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JUL
24

IN THE FIELD
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Join us for a summer meals blog-a-thon and tweetfest!

By Rachel Clark

Combining summer meals and summer learning should be a no-brainer—on July 30th, we’re going to spread the word by taking to the blogosphere and social media alongside the YMCA, the National Recreation and Park Association, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, the National AfterSchool Association, FRAC, and the National Summer Learning Association. As Congress considers reauthorization of child nutrition legislation, it’s critical that we come together to raise awareness about the importance of keeping students’ minds and bellies full during the summer months—so we need your help!

Join us on Thursday, July 30 to share the amazing experiences your students are having in summer learning programs: eating nutritious meals, getting physically active, coding, reading, writing and more! Post a short blog and photos illustrating the opportunities you’re providing for young people this summer as they come together to learn and eat healthy meals, then let us know about your blogs at info@afterschoolalliance.org. We’ll also be following the hashtags #SummerMealsAct, #SummerLearning and #CNR2015 all day—share photos of your students eating and learning on social media, and we’ll spread the word about the great work your program is doing by collecting your images on a dedicated Pinterest board.

Not sure where to start? We’ve got a few sample posts to get you started—but be sure to customize them and share your own story!

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learn more about: Advocacy Nutrition Summer Learning
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JUL
23

POLICY
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Fourth cohort of afterschool policy fellows to join advocacy ranks

By Jillian Luchner

Congratulations to the fourth class of White-Riley-Peterson Policy Fellows, recently selected to contribute their leadership and expertise in advancing the afterschool field. The fellows, supported under a partnership program between the Riley Institute at Furman University and the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, will spend 10 months studying and collaborating to strengthen afterschool networks in their states. The program curriculum includes a week-long workshop, case studies and small learning communities. Each fellow’s work culminates in a state-level policy plan developed in partnership with their statewide networks and us here at the Afterschool Alliance. We look forward to our collaborations in the field.

The 2015-2016 White-Riley-Peterson Policy Fellows are:

  • Thomas Azzarella, Director, Alaska Afterschool Network (Alaska)
  • David Beard, Education Policy and Advocacy Director, School’s Out Washington (Washington State)
  • Melissa Beck, Network Lead, The Civic Canopy (Colorado)
  • Susan Gamble, Network Lead, West Virginia Statewide Afterschool Network (West Virginia)
  • Ebony Grace, Director of Expanded Learning Opportunities, NJSACC: The Statewide Afterschool Network (New Jersey)
  • Darren Grimshaw, Major, Burlington Police Department (Iowa)
  • Kathryn Johnson, Executive Director, Alternatives Inc. (Virginia)
  • Don Kent, Chairman, Net Literacy (Indiana)
  • Dave Knutson, VP Government Affairs and Special Initiatives, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee (Wisconsin)
  • Lani Lingo, State Director of Education & Specialized Programs, Florida Alliance of Boys & Girls Clubs (Florida)
  • Alison Reis-Khanna, Director of Partnerships and Quality Initiatives, Texas Partnership for Out of School Time (Texas)
  • Tammy Shay, Program Coordinator, Maryland Out of School Time Network (Maryland)
  • Erik Skold, Associate Director, Sprockets: Saint Paul’s Out-of-School Time Network (Minnesota)
  • Bethany Thramer, Policy & Outreach Coordinator, Oregon Afterschool for Kids (Oregon)
  • Craig Williams, Teacher, Wyoming Afterschool Alliance (Wyoming)

The fellowship is named for William S. White, president and CEO of the Mott Foundation; Richard W. Riley, former South Carolina governor and Secretary of Education under President Clinton; and Dr. Terry Peterson, national board chair with the Afterschool Alliance and a senior fellow at the College of Charleston. To read more about the fellowship, visit http://riley.furman.edu/afterschool.

