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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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OCT
23

RESEARCH
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Afterschool across three cities: New data from America After 3PM

By Jen Rinehart

Over the past few weeks, I’ve had the opportunity to talk to hundreds of afterschool providers, funders and advocates about the new America After 3PM data—research that shows more kids than ever are in afterschool programs, but that the unmet demand for programs is also at its highest ever.  Each time I talk to folks about the 2014 findings, a new aspect of America After 3PM grabs my attention.  For instance, the finding that for every one child in an afterschool program now, two more would be enrolled if programs were available.  Or the findings that show that low-income and minority youth are more likely to be in afterschool programs and are also more likely to enroll if more programs were available. 

Most recently I spoke at a conference with Audrey Hutchinson from the National League of Cities, and naturally my attention drifted to what America After 3PM tells us about afterschool in cities.  We have data from three urban communities available—Washington D.C., New York City and Pittsburgh/Allegheny County, PA.  Aside from all being on the east coast, these three communities are quite different in many respects—size, both in terms of population and square miles; industry and workforce; numbers and ethnicity of school-age children and more. 

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learn more about: America After 3PM
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OCT
23

RESEARCH
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Two new reports add to the case for investing in youth programs

By Erik Peterson

With Lights On Afterschool upon us and fresh on the heels of the new America After 3PM (AA3) data, two additional reports further make the case for supporting afterschool and summer learning programs. This week, Opportunity Nation released the 2014 Opportunity Index and the Children’s Leadership Council announced a new public opinion poll showing strong support for investing in effective programs that improve the lives of children and youth.

The Opportunity Index is an annual composite measure at the state and county levels of 16 economic, educational and civic factors that expand or restrict upward mobility. The Opportunity Index ranks all 50 states plus Washington, D.C., and found that access to opportunity has increased by more than 6 percent nationwide since the first iteration of the Index in 2011. Much of this growth is due to large improvements on specific economic and educational indicators (such as the unemployment rate, Internet access and on-time high school graduation rate). There was less robust improvement on civic indicators such as access to healthful food, volunteerism and access to health care. In spite of gains in opportunity overall, the Index also shows that this progress is not enough to ensure that all Americans, particularly teens and young adults, get their fair shot at the American Dream. In particular, while the number of young Americans ages 16-24 who are neither in school nor working dropped significantly since 2013—from 5.8 million to 5.6 million in 2014—the four-year trend is more modest: there were 5.66 million disconnected youth in 2011. Afterschool and summer learning programs, particularly for older youth, can help close the opportunity gap by engaging young people through quality college and career readiness programs.

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learn more about: America After 3PM Equity Evaluations Youth Development
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OCT
23

STEM
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New resources on youth outcomes for afterschool STEM

By Anita Krishnamurthi

Hopefully you’ve seen our 2013 study “Defining Youth Outcomes for Afterschool STEM,” which outlines a practitioner-defined framework of youth outcomes that are appropriate and feasible for afterschool STEM programs.

If you haven’t read it yet, or are looking to forward it on to colleagues, we’ve created a quick summary of the study and its major findings.

We’ve also created a guide to using the framework of youth outcomes developed in the study.  This Prezi presentation takes you through several ways the framework can strengthen and inform your work.

Let us know how you like these new resources.  And as work on outcomes and evaluation continues within the out-of-school-time field, we’ll keep you updated on the latest developments!

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learn more about: Evaluations Science
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OCT
17

RESEARCH
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Guest blog: Why the afterschool learning context matters when using technology with at-risk students

By Sarah Simpson

Kamila Thigpen is the Digital Learning Policy and Advocacy Manager at Alliance for Excellent Education.

 

The nation’s 23.8 million minority students comprise nearly half of the school population, and many of them are underserved by their school systems. Try walking into one of these schools and you’ll notice very little changes in modern classrooms and those from more than a century ago. Although SMART Boards may have replaced black boards and a handful of computers may be visible around the room, in most cases there are few differences in the actual teaching and learning process.

After the school day and school year ends, disparities in access to technology are further compounded. Only 3 percent of teachers in high-poverty schools agree that “students have the digital tools they need to effectively complete assignments while at home,” compared to 52 percent of teachers in more affluent schools. As students get older and afterschool participation decreases, opportunities to engage in high-quality digital learning are few and far between for high-school aged students who need it most.

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learn more about: Digital Learning Education Reform Equity Guest Blog
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OCT
17

LIGHTS ON
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Snap a photo at your Lights On event to win $2k!

