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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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JUL
8

FUNDING
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New $150,000 award opportunity: The Trust Challenge

By Nikki Yamashiro

The Humanities, Arts, Science and Technology Alliance and Collaboratory (HASTAC) and the MacArthur Foundation have announced their fifth Digital Media and Learning Competition—the Trust Challenge: Building Trust in Connected Learning Environments.  The Trust Challenge will award a total of $1.2 million—in $10,000 to $150,000 year-long development grants—to institutions and organizations that look to answer questions around trust, privacy, safety and learning in an open online world.  Proposals will address questions such as:

  • How can learners exercise control over who sees and uses their data?
  • What tools do they need in order to navigate, collaborate and learn online with confidence?
  • What solutions will foster greater civility and respect in online learning environments?
  • How can open technical standards create more opportunities to share and collaborate online in a spirit of trust?

Applications will be accepted Sept. 3 to Nov. 3, 2014.

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learn more about: Digital Learning Funding Opportunity Science Arts
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JUN
18

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup - June 18, 2014

By Luci Manning

Grant’s Loss Cuts Irving After-School Program Used by Thousands (Dallas Morning News, Texas)

“An after-school program that served thousands of students in one of the region’s poorest districts has shut down after losing a federal grant,” the Dallas Morning News reports.  Parents and educators praised the Quest afterschool program as a successful model for keeping students on track to graduate, and an independent auditor warned that students’ test scores might dip without the program. Officials are brainstorming and fundraising ways to try and continue the program next year but caution that they won’t be able to provide the same level of programming.

Liberty Students Learn Fun Skills at Afterschool Craft Club (Murray Journal, Utah)

A popular afterschool craft program at Liberty Elementary has tripled in size since the beginning of the school year as more students see the creative projects their peers are completing after school.  On any given day, afterschool students can be seen painting with water colors, stringing together beaded necklaces, and sculpting with clay.  One sixth grader, Allie Krebs, who learned how to crochet blankets, spoke fondly about her new hobby to the Murray Journal, saying that “crocheting relaxed me if I’m stressed out or nervous and it makes me happy.”

College Town (Telegram & Gazette, Massachusetts)

“A Place We Can Call Home,” a powerful documentary produced by the Storytelling Project Incorporating Technology for Ideological Transformation (SPIT-IT) afterschool program, tells the stories of three of the club’s immigrant youths. According to the Telegram & Gazette, SPIT-IT empowers students to voice their experiences and perspectives on the various social realities and public policy issues that affect them through the creation of documentaries.  The students in SPIT-IT conceived, wrote and produced their latest film to show how immigration has impacted Worcester’s young people, many of whom are first or second generation immigrants. 

Stamford’s Young Mariners Graduate on the Sound (Stamford Advocate, Connecticut)

Twenty students from the Stamford area stood proudly on the deck of the Ticonderoga for a special graduation ceremony last Tuesday.  As part of the Young Mariners afterschool enrichment program, the students learned the basics of sailing as well as swimming, CPR, navigation, boating safety and off the water engineering and math principles.  Some of the Young Mariners told the Stamford Advocate that their favorite experiences include taking water samples and learning about how to keep the oceans clean.      

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learn more about: Federal Funding Federal Policy Arts
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JUN
11

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup - June 11, 2014

By Luci Manning

Kids Out Of School Also Missing Subsidized Lunch (PBS Newshour)

Of the 21 million students who receive free and reduced price lunch during the school year, only 3 million receive federally funded meals during the summer.  While that figure shows that only a fraction of the students who would benefit from the summer nutrition programs are getting the support they need, Jim Weill, president of the Food Research and Action Center, told PBS Newshour that there has actually been a 6 percent increase between 2012 and 2013 in the amount of students receiving federally funded meals during the summer. In the interview, Weill said there needs to be a greater effort to help these students attain quality, nutrient-dense meals in order to avoid the rise in hunger and obesity that typical occurs during the summer months.

King’s Summer Program Offers Musical Training (Des Moines Register, Iowa)

For some students at King Elementary School, the afterschool program they attend during the year doesn’t end when summer vacation begins.  Thanks to a partnership with the nonprofit Jane Foundation and a 21st Century grant, the school is able to offer music lessons during the summer.  Jane Magers, director and CEO of the Jane Foundation, was so eager to get involved  by providing donated instruments because, as she told the Des Moines Register, the organization “sees music as being critical to a child’s development, not only for the creative aspects but also to foster life skills.”

Applied Learning; After-School Program Reaches Finish Line (Herald and News, Oregon)

Thanks to an outstanding collaboration from businesses, nonprofits, a university and many members of the community, students in the Klamath Falls area have the opportunity to design and race model cars after school. Ponderosa Middle School students are putting the finishing touches on the hand held race cars that they designed in a 3-D modeling program with the help of Oregon Institute of Technology engineering students.  One of the OIT students told the Herald and News that this type of activity is a great way to introduce the students to a lot of different STEM fields, saying “You get basic aerodynamics, you get 3-D modeling, you get a little bit of physics and it seems to be a pretty fun environment where they get to enjoy themselves while doing it.”  The students will race their cars for the science fair at Oregon Tech Thursday.  