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learn more about: Advocacy
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JUL
23

IN THE FIELD
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It's back! Nominate a program today for the Dollar General Afterschool Literacy Award

By Nikki Yamashiro

For the second year in a row, the Dollar General Literacy Foundation and the Afterschool Alliance are thrilled to present the Dollar General Afterschool Literacy Award. We need your help to find the next Dollar General Afterschool Literacy Award winner that will receive $10,000 for their program, be recognized in a joint Dollar General Literacy Foundation and Afterschool Alliance issue brief, and be featured in upcoming webinars and national conferences.  

This year we are searching for afterschool programs that provide year-round support to help improve their students’ reading, writing and critical thinking skills. In a departure from last year’s eligibility requirements, we are opening up the award to afterschool programs that serve students of any age, including elementary, middle and high school students.

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learn more about: Funding Opportunity Literacy
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JUL
22

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup: July 22, 2015

By Luci Manning

Karate Kids: Students Learn Self-Defense (Jackson Sun, Tennessee)

Jackson students are getting a workout and learning strategies for self-defense and crisis management in the Fudoskinka Dojo’s karate summer program. Throughout the summer, kids learn the history of various forms of martial arts, watch classic martial arts movies and practice origami and calligraphy. Each morning starts with tai chi, a Chinese martial art that promotes good cardiovascular, respiratory and central nervous systems health. “What I have witnessed is that kids who have a regular cardiovascular program… I find that it’s a lot easier for them to concentrate when they’re physically pushed,” sensei and program leader Sherwin Moore told the Jackson Sun. The karate lessons continue throughout the year as an afterschool program with a focus on academics – students with good grades can win prizes from the “Dojo Store.”

Canton Man Invites Summer School Group to Fishing Pond (Ogdensburg Journal, New York)

Some 30 kids had the opportunity to fish for perch, bullhead and large and small mouth bass in a man-made pond as part of the three-week Cornell Cooperative Extension of St. Lawrence County Summer Fishing Camp. This is the third year William Locy has hosted the summer program at his private pond, which he stocked with a wide variety of fish for their visit. “You have a life experience on how to fish and how to catch fish and get them off the hook,” student Isaac LaRock told the Ogdensburg Journal. “I really like it.” All the kids relished having the chance to get away from school for a day and learn a new life skill they can carry with them for years.

Summer Chess Camp Hooks Local Kids on the Game (Chambersburg Public Opinion, Pennsylvania)

Teacher James Doyle has spent his summer teaching Franklin county students the tactics and strategies of how to defeat their opponent in a chess match. The twice-weekly summer chess camp is a pilot program that has allowed about 20 students to learn the game and improve their skills by playing with peers. The program gives students a productive way to spend lazy summer days and can provide a boost to their critical thinking and problem-solving skills. “(The game) helps build focus and concentration, even in children who have trouble sitting still and concentrating on tasks,” Doyle told the Chambersburg Public Opinion. Although currently Doyle only runs a summer program, he’d like to see chess integrated into local curricula, and hopes to open an afterschool chess club for all area students this year.

Young Readers Revel at Superhero Training Camp (Sierra Vista Herald, Arizona)

More than 90 kids channeled their inner superhero at Sierra Vista Library’s Superhero Training Camp this weekend, participating in hero-centric crafts, games and challenges as part of the library’s summer reading program. The library has been hosting special weekend activities and regular reading events in line with the year’s theme – “Every Hero Has a Story” – to keep kids reading throughout the summer. “It’s about preventing kids from falling into what we call the summer slide, where they basically fall behind in the summer because they don’t keep up with their reading,” librarian Sierra Baril told the Sierra Vista Herald

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learn more about: Health and Wellness Rural Summer Learning
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JUL
16

POLICY
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Senate ESEA bill, the Every Child Achieves Act, passes Senate and strengthens afterschool programs

By Erik Peterson

For the first time since 2001, the U.S. Senate passed a federal K-12 education bill to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), approving the bipartisan Every Child Achieves Act (S. 1177) by a vote of 81 to 17 and sending a message that No Child Left Behind should be replaced. The legislation passed with strong bipartisan language reauthorizing and strengthening the federal 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) initiative which supports local school-community partnerships that provide effective before-school, afterschool and summer learning programs to more than 1.6 million students in all 50 states. The next step in the process will be a conference committee between the House and Senate with the goal of producing a compromise bill that can pass both chambers and be signed into law by the President.   

