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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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AUG
28

STEM
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New handout: Afterschool makes STEM stick!

By Sophie Papavizas

Check out our newest resource, a visually appealing four-pager that makes the case for afterschool STEM by pulling together research on the importance of STEM learning in afterschool.  It demonstrates how afterschool is a critical component in a child’s overall education, and describes how afterschool STEM uniquely impacts youth.

We hope you’ll find this handout useful in your advocacy efforts with elected officials, funders and potential community partners.  When accompanied by a compelling description of your own program and evidence of your program’s impact, you can help stakeholders understand that afterschool must be an integral partner in any efforts to reform or improve STEM education.  In addition to the Web version, you can also download a high-resolution print version, which prints as a booklet on 11"x17" paper.  Make sure to adjust your printer settings to print double-sided, flipped on the top edge.

The handout is based on the papers “Examining the impact of afterschool STEM programs” (July 2014) and “Defining youth outcomes for STEM learning in afterschool” (January 2013).

If you’re looking for more guidance on effective advocacy, check out our advocacy toolkit, “Making the case for STEM afterschool.”

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learn more about: Advocacy Media Outreach Science
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AUG
27

POLICY
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Jim Jeffords: A founder of the movement to expand afterschool programs, a hero to children and families

By Jodi Grant

This post was originally published on Huffington Post's Education Blog. Read the original post and share your thoughts with the HuffPost community.

 

Before former Sen. James Jeffords of Vermont introduced the first legislation to provide federal funding for afterschool in 1994, the federal government played essentially no role in providing meaningful support and programming for young people in the hours after the school day ended and before parents arrived home from work. Sen. Jeffords, who passed away on Aug. 18 at the age of 80, was a pioneer in the national afterschool movement. He worked tirelessly to build congressional and presidential support for a national afterschool and summer learning program infrastructure that lives on today as the 21st Century Community Learning Centers initiative (21st CCLC).

Sen. Jeffords had many proud accomplishments, including chairing the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee and helping to shape the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the No Child Left Behind Act and the Higher Education Act. But advocates for afterschool remember him best as one of the original authors of the legislation that created the 21st CCLC.

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learn more about: 21st CCLC Afterschool Voices Congress Equity ESEA Federal Policy Media Outreach Sustainability Working Families Academic Enrichment
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AUG
27

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup August 27, 2014

By Luci Manning

Letter: YMCA After School (Kansas City Star, Kansas)

“With school starting again, it’s a good time to remember the important role after-school programs play in helping students succeed,” Afterschool Ambassador and Vice President of Youth Development Services at the YMCA of Greater Kansas City Pam Watkins wrote in a letter to the editor in the Kansas City Star.  She continued, “Quality after-school programs, such as the YMCA of Greater Kansas City Y Clubs, are a lifeline for working parents.  They give our youth a chance to engage in hands-on, experimental learning in a safe and structured environment, exposing students to possible careers in the sciences or other fields, teaching them the value of community service and providing them with mentors, meals, physical activity and more…  Many more students in the Kansas City area should have after-school programs available to them.  We need lawmakers and others to fund after-school programs so all our children can have access to the support they need.”

Human Trafficking May Be Active in Albany (Albany Herald, Georgia)

Albany Crime Stoppers board members learned about human trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation of children and some tips for preventing trafficking at abuse. David McCleary, a representative of Rotary International, gave an overview of how young at-risk girls can fall prey to predatory adults.  “McCleary said communities can help guard against the threat of human trafficking by providing mentors for the children, summer lunch programs, after school programs and homeless shelters,” the Albany Herald reports.

Ardsley's United Martial Arts Going Strong at 1st Anniversary (Rivertowns Daily Voice, New York)  

United Martial Arts Center (UMAC) in Ardsley is celebrating its first anniversary next month.  In addition to the full course of Taekwondo training for all ages, UMAC Ardsley also offers an afterschool program with transportation for local elementary students.  "We have a Martial Arts Reading Program, where the children are reading at home, and relating the books to Taekwondo values," master instructor Vinny Bellantoni told the Rivertowns Daily Voice.  He continued, "Every 10 books that they read, they earn a ‘next level’ patch, eventually becoming a ‘black belt’ in the Martial Arts Reading Program. The reason has even more purpose than just to get children excited to read, it actually helps them start to understand how these values relate to their every day lives."

