grant stated, “should not be in question. Support for these programs runs wide and deep.”

SEP
11
2017

IN THE FIELD
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How afterschool can help Hurricane Harvey relief

By Guest Blogger

By Heidi Ham, Vice Presidenct, Programs and Strategy at the National AfterSchool Association. This article was original published on September 5, 2017 on the National AfterSchool Association's website.

It's back to school (and afterschool) for most of the United States, but in Texas, Hurricane Harvey has shuttered hundreds of school districts.

According to the Texas Education Agency (TEA), Hurricane Harvey has had devastating effects on the education community of the Gulf Coast. More than one million students have been affected in some way. Formal and informal educators nearby and across the country are asking how they can help.

Michelle Pina from NAA's Texas Affiliate, the Texas AfterSchool Association (TAA), said, "The sun is shining but so many are still being rescued and evacuated after Harvey. Houston Independent School District (IDS) announced today that school would not resume until September 11 and surrounding districts are tentative for September. Many districts to the south have no start date because they are still without power. An organization in other states reached out to the TEA to see how afterschool programs can help Houston and other cities in Texas."

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learn more about: Afterschool Voices Take Action
AUG
22
2017

IN THE FIELD
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Promising Practices: Columbus State Community College's ESL Afterschool Communities (ESLAsC)

By Leah Silverberg

This year we were happy to announce the Columbus State Community College’s ESL Afterschool Communities (ESLAsC) as the winner of the Dollar General Afterschool Literacy Award. As the award winner, ESLAsC was featured in our new issue brief “Afterschool providing key literacy supports to English language learner students,” highlighted in a program profile, and received $10,000, which enabled them to provide summer programming to 120 youth this summer. In preparation for our issue brief, we caught up with Florence Plagenz, supervisor of ESLAsC, to hear a bit more about their programs.

Columbus, Ohio, is home to an estimated 45,000 Somalis and an estimated 44,000 Latinos. Responding to the high concentration of immigrant populations in the city, ESLAsC—which serves 100 percent English language learners, most of whom are from low-income families— provides necessary supports for these families. However, becoming such an integral resource took a lot of trust building and self-evaluation.

AUG
7
2017

IN THE FIELD
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From Alaska to Alabama, working parents count on afterschool

By Charlotte Steinecke

From Fairbanks to Miami, young people aren’t the only ones to benefit from quality afterschool programs. Millions of parents who would otherwise have to take time off work rely on afterschool programs to provide support for their children until the business day ends. Knowing that their kids are safe and cared for means that these parents can commit themselves fully to their careers during the day, and that peace of mind pays dividends: a study from Catalyst indicates that afterschool programs help save $300 billion per year, thanks to increased worker productivity.

As Lights On Afterschool approaches, working parents come to mind as one of the beneficiaries of afterschool programs across the nation. In Fairbanks, Alaska, Dale credits his daughter’s afterschool program with his daughter’s improved academic performance and his own literally atmospheric career path. With her kids safe and learning in an afterschool program, Kelly in Alabama was able to return to school and continue her college education while working more than 50 hours a week. And Laticia, an afterschool program director in Oklahoma, has a front-row seat of the effect afterschool has on all children—including her own.

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learn more about: Afterschool Voices Working Families
AUG
3
2017

POLICY
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You are here: The policy road map to protecting afterschool funding

By Erik Peterson

With more than half the calendar year behind us and only two months left in the 2017 federal fiscal year, now is a great time to pause and reflect on the ongoing quest to protect and grow federal funding for afterschool and summer learning programs. Much has happened since the March 16 release of the Trump administration’s skinny budget which proposed to eliminate federal 21st Century Community Learning Center (21st CCLC) funding for almost 1.6 million students—yet there is still a long way to go.

Making progress

The administration’s FY2018 skinny budget released in mid-March, and the subsequent full budget proposal released in late-May, both proposed to eliminate $1.1 billion in Community Learning Centers funding that allows local afterschool and summer learning providers in all 50 states to offer quality enrichment and academic programming to 1.6 million students in grades K through 12. The Administration justified the proposed elimination of the program by pointing to data from a 12 year old report with flawed methodology that questioned the effectiveness of the program.

The response to the proposed elimination was swift:

  • Since March 1: We've made approximately 71,500 points of contact with Congress -- including calls, emails, and letters
  • March 2017: Multiple summaries of recent Community Learning Centers afterschool evaluations were published, showing widespread positive outcomes in classroom attendance, student behavior, grades and academics, and engagement.
  • Since April 6: At dozens of site visits around the country, members of Congress or their staff were able to meet students, parents, and program staff and see first-hand the impact of Community Learning Centers funded programs
  • April 10: Bipartisan Dear Colleague Letters circulate in Congress and gain signatures from more than 80 Representatives and more than 30 Senators. On the same day, an organizational support letter signed by 1,400 groups and a second support letter signed by 130 public health organizations are released.
  • June 6: During the Afterschool for All Challenge, advocates held more than 250 in-person meetings on Capitol Hill with policymakers.
  • June 28: Multiple briefings are held for Congressional staff, featuring program providers, local elected officials, students and more.

A tremendous thank you to all of the parents, advocates, friends of afterschool, national afterschool and summer learning providers, and supporters that joined together to reach out directly and through stakeholders to provide research and examples of the effectiveness of Community Learning Centers-funded programs. We’ve also seen a flood of media outreach in national and local press.

So... where do we go from here?

AUG
2
2017

RESEARCH
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AFT poll shows opposition to federal funding cuts to education

By Nikki Yamashiro

The clear message coming out of a recent national poll on attitudes toward federal education spending is that voters are overwhelmingly opposed to the federal government cutting funds for public education.

In the poll, conducted by Hart Research Associates for the American Federation of Teachers, close to 3 in 4 voters say that they are opposed to the Trump administration’s proposal to cut federal spending on education by 13.5 percent while “cutting taxes for large corporations and wealthy individuals” and 73 percent say that they find this to be an unacceptable way to reduce spending by the federal government. When asked about the proposed elimination of funding for afterschool and summer learning programs, more than 7 in 10 voters responded that it was an unacceptable cut.