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APR
1

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup  April 1, 2015

By Luci Manning

Tapping Their Potential: Sports Mentorship Academy Serves Winona Youth (Winona Daily News, Minnesota)

Twice a week, 10 middle-school boys practice shooting, passing, layups and free throws as part of the Sports Mentorship Academy (SMA); a free afterschool program teaching young people to make better choices through basketball. Students with behavioral and performance issues are referred by school staff to the academy. SMA intern Mike Iyobhebhe was recruited from Winona State University to serve as a mentor, so the boys could see that someone like them can make it to college. “I see them as untapped potential,” Iyobhebhe told the Winona Daily News. “They just need something they can relate to.” Staff members discuss social issues with the kids and act as tutors and mentors, leading study hall sessions that teach the boys how to take notes, study, and manage time.

Students Launch Transatlantic Balloon (Manchester Union Leader, New Hampshire)

On Friday evening, a group of Windham High School students launched a balloon with a lofty goal: to have it and its electronic payload cross the Atlantic Ocean and make landfall in Europe. jagSAT-4 is the fourth student-designed and engineered high altitude probe sent off by the afterschool program, but the first to focus on distance rather than altitude. jagSAT is one of several afterschool science programs available to Windham students. Although many of the kids involved are already interested in science and engineering, more of them find themselves becoming invested in the projects as the program goes on. “This has been incredible,” student Dan Savukinas told the Manchester Union Leader. “It is everything I love and enjoy about school. It’s educational, hands-on, and a challenge we have never done before.”

Paddle Math: Students Put Math in Motion (Grand Traverse Herald, Michigan)

About a dozen students meet twice a week to put math into motion in an afterschool boat building workshop at Traverse City West Middle School. The program teaches teens basic woodworking skills while helping them learn to work together. Each cut, hole and mark in the plywood of the soon-to-be stand-up paddle board the students are currently working on is also a chance for instructor Adam Burks to show the kids how the math they learn in class can be applied to the real world. Burks said that hands-on woodworking is one of the best ways to reinforce the mathematical concepts in geometry and algebra. “You can’t help but use math when you build boats,” Burks told the Grand Traverse Herald.

After School, These Kids in Ash-West Are Just Getting Crackin’ (Fitchburg Sentinel & Enterprise, Massachusetts)

Meetinghouse Elementary School nurse Marcia Sharkey is teaching kids that having healthy habits can be fun through “Let’s Get Crackin’,” a six-week afterschool program for kindergartners, first-graders and second-graders. Each week, the kids are broken into teams led by Oakmont Regional High School volunteers, and each team performs 40 minutes of exercise followed by a 20-minute health education session. The theme this year is “5-4-3-2-1 & 8,” which Sharkey says stands for different healthy habits students can adopt each day. “Five fruits and vegetables,” she told the Fitchburg Sentinel & Enterprise. “Four glasses of water, three good laughs, two hours of screen time, one hour of exercise and eight hours of sleep.” Last week, the group did Zumba dancing and made yogurt and granola parfaits for their healthy snack. 

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APR
1

STEM
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Connect & collaborate with STEM programs through The Connectory!

By Rachel Clark

With the launch of The Connectory, it's easier than ever for kids to connect with STEM programs and opportunities, and for STEM practitioners to collaborate, develop partnerships, and share resources.  This free online collaboration tool gives STEM program providers a chance to find partners based on interests as well as a platform to showcase STEM opportunities to families.  Families, in turn, have a free, go-to resource to connect the children in their lives to STEM learning opportunities in their community.

More than 5,000 programs in all 50 states are already included in the database, representing a full range of topics in STEM, including coding for girls, robotics competitions and science summer camps.  Add your program today to showcase your work, connect to families and partners, and share information and ideas with fellow practitioners!  

To learn more about The Connectory and connecting with community partners in general, join the National Girls Collaborative Project and Click2SciencePD for the Connecting with Community Partners webinar on April 23 at 11AM PDT (2PM EDT).

The Connectory was made possible by support from Time Warner Cable and is managed by the team behind the National Girls Collaborative, in collaboration with Association of Science Technology Centers, Afterschool Alliance, Educational Development Center, Inc., Maker Education, the National Afterschool Association, and Zozude.  Help make the connections for youth to discover STEM: register your program today.

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APR
1

IN THE FIELD
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Visit Tweet4Afterschool to share support for afterschool programs

By Rachel Clark

Last week at the National After-School Summit, a new tool was unveiled to empower the afterschool community to raise their voices in support of afterschool programs in just a few seconds.  By visiting tweet4afterschool.com, supporters can send a tweet sharing key information about afterschool with their networks, joining a groundswell of advocacy that began with hundreds of participants tweeting from last week's Summit.

Each Wednesday, tweet4afterschool.com will be updated with brand new content to share in one click—with the future of federal afterschool funding still at risk, it's critical that advocates check back every week, as future content will include messages targeting key Members of Congress who could make or break the future of programs like 21st CCLC.

