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Keep up to date on the latest trends, research studies and best practices in out-of-school time programming.


'Young Minds Keep Learning Even After the School Day Ends' -- Survey Report Now Available
The Arizona Afterschool Survey Report, 'Young Minds Keep Learning Even After the School Day Ends', was released by the Arizona Center for Afterschool Excellence, Valley of the Sun United Way and United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona in January 2012.  Conducted and compiled in partnership with ASU's Morrison Institute on Public Policy, the Report highlights results of a 2011 survey of 681 afterschool and out-of school time program sites in Maricopa and Pima counties.  


Contact us at 602.496.3307 or mmcclintock@azafterschool.org if you or your organization would like a presentation or explanation of the key findings and what they mean for Arizona's youth.  We look forward to working with you to build a meaningful afterschool youth development system for all Arizona's youth!  


Brookings Report: The Hidden STEM Economy
A recent study by the Brookings Institution offers new data confirming the value of developing STEM-related skills and pursuing a STEM career. It highlights the economic benefits of a STEM focus for individuals as well as for entire cities.
Read more here>>


STEM Club Guide
Afterschool programs featuring STEM create many positive benefits for students. In light of this, the Arizona STEM Network piloted several STEM Clubs, generating participation in 11 clubs with 20 teachers and 200 students during 2012-13.  It established networks to introduce educators to guides and tools and it developed forums for these networks to share good ideas.  It also established the framework for a STEM Club Guide by collaborating with partners throughout Arizona to collect best practices. To continue the momentum the Informal STEM Network developed a clear model for launching, operating, and sustaining STEM Clubs.
Read more here>>



Children's Action Alliance Report Card: "Who's For Kids & Who's Just Kidding?"
Each year, the 90 members of the Arizona state legislature vote on dozens of bills that shape the education, health and safety of Arizona’s children and families. In this report, Children's Action Alliance analyzes the six bills and details how each legislator voted, why each vote was important, and key progress for children.
Read more here>>



U.S Census Bureau Offers Insight Into Education Trends

Each year, the 90 members of our state legislature vote on dozens of bills that shape the education, health and safety of Arizona’s children and families. CAA believes that every lawmaker has the responsibility to vote for kids. And our legislators should be held accountable and measured on their performance.

That’s why we publish our report card on Arizona’s legislators, Who’s for Kids and Who’s Just Kidding?

During the legislative session, Children’s Action Alliance analyzed and took a stand on each of the six bills we include in this year’s report card, asking lawmakers to vote “yes” or “no” for kids. In this report card we tell you why each vote was important, how each legislator voted and key progress for kids during session.

- See more at: http://azchildren.org/whos-for-kids-and-whos-just-kidding#sthash.iQzC2T3F.dpuf
U.S Census Bureau Offers Insight Into Education Trends
The U.S Census Bureau, as part of its How Do We Know? campaign, has released a series of infographics which offer at-a-glance information concerning the state of education in America. These infographics highlight data which are vital to communities in determining funding allocations and guiding program planning.
See the infographics here>>


New Guidebook Provides Strategies for Increasing Graduation Rates
America's Promise Alliance has released the updated Grad Nation Community Guidebook (Community Guidebook), a research-based toolkit for communities working to raise graduation rates and better support children and youth from birth through college.

Created in collaboration with Civic Enterprises and the Everyone Graduates Center at Johns Hopkins University, the online Community Guidebook offers approaches and tools that all communities can incorporate at any stage in their work.
Read more here>>



NIEER Releases Report Documenting the State of Preschool 2012

Education in the years before kindergarten is increasingly accepted as playing a critical role in preparing children for school success. Nonetheless, across the nation, state funding for pre-K decreased by more than half a billion dollars in 2011-2012, the largest one-year drop ever according to the National Institute for Early Education Research in their annual State Preschool Yearbook for 2012.

