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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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MAY
5

IN THE FIELD
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Take a moment to celebrate afterschool educators this Teacher Appreciation Week

By Rachel Clark

Teacher Appreciation Week (May 4 through 8) is a great moment to thank our teachers, who devote their careers to educating youth. Teachers strive every day not only to provide an exemplary education to their students, but to offer a boost of confidence, or extra help, or a welcoming presence that kids can count on. Many even continue their day after the school bell rings by supporting students in afterschool programs – and many of our future teachers are afterschool educators who catch the teaching bug in programs.

This week, join NEA and the National PTA to say “Thank You” to an educator in your life, whether that’s an afterschool educator who inspires you, a loved one working in the education field, or a teacher who changed your life. Share your gratitude with the hashtag #ThankATeacher beginning on National Teacher Day (May 5) for a chance to receive a $100 VISA gift card to give to your favorite teacher for supplies!

Though we can’t ever thank educators enough, National Teacher Day and Teacher Appreciation Week serve as great reminders to reflect on the individuals who dedicate their lives to helping kids succeed, whether in school or out.

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MAY
4

FUNDING
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Citi Foundation, America's Promise Alliance launch $3 million fund

By Michael Burke

The Youth Opportunity Fund, led by the Citi Foundation and America’s Promise Alliance, has announced the availability of grants to nonprofits working in innovative ways to place low-income young adults on a path towards college and career success. The $3 million Fund will award one-year grants up to $250,000 to nonprofit organizations in 10 target U.S. cities: Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, Newark, St. Louis, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.

The Fund is part of the Citi Foundation’s Pathways to Progress initiative – a three-year, $50 million commitment to give 100,000 low-income youth in the United States the opportunity to develop the workplace skills and leadership experience necessary to compete in a 21st century economy. The Citi Foundation has selected America's Promise, the country’s leading alliance of organizations and communities committed to improving the lives of young people, to provide technical assistance and convene grantees to collaborate on the most effective ways to expand youth economic opportunity in their communities.

The Citi Foundation works to promote economic progress and improve the lives of people in low-income communities around the world. The Foundation invests in efforts that increase financial inclusion, catalyze job opportunities for youth, and reimagine approaches to building economically vibrant cities. The Citi Foundation's "More than Philanthropy" approach leverages the enormous expertise of Citi and its people to fulfill its mission and drive thought leadership and innovation.

 To learn more, please refer to the following guidelines or contact opportunity@americaspromise.org for information about eligibility or how to apply.

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APR
30

IN THE FIELD
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Guest blog: Baltimore is not burning

By Rachel Clark

Ellie Mitchell is the Director of the Maryland Out of School Time Network.

The last few days in Baltimore have been disappointing though not shocking to any of us who live and work here. The media coverage as you might expect has sensationalized what have been high impact, but relatively isolated incidents of looting and property destruction.  There will be a high economic impact, an even greater emotional impact.  Hard to believe the Orioles played a game to an empty stadium yesterday.

Of greatest concern to us at the Maryland Out of School Time Network has been the involvement of young people and how the media has portrayed young people in Baltimore City.  We are working with a number of organizations to highlight the positive contributions of young people—many have been involved in the clean up—and to underscore how the lack of opportunity in the city has contributed to the sense of despair that is the precursor to this kind of violence.

On Monday morning, I was at the high school, Frederick Douglass, which is directly across from the mall where the altercation between police and students began.  I was working with a group of students who produce a TV show called Baltimore Pioneers.  I can tell you the full story about how students ended up engaging with police there has not been told.  On Monday afternoon as the worst of the incidents began, I was with a group of advocates at a press conference prior to a City Council hearing where the City Council voted unanimously to increase funding for out-of-school time and community school programming in the city, a positive step for the community.  The resolution is non-binding but is intended to send a message to the Mayor prior to her sending her budget to the City Council for approval.

Today we are focused on getting out in the community and providing support where we can and also thinking longer term about providing trauma informed care training, and participating in the forums to support youth voice and leadership.  Baltimore is just the most recent stop of this train.

To learn more about the important work being done by youth programs in Baltimore, visit MOST’s Facebook page, where they have highlighted some of the positive contributions young people are making in the community.