Supporters can also visit tweet4afterschool.com/video to watch an inspiring video highlighting kids' love for their afterschool programs.  The video, which was crafted by Academy Award winner Dan Sturman and premiered at the National After-School Summit, is also available for free download to everyone in the afterschool field—share it to show your community that kids are on top of the world at their afterschool programs and help build enthusiasm for afterschool!

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MAR
26

CHALLENGE
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Guest blog: CAUSE fuels teens' passion for research

By Rachel Clark

Kimberly Casiano, Chris Castillo, Dimitri Francis, and Crystele Maldonado live in Camden, NJ and are members of the CAUSE program at Camden's Center for Aquatic Sciences at Adventure Aquarium. This letter about their experience at the 2015 Afterschool for All Challenge was originally published in the Courier-Post.

We recently had the chance to travel to Washington, D.C., for a national conference about afterschool, before-school and summer learning programs. Not only did we get to meet other youth from across the country, we also had the chance to visit Capitol Hill and meet with members of Congress to share the ways these programs help teach our generation about science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM.

As 10th- and 12th-graders who attend several different Camden City schools and participate in the Community and Urban Science Enrichment (CAUSE) program at the Center for Aquatic Sciences at Adventure Aquarium, we know firsthand how valuable afterschool STEM experiences can be.

In our afterschool program, we’ve had the chance to participate in a multiyear youth development program that teaches science-based content that enhances public speaking and professional skills. We’ve worked on research vessels, done water-quality monitoring of our local watersheds, participated in a multitude of science activities in natural areas and traveled to beautiful places we never thought existed.

A major experience in the program is the five-week summer camp in which CAUSE teens, including us, research and write curriculum to teach to Camden youth from grades K to 8. We use informal teaching to educate communities in the city and surrounding area.

We love our afterschool program, and having the chance to use science to develop our personal and professional skills has been fun and has given us lots of confidence. A year ago, we never imagined that we could make a difference by teaching youth and families in our community about keeping our waterways clean. Many of these people listen and even make an effort to become stewards of their environment.

We also thought it was an amazing experience to speak to congressmen and senators to support afterschool programs. The CAUSE program has also increased our interest in the math and science we learn in school. And it’s completely changed our thinking about college and careers. One hundred percent of CAUSE program participants graduate from high school and attend college. We plan to keep up that great tradition.

We know that there will be many more jobs in STEM fields in coming years and not enough people trained to do those jobs. Coming from groups that are especially underrepresented in those fields (Hispanic/black/women), we know how important it is to work hard and stay involved. Because of what we’ve learned in our afterschool program, we hope to help turn that trend around.

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MAR
25

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup  March 25, 2015

By Luci Manning

Linton 6th-Graders Work to Help Save Monarch Butterflies (Linton Herald-Times, Indiana)

Two Linton-Stockton Junior High School students are working to create a habitat for monarch butterflies in Indiana. Suzie Rock and Emma Brinson, both 12, formed the afterschool Miner Monarch Club in order to educate fellow students and the community about the dwindling population of monarch butterflies that spend their summers in Indiana. The girls received a $1,000 grant from the Greene County Community Foundation to run the program, which usually has 15 to 20 students at its Thursday meetings. The club recently ran butterfly-related activities and games for Lincoln-Stockton first-graders to educate them about the monarchs. They are also planning to plant butterfly gardens at their school and other locations. “They’re really good planners and doers,” sixth-grade science teacher and club sponsor Cara Graves told the Linton Herald-Times. “They are very passionate about it.”

Mountain Bay Gets a Day with a Packer (Wausau Daily Herald, Wisconsin)

The Mountain Bay Elementary School afterschool flag football club earned a visit from Green Bay Packers wide receiver Jared Abbrederis last week. The school is part of the Fuel Up to Play 60 program, which is sponsored by the National Football League and the National Dairy Association and aims to get students active at least 60 minutes a day. In addition to flag football, Mountain Bay also has a walking club and a healthy eating program. The students tracked their healthy initiatives throughout the year and earned a visit from Abbrederis, according to the Wausau Daily Herald. “Growing up, I remember my mom used to always send me and my two sisters outside – whether it was snowing out, or 20 below or 100 degrees,” Abbrederis told the students. “We had to go out, get our energy out and have fun. That’s important for you guys, too.”

Money Flows to Help Kids in Community (Tulare Advance-Register, California)

Thanks to $2.1 million in grant funding from the U.S. Dept. of Justice, the new Closing the Circle to Reduce Crime and Delinquency program will provide a variety of programs and services to youth to teach them leadership and keep them off the streets.  “We ask ourselves how we can connect students to law in a positive way,” Tulare County Office of Education extended learning director Adam Valencia told the Tulare Advance-Register. “It’s another way to make connections so students can feel like they’re part of something bigger.” By the end of the three year project organizers expect to add law enforcement officers throughout the county and afterschool programs in rural communities.