Suburban Teens Are On a Mission to Boost City Schools (Journal Sentinel, Wisconsin)

Two ambitious high school students from a Milwaukee suburb are stepping up to help their fellow students through a tutoring program they started called Kids4Kids.  The weekly program, which takes place at Milwaukee College Prep’s Lloyd Street Campus, is gaining in popularity as students from additional suburbs sign on to be tutors to inner city students. Chandlar Strauss, one of the co-founders, told the Journal Sentinel that she is hopeful that Kids4Kids can help “close the educational gap that exists between the city and suburbs and build a relationship between the communities.”  

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learn more about: 21st CCLC Health and Wellness Nutrition Science Summer Learning Arts Community Partners
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JUN
5

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup - June 5, 2014

By Luci Manning

Ballard Helps Kick Off Summer Reading Program (WISH-TV, Indiana)

Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard read Good Night Moon to students Wednesday morning to kick-off the Indianapolis Public Library’s summer reading program.  As part of the Read in Any Language theme of this summer’s program, the students will map out their “race” around the world reading books with a global perspective.  Mayor Ballard told WISH-TV about how valuable programs like this are, saying that “I always liked to read as a kid, but I think it’s the summer program that kids can really advance on their own.  The Summer Reading Program is designed to make it easy for the kids and give them the opportunity to see what is available to them and have a lot of fun doing it.”

A Higher Key: Music Program Helps Kids Learn New Skills (StarTribune, Minnesota)

The sound of classical music fills the halls of Nellie Stone Johnson Community School in the afternoons as students in the afterschool music program learn to play instruments like violins and cellos.  El Sistema, an afterschool club founded in Venezuela 40 years ago dedicated to social justice and crime prevention, offers much more than music lessons to students in north Minneapolis.  While the program teaches the students to play classical instruments, it also promotes the ideals of cooperation and strong study skills.  El Sistema is just finishing up its second year in north Minneapolis, and it has already produced real results – the students in the program tested as faster readers and as more empathetic and creative than their peers, the StarTribune reports.

Canine Training Reaches Hearts of Young Offenders (Santa Cruz Sentinel, California)

For five residents at the Santa Cruz Juvenile Hall, their hard work training and socializing abandoned dogs paid off as the young residents graduated from the “Canines for Compassion” program.  The objective of the program is twofold. The students who train these previously neglected dogs learn empathy and patience and the dogs are taught basic commands and good behavior, increasing their likelihood of being adopted.  While the dogs have made great strides in confidence and skills, the trainers gained valuable life skills.  One of the longer-term residents told the Santa Cruz Sentinel how much the program means to him, “More than anything, (George the Rottweiler and Labrador mix he trained) been a friend.  I actually gained a friend in here. I really liked this whole program. It brought me some feelings, some emotions.”

Alexandria Library’s Summer Reading Program Also Gets Kids Excited About Science (Town Talk, Louisiana)

Fizz, Boom, Read. The theme of this year’s Alexandria Westside Regional Library’s Summer Reading Program aims to interest young people in reading and science.  Students will get a chance to engage in experiments, many involving mixing chemicals that create loud pops and fizzing bubbles.  Some of the experiments and scientific phenomena the students will learn about are included on the program’s summer reading list, the Town Talk reports.  

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learn more about: Science Summer Learning Arts Literacy
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MAY
30

LIGHTS ON
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Lights On Afterschool poster deadline extended!

By Sarah Simpson

We’ve gotten some great submissions for this year’s Lights On Afterschool poster, but we think there’s even more afterschool talent out there—and we want to see it!  That’s why we’re extending the poster deadline to Monday, June 9, 2014. 

This contest is a great opportunity for an afterschool program to gain national recognition for the great enrichment opportunities it offers, since the young artist’s program will be credited on the poster, too!

  • The winning design will be printed on tens of thousands of posters
  • The design will be displayed at thousands of Lights On Afterschool celebrations across the country
  • The winning artist will be featured on our website, blog and Afterschool Storybook

See contest details and submission guidelines.

We can't wait to see what you come up with!

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learn more about: Competition Inside the Afterschool Alliance Media Outreach Arts
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MAY
15

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup - May 15, 2014

By Luci Manning

Portsmouth Students Offer Community Service Through After-School Club (Virginian-Pilot, Virginia)

Students in the CARES (Christopher Academy Really Excels at Service) afterschool enrichment club enjoy volunteering in and around Portsmouth.  Christopher Academy Head of School Phyllis Shannon told the Virginian-Pilot that the “young children are very, very interested in helping other people, taking care of the environment, taking care of animals. We try to address those topics with our projects.”  Most recently, the students made “pillow pets” for children at the H.E.R. shelter by decorating white pillowcases with colorful drawings.  As part of the program students have also made cards for veterans, sang to the elderly, and made dog and cat toys, leashes and treats for the Portsmouth Humane Society. 

