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JUL
19
2017

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup: July 19, 2017

By Luci Manning

Don’t Miss Out on Many Portland Learning Programs That Combat ‘Summer Slide’ (Press Herald, Maine)

“Summer is an opportunity for students to enjoy long, lazy days of fun, relaxation and new experiences. But if learning isn’t a part of those experiences, students are at risk of the ‘summer slide.’ Research shows that summers without quality learning opportunities put youth at risk of falling behind in core academic subjects such as math and reading,” wrote Portland Public Schools Superintendent Xavier Botana in the Press Herald in support of Summer Learning Day last week. He continued, “I am proud of the Portland Public Schools’ many partners, who are committed to working with us to ensure our students continue learning and thriving during the summer break.”

Letter: Worthy Reading Program on Chopping Block (Union-Bulletin, Washington)

A letter-to-the-editor in the Union-Bulletin from Walla Walla’s Sue Parish calls for continued funding for 21st Century Community Learning Programs “to give all our students a strong future.” She wrote: “This past week, the country celebrated National Summer Learning Day with events at learning programs for kids throughout the country. Luckily for our kids in Walla Walla, there are currently over 400 kids involved in amazing summer learning opportunities, at a multitude of different sites around town. Not only do these activities keep kids safe and engaged when school is out, but they keep students math and reading skills sharp, working to avoid the loss of skills that the student worked so hard to gain throughout the school year…. Sadly, the current administration’s budget proposes to eliminate all funding for this worthy program. Please stand up for all kids and urge our senators and representatives in Congress to reject this proposal, and instead protect funding for this program.”

Pint-Sized Ornithologists Work Towards Closing Achievement Gap In Pinellas County (WUSF, Florida)

Nearly 8,000 Pinellas County students are participating in Summer Bridge, a six-week summer learning program that is teaching students from Maximo Elementary School all about birds, including hands-on learning opportunities with field trips to Seaside Seabird Sanctuary. Shana Rafalski, Executive Director of Elementary Education for Pinellas County Schools, told WUSF that the district believes that the Summer Bridge program is worthwhile and valuable. She said, “We’ve got data that does support that children who attend do fare better as they enter into the new school year.”

Marilyn Mosby Invests in Youth, Community Engagement Amid Baltimore Violence (Baltimore Sun, Maryland)

Baltimore State Attorney Marilyn Mosby kicked off her Junior State's Attorney program recently, with a pinning at its opening ceremony. The six-week summer program takes young people on tours of various aspects of the criminal justice system, including meetings with Baltimore’s mayor and judges and a law school-style mock trial competition at the program’s end, the Baltimore Sun reports. This year, the program’s third, more students were accepted and the city’s YouthWorks program are paying teens to participate.

JUL
10
2017

RESEARCH
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New resources for STEM in afterschool from the Research + Practice Collaboratory

By Leah Silverberg

Check it out: the Research + Practice Collaboratory has some new and updated resources for the afterschool field! If you are not familiar, the Research + Practice Collaboratory works to bridge the gap between education research and STEM education implementation. The Collaboratory’s goal is to increase communication and partnerships between educators and researchers to promote the co-development research-based tools that are grounded in practice.

Case study teaches research and collaboration through tinkering

In a recent blog post, Jean Ryoo from the Exploratorium talks about her partnership with in-school and out-of-school time practitioners to create a conference presentation for school administrators and in-school and afterschool educators. The presentation was intended as an opportunity for afterschool professionals to share ideas with the larger education community and showcase collaboration across institutions, research, and teaching.

JUL
6
2017

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup: July 6, 2017

By Luci Manning

Young Inventors: Students Learn STEM Skills in Summer School Class (Logansport Pharos-Tribune, Indiana)

Sixty-five students from Lewis Cass and other area high schools are dismantling VCRs, building catapults and learning about how to grow vegetation on other planets as part of a STEM-focused summer program. The classes give kids a chance to create inventions using household items and increase their independence and creativity. “STEM is good for every kid,” program organizer Cindy LeDuc told the Pharos-Tribune.

Annual Summer Meals Program Kicks off in Philly (CBS Philly, Pennsylvania)

South Philadelphia’s Aquinas Center kicked off its annual Summer Meals program last week. “The city of Philadelphia is looking to provide activities and encourage active healthy lifestyles and educational opportunities as part of the fun, safe, Philly summer and out of school time initiatives,” Mayor Jim Kenney said. More than 1,000 free food centers throughout the city will offer summer meals to all kids under the age of 18, regardless of household income or other factors, according to CBS Philly.