Tracking trends long term is key to understanding the progress of early childhood education across the country and improving educational opportunities for America's children.
Read more here>>



Afterschool Alliance’s STEM Policy Recommendations
As part of the wrap up from US News’ STEM Solutions Summit, the Afterschool Alliance released recommendations for policymakers debating STEM education efforts. Key points highlight bringing STEM afterschool opportunities to underrepresented populations, explicitly supporting STEM education in afterschool with explicit funding streams, writing, “School and classroom resources that support STEM education should be also accessible to afterschool program providers and staff, and federal and state STEM education initiatives should explicitly cite afterschool as a strategy to improve the teaching and learning of STEM disciplines in legislative and regulatory guidance.”
 
Early Warning Indicator Systems: A Tool for High-Performing Middle Grades Schools
Educators have a new tool to keep middle school students on track to stay in school. A special briefing on Capitol Hill highlighted the early warning indicator systems that can help identify students who are in danger of dropping out, ensuring they get the support they need to stay in the classroom and be successful. The ABCs – attendance, behavior, and course performance – are key indicators, and in order for those to remain positive, participants said, students need to feel engaged. Dr. Robert Balfanz, co-director of the Everyone Graduates Center at Johns Hopkins University, discussed on the significance of programs—such as robotics, drama and chess—that excite students about learning and include applicable academic lessons. Afterschool programs are key to generating that excitement, and hit all 3 Cs – encouraging kids to attend, building vital social skills, and improving academic achievement.
 
 
Sylvan Learning's Book Adventure
The National Summer Learning Association and Sylvan Learning’s Book Adventure have teamed up to make sure children keep reading this summer. An interactive reading and motivation program - Book Adventure is an excellent resource for families to use during summer months. A FREE web-based reading incentive program designed to motivate children to read and to help increase reading frequency and comprehension, Book Adventure offers more than 8,000+ book titles, quizzes, and small prizes.
 
 
The Dirt on Dirt: How Getting Dirty Outdoors Benefits Kids
A recent report from the National Wildlife Federation highlights the benefits of why children should be playing, learning and making a mess in the dirt. According to The Dirt on Dirt, "Children who don't spend time outside run the risk of serious health issues, such as obesity, myopia and vitamin D deficiency." Dr. Mary Ruebush, an immunologist and author of Why Dirt is Good: 5 Ways to Make Germs Your Friends, says in the report that playing in the dirt helps children build their immune system. The vast benefits of playing in the dirt are highlighted in multiple studies that the report cites.


Celebrate Summer Learning Day and Check Out Our New Summer Research
In support of Summer Learning Day, the Afterschool Alliance has released new data on summer learning programs. Uncertain Times 2012: The State of Summer Learning Programs conveys how the past year’s difficult economic climate has affected summer learning programs, providing a snapshot of attendance, availability and demand for summer learning programs throughout the country.
Read more>>

 
Coursera

Through Coursera, older youth can improve their learning experience through FREE online courses taught by professors from the top universities in the world. Coursera seeks to give everyone access to the world-class education and aims to help students learn the material quickly and effectively. Many studies have demonstrated that standard lecturing is not the most effective mode of instruction. Considerably more effective are the teaching methods that use active learning and interactive engagement between faculty and students, and between students and their peers. Courses are offered in Humanities, Medicine, Biology, Social Sciences, Mathematics, Business, Computer Science, and many others.
More information>>

 
Healthy Summers for Kids: Turning Risk Into Opportunity
The purpose of the Healthy Summers for Kids: Turning Risk Into Opportunity brief is to draw attention to summer as a unique developmental period for youth—a time when risk for obesity and food insecurity both rise—by highlighting findings from recent research. The brief also provides a window into opportunities to make positive change to improve children’s health in summer, including a few ways that communities, schools, summer programs, health practitioners, and caregivers are already working to promote healthy habits, healthy eating, and increased physical activity.
 
Mixing in Math: Summer Season
Mixing in Math has created a free 28-page PDF with summer-themed activities to ensure that children and youth practice math this summer.Activities include a five-second dash, where children move - like a snail, rabbit or crab - and see how far they go in five seconds. Or create a "giant" museum, in which children create scale models of everyday objects.
 
