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Weekly Media Roundup: January 10, 2018

By Luci Manning

Harvard Law Grad Helps Low-Income Students Aim High (Christian Science Monitor)

A Queens-based afterschool program is helping low-income students apply to and prepare for elite higher education. Legal Outreach offers writing courses, SAT prep and workshops, and even helps get students placed in summer internships with prestigious law firms. “For our kids, going to college is as different as going to another country,” co-director Bethsheba Cooper said. “Knowing what’s coming and having the tools to deal with it allows them to navigate this new world.” Once they get into college, Legal Outreach students typically outperform their peers, with some 93 percent of students graduating within six years compared to 18 percent of students from comparable high schools, according to the Christian Science Monitor.

Cunningham Students Learn How to Rap through Hip-Hop Literacy Program (Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier, Iowa)

Ten fourth-graders at Dr. Walter Cunningham School for Excellence are improving their writing, researching and public speaking skills through a hip-hop literacy program. The students work in groups to conceptualize and write a rap, with each person composing their own stanza, according to the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier. Students have already had the opportunity to turn their ideas into a reality by recording their songs at the Teknitions studio in downtown Waterloo.

Red Bank's Community School Marks One-Year Anniversary (Chattanooga Times Free Press, Tennessee)

Hamilton County’s first community school marked its one-year anniversary this week, celebrating its successful efforts to provide wraparound services to students and parents. Red Bank Community School houses afterschool programs, academic help, parent engagement and community partnerships. “Schools can’t do it alone,” principal Ellen Harper told the Chattanooga Times Free Press. “Students need support outside the classroom in order to thrive. Education is a community effort and a community responsibility.”  

Alley to celebrate 20 years (Dodge City Daily Globe, Kansas)

The Alley afterschool program opened its doors in 1997 after the shooting death of teen Justin Mercado and intended to give young people a safe space to spend their afternoons. Twenty years later, the nonprofit has afterschool programming four days a week for middle school students, offering activities ranging from cooking classes to discussions with community leaders. “It’s been amazing to be here and watch kids who needed something and someone and see them change for the better,” board member Monica Astorga told the Dodge City Daily Globe. “You would see kids come in here with their heads hanging low and by the time they leave here and become adults, their head is held high.” 

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Weekly Media Roundup: December 13, 2017

By Luci Manning

Contest Pitting Students Against JPL Engineers Draws a Vast Pool of Contenders (La Cañada Valley Sun, California)

Students from around the world, including those in Los Angeles afterschool programs, faced off against teams of engineers from La Cañada’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory last week as part of JPL’s annual Invention Challenge, an initiative meant to inspire future STEM professionals. This year’s challenge was to build a device that could load ten plastic balls into a tub six meters away within one minute, according to the La Cañada Valley Sun. “Being at JPL has brought [engineering] into my horizon,” 16-year-old participant Cristian Bonilla said. “Even though we didn’t do as great as other people, it feels great to have come this far.”

Community Schools a New Tradition for Education (Las Cruces Sun-News, New Mexico)

Mary Parr-Sanchez, Truancy and Dropout Prevention Coach at Las Cruces Public Schools, and David Greenberg, Education Initiative Director at Ngage New Mexico, praise the community schools model in the Las Cruces Sun-News: “For many years, community schools have been expanding the role of schools. Instead of shutting down in the evenings, weekends and summers, community schools have remained open to serve a variety of needs…. Community schools are not about doing something ‘to’ a school, but supporting a school and community to facilitate change from within…. We are grateful that local leadership on our School Board and City Council are moving this work forward so that in the near future, every child will have opportunity to attend a community school.”

Church to Pick Up the Tab for After-School Care (Eastern Express Times, Pennsylvania)

The Life Church has offered to pay for an afterschool program at Paxinosa Elementary School to offer disadvantaged students enrichment opportunities and give a break to their working parents. The Easton Area School District is now looking for an organization to run the program, without having to worry about costs. “We felt called there,” church spokeswoman Tara Craig told the Eastern Express Times. “We feel it’s where we’re supposed to be and are excited to see it happen.”

‘Three Little Pigs’ Tale Helps Teach North Charleston Kids Money Smarts (Post & Courier, South Carolina)

An afterschool reading program in North Charleston recently added financial literacy to its curriculum, to teach children how to manage their finances at an early age. The Felix Pinckney Community Center drew lessons from stories like “Three Little Pigs” to teach students about the importance of saving money and sharing with those in need. Dorothea Bernique, founder of the Increasing H.O.P.E. Financial Training Center, told the Post & Courier, “It’s not about the amount, but establishing a new behavior that can literally change your life and help break that cycle of poverty.”