By Sarah Simpson

As you gear up for your Lights On Afterschool event this week, be sure to keep in mind the great photo opps you’ll have with your students, families and event guests—it could earn you $2,000!

Bright House Networks is once again helping us shine a light on the afterschool programs that keep kids safe, inspire learning and help working families with the Bright House Networks Photo Contest on Facebook

From dancing to designing robots, we want to see all of the cool ways that afterschool programs engage kids.  All you have to do is submit a photo of an afterschool activity that engages youth in your community.  The photos with the top votes at the end of the public voting period will be eligible to win up to $2,000. 

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learn more about: Competition Funding Opportunity Media Outreach
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OCT
16

RESEARCH
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Unmet demand for afterschool programs approaches 20 million children

By Jodi Grant

For every child enrolled in an afterschool program, two more would enroll if they could, according to parents. That’s among the findings from our new survey, the 2014 edition of America After 3PM spanning 30,000 American households.

In all, 10.2 million children are in afterschool programs, up from 6.5 million in 2004. But the unmet demand for afterschool—parents who want to enroll their child in a program but say they don’t have a program available—has increased over the last decade as well, with the parents of a projected 19.4 million children now saying they would enroll their child in a program if one were available to them. Demand is especially high among low-income, African-American and Hispanic families.

Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, founder of After-School All-Stars, spoke with reporters about the data and commented:

“Due to the fact that most students come from homes where both parents are working, we have a duty to provide safe havens for our children during the crucial hours from 3-6 pm. Afterschool programs do remarkable things for our children, families and communities. Reams of data show it, and I’ve seen it in my own work. These programs help kids with homework, teach them teamwork, engage them in community service, pair them with mentors, help them to be physically fit, involve them in activities like rocketry and robotics, and much more.”

“Afterschool is a wise investment but, unfortunately, we’re not investing nearly enough,” Schwarzenegger added. “America After 3 PM shows that we are meeting only about one-third of the demand for afterschool programs. We need federal, state and local governments, philanthropies, and businesses to step up and provide the resources that will put us on the path to making afterschool available to all.”

Highlights from the new survey:

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learn more about: America After 3PM Equity Events and Briefings Federal Funding Media Outreach Working Families
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OCT
16

RESEARCH
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Which states made the top 10 list for afterschool?

By Nikki Yamashiro

A huge congratulations to California, D.C., Florida, Vermont, Massachusetts, Arizona, Oregon, Nebraska, Tennessee and Hawaii for making America After 3PM’s “Top 10 States for Afterschool”! 
 
These states made the list because they have some combination of strong afterschool participation rates, high parent satisfaction with their child’s afterschool program, and low rates of children who are alone and unsupervised after school.  For example, California, which secured the number one spot, has an afterschool program participation rate of 25 percent, third highest in the nation, and a participation rate higher than the national average of 18 percent.  America After 3PM also found that the Golden State has strong parent satisfaction when it comes to their child’s afterschool program.  Nine in 10 California parents are satisfied with their child’s afterschool program and 92 percent are satisfied with the program’s quality of care.  
 
There are a handful of familiar states that were on the top 10 list from our 2009 edition of America After 3PM, but there are also a few newcomers to list, including Washington, D.C.  This is the first time in the three rounds of America After 3PM that we were able to report on the District of Columbia.  
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learn more about: America After 3PM Education Reform Media Outreach State Networks State Policy
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OCT
16

FUNDING
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Brand new! America After 3PM interactive dashboard

By Nikki Yamashiro

Releasing our findings from America After 3PM is incredibly exciting, but one of the new features that we’ve launched this time around that I’m especially thrilled about is our interactive Web dashboard.  The dashboard makes all of the valuable America After 3PM data come to life and I think it’s a useful tool to see the state of afterschool across the country.  
 
There are national maps that help you see how each state, plus the District of Columbia, stacks up when it comes to afterschool program participation, demand for afterschool programs, satisfaction with afterschool programs, public support for afterschool programs, and much, much more.   
You also have the ability to take a closer look at all of the information at the state-level.  Interested in finding out how many children are participating in an afterschool program in Vermont?  Want to know how parents in Texas feel about their kid’s afterschool program?  Need the number of children in Oregon who would be enrolled in an afterschool program if one were available to them?  Those answers, as well as answers to a number of other questions you might have about afterschool programs, are easy to find on our dashboard.   
Happy exploring! 
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learn more about: America After 3PM Education Reform Inside the Afterschool Alliance Media Outreach State Policy
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