Summer Meals Reaching Fewer Low-Income Children- Arizona ranks 36th nationally
Fewer low-income children participated in the nation’s summer nutrition programs in July 2011 than a year earlier, according toHunger Doesn’t Take a Vacationan analysis by the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC). Only one in seven of the low-income students who depended on the National School Lunch Program during the regular 2010-2011 school year received summer meals in July 2011.
 
Extended Learning Time: Research and Resources
This resource list was developed by The Finance Project to provide policymakers, school and nonprofit leaders and afterschool providers with a select list of research that supports Expanded Learning and Extended Learning Time (ELT). The resource list includes summaries of each suggested research piece, which includes resources describing recommendations related to policy initiatives and resource allocation. For ease of use, the resources provided are divided into two meaningful sections:
1) Extended Learning Time and Extended Day Initiatives
2) Afterschool and Expanded Learning Opportunities
Afterschool Data: What Cities Need to Know
The Wallace Foundation has just released a series of resources on afterschool data and how to effectively collect and use data to improve program quality and access.  Data, smartly employed, can help afterschool decision-makers with everything from allocating resources fairly to improving program quality. But what information is needed? How should it be collected? And what are the best ways to put it to use? A set of easy-to-read tip sheets answers these questions and more, giving city agencies, afterschool program providers, intermediary organizations, and others a jump-start on making the most of data in afterschool programming.


Global Learning Policy Brief – NY State Afterschool Network
The brief argues that high-quality global learning in afterschool programs and Expanded Learning Opportunities (ELOs) is critical to youth success, and suggests how global learning supports student achievement. The brief also features exemplars in New York State and presents policy recommendations to make global learning more accessible. NYSAN hopes this policy brief will be a useful tool for programs, stakeholders, and policymakers, and will raise awareness around the need for more global learning opportunities and the positive impact they can have for education and youth development.
Download the PDF here>>
 

Global Learning and Expanded Learning Opportunities: A Call to Action– NY State Afterschool Network
This policy brief argues that high-quality global learning in afterschool programs and expanded learning Opportunities is critical to youth success and offers policy recommendations in New York. In an ever-changing world, young people need to prepare for a far different future than the world we know now. That preparation should include global learning opportunities so young people can develop the skills, knowledge, and competencies they will need to be engaged participants in a global world, and effective workers in a global economy. Global learning, or the process of developing global competence, needs to be infused throughout a student’s day, become an essential and integrated part of every aspect of their learning and development, and occur anytime and anywhere through a range of opportunities and in a variety of settings.
 
Expanded Learning and Afterschool Project
Join in a new 50-state initiative that offers educators and community leaders like you access to research and promising practices for leveraging the time beyond school for student success. Learn more about this work and see the research by visiting the website: www.expandinglearning.org
The brief argues that high-quality global learning in afterschool programs and Expanded Learning Opportunities (ELOs) is critical to youth success, and suggests how global learning supports student achievement. The brief also features exemplars in New York State and presents policy recommendations to make global learning more accessible. NYSAN hopes this policy brief will be a useful tool for programs, stakeholders, and policymakers, and will raise awareness around the need for more global learning opportunities and the positive impact they can have for education and youth development.
 
Afterschool Programs That Follow Evidence-Based Practices to Promote Social and Emotional Development Are Effective
This research summary by Joseph Durlak (Loyola University Chicago) and Roger Weissberg (University of Illinois at Chicago) underscores the link between high quality programs and student achievement. Their analysis of more than 60 studies of afterschool programs showed that certain high quality afterschool programs are associated with increased academic performance; increased attendance; and significant improvements in behavior
 
A New Approach to Accountability: Creating Effective Learning Environments for Programs
Nearly 20 years into the era of results-based accountability, a new generation of afterschool accountability systems is emerging. Rather than aiming to test whether programs have produced desired youth outcomes, an increasing number of afterschool funders and sponsors are shaping more flexible, collaborative, and lower-stakes accountability systems. Could they do even more? By designing accountability systems that fully embrace the notion of afterschool programs as learning organizations and by using research from organizational development, education, and youth development to create effective learning environments, funders and sponsors can help programs to improve quality—and therefore, to succeed in their goal of achieving better outcomes for young people.