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AUG
27

STEM
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After passing the House, STEM Education Act moves to Senate

By Sophie Papavizas

The bipartisan STEM Education Act, H.R. 5031 introduced by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), passed the House last month and is now in front of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. The bill has three goals:

  1. It expands the definition of STEM education as it pertains to federally funded programs to include disciplines such as computer science
  2. Grows programs at the National Science Foundation (NSF) to support informal STEM education activities
  3. Extends eligibility for NSF’s Noyce Teacher Fellowship program to teachers pursuing master’s degrees in their fields

Of particular interest to the out-of-school field, the bill gives a directive to NSF to continue awarding grants and using funds to support informal and out-of-school STEM learning with the goal of increasing engagement in STEM and improving learning outcomes.  Grants and funding would support existing and new programs in places such as museums and science centers.

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learn more about: Congress Education Reform Federal Policy Legislation School Improvement Science Academic Enrichment
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AUG
22

IN THE FIELD
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Back to afterschool meals

By Alexis Steines

In many parts of the country, summer is drawing to a close as many kids are heading back to the classroom during the final days of August.  For children that rely on federal child nutrition programs, back to school also means back to consistent, healthful and nutritious meals, including those provided by the Department of Agriculture’s At-Risk Afterschool Meals Program.

If you're not already serving afterschool meals in your program, consider participating in the At-Risk Afterschool Meals Program.  Afterschool programs with more than 50 percent of their students receiving free and reduced price school lunches are eligible to serve these meals. Participating in the program is easy and it gives you the opportunity to build community partnerships with your school district’s school nutrition department and anti-hunger advocacy organizations.

Whether you're just starting to serve afterschool meals or are looking to increase participation in your program, the following tips should help you successfully maximize participation:

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learn more about: Federal Funding Funding Opportunity Nutrition Sustainability Community Partners
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AUG
22

POLICY
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Child Protection Improvement Act gaining momentum in Congress

By Erik Peterson

Congress is out on August recess until early September, however discussions on a variety of topics continue to take place. In particular, momentum appears to be growing in support of the Child Protection Improvement Act (S. 1362). The bipartisan legislation introduced by Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) about one year ago seeks to establish affordable access to an all-encompassing criminal background check database system accessible by afterschool and other youth-serving organizations. While all youth-serving organizations can check the in-state criminal records of job applicants and volunteers, only one-third of states provide these organizations with access to the FBI database to conduct nationwide criminal background checks.

Earlier this summer, Sen. Schumer joined afterschool and youth organizations in New York for a press event highlighting the need and potential impact of the legislation. The bill builds off of the now expired pilot program created by the PROTECT Act of 2004 that gave selected youth-serving organizations access to nationwide criminal records.  Statistics from that program show the importance of having comprehensive background checks.   In that program, 6 percent of applicants had a criminal record that should have prevented them from working with children.  Additionally, 40 percent of those crimes were not committed in the same state in which the person applied for the job or volunteer opportunity, meaning that the record would be undetected without a nationwide criminal record search.

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learn more about: Congress Federal Policy Legislation
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AUG
22

LIGHTS ON
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Play out loud for Lights On Afterschool!

By Sarah Simpson

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learn more about: Events and Briefings Health and Wellness Inside the Afterschool Alliance Community Partners
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AUG
22

FUNDING
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New toolkit lays out attendance strategy

By Sarah Simpson

We know that students who miss too much school suffer academically at every age and every grade. Equally important, we know absenteeism is a problem we can solve if districts and schools identify the students most at risk and then work with parents and community partners, like afterschool programs, to turn around attendance and achievement.  Research has shown that regular attendance at an afterschool program helps to improve school day attendance. Afterschool programs are also important partners in engaging parents and offering needed supports to students and families that may help to combat chronic absenteeism.

A new toolkit from Attendance Works, The Power of Positive Connections, calls for using absenteeism records from past years and from the first month of school to connect the most at-risk students to personal relationships and positive supports—the kind they receive every day in high-quality afterschool programs—that motivate them to show up to class every day.

As students head back to school, the toolkit provides a step-by-step guide to a data-driven strategy and resources known as PEOPLE—Priority Early Outreach through Positive Linkages and Engagement.

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learn more about: School Improvement Youth Development
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