Circuit Boards, Web Development and Summer Fun (Castle Rock News-Press, Colorado)

The University of Colorado South Denver has partnered with Coding with Kids to bring coding and STEM instruction to Denver students between the ages of 5 and 16 this summer. Kids learn everything from the basic concepts of coding to game development, robotics and web development. “Not only are these skills transferable in other aspects of their lives, but they also give these kids something to be passionate about,” Coding with Kids regional director Hardy Bora told the Castle Rock News-Press. “We want to share our passion for coding and lifelong learning with these kids. We want to teach them how to learn, not what to learn.”

New Albany Students Blend Classroom and Kitchen (Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, Mississippi)

A unique program at New Albany Middle School is blending math and cooking for about 30 students this summer. Kids in Integrating Math Through Cooking, part of the 21st Century Community Learning Center program, learned how fractions and proportions can be applied outside the classroom by analyzing recipes and multiplying portions four mornings a week this June. They also learned basic kitchen skills. “It’s amazing to see how much the children learned that they’ll use for the rest of their lives,” program director Maia Miller told the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal. “I can see we have some budding chefs in the making.”
 

JUN
28
2017

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup: June 28, 2017

By Luci Manning

Schools Let Students Take Laptops Home to Stop the 'Summer Slide' (NPR)

Topeka Public Schools has joined many other school districts in the country by allowing children to take home school-issued computers over summer break, with the hope that access to the devices will reduce disparities between higher- and lower-income students. Some see the laptops as a way to offer learning opportunities to students who may not have the resources to go to summer camps or family vacations like some of their peers. “It has opened up a huge educational resource to our kids who may not have access otherwise,” principal Kelli Hoffman told NPR.

Peacebuilders Camp Focuses on Human Rights, Relationships (Youth Today)

Each summer, kids ages 11 to 14 spend a week on a farm in Georgia learning about the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, participating in lively discussions about the morality of hunting, serving in the military and more. Peacebuilders camp will host three week-long sessions this summer, with each day of the session focused on a different article from the Universal Declaration. “What we go for is openness and discussion and finding how to be in a relationship even when we disagree,” co-founder and curriculum director Marilyn McGinnis told Youth Today.

Local Girl Scout Shares Her Love of Math via Summer Learning Program (Newark Advocate, Ohio)

Girl Scout and math aficionado Ava Wandersleben decided to earn her Girl Scouts’ Silver Award – an honor that requires 50 hours of community service work – by creating a summer math program for elementary schoolers. Each Wednesday, she leads youths in kindergarten through fifth grade in math-themed games meant to improve their math skills and learn to enjoy a subject many of them find uninteresting. “Her idea for giving back was getting kids to like math,” Ava’s mother, Christina, told the Newark Advocate. “That way they could do well on their math tests in the fall.”

A Week of Touring for Local Students to Help Their Careers (Daily Nonpareil, Iowa)

A group of 22 high school students got a firsthand look at potential future careers as part of a summer program sponsored by a 21st Century Community Learning Centers grant. Students attended different career seminars at the University of Nebraska at Omaha each day of the program, then toured a representative workplace in the afternoon, according to the Daily Nonpareil. “The purpose is to showcase different opportunities students can have,” 21st Century Community Learning Center site facilitator Julia Hartnett said. “It’s to [pique] interest in a field that maybe they never considered.” 

JUN
26
2017

CHALLENGE
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Advocacy for all: New tools and resources for afterschool supporters

By Leah Silverberg

Earlier this month more than 200 advocates traveled to Washington for our 16th annual Afterschool for All Challenge. Here at the Afterschool Alliance, the Challenge often feels like a culmination of the hard work we put in to create the tools and resources afterschool advocates need to make the case for afterschool. However, the advocacy work does not stop once the Challenge is over. Many of the tools we create or re-vamp for our national advocacy day can be used throughout the year.

Here are some of the resources we used for this year’s challenge that we hope can continue to help you make the case for afterschool:

Advocacy on the Hill

A lot of the resources that we create for the Challenge are specifically for use on Capitol Hill, like our Hill Meeting Tips, our Talking Points, or our 2017 Policy Asks, which can be found in our Afterschool for All Challenge Participant Toolkit.

However, some of our resources can be useful year-round to refresh knowledge on important afterschool policy. Big talking points on afterschool this year, with corresponding fact sheets, included conversations on 21st Century Community Learning Centers and the Child Care and Development Fund in the FY-18 budget. Each year we update our state-specific fact sheets and resources to help advocates operating at the state-level.

JUN
19
2017

IN THE FIELD
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Guest blog: How one rural town is investing in Alaska's future workforce

By Guest Blogger

By Thomas Azzarella, director of the Alaska Afterschool Network. This blog was originally published on the Alaska Afterschool Blog on June 6.

Photo courtesy of Eric Filradi

Nearly two-thirds of Alaska’s cities, towns, and villages are accessible only by plane or boat, which makes having a strong aviation workforce critical to having a strong state economy. Qualified and experienced employees in the aviation industry are in high demand throughout the state, especially in rural communities.