YMCA of the USA/HSPH Initiative in Afterschool Programs Increases Physical Activity Levels in Youth
A Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) youth fitness and nutrition initiative conducted with the YMCA of the USA was found to effectively boost physical activity levels and time spent doing moderate and vigorous exercise among children 5-11 years of age enrolled in afterschool programs at YMCAs in four U.S. metropolitan areas, according to a paper published in the March 2012 print issue of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.
Read more from the Harvard School of Public Health>>

Principles of Effective Expanded Learning Programs: A Vision Built on the Afterschool Approach
Expanded learning opportunities are inclusive of before-school, afterschool, summer learning, and extended day or expanded learning time (ELT) programs. Decades of research documenting the outcomes of afterschool and summer programs reveal a core set of key principles that are essential to yielding the best results. Aligning the spectrum of expanded learning opportuni-ties with these principles will ensure quality and consistency across all programs. This document can be used as a guideline at the local, state and federal levels to guide expanded learning policy.
Read more>>
 
How Kids Learn Conference: Now on YouTube
On January 27th, over 180 people from across California and the country met at the David Brower Center in Berkeley to hear from experts on How Kids Learn - the first conference sponsored by the Learning in Afterschool & Summer project. Participants included representatives from school districts, youth organizations, private funders, the State Department of Education, and afterschool advocates. Over 60 people on the waiting list were unable to hear the presenters share their best thinking and recent research in 20 minute presentations to the audience. These presentations are now available for viewing on the How Kids Learn YouTube Channel.
 
iCivics on the iPad. Download for Free
iCivics’ most popular game, Do I Have a Right? is now on the iPad! Millions of you have guarded your clients’ rights on the iCivics website, now you can earn your Prestige Points on the go with Pocket Law Firm. You can download iCivics’ Pocket Law Firm iPad app FREE on the iTunes store. It won’t stay free forever, though, so download it now and start vindicating rights while learning the Bill of Rights.
 
Measure Youth Outcomes at Camp
How do you show stakeholders and parents that your program boosts skills like independence, responsibility and teamwork? With summer camp season approaching, the American Camp Association (ACA) reminds programs about its Youth Outcomes Battery, which measures such outcomes as affinity for nature, friendship skills and problem-solving. The ACA also helps to improve the quality of summer camp staff. The Forum's David P. Weikart Center for Youth Program Quality worked with the association to develop a special Camp Program Quality Assessment, which provides "a robust assessment process that can be used under a range of conditions and for a range of purposes."
Find out more in this short description.
 
New MetLife Foundation-Sponsored 'Afterschool In Action' Compendium Released
The new MetLife Foundation/Afterschool Alliance Compendium is here! This week, with support from MetLife Foundation, the Afterschool Alliance released its fourth issue brief compendium entitled “Afterschool in Action: How Innovative Afterschool Programs Address Critical Issues Facing Middle School Youth” at the NAA Conference just outside of Dallas, TX. The compendium includes a compilation of four issue briefs that examine the vital role afterschool programs play in addressing important issues for middle schoolers, and this year we’ve added some new exciting graphics to the compendium and a more in-depth look at 2011 award-winning programs.

Healthy Eating Out-of-School Time

Find the latest research in "Healthy Eating in Out-of-School Time" (available for free download), authored by researchers at the University of Massachusetts, Boston; NIOST; and YMCA of the USA. This paper is the result of interviews conducted by NIOST researchers and study partners with 17 key out-of-school time organizations that provide, coordinate, or improve services, or that conduct policy or advocacy work on behalf of large provider networks. The authors explore leaders' perceptions of the role of guidelines, the barriers, and the supports related to healthier eating during the out-of-school time hours.