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learn more about: Guest Blog State Networks Youth Development
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APR
30

POLICY
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FY2016 appropriations process continues in House and Senate

By Erik Peterson

With House and Senate Budget Committee Chairmen announcing this week that the Fiscal Year 2016 Budget Conference has reached an agreement on a joint Congressional balanced budget resolution, the FY2016 appropriations process is starting to move forward in earnest.  A challenge for appropriators will be meeting the needs of children and families given the constraints of lower spending levels.

House and Senate appropriations committees have begun holding hearings on the FY2016 spending bills, including Labor, HHS, Education (LHHS) Appropriations Subcommittee hearings featuring testimony by Education Secretary Arne Duncan and a public witness hearing this week.  At the House subcommittee hearing in early March, Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) emphasized the importance of maintaining strong investments in afterschool programs through the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) initiative.

This week, Karen West, Special Projects Curriculum Supervisor, Corbin Independent Schools of Corbin, Kentucky, represented the Afterschool Alliance at a public witness hearing of the Subcommittee, presenting heartfelt testimony and calling for continued federal support of 21st CCLC, stating:

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learn more about: 21st CCLC Congress Federal Policy Legislation
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APR
29

STEM
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Imagine Science campaign celebrates nationwide launch in Orange County

By Sophie Papavizas

Four of the nation’s largest youth organizations, Boys and Girls Clubs of America, National 4-H Council, YMCA of the USA and Girls Inc. recently launched their joint Imagine Science campaign.  Collectively, these organizations reach 18 million youth in every state and territory and have the potential to reach millions of underrepresented youth through enriching STEM experiences.  Imagine Science was also listed as a commitment by the four organizations to the White House’s Educate to Innovate campaign, a nationwide public-private partnership to prepare students at every level for careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

Leveraging the expertise of the organizations involved, Imagine Science will be a multifaceted project bringing mobile STEM labs to large audiences, hosting 1-2 day STEM Challenges and Expos, running summer camps, and engaging youth with one of the partner organizations during the school year.  This year, a pilot summer program will be rolled out in three cities, Dallas, TX, Omaha, NE, and Orange County, CA.  This past weekend, the campaign’s first event took place, consisting of a booth at the Imaginology Youth Expo at the Orange County Fair organized by the pilot program in Orange County.  Youth had the opportunity to take part in a booth called “Happy City Construction” constructing paper buildings that could be hooked up to the ‘grid’ of the imaginary city.

You can view pictures from the event on the Imagine Science OC Twitter and Instagram pages and join the Imagine Science mailing list here.

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learn more about: Science Community Partners
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APR
29

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup  April 29, 2015

By Luci Manning

Save the Children Leads Charge to Protect Kids (Newport Plain Talk, Tennessee)

Each day, 68 million children are away from their parents in school or child care, and yet less than half of American families have an emergency plan or a way to reunite if a disaster were to occur. To fill this gap, Save the Children made disaster preparedness a priority at their Edgemont afterschool program through the Get Ready Get Safe Prep Rally last week. Throughout the week, students learned how they can help their families prepare for emergencies through practical lessons and discussions paired with fun and engaging activities, like the Disaster Supplies Relay Race and Emergency Mad Libs. A Family Night was held at the end of the week, where children shared what they had learned with their parents. “The Prep Rally program makes disasters less scary by giving children the tools they need to prepare and be ready,” afterschool teacher Crystal Chambers told Newport Plain Talk.

A New Twist on the Old Lemonade Stand (Albuquerque Journal, New Mexico)

An afterschool program is using the age-old lemonade stand concept to teach kids how to start and run a business, according to the Albuquerque Journal. About 250 kids from Albuquerque elementary schools will set up dozens of lemonade stands throughout the city on Lemonade Day, May 2. The Rio Grande Collaborative, which runs the Albuquerque branch of the national program, provides students the entrepreneurial curriculum, and then it’s up to the kids to find an investor – usually their parents – and use the money to buy ingredients, make the lemonade and run their sales stand. Kids have to keep track of all their expenses and pay back their investors, just like in the real business world.