Hoosiers Give Assist to After-School Program (Omaha World-Herald, Nebraska)

Before their NCAA tournament game last week, the Indiana Hoosiers basketball team visited the Abide Network afterschool program in Omaha to chat with the students about their dreams and goals. About 20 children from kindergarten through sixth grade attend the afterschool program, where they have a meal and study with volunteer tutors. This time, they paired up with the basketball players to talk about what they want to do with their lives. Hoosiers coach Tom Crean said he hoped his players would encourage and inspire the children, who come from some of Omaha’s most dangerous neighborhoods. “These kids are not forgotten,” Crean told the World-Herald. “These kids have a future.” 

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MAR
25

NEWS ROUNDUP
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National After-School Summit Media Roundup

By Rachel Clark

Schwarzenegger and Paige: Why Congress should keep funding afterschool programs (The Washington Post, Washington, District of Columbia)

There are more than 60,000 children who go to sleep every night in a juvenile detention center, and 2.6 million of our high school students will drop out before they ever graduate high school. We can do better. We both believe that education is a basic civil right for all, and that education does not end when the bell rings at the close of a school day. As the former governor of California and U.S. secretary for education, we fought to support federal funding for afterschool programs to support the lifelong learning of our children. We stood together at a summit in 2003 to fight for these programs, and now we have come together again. Today, as Congress debates the elimination of $1 billion in critical funding for afterschool programs that could affect 1.6 million students, we are both deeply concerned and prepared to fight for these programs which help some of our most at-risk students.

Former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is calling on Congress to preserve federal funding for after-school programs (KABC-LA, Los Angeles, California)

Former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is calling on Congress to preserve federal funding for after-school programs. Schwarzenegger took part in a national summit on public school funding. The conference was held at USC and included education, business, and law enforcement leaders from around the country. A congressional committee is considering a plan to eliminate federally funded after-school programs and transfer the money to individual states. Critics of federal cuts say low income areas would be the hardest hit.

Why should cities invest in after-school programs? Five mayors explain (Youth Today)

After-school programs are helping reduce gang activity, crime and child obesity, five mayors of U.S. cities said Tuesday at the National After-School Summit, a one-day conference in Los Angeles. Fort Worth, Texas, had a gang issue, said its mayor, Betsy Price. In response, the city put money toward after-school and late-night basketball programs and crime went down, she said. Mayor Jeffrey Lunde, of Brooklyn Park, Minn., said youth crime went down 41 percent after his city created after-school programs. “We’re not a big city,” he said. “We don’t have money to gamble.” But funding after-school programs provided a return, he said. Mayors Karl Dean of Nashville, Tenn., and Cherie Wood of South Salt Lake, Utah, agreed that investment in after-school programs had an impact on crime. Wood cited a 64 percent drop in youth crime in South Salt Lake.

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MAR
25

IN THE FIELD
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"Don't Terminate Afterschool Programs"

By Ursula Helminski

So said former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger at the National After-Summit Summit, which sent a rallying cry across the nation to invest in the afterschool programs that are keeping kids safe, inspiring them to learn and helping working families. Mayors, entrepreneurs, education experts, technology leaders and more spoke to the value of afterschool programs for children, families, communities and our nation. Even the audience—whether in the room or viewing online—took part in amplifying the call for more afterschool resources.  Using the Summit’s tweet4afterschool.com feature, more than 1,000 tweets were generated during the gathering, calling out key stats on afterschool outcomes to Members of Congress. 

Summit organizers have made plans to keep the momentum going. Tweet4afterschool.com will feature a new post weekly for advocates to click and send in one stroke. And a short video unveiled at the event is available for all in the afterschool field to download and use to help build support. 

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MAR
24

STEM
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White House Science Fair features afterschool

By Sophie Papavizas

Yesterday, March 23, the White House hosted the 5th annual White House Science Fair, featuring 35 projects presented by students underrepresented in STEM fields and the release of private-sector commitments to support President Obama’s Educate to Innovate campaign.  Amongst the students presenting were students participating in the FIRST Robotics program, including the “Supergirls” Junior FIRST Lego League Team from Daisy Girl Scouts troop 411 in Tulsa, OK, who came up with the idea for a battery-powered page turner to help people with disabilities that have trouble turning a page.  One young computer scientist, Anvita Gupta, used machine learning to teach a computer to identify potential new drugs for cancer, tuberculosis and Ebola.  She also founded an afterschool computer science club for middle school girls.  For more information about all the students participating, check out the Science Fair’s website.

In a press release, the White House also announced commitments totaling $240 million from corporations, universities and foundations to the Educate to Innovate campaign to support STEM learning.  This brings the total campaign commitments to $1 billion over the last five years.  Here are some of the commitments focused on supporting informal STEM learning opportunities:

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