 
Healthy Behavior Initiative Releases Step-By-Step Guide for Afterschool
Changing Lives, Saving Lives, A Step-by-Step Guide to Developing Exemplary Practices in Healthy Eating, Physical Activity and Food Security in Afterschool Programs is designed to help program directors, leadership team members, site directors and your partners–in an intentional and systematic way–strengthen your afterschool program to help students develop healthy lifestyle habits. The six practices have been vetted with expert stakeholders and afterschool practitioners, and implemented at an exemplary level by ten afterschool programs across the state.
Resources Available to Help Students Access Summer Food Service Program
The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) provides funding to local governments, nonprofits and other community organizations and institutions to make sure that low-income children up to age 18 receive meals when school is out of session for the summer. The program is underutilized - one out of seven children who receive school lunch during the regular school year take advantage of free summer meals, according to the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC). Many SFSP sites are able to use the federal meal reimbursements to help free up funding that can then be spent on providing enrichment and recreation activities in conjunction with the meals. FRAC and the National League of Cities’ Institute for Youth, Education and Families, with funding from the ConAgra Foods Foundation, are working together to help city leaders connect their residents to SFSP and other nutrition programs. USDA is offering SFSP webinars, and interested sponsors and volunteers can find more information and register at the SFSP webinar page. Families interested in finding SFSP sites in their area can call either 1-866-3-HUNGRY or 1-877-8-HAMBRE. Organizations interested in sponsoring sites can find more information on USDA’s SFSP website.  
Kids Included Together Instructional Video Series
Kids Included Together (KIT) specializes in providing best practices training for community–based organizations committed to including children with and without disabilities into their recreational, child development and youth development programs. KIT has created an instructional video series on issues such as communicating effectively with parents, implementing visual supports for activity areas, facilitating positive interactions, and much more.
 
Where the Kids Are: Digital Learning In Class and Beyond
Technology is dramatically changing the way young people learn, especially when they’re learning on their own. Kids with means and access employ web-based learning every day, at home and at school.
In the rapidly evolving world of digital learning, we can use that passion to help kids master the skills and content they need to know, and to connect them to a world of other students and adults who encourage them to aim higher and go farther. We also have a chance to ensure that the least advantaged kids are not left behind once again.
 
STEM Afterschool: A Key Partner in Future Workforce Development
A recent study from Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce showed clearly that there is a problem of scarcity of workers with basic STEM competencies across the entire economy.  The study also shows that the demand for these competencies is only increasing, along with compensation and employment prospects that are very attractive.  However, as things stand now, there are some sectors with unfilled jobs because the employers can’t find people with the required skills to fill those jobs.
 
The Impact of a 3-Year After-School Obesity Prevention Program in Elementary School Children
Children tend to be sedentary during the after-school hours, and this has deleterious effects on their health. Researchers found that an after-school physical activity (PA) program was effective in reducing adiposity and improving cardio respiratory fitness (CRF) in 3rd grade children from 18 elementary schools in the southeastern United States. The clearest beneficial effects were seen for those youth who attended the sessions at least 3 days/week. However, the favorable effects on % body fat and CRF were lost over the summer. Thus, it is critical to incorporate strategies that attract and retain the children to receive an adequate dose of PA year-round.
 
Make and Takes
Looking for fun, kids crafts ideas? This website has all kinds of fun crafts, projects, tips, and activities for kids. New content is posted weekly. Everything posted is something to “make and take”. Whether it’s a holiday craft for kids, an easy way to spruce up your room decor, baking a delicious dessert, or a fun product giveaway, you’ll be able to make or take something. Along with content featured from regular contributors, M&T also share guest posts and quick features from YOU as you’ve all got something great to make and take too!

New Inventory of Federal STEM Education Investments as a Roadmap of Resource Gaps and Opportunities
The Office of Science of Technology Policy (OSTP) recently published an inventory of all federal spending on STEM education by agency.  This report was commissioned by the America COMPETES Act to help reduce redundancies and better invest federal dollars in STEM education.  The inventory was created by surveying federal agencies in 2010 about their investments in STEM education ranging from funding undergraduate students to informal community education initiatives.  The report outlined funding as a percentage of agency budget as well as each agency’s contribution to the federal STEM education spending total.
 