Afterschool Alliance Executive Director Jodi Grant issued a statement in support of passage of the bill, stating in part:

The Senate today took a huge step to strengthen our children’s future by preserving dedicated funding for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) in its Elementary and Secondary Education Act reauthorization, the Every Child Achieves Act. Strong, bipartisan support for the afterschool, before-school and summer learning programs that keep kids safe, inspire them to learn, and help working families made this outcome possible.

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learn more about: 21st CCLC Congress ESEA Federal Funding Federal Policy Legislation
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JUL
16

POLICY
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ESEA day 6: Nearing the finish line

By Erik Peterson

The Senate neared the end of its consideration of the Every Child Achieves Act (ECAA) (S. 1177) yesterday, voting 86-12 to invoke cloture and start a 30-hour clock on debate that would end with a final vote on the bill Thursday, July 16. Four amendments were voted on late in the afternoon yesterday and all four failed to pass, including SA #2161 offered by Sen. Kirk (R-IL) to ensure that States measure and report on indicators of student access to critical educational resources and identify disparities in such resources, and SA #2241 offered by Sen. Murphy (D-CT) to change the ECAA’s accountability requirements by increasing subgroup accountability for underperforming groups. Twenty one amendments deemed non-controversial passed by unanimous consent.

The stage is set for a final vote later today, preceded by votes on about 19 additional amendments, including SA # 2100 offered by Sen Brown (D-OH) that would authorize the Full Service Community Schools grant program.

Stayed tuned for additional updates on the blog later today, and follow the latest on Twitter at @afterschool4all. And as always, all Senate action is broadcast on C-SPAN2 here and afterschool supporters can continue reaching out to Senators in support of afterschool and summer learning programs being strengthened by the Every Child Achieves Act.

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learn more about: 21st CCLC Congress ESEA Federal Funding Federal Policy Legislation
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JUL
16

IN THE FIELD
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Celebrate the power of parks in keeping kids active during Park and Recreation Month this July!

By Lindsay Damiano

This is the 30th year of celebrating July as Park and Recreation Month, and the National Recreation and Park Association is recreating like it’s 1985 with events across the country.

For decades, local parks and recreation departments have been providing kids with a safe place to stay active and programming that encourages them to explore. The National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) finds that access to parks leads to more active communities, and park programs are among the 80 percent of afterschool and summer programs that provide kids opportunities for physical activity. Last year, Carmel Clay Parks & Recreation’s Extended School Enrichment Program won the Lights On Afterschool photo contest, showcasing park programs’ diverse opportunities including helping kids explore nature and helping them capture it on camera!

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JUL
15

STEM
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National Research Council releases long-awaited report on successful out-of-school STEM

By Anita Krishnamurthi

The National Research Council (NRC) recently released a long-awaited report, Identifying and Supporting Productive STEM Programs in Out-of-School SettingsThe National Science Foundation (NSF) sponsored this report as a follow-up companion study to the Successful K-12 STEM Education report that examined effective approaches to STEM education in schools. 

As afterschool and other out-of-school-time STEM programs have grown in number over the past decade, the interest in measuring their effectiveness and impact has also grown. The recent America After 3PM study revealed that 10.2 million children participate in afterschool programs in the United States, up from 6.5 million a decade ago.  Further, 69% of parents with children in afterschool programs say that some form of STEM activities are included in these programs.

NSF charged the Board on Science Education and the NRC Committee on Successful Out-of-School STEM Learning to conduct a landscape study and review and synthesize existing research in order to outline the criteria that policy makers, program developers and other stakeholders can use to identify effective out-of-school STEM settings and programs. More information is available on the project website

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learn more about: Science
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