The 21st Century Community Learning Center (CCLC) in Nenana is addressing this demand by preparing youth living in rural Alaska for this crucial industry.

Nenana is a small rural town of approximately 400 residents. Nenana City School District is comprised of one K-12 grade school that serves nearly 200 students. Approximately 100 of these students are enrolled in the school’s boarding facility, the Student Living Center, for grades 9-12. These students come from villages and towns all over the state, many of which attend school in Nenana because of the limited educational offerings in their home village. 

Nenana’s Community Learning Centers program expands the school’s educational offerings after school by providing tutoring, career-tech programs, and opportunities for building self-confidence and leadership skills. Among these offerings is the school’s Aviation Mechanics program, which is preparing high school students for high-paying jobs in Alaska’s aviation industry.

MAY
31
2017

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup: May 31, 2017

By Luci Manning

Squash Gives Kids a Way to Win Big on Court, in Life (Plain Dealer, Ohio)

Students from low-income neighborhoods throughout Cleveland are being recruited to play a somewhat unusual sport – squash. Some 45 students participate in Urban Squash Cleveland. “This is really about youth development,” Urban Community School Associate Director Tom Gill told the Plain Dealer, “and we are committed to the whole child approach and to the physical, social, emotional, spiritual and academic development of a child, and you can’t do all of that in a classroom during the school day.” Urban Squash Cleveland is one of 23 sites youth development organizations that combine homework help, community service and entrepreneurship opportunities, and squash lessons.

Where Girls Become ‘Mighty’ (Metro Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)

Mighty Writers, a popular and successful afterschool writing program in Philadelphia, has added a new class to its roster focused on empowering young girls. The Girl Power writing series introduces girls ages seven to 17 to the writing of women like Audre Lorde, Maya Angelou, Margaret Atwood, and Malala Yousafzai, inspiring them to find their inner ‘girl power’ through poetry and creative writing exercises. “If we express ourselves in writing, we can get somewhere in life and be just as equal as men,” 14-year-old Nyelah Johnson told Metro

Latinitas Marks 15 Years of Media, Tech Training for Girls and Teenagers (Austin American-Statesman, Texas)

Next month, Latinitas will celebrate 15 successful years of providing digital media and technology training to thousands of girls and teens across Texas. The nonprofit offers workshops, camps, afterschool programs, an online magazine and a soon-to-come virtual reality design program to introduce young Latinas to media and tech, sectors in which they are not currently well-represented. “I believe discussing the representations of Latinas in media at such a young age required me to constantly self-reflect,” Latinitas alumna Krista Nesbitt told the Austin American-Statesman. “I felt compelled to think about what I wanted to represent and stand for. Above all, Latinitas inspired me to be fearless and passionate.”

Nonprofit Helps Instill Cooking Skills (Riverton Ranger, Wyoming)

The Arapaho Odyssey Cooking and Gardening afterschool program is teaching elementary schoolers how to cook healthy, satisfying meals. The program uses a mobile ‘kitchen for every classroom’ provided by the nonprofit Charlie Cart Project to give students a hands-on opportunity to learn about nutrition, collaboration, food education and more. Students cook up dishes like herb and cheese frittatas, strawberry shortcakes and banana oatmeal cookies, often using ingredients from the school’s garden. “Cooking is a life lesson,” special education paraprofessional Hope Peralta told the Riverton Ranger. “We’re trying to teach a healthier way rather than eating out of a box.” 

MAY
26
2017

IN THE FIELD
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Not The Onion: Horses, surfboards, and cyberattacks in afterschool

By Jodi Grant

Photo by Pete Markham

Despite a wealth of research showing the importance of afterschool and widespread popularity with parents, students, teachers and community leaders, programs have never been more threatened. This week the president decided to double down on his call to eliminate afterschool funding in his 2018 budget proposal, leaving 1.6 million kids’ with no where to go after school. It’s a serious matter with implications for Americans across the country.  The cut has caught the attention of major national media, local media across the country, and late night comedians and Saturday Night Live.  

The Afterschool Alliance isn’t exempt from the heightened publicity. On Monday, we had our first mention in The Onion, which wrote a satirical piece on the Secretary of Education’s new plan to replace 21st Century Community Learning Centers with afterschool polo programs across the country.

I was flattered to be mentioned, but as in all great satire, the piece contained a lot of truth. If the Secretary of Education did call me, I’d be thrilled to tell her about pretty amazing afterschool programs. I haven’t heard of afterschool polo yet, but given the creativity and ingenuity local communities across the nation have developed, I would not be surprised. Afterschool programs keep kids safe, boost student success, and help working families – and quite often, they also blow your mind.