Recent Afterschool Snacks
By Molly Tomlinson
Afterschool students at the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster’s Embryology Program watched and learned as Herman, Henry, Chickie, Chiquita and Butterscotch grew from eggs into fluffy, yellow chicks. The students monitored the temperature and humidity of the incubators, fed the chicks and take turns holding the newly hatched chicks. Club Executive Director Donata Martin told the Worcester Telegram & Gazette that the afterschool program uses a curriculum which “integrates the concepts of embryology into easy-to-use math, science and language arts lesson plans.” She plans to repeat the program in the fall.
This week General Motors Co. (GM) launched GM Student Corps, a new program that is providing paid summer internships to 110 Detroit-area high school students who will work on community service projects. The program is “designed to help prepare teens for leadership and careers, as well as aid Detroit as it continues to evolve as a city where young professionals want to live and work,” The Detroit News reports. Teams of students are creating service projects, like cleaning up local parks or establishing a food bank or community garden in Detroit area neighborhoods. The students are responsible for budgeting, planning and implementing the projects over the summer, and they will be mentored by GM retirees and employee volunteers.
Afterschool programs in Lacey, funded by a North Thurston Public Schools’ 21st Century Community Learning Center grant, are transforming schools into a fun place to be after the school day ends. “On a recent afternoon, a group of students prepared mango mint salsa with fresh vegetables from the school’s garden, while others played math and reading games, worked on art projects, played computer chess and other programs in the library, and ran drills on the soccer field,” The Olympian reports. Program coordinators say that they’ve also seen academic gains in students and are hoping that the afterschool program can continue after the grant ends.
Afterschool students from programs at 22 schools across five counties premiered their short films at The State Theatre in Modesto last week. The films shown at the Reel Life Film Festival addressed a range of topics, like bullying, welcoming new students and sticking up for others. Students’ responsibilities weren’t limited to filming; students also had to pitch their story to “producers” (the afterschool program staff), develop plot lines and characters, figure out chronology and sequencing, and more.
By Sarah Simpson
A new grant competition will award $150,000 to libraries, museums, and other nonprofits to provide hands-on learning opportunities this summer for youth across the country to help make the online experience more civil, safe and empowering. The Project:Connect Summer Youth Programming Competition is administered by the Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Advanced Collaboratory (HASTAC), with support from the MacArthur Foundation through a grant to the University of California, Irvine, and in partnership with the Born This Way Foundation. Grants will support a series of local hands-on events July through September where young people collaborate and compete through activities such as hackathons, maker spaces, digital journalism and communications labs, and mentoring workshops. Programs must be based on the understanding that learning happens anywhere, anytime and should be equitable, social, participatory, and reflect kids’ interests. Applications are due June 10. More information can be found on the Digital Media and Learning Competition website.
By Molly Tomlinson
Two C.K. McClatchy High School seniors, John Spurlock and Keenan Harris, took first place in the policy debate division at the national Tournament of Champions last month. The win was unexpected because the C.K. McClatchydebate team is an afterschool program and has a significantly smaller budget than the private schools it was competing against. “What we feel is important is hard work and showing teams like us that are without gigantic coaching staffs or huge travel budgets that success is possible,” Harris told the Sacramento Bee.
The D.C. Council unanimously voted this week to increase funding for summer school by $4 million and to continue teaching as many city students as possible over the summer. The council added the extra funds after D.C. public schools said it would scale back summer classes this year. “The council also approved an ‘emergency’ declaration stating that all students who need extra instruction should be able to enroll in summer school,” the Washington Post reports.
Since January, afterschool students at Hoover Elementary in Crawfordsville have been training for a 5k run. The students started running after school through a partnership of Fuel Up to Play 60, Chartwell’s and Prairie Farms, The Paper of Montgomery County reports. Even after the afterschool program ended, the students kept running and training for a 5k race on Saturday. Proceeds from Saturday’s run will help the school buy equipment and fund next year’s afterschool program.
Afterschool students from Hoffman Elementary School were left scrambling when minutes before the Texas Solar Race Car Event at Gustafson Stadium, their entry was accidentally crushed by a fellow competitor. The students, with the help of their coach, stripped the wheels from a decommissioned car, applied superglue liberally, and returned to the track to place first in their heat and advance to the semi-finals. The team’s coach Patrick Ware told the San Antonio Express-News, “The most important thing I think they get out of it is how to work together. Things we have to learn as adults they're learning right there.” The afterschool students dedicated the past two months to their goal of engineering the fastest miniature solar car in the competition.
By Anita Krishnamurthi
As you've probably heard by now, we've partnered with the Noyce Foundation to offer the Afterschool STEM Impact Awards. We are inviting applications for two $10,000 awards to recognize afterschool STEM programs that are showing great youth outcomes. We have started to receive applications and I hope that we get a lot more! It's a terrific opportunity to showcase your great program, help us highlight why afterschool must be an integral partner in STEM education, AND win $10,000 for your program.
Eligible programs must have been running for two years and working with students in grades 4 through 8. We invite applications in two categories:
- Afterschool programs that are a strong partnership between an afterschool provider and a STEM-rich institution(s), which include science centers or museums, nature centers, universities, government labs, STEM-related businesses, or other similar institutions. Programs may focus on any STEM topic.
- Afterschool programs that have a strong computing and/or engineering component.
We recently held a webinar to answer questions and go over the review criteria we will utilize for the STEM Impact Awards. You may also be interested in taking a look at the slides from our prior webinar on “Defining youth outcomes for afterschool STEM programs” available on the same "Archived Webinars" page.