Lawrence Students Embrace Opera, Learn About More than Music (Eagle Tribune, Massachusetts)

When Lawrence students sing and dance to opera music at their Urban Voices afterschool program they are learning much more than rhythm and beats.  Erin Smith, who runs the program in Lawrence, told the Eagle Tribune that “opera incorporates all kids of art forms. It’s a wonderful way for them to express themselves through music and it takes it to a whole new level.”  Smith tries to incorporate the school-day curriculum into the afterschool lessons, like exposing the students to songs from around the world for multicultural day.  One student, Annykeisha, who was born in Puerto Rico, finds she benefits from the program because, “I don’t know much English and I learn more by singing the songs,” the Eagle Tribune reports. 

Fighting Childhood Obesity (Star-Ledger, New Jersey)

Ginny Ehrlich, chief executive of the Clinton Health Matters Initiative and Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, president and chief executive of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, wrote a compelling piece, featured in the Star-Ledger, about how New Jerseyans need to capitalize on the progress on efforts to reverse childhood obesity.  They wrote: “The school and after-school environments have an impact on children’s health.  Even if parents are trying to provide their children with nutritious food, young people spend the majority of their time in school and afterschool programs.  This is why we need to ensure that healthy choices are consistently available as the easy and appealing option – in schools, community centers, faith-based organizations, as well as home.”

Six Kids Living in a Brooklyn Homeless Shelter Will Bring Their Singing Act to Radio City Music Hall Next Month (Daily News, New York)

Six talented youngsters who make up the Tilden Hall Homeless Shelter gospel group were among 23 troupes chosen from more than 200 local acts to perform in the Garden of Dreams Talent Show at Radio City Music Hall on June 17. The talent show will give kids who struggle with illness and poverty a chance to shine.  Bill Barlett, the program’s director, told the Daily News that half of the students had not even been to Manhattan and none of them knew what an audition was before this experience.  

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learn more about: Health and Wellness Service Arts Youth Development
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APR
30

IN THE FIELD
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Housing authorities + quality afterschool: funding a 21st century partnership

By Musa Farmand

Quality afterschool programs that are based in or adjacent to affordable housing communities can guarantee access to a safe and stimulating learning environment for the children of working families who are most in need of such services.  Through the Department of Education’s 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) initiative, the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority (CMHA) in Cleveland, Ohio, and its community partners are providing resident K-8 students with opportunities to achieve their educational goals and engage in positive interactions with the larger community. Below, we showcase CMHA’s 21st CCLC program, explore the unique benefits of housing-based afterschool programs, and highlight other afterschool partnerships that CMHA maintains in order to provide access to quality, affordable afterschool for all of the families they serve.

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learn more about: 21st CCLC Equity Working Families Academic Enrichment Youth Development Community Partners
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APR
30

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup - April 30, 2014

By Luci Manning

Learning From the Habitat Outside Your Door (Herald and News, Oregon)

Pelican Elementary School will soon be home to a wildlife habitat, and even though it is not entirely complete, second graders in the 21st Century Community Learning Centers afterschool program are already enjoying it.  With guidance from local Klamath Watershed Partnership and Great Outdoors Alliance educators, students are getting hands-on learning experiences right outside their classrooms.  Maureen Lundy, a teacher who has been heavily involved in planning the schoolyard habitat, told the Herald and News that “the idea is to have this cool habitat right outside Pelican’s door” where students can collect samples and engage in engineering design in a different learning environment.

Los Lobos Recruit White Elementary Mariachi Program Members to Open Tucson Show (Arizona Daily Star, Arizona)

Much to the delight of parents and students alike, the afterschool mariachi program at John E. White Elementary School opened for rock band Los Lobos at the Rialto Theatre last Friday.  Hearing the band was coming to town, Bill Mark, the program’s advisor, told the Arizona Daily Star that he emailed Los Lobos to see if they could speak to the kids, but Los Lobos took his request one step further and asked if some of the afterschool students could open for the band.  Mark told the Arizona Daily Star that he “Wasn’t really expecting a response, so this was a huge surprise.” 

YMCA Teaches Empathy through Animals (Daily Independent, Kentucky)

An afterschool program featuring some furry friends is helping students translate their compassion for animals onto their fellow students.  The program teaches young people to be calm, confident and caring through dog-related activities that help develop inter-personal skills that can later be used in the classroom, at home and even in the workplace.  Norma Meek, YMCA board member who prompted the introduction of the Mutt-i-gree curriculum, told the Daily Independent that “Children realize that all pets come in different shapes, sizes and colors.  All pets have strengths and feelings…There are Pedigrees and Muttigrees, some are mixed breeds, but they’re all wonderful – just like people.”

High School Students to Rock Homegrown (Duluth Budgeteer News, Minnesota)

The Duluth Homegrown Music Festival welcomed performances by local middle and high school students earlier this week.  The students, some in bands and others performing solo, were well prepared to showcase their talents thanks to the many hours spent practicing after school at the Music Resource Center (MRC).  Students were given their own hour-long time slot during the eight-day festival.  Emily Haavik, program manager of the MRC, told the Duluth Budgeteer News that “we want to give kids with a passion for music an avenue to advance their skills, compose, practice, record, learn.  It’s also a place to go after school where they can hang out while developing their skills.”

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learn more about: Arts Youth Development
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