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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
15

FUNDING
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One month left to nominate a program for the Dollar General Afterschool Literacy Award!

By Nikki Yamashiro

Does your afterschool program help middle school students develop their reading skills?  Do you volunteer with a program that taps into students’ creativity and piques their interest in writing?  We need your help to find exemplary afterschool programs that are providing strong literacy support to middle schoolers.  Nominate them today for the Dollar General Afterschool Literacy Award and the chance to win the $10,000 award! 

The nomination period will close on Aug. 15, which leaves one month to submit your nomination and share with us the fantastic work taking place in an afterschool program in your community. 

You can find more detailed instructions for the online nomination form here

We can’t wait to hear from you!

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learn more about: Funding Opportunity Inside the Afterschool Alliance Literacy
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JUL
1

IN THE FIELD
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Summer: a time to make, play and connect

By Jen Rinehart

At the first-ever White House Maker Faire, Pres. Obama proclaimed June 18, 2014, a National Day of Making, saying, "I call upon all Americans to observe this day with programs, ceremonies and activities that encourage a new generation of makers and manufacturers to share their talents and hone their skills."

At the White House, a robotic giraffe, cupcake bicycles, a banana piano, homemade 3-D printers and 3-D printed pancakes, fiddles and more were all on display with the goal of inspiring makers across the country. 

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s Summer to Make, Play & Connect will keep that inspiration going throughout the summer.  As part of the Summer to Make, Play & Connect, Mozilla’s Maker Party 2014—a campaign to teach Web literacy on a global scale through hands-on learning and making—will feature two months of hands-on making. 

From July 15 through Sept. 15, educators and makers will host “learning parties” in schools, libraries, museums and community centers.  Maker Party events feature people of all ages who are learning to code, making stop-motion animations, designing games, creating digital stories, fabricating wearable technologies, remixing websites, and so much more. Participants gain valuable Web literacy skills as they learn about the basic culture, mechanics and citizenship of the Web.

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learn more about: Digital Learning Events and Briefings Obama State Networks Summer Learning Youth Development Community Partners
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JUN
25

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup - June 25, 2014

By Luci Manning

Kids Can Learn and Stay Healthy over Their Summer Break (News Tribune, Washington)

To promote summer learning and increasing access to healthy food and physical activity, Washington Governor Jay Inslee declared June 20th Washington Summer Learning Day.  Connie Ladenburg, a former state legislator and current member of the Piece County Council, commended the declaration in a piece for the News Tribune.  Ladenburg wrote, “We have research and knowledge telling us quality summer programs make a difference, and we must continue investing in community and school partnerships that provide the quality summer learning experiences that both support children’s health and academic success while promoting experiences that create the lasting memories that all kids deserve during their summer vacation.”

Tennessee First Lady Kicks Off Reading Program (Daily Times, Tennessee)

Tennessee first lady Crissy Haslam is on “book patrol” with the Memphis Police Department, traveling to summer camps and neighborhoods throughout the city to encourage students to read. READ20 Book Patrol goes beyond improving literacy, and as Haslam tells the Daily Times, it helps students connect with police officers “in the community in a casual and supportive environment.” 

Sixth-Graders Launch Farm Punt (Register-Star, New York)

Last Wednesday a boat designed and built by 15 sixth graders after school was launched at Oakdale Lake. The students from M.C. Smith Intermediate School worked with the Hudson Sloop Club for the past ten weeks, studying boat design and building the farm punt style boat from scratch with hand tools.  “They surprised us with every class.  They took to using the tools and didn’t want to let them go” said Ed Csukas, one of the Hudson Sloop Club members who headed the project, to the Register-Star.

Gardening Program Teaches Kids Healthy Growing, Cooking (News Journal, Delaware)

Students who tend the Southbridge Community Youth Garden are making their community a little brighter with fresh vegetables and an entrepreneurial spirit.  When the afterschool program first started, many students could not name a vegetable they wanted to grow, but now they are experts, the News Journal reports. The students grow a variety of vegetables and sell them at a youth-led farm stand on the last Friday of each month.  According to the National Gardening Association, this sort of program is so important because kids who are involved in gardening tend know more about good nutrition, have broader tastes, and eat more vegetables. 

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learn more about: Nutrition Summer Learning
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JUN
18

FUNDING
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New report on learning and the Internet emphasizes role of afterschool and informal education

By Erik Peterson

This week the Aspen Institutes Task Force on Learning and the Internet released its much anticipated report, Learner at the Center of a Networked World.  The report and series of recommendations seeks to ensure today’s students are at the center of, and have access to, safe learning inside and outside of the classroom that prepares them for future success. The comprehensive report addresses the serious issues of trust, safety, privacy, digital literacy and accessibility—especially for underserved students. In their recommendations, the task force recommends actions to help all students connect safely and maximize learning experiences online.

The task force—composed of 20 thought leaders with diverse perspectives on learning, innovation and safety, and supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation—finalized the report after a year of study, outreach to stakeholders including the afterschool field, public input and internal deliberations. Former Governor of Florida and Chairman of the Foundation for Excellence in Education (ExcelinEd) Jeb Bush and Co-Founder of Voto Latino Rosario Dawson served as Honorary Co-Chairs.

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learn more about: Digital Learning Equity Evaluations Youth Development
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JUN
12

FUNDING
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New $10,000 award opportunity: The Dollar General Afterschool Literacy Award!

By Nikki Yamashiro

We're thrilled to announce that we have partnered with the Dollar General Literacy Foundation to offer the first ever Dollar General Afterschool Literacy Award.  We need your help to find exceptional afterschool programs that are providing strong literacy support to middle schoolers—helping them to develop their reading, writing and critical thinking skills.  The winning afterschool program will be awarded $10,000 and recognized at the Afterschool Alliance’s national Afterschool for All Challenge.  

Nominate a program today!  Or, nominate your own program today!  We also encourage afterschool program directors, staff, volunteers and students to nominate their own program.

The Dollar General Afterschool Literacy Award is a great opportunity to highlight the critical work taking place outside of the school day to ensure that middle school students have the necessary support and guidance to build the literacy skills that will help them succeed both in and out of school. 

The deadline for nominations is Aug. 15

The online nomination form has more detailed instructions, but feel free to email nyamashiro@afterschoolalliance.org to answer any questions you may have about this process.

Good luck and we look forward to learn more about the valuable work to strengthen students’ literacy skills that is taking place in afterschool programs across the country.

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learn more about: Competition Funding Opportunity Inside the Afterschool Alliance Literacy
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JUN
11

IN THE FIELD
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Have you heard about digital badges?

By Nikki Yamashiro

The Afterschool Alliance has been following the emergence of digital badges for almost a year now.  More recently, we’ve joined with the MacArthur Foundation, Mozilla and HASTAC to dig deeper into the potential of digital badges in the out-of-school space. 

Part of better understanding what digital badges can mean for afterschool is understand what the afterschool field knows about digital badges and the perceptions of digital badges.

That is why we want to hear from you.  Take this short survey and help us better understand the afterschool field’s awareness of digital badges and perceptions of this emerging innovation.  

If you’ve never heard of heard of digital badges, we want to know that.  If you’ve worked with digital badges, we want to know that too.

Your responses will be incredibly helpful to shape and coordinate our work in the digital badge space.

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learn more about: Digital Learning Inside the Afterschool Alliance Youth Development
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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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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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