Principles of Effective Expanded Learning Program: A Vision Built on the Afterschool Approach
Struggling with defining expanded learning?  A new publication released this week by the Afterschool Alliance provides some insight into what is meant by effective expanded learning, as well as a slew of resources to help navigate policy discussions in this area.  Principles of Effective Learning Programs: A Vision Built on the Afterschool Approach is a succinct description of the principles for how afterschool, summer and expanded learning time programs can provide the engaged learning that students need to succeed.  The publication includes program examples and describes eight key strategies used in expanded learning to support student success, from school/community partnerships to intentional programming.  The principles are:
  • School/community partnerships; 
  • Engaged learning;
  • Family engagement;
  • Intentional programming;
  • Diverse well-prepared staff;
  • Participation and access;
  • Safety, health and wellness; and
  • Ongoing assessment and improvement.
Engaging Adolescents: Building Youth Participation in the Arts
The result of the
National Guild for Community Arts Education’s research on effective practices, outlines a holistic approach that integrates arts learning with principles of youth development. It is designed to help staff and faculty develop new programs and services for teens or to rethink and strengthen programs they already offer. Profiles of organizations in varying stages of implementing this approach illustrate the concepts this guide describes.
The state of American science education threatens our nation’s capacity to remain globally competitive; to confront current and future challenges in energy, public health, and the environment; and to adequately prepare the next generation for success in career and life. Released in November 2011, this report illustrates that improving U.S. student achievement in science requires a more in-depth, multi-layered approach to science instruction that, in turn, requires more time in the school calendar, particularly for high-poverty students.
 
From Soft Skills to Hard Data: Measuring Youth Program Outcomes
From the Forum for Youth Investment, From Soft Skills to Hard Data: Measuring Youth Program Outcomes reviews eight youth outcome measurement tools that are appropriate for use in afterschool settings. For each tool, it provides sample items and crucial information about usability, cost, and evidence of reliability and validity. The guide can help providers select conceptually grounded, psychometrically sound measures appropriate for programs that serve upper-elementary- through high school-aged youth.
Download the full report here>>

Afterschool Evaluation 101: How to Evaluate an Expanded Learning Program
Afterschool Evaluation 101 is a how-to guide for conducting an evaluation. It is designed to help out-of-school time (OST) program directors who have little or no evaluation experience develop an evaluation strategy. The guide will walk you through the early planning stages, help you select the evaluation design and data collection methods that are best suited to your program, and help you analyze the data and present the results. Evaluation helps your OST program measure how successfully it has been implemented and how well it is achieving its goals. You can do this by comparing the activities you intended to implement and the outcomes you intended to accomplish to the activities you actually implemented and the outcomes you actually achieved.

Engagement Resources from the Forum for Youth Investment
Find resources on General Youth Action, in Education Reform and on Advocacy>>

MetLife Issue Brief Shows Afterschool Can Provide Important Outlet For Bullied Middle Schoolers
Bullying is a problem in America’s schools. This fact is not groundbreaking news, but a new issue brief by the Afterschool Alliance and MetLife Foundation provides a novel way that schools and communities can help combat bullying: by utilizing quality, effective afterschool programs. The brief entitled “Afterschool: A Strategy for Addressing and Preventing Middle School Bullying” exhibits how afterschool programs that provide access to caring adults and offer a more informal environment that is distinct from the school day allow children to feel safe from peer pressure, build confidence and learn how to deal with bullies.
Read more on the Issue Brief here>>
 
The Family Engagement for High School Success Toolkit: Planning and implementing an initiative to support the pathway to graduation for at-risk students
The Family Engagement for High School Success Toolkit is designed to support at-risk high school students by engaging families, schools, and the community. Created in a joint effort by United Way Worldwide (UWW) and Harvard Family Research Project (HFRP) as part of the Family Engagement for High School Success (FEHS) initiative, the toolkit has two parts:
  • Part 1 focuses on the comprehensive planning that goes into the development of a family engagement initiative.
  • Part 2 focuses on the early implementation process.
  • Read more on the Toolkit here>>

Promoting Brain-Based Learning
The phrase "brain-based learning" may sound redundant but knowing how the brain works can help educators teach better, advocates of the field say. Edutopia, director George Lucas' online resource dedicated to improving the K-12 learning process, has a created a 13-page research guide - Six Tips for Brain-Based Learning - that provides a half-dozen tips to advance this method of learning. The free guide, which also includes a bonus project and a recommended reading list, can be downloaded here>>
 