Dormont After-School Program Blends Art, Movement (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pennsylvania)

Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre and the nonprofit Art Expression Inc. have teamed up to create an afterschool program focused on the intersection of visual arts, rhythm and movement. Each session of the free six-week program, called “ARTS in Motion,” combines music, dance and visual arts in activities that share a common theme. In a recent session, students made a collage about their feelings then acted out those feelings to a drum beat. The program aims to increase students’ self-esteem, enhance their social skills and improve their self-expression abilities. “We think the combination of what Art Expression can bring in terms of emotional well-being and what we (Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre) can bring in terms of physical well-being is really exciting,” PBT manager of community programs Lisa Auel told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

City May Restore Rec Center Hours (San Diego Union-Tribune, California)

San Diego’s neighborhood recreation centers saw their hours cut significantly between 2003 and 2012, but under Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s new budget proposal, many of those hours may be restored. The budget would increase the weekly hours of the city’s 16 busiest recreation centers from 45 to 60. The rec centers are a hub of activity – hosting youth sports leagues, enrichment classes for preschoolers and senior fitness classes – but many supporters believe the centers’ afterschool programs are what really make a difference. “Recreation centers are particularly important in communities where there aren’t Boys & Girls Clubs and families can’t afford things like YMCAs,” Councilman David Alvarez told the San Diego Union-Tribune. “Our rec centers are really the only place for young people to be active during after-school hours and have a safe place to play.” 

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learn more about: Health and Wellness Arts
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APR
27

STEM
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Celebrating our own Anita Krishnamurthi, an innovator in STEM!

By Jodi Grant

The National AfterSchool Association (NAA) recently recognized a select group of innovators for their 2015 “Most Influential in STEM” awards. Among them is our very own Vice President of STEM Policy, Anita Krishnamurthi!

For these awards, NAA pulled together a diverse group—from higher education, museums, industry, the government, and the non-profit world—who have brought STEM education in afterschool to new levels of creativity and are making a difference in students’ learning.

Anita is a passionate advocate of afterschool STEM, and since joining the Afterschool Alliance, she has played a tremendous role in creating a space for afterschool within national policy discussions and building national partnerships that support the development of high-quality STEM programming. Fun fact: she’s actually an astrophysicist and worked for many years at NASA doing education and public outreach. We are incredibly proud of the work she’s accomplished to better connect the afterschool and STEM communities.  With her STEM background and her infectious enthusiasm for afterschool, it’s no surprise that she’s been so successful in helping bridge the afterschool and STEM communities. 

At the Afterschool Alliance, Anita leads our STEM team on projects that address critical challenges in the afterschool field. The current project she’s most excited to be working on is our “Afterschool STEM Advocacy, Communications and Messaging Hub,” where we’ve brought together afterschool leaders to produce research-based messaging and resources that best tells the story of afterschool STEM.  Anita believes that the field is at a unique moment in time when practice, research, and policy are poised to come together.  She is very hopeful that this initiative will not only increase public understanding of the importance of afterschool, but also translate into broad support and public investments. We’ll be debuting these resources in fall 2015! 

Check out Anita and the full list of STEM influencers in the spring 2015 issue of AfterSchool Today.

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APR
23

STEM
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Guest blog: New informal STEM professional development resource now available

By Anita Krishnamurthi

Lindsay Bartolone is Lead for the Informal Education Working Group of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate (SMD) Education and Public Outreach Forums as well as a co-investigator on two of the forums: Astrophysics and Heliophysics.

Afterschool professionals consistently rank professional development as one of their major needs.  The Informal Education Working Group of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate (SMD) Education and Public Outreach Forums conducted a nationwide survey of the professional development and resource needs of informal science educators to determine 1) how, when, where, and for how long informal educators prefer to receive STEM professional development and 2) what kind of workshops and materials they need and can use with their audiences.  This information was collected to inform NASA education and public outreach programs and resource development for the informal education community, but the findings are applicable beyond NASA.

Anita Krishnamurthi from the Afterschool Alliance serves on this working group and we tried to ensure that the afterschool voice was represented in this effort.  The survey was distributed widely to the afterschool community and your responses are included in the report.   

The results of this survey are now publicly available, and available for your reference as you prepare resources or professional development opportunities for the informal educators you serve.

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learn more about: Guest Blog Science
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