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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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JUN
9

RESEARCH
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New Report: Connecting out-of-school time to classroom success among young black males in D.C.

By Nikki Yamashiro

Making learning relevant, incorporating workforce development into programming, emphasizing healthful eating and physical activity, providing a safe and supportive environment, and engaging parents are just a few of the key components of effective out-of-school-time programs highlighted in a new report by the D.C. Children and Youth Investment Trust Corporation.

Building Bridges: Connecting Out-of-School Time to Classroom Success Among School-Age Black Males in the District of Columbia” takes a look at policies and practices afterschool programs can adopt to best support the success of young black males in D.C.  The report demonstrates the need for targeted support for young black males in D.C., beginning with an overview of the data on black men and boys in the District of Columbia.  This includes data on graduation and dropout rates, grade school retentions, disability diagnosis, suspensions, household structure, employment, and household income.  For example, the report found that in Washington, D.C., the dropout rate for black males is 14 percent, compared to less than 2 percent for white males.  Another sobering statistic is the wealth gap that has grown in D.C.  In 1990, just less than 3 in 10 black children in D.C. were being raised in families living in poverty and approximately 7 in 10 white children were being raised in families in “comfortable homes”—or in families with an income more than five times the rate of poverty.  In 2011, approximately 4 in 10 black children in D.C. were living in poverty, compared to 9 in 10 white children who were living in a comfortable home.

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learn more about: Equity Evaluations Working Families Academic Enrichment Youth Development
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MAY
21

RESEARCH
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New MetLife Foundation issue brief: Keeping Kids Safe and Supported in the Hours After School

By Nikki Yamashiro

In New Britain, Conn., New Britain YWCA STRIVE is the only program in the area that provides academic enrichment, health and wellness programming, and positive youth development during the after school hours to middle school girls identified as at-risk.  A program alumnus from YWCA STRIVE shares:

“Growing up in New Britain can be tough [sic.] there are many factors that can distract a young person and guide them through the wrong path.  The transition from elementary school to middle school and middle school to high school can be rough on pre-teens and teens…The pressure to fit in for young people is very strong, especially for girls.  During my middle school career, I found comfort in a wonderful program offered at the YWCA STRIVE…This program helped me blossom… STRIVE became my safe zone… STRIVE was more than a program.  It was a sisterhood.”

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learn more about: Issue Briefs MetLife Innovator Awards Working Families Youth Development Community Partners
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MAY
2

RESEARCH
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New report: State of the State of Expanded Learning in California

By Nikki Yamashiro

Last month, the California AfterSchool Network released “State of the State of Expanded Learning in California 2013-2014,” a report detailing the afterschool landscape in California—providing information on the number of schools with expanded learning programs, the demographics of students served by those expanded learning programs, the variety of activities and learning opportunities provided to students, the positive impact expanded learning programs have on students who participate, and the unmet demand for high-quality expanded learning programs.

Key findings from the report include:

  • More than 4,400 afterschool, summer and year-round programs serve close to 430,000 students in California.
  • Expanded learning programs in California are serving a high-need population.  An average of 82 percent of students are eligible for free and reduced price meals at schools with expanded learning programs, compared to just 44 percent of students at schools without expanded learning programs.
  • Students in expanded learning programs see improvements in their academic achievement, behavior and engagement in school.  For example, an evaluation of Oakland Unified School District’s expanded learning program found that students with high levels of participation were more likely to score Proficient or Advanced on the California Standards Test and a high percentage of students indicated that the program helped them feel confident about attending and graduating college.
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learn more about: Education Reform Health and Wellness State Networks State Policy
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MAR
24

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The Girl Scout Research Institute's latest report: unfinished business

By Nikki Yamashiro

Following up on my colleague’s fantastic post on available resources on girls in STEM to celebrate Women’s History Month, I want to highlight a recent report from the Girl Scout Research Institute, “The State of Girls: Unfinished Business.

The primary takeaway from this in-depth report that covers several key issues affecting girls’ healthy development is that there is progress to be proud of regarding girls’ educational attainment, reduction of risky behaviors, extracurricular activities and connection to technology.  For example, the report found that there are 130 women enrolled in college for every 100 men, girls make up less than one-third of juvenile arrests and more than half of high school girls play on at least one sports team.  However, as the report’s title implies, there’s still much more to be done.