Student-Centered Learning in Afterschool:
Putting Students' Needs and Interests First
Today’s classrooms reflect a full spectrum of abilities, interests and cultures. In part due to standardized testing’s influence on the school curriculum and the pace at which students must move through the coursework, meeting the needs of individual students during the school day is challenging. Many students are falling behind and, as a result, there is a growing necessity to provide more student-centered, personalized learning opportunities that accommodate different interests and approaches to learning.  With the support and guidance of teachers and caring adults, students can become the center of their own learning and have the power to create innovative and experiential projects and activities.  Increasingly, high quality afterschool programs focused on the whole child are helping youth gain access to more resources and providing an unparalleled space for them to have a hand in their own learning in ways that suit their most pressing needs and keenest interests. Innovative afterschool programs with a student-centered approach have the potential to prepare youth as responsible citizens who are in control of their future.
 
Standing Up to Cyberbullying
It is difficult to shelter children from the Internet and social media in today's technology-driven world, but adults can give them tools to help them stand up to digital bullying and online harassment. Common Sense Media, which seeks to educate children to be savvy media consumers, has created a free toolkit to help after-school professionals. The toolkit provides lesson plans, broken down by grade level, to help teach children and youth how to stand up to cyberbullying and help after-school providers create a positive environment for children.
To register for your free toolkit, click here>>
 
A Fiscal Map for Expanded Learning Time (ELT)
The After-School Corporation (TASC) developed this fiscal map, analysis and set of policy recommendations in an effort to: 1) show how many sources of funding schools and community partners can bring to expanded learning approaches—29 at the federal level alone—and, 2) highlight for policymakers who control one or more of these funding streams just how complex this picture is.
 
Room for Improvement in All 50 States
A new assessment of state' progress toward offering afterschool programs to all children who need them finds that many states are making progress, but all have unfinished business to keep kids safe and learning after the school day ends.  The new 2011 State-by-State Afterschool Progress Reports and Consumer Guides, which were released by the Afterschool Alliance in conjunction with Lights On Afterschool, measured all 50 states on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the best rating. No states received a 5 and only nine states (California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey and New York) received a 4. Arizona received a 3.
View the full Progress Report here>>

STEM Learning in Afterschool: An Analysis of Impact and Outcomes

This report, released in September by the Afterschool Alliance, presents an analysis of evaluation data from afterschool Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) programs around the country. A review of the evaluation reports shows that high-quality STEM afterschool programs yields STEM-specific benefits such as improved attitudes towards STEM fields and careers, increased STEM knowledge and skills, and higher likelihood of graduation and pursuing a STEM career. The report demonstrates that afterschool programs are playing a key role in engaging children and youth from diverse communities in STEM fields and careers."
Download the complete report from Afterschool Alliance>>

Expert Tips for Parenting Tech-Savvy Kids

Parenting Further, a Search Institute resource for families, has compiled this great list of tips for parents of children of all ages to appropriately engage with technology.  Most parents today work hard to find a proper balance between keeping up and staying ahead of the kids. With cell phones that can access the Internet and video game consoles as powerful as yesterday's home computers, and with all of this increased exposure to media and advertising, how can we make sure that our children are only being exposed to appropriate content?
Check out these tips from Parenting Further>>

Summer Learning Discussion Guide

A Summer Learning Discussion Guide is now available for download. Developed with support from the Wallace Foundation, Summer Learning – A New Vision for Supporting Students in Summer Programs provides contemporary research on the devastating impact of summer learning loss on student achievement, elements of effective summer learning programs, state-level examples of action and guiding questions to help design a policy framework to support and develop quality summer learning programs.

