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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
1

IN THE FIELD
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Six cities launch citywide and year-round learning initiatives

By Jen Rinehart

Chicago, Columbus, Dallas, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C., have joined the rapidly growing Cities of Learning movement, a new effort to network citywide resources to keep youth (ages 4 to 24) engaged in educational and career opportunities when school lets out. Cities are funded by local partners and receive national support from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Digital Youth Network and the Badge Alliance.

Cities of Learning offer free or low-cost opportunities for youth to learn online or participate in programming at parks, libraries, museums and other institutions. Whether through robotics, fashion design, coding competitions or workplace internships, Cities of Learning provide an array of engaging opportunities for young people to explore new interests, develop their talents, and create unique pathways toward college or a career.

Chicago launched the Cities of Learning movement in 2013 with a successful summer program that now continues year-round. This summer, Dallas, Los Angeles and Pittsburgh will kick off their Cities of Learning, with Columbus and Washington, D.C., joining the lineup this fall. More cities are planning to launch in 2015.

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learn more about: Digital Learning Education Reform Summer Learning Academic Enrichment
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JUN
25

IN THE FIELD
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Guest blog: Digital badges in Rhode Island

By Sarah Simpson

Michelle Un and Alexis Stern are project managers for the Rhode Island After School Plus Alliance, an education initiative of United Way of Rhode Island that leads policy, practice and systems change to ensure that all of Rhode Island’s children and youth have access to high-quality afterschool and summer learning opportunities.

 

Out-of-school time and other expanded learning programs are increasingly recognizing the potential of digital badging to help make learning consequential for their students. In Rhode Island, several organizations, such as the Providence After School Alliance (PASA), have already successfully piloted the use of digital badges with their students and are now entering exciting new phases of development and complexity. While digital badges have great potential to recognize and reward students for their learning within programs, the real value of digital badges is what they mean to the rest of the world, including employers and institutions of higher education. Can statewide badging systems help us to make these connections and meet this need in our states?

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learn more about: Digital Learning Guest Blog State Networks Youth Development
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JUN
4

LIGHTS ON
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Pre-order the National Youth Science Day experiment kit

By Sarah Simpson

Want to get a head start planning your Lights On Afterschool event for this October?

The 2014 National Youth Science Day Experiment, Rockets to the Rescue!, is now available for pre-order at a discounted price of $21.95. Pre-ordered kits will be shipped beginning in mid July, at which time the price will go up to $23.95. Make sure to take full advantage of this discounted rate!

The University of Arizona developed the 2014 National Youth Science Day Experiment: Rockets to the Rescue!. This year, youth will be tasked with one mission: in light of the recent natural disasters such as Typhoon Haiyan, National 4-H Council is asking youth to design and build an aerodynamic food transportation device that can deliver a payload of nutritious food to disaster victims. Youth will learn engineering concepts, develop math skills, learn about nutrition, and help solve a relevant global issue.

Pre-order yours here!

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learn more about: Robotics Science
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JUN
4

STEM
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Afterschool programs exhibit at the White House Science Fair

By Melissa Ballard

Last week, the White House Science Fair hosted more than 100 students from across the U.S. to showcase their inventions and projects. Students, either individually or in teams, had won a variety of national and regional competitions in everything from rocketry, robotics and electric vehicles. Two of these teams represented afterschool programs! Pres. Obama toured the fair, meeting all of the students, and then announced new components of the Educate to Innovate initiative, including an expansion of the STEM AmeriCorps program and a national STEM mentoring effort. 

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learn more about: Events and Briefings Obama Robotics
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MAY
29

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup - May 29, 2014

By Luci Manning

Academic Mentoring Helps Superior Students Gear Up For Learning (Duluth News Tribune, Minnesota)

Every Tuesday and Thursday, a group of students at Superior Middle School hurry to the Gain Early Awareness and Readiness (GEARS) afterschool program, where University of Wisconsin-Superior students help them with homework and school projects.  The students in GEARS are placed in the program based on failing grades or other risk factors, but engaging with mentors who are passionate about their success and well-being has translated into better work ethic, behavior, and grades.  Berkley Freund, 11, told the Duluth News Tribune, “I definitely think it has been successful, it helped us all.  Plus I like that we get snacks and free time after we finish our work.”