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learn more about: Equity Working Families
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MAR
3

RESEARCH
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New MetLife Foundation issue brief: Afterschool Supporting Students with Disabilities and Other Special Needs

By Nikki Yamashiro

At the Afterschool Alliance we constantly work to provide information and research that is most relevant and pressing in the afterschool field.  Last week, our communications manager posted a blog that shared our most popular documents in 2013 and the document that took the number two spot was our 2008 issue brief, “Afterschool Benefits Kids with Special Needs.”  I’m happy to share that our latest MetLife Foundation issue brief, “Afterschool Supporting Students with Disabilities and Other Special Needs,” is an update to our 2008 brief.

This issue brief provides new statistics and research on students with disabilities and other special needs, highlighting the benefits of inclusive learning environments and the role that afterschool programs play to help students of all abilities grow academically, socially and emotionally.  Although students with disabilities and other special needs face their own set of challenges as they move through school and on to adulthood, providing opportunities to participate in activities in a meaningful way, learning side-by-side with peers without disabilities, developing friendships and other life skills, and feeling a sense of belonging and acceptance, are all ways that can help them address and overcome the challenges in their life.  The brief discusses the variety of ways afterschool programs provide an inclusive learning environment and features afterschool programs across the country, from Unified Theater in Hartford, Connecticut—a program fostering inclusion and developing student leaders through the arts, to Thriving Minds After-School in Dallas, Texas—an afterschool program that uses parent feedback to tailor their programming to best support their students.

We released this issue brief at the National AfterSchool Association’s Annual Convention in New York City over the weekend.  If you attended, I hope that you were able to stop by our booth and pick up a copy.

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learn more about: Equity Issue Briefs MetLife Innovator Awards Youth Development
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FEB
24

RESEARCH
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From surveys to stories: afterschool making the difference for working families

By Nikki Yamashiro

On Valentine’s Day, a number of working moms sent an open-letter Valentine to their afterschool programs, thanking them for keeping their kids safe after school, inspiring them to learn, and providing an engaging and academically enriching learning environment.  Their heartfelt letters echo what polls and research have shown for years—afterschool programs are providing the essential support working families need.

Our 2011 issue brief “Afterschool and Working Families in the Wake of the Great Recession” not only explores the variety of ways afterschool programs are helping kids learn and grow, but discusses the peace of mind they bring to parents while they are at work.  For example, a study by Catalyst and Brandeis University found that as many as 2.5 million parents are overly stressed by what their children are doing after school.  One aspect that leads to an even higher risk for stress is when their children are unsupervised during the hours after school.  Afterschool programs give working parents the reassurance they need that their children are in a safe and supportive environment during the gap in time between when the school day ends and when they get home from work.  A survey last fall of working parents in New York reported that 95 percent said that they rely on child care and afterschool programs to keep their jobs.

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learn more about: Media Outreach Working Families
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FEB
19

RESEARCH
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New report: Taking a Deeper Dive into Afterschool

By Nikki Yamashiro

Research and evaluation are critical to understanding, improving and growing a policy, a program or an organization.  Federal, state and local government; as well as foundations and other public and private sector funding agencies are increasingly asking for this information that will give them greater insight into outcomes and the impact of their investment.  Afterschool Alliance understands the importance of research and evaluation in the afterschool field and “Taking a Deeper Dive into Afterschool: Positive Outcomes and Promising Practices” synthesizes the findings of research covering hundreds of afterschool programs.  The report highlights the positive results of these programs on the students who participate in them and outlines the promising practices associated with quality programs.

The report is divided into three sections: the first section reviews evaluations that assess outcomes of students who participate in afterschool programs, the second section presents a summary of promising practices of afterschool programs based on a synthesis of existing research, and the third section provides detailed examples of afterschool programs implementing each promising practice.

Outcomes reviewed in the first section are: 
  • School engagement, including attendance and likelihood of staying in school;
  • Student behavior, including participation in at-risk behaviors, such as criminal activity, gang involvement, drug and alcohol use, or sexual activity; and
  • Academic performance, including test scores, grades, graduation rates and college enrollment.
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learn more about: Equity Evaluations Community Partners
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FEB
11

RESEARCH
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The Hill op-ed: After-school activities empower kids

By Sarah Simpson

In his recent State of the Union address, President Obama called for preschool programs for every 4-year-old—an idea that 30 states are funding. Providing early education for youngsters who haven’t started school is an idea whose time has come. So is supporting after-school programs for elementary school students. Researcher Deborah Vandell explains why.

Read the full op-ed published by The Hill.

Vandell, founding dean of the School of Education at the University of California-Irvine, is a distinguished education researcher focusing on issues of P-20 education and longitudinal studies of development.

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learn more about: Evaluations Media Outreach Obama
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