Download a free copy>>


NASBE Summer Learning Discussion Guide
The National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) is pleased to announce the release of the Summer Learning Discussion Guide, developed with support from the Wallace Foundation. Within the Discussion Guide, you will find contemporary research on the devastating impact of summer learning loss on student achievement, elements of effective summer learning programs, state-level examples of action and guiding questions to help design a policy framework to support and develop quality summer learning programs.
Click here to download a copy>>


Middle School - The Right Time to Address and Prevent Bullying

The Afterschool Alliance has released a new MetLife Foundation Issue Brief examining how afterschool programs can address and prevent middle school bullying. In recent years, several highly-publicized incidents - including extreme forms of teasing, physical beatings and bully-induced suicides - have raised the national profile of bullying and middle school students are particularly vulnerable. Middle school youth are undergoing physical, social and emotional transitions, making these years crucial to promoting healthy youth development
View the full report online here>>


Newly Enhanced ExpectMoreArizona.org Provides Greater Opportunity to Do More for Education  
Expect More Arizona has just launched a new version of their website, with increased functionality and opportunities for all Arizonans to get involved in making Arizona education the best in the nation. New features on the site include a dynamic homepage, integrating social media conversations; a parent-specific section with tools and resources for parents of children at every age of the continuum; a searchable database for volunteer opportunities throughout the state; and a College and Career Planning section to help students plan, prepare and succeed in postsecondary education. The Expect More Arizona Blog will also continue with increased opportunities for engaging in conversation around key education issues.
Read more about the Expect More Arizona ‘High Expectations’ Movement>>


Quality Afterschool Program Checklist

Choosing the right afterschool program means more than finding a safe place for children to wait for their parents when the regular school day ends.  Quality afterschool programming is a vital component to a child’s overall development and should be an extension of the regular school day or a place a child can experience new ways of thinking that reflects intentional programming.  We have created a comprehensive checklist for parents that breaks the decision-making process into logical categories.  The checklist poses questions that help parents gather key facts and information that include: Afterschool Program Basics, Physical Space Requirements, Social and Emotional Development, Academic Enrichment and Staff.  Knowing the questions to ask can really result in tremendous insight for parents who want to be sure that their children are not only safe, but are engaged in thought-provoking, active and fun activities.
View the full Quality Afterschool Program Checklist here>>

The Doing What Works (DWW) Initiative
Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education, The Doing What Works (DWW) Initiative has just released a new resource for extended learning programs: Increased Learning Time: Beyond the Regular School Day. Explore these recommended practices to learn how to better align instruction, maximize attendance, organize instruction, structure time and evaluate programs.
More information on the Doing What Works Initiative here>>

Aligning Afterschool with the Regular School Day: The Perfect Complement
The Afterschool Alliance, in partnership with MetLife Foundation, has released the first in a series of four issue briefs examining critical issues facing middle school youth and the vital role afterschool programs play in addressing these issues.  “Aligning Afterschool with the Regular School Day: The Perfect Complement” examines the ways in which afterschool programs can support student learning and attack the achievement gap by offering additional supports to struggling students that complement and reinforce learning that takes place in the classroom in new and exciting ways.  Read the full issue brief here>>

 

REPORT: No Place for Kids: The Case for Reducing Juvenile Incarceration
The Annie E. Casey Foundation's new report, No Place for Kids: The Case for Reducing Juvenile Incarceration assembles a vast array of evidence to demonstrate that incarcerating kids doesn't work: Youth prisons do not reduce future offending, they waste taxpayer dollars, and they frequently expose youth to dangerous and abusive conditions. The report also shows that many states have substantially reduced their juvenile correctional facility populations in recent years, and it finds that these states have seen no resulting increase in juvenile crime or violence. Finally, the report highlights successful reform efforts from several states and provides recommendations for how states can reduce juvenile incarceration rates and redesign their juvenile correction systems to better serve young people and the public.
 
How are Arizonan’s Doing?
The U.S. Census recently released data for the 2010 American Community Survey (ACS) 1 Year Estimates. In it are some interesting fact about Arizonans and the conditions we live in.
·         The median income for families with children under 18 has dropped by close to $6,000 since 2008.
·         Almost one in every four children under 18 are living in poverty, a 25% increase from 2006.
·         The percentage of housing units without complete kitchen facilities and the percentage of housing units lacking complete plumbing facilities have both increased since 2007.
·         The percentage of housing units being rented has also increased in the last few years.
 