Fort Cherry Girls Try in Engineering (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pennsylvania)

Robotics has taken a fashionable turn at the Fort Cherry Elementary Center, where students in the Fashion Bots afterschool club are creating their own robots complete with motors, sensors and lights.  The 10 students involved, most of them girls, put their imaginations to the test. Some are working on a hybrid unicorn/kitten robot that shakes its tail and spins its bow, and others a scene of the Eiffel Tower that transitions from day to night.  Trisha Craig, the curriculum coordinator, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that “the primary focus is to get girls interested in STEM activities.  We picked the theme Fashion Bots so it would entice girls and it worked.”  The students are putting the finishing touches on their projects and are excited to demonstrate the results of their hard work and creativity to their parents at an upcoming show-and-tell event.

Glenwood Student Launches Program to Empower Young Boys (State Journal-Register, Illinois)

A new afterschool program is making a difference in the lives of 34 fourth-grade boys at Glenwood Elementary School.  The Superheroes club, which was inspired by Girls on the Run, has enabled the students to grow socially and emotionally through a combination of physical activities and mentoring.  Eli Day, a high school senior and founder of the club, wanted to instill confidence and discipline in the students so they would better understand the power of their actions and treat themselves and others with respect.  While the club has only met five times, Crystal Day, Eli’s mom and the fourth-grade teacher who created the Superheroes curriculum, told the State Journal-Register that she can already see that the students have a greater sense of camaraderie.

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learn more about: Robotics Science Academic Enrichment Community Partners
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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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FEB
14

IN THE FIELD
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A valentine for afterschool

By Jodi Grant

Read the original post at momsrising.org.

Valentine’s Day is all about showing the people you love how much they mean to you. It’s about expressing how you feel to those who make your life richer and more meaningful.

This year, moms around the country are sending Valentines to their afterschool programs.

It’s no wonder that afterschool programs hold a special place in the hearts of many busy parents. As a mom myself, I know how important it is to be sure that when they are not with me, my children are safe, supervised, learning and engaged. Afterschool programs do all that—they provide a space for children to expand their horizons, learn new skills, have new experiences, and explore their potential—all in a safe environment with adults who care about their success in school and in life. For moms in the workforce in particular, they are a life-saver.

Every day at the Afterschool Alliance, we hear from mothers who tell us how important afterschool programs are to them. They are impressed with the dedication and commitment of afterschool staff and volunteers, who work so hard to create opportunities for their kids to explore their interests. They say their children enjoy the programs, talk about what they learned there, and participate in exciting activities – from judo to robotics to dance to creative writing.

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learn more about: Afterschool Voices Media Outreach Working Families
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NOV
13

POLICY
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Fighting for afterschool programs with brawn and brains: Mr. Schwarzenegger comes to Washington

By Erik Peterson

In late October former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger came to Washington, D.C., to shine a light on the importance of federal funding for afterschool programs. Through meetings hosted by leadership in both the House of Representatives and the Senate with both Republicans and Democrats, as well as a meeting with Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and a stop at the new D.C. After-School All-Stars program, Gov. Schwarzenegger made clear the importance of afterschool programs in keeping young people safe and supported, inspiring learning for children and youth, and helping working families.

The focus of Gov. Schwarzenegger’s meetings on Capitol Hill was to express strong support for continued federal funding for afterschool programs through the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) initiative. The governor urged Members of Congress to find a separate funding stream for lengthening the school day or school year so that it doesn't compete with funding for afterschool programs. He also called for supporting the 21st CCLC program so that afterschool programs become an expectation, not an afterthought.

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learn more about: 21st CCLC Advocacy Afterschool Caucus Afterschool Champions Celebrities Congress Department of Education Extended Day Media Outreach
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