Additional details are available on the award website, along with a link to the online application. Applications are due by May 15, so don’t delay! We encourage all applicants to review the questions and generate their responses prior to beginning the online application. Once you begin filling out the online application, you must finish. Answers cannot be saved or returned to at a later date.
We look forward to receiving your applications and learning more about the terrific programs engaging our young people in innovative STEM learning experiences all across the country.
By Molly Tomlinson
Mayors and city council members from across the country co-authored a piece on the importance of afterschool programs in Education Week. It said: “For our cities to remain beacons of hope, it is our responsibility as municipal leaders to help young people develop the skills and talents they need to find gainful employment and become successful adults in a knowledge-based economy. City leaders must work together with schools, parents, and others to help young people thrive, with a shared understanding that their success will determine the success of our cities. Maximizing the after-school hours is one important way in which city governments can improve educational outcomes for children and teenagers and reinforce what they learn in the classroom.” The op-ed was signed by Mayors Christopher Coleman (St. Paul, Minn.), Karl Dean (Nashville, Tenn.), and Betsy Price (Fort Worth, Texas) and City Council Members James Mitchell Jr. (Charlotte, N.C.) and Ronnie Steine (Nashville, Tenn.).
Using data from a survey of young people, associate director of the Center for Education Policy Research Angelo Gonzales and his colleagues at the University of New Mexico, “have identified a strong relationship between students who are involved in activities outside of school and those who engage in less risky behaviors,” the Albuquerque Journal reports. “Specifically, students who said they were involved in extracurricular activities reported lower levels of attempts to commit suicide, smoking, binge drinking, drug use and sexual activity…and significantly higher rates of daily physical activity.” The New Mexico-specific data is from the 2011 state Youth Risk and Resiliency Survey of middle and high school students.
Students from the Whitney Community Center afterschool program are walking around the playground with Boise City Council member TJ Thomson as part of a local initiative to encourage physical fitness, the Idaho Statesman reports. Boise Mayor David H. Bieter has pledged to walk 150 miles in honor of the city’s sesquicentennial.
The the Worcester Technical High School Robotics and Automation Technology Team, one of 420 teams from 23 countries, won the 2013 VEX Robotics World Championships trophy over the weekend. Worcester Polytechnic Institute President and CEO Dennis Berkey told the Telegram & Gazette, “Their world championship award reinforces the power of STEM [science, technology, engineering and math] education, specifically as it applies in robotics, and especially the highly effective curriculum and dedication of the faculty and staff at ‘the other’ Worcester Tech.”
By Nikki Yamashiro
Earlier this month, Champions® and the National AfterSchool Association released their second annual “Out-of-School Time Survey.” The survey found an overwhelming majority of elementary and middle school superintendents believe in the academic, social and behavioral benefits afterschool programs provide to their students. In addition to viewing afterschool programs as an environment where children can improve their core academic skills—such as reading, math and science—96 percent of superintendents agree that the most important afterschool programs improve study skills and more than 9 in 10 superintendents surveyed agree that the most important afterschool programs increase students’ social interactions and engagement (92 percent). More than 4 in 5 superintendents say that the most important afterschool programs are those that offer activities not present during the traditional school day (82 percent).
A key take away from this survey is that school superintendents understand the true value of afterschool programs and recognize that schools and students benefit from support of afterschool programs. Schools aren’t alone in the charge to ensure that all students receive a quality and well-rounded education. Afterschool programs are able and willing partners to prepare students for success in school, career and life.
By Anita Krishnamurthi
The president recently released his budget request for FY2014 and we wrote about the implications for afterschool in a recent blog post. The budget proposes a sweeping (and unprecedented) reorganization of federal STEM education investments—it consolidates or restructures 114 programs out of the existing 226 federal STEM programs. In the budget proposal, 78 programs are terminated and the funds from these programs ($176 million dollars) are redirected to other agencies, 49 programs are consolidated within agencies and 13 new programs have been proposed.
The $176 million from the eliminated programs would be split as follows:
- $100.3 million to the Department of Education for K-12 education programs
- $51.1 million to the National Science Foundation for undergraduate education and fellowship programs
- $25 million to the Smithsonian Institution for a new STEM engagement initiative
There are several places to get the full details of the president’s budget request for STEM education—the White House R&D budget site and the American Institute of Physics FYI analysis are good places to start.
By Erik Peterson
Today the president released his budget request for the upcoming 2014 fiscal year, which begins this October. With regard to support for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) initiative, the president requested $1.25 billion—reflecting an increase of $100 million from FY2012 levels (pre-sequester levels). As was the case in his budget request last year, the president proposes to radically change 21st CCLC to a competitive grant at the federal level as well as prioritizing 21st CCLC grant funding for new purposes including adding time to the traditional school day or year, and for teacher planning and professional development.
In a challenging budget environment in which many programs face consolidation or elimination, the proposed increase in 21st CCLC in the budget request demonstrates the importance and value of expanded learning opportunities. Unfortunately, in the budget documents and most notably in the budget justification, the president makes the preference for expanded learning time (ELT) clear by indicating that unless ESEA is reauthorized before FY2014 begins, the Administration will request authority to use the $100 million increase for competitive grants to support ELT models.
The Afterschool Alliance supports 21st CCLC funds being directed to high-quality afterschool, before-school and summer learning programs that focus on hands-on, engaged learning that complements and enhances but does not replicate the traditional school day. While not mentioned in the president’s budget, the Afterschool Alliance feels strongly that 21st CCLC funding should continue to support the partnerships between schools and community- and faith-based organizations that help children improve academically, socially and behaviorally while parents are at work. For more information on expanded learning, see our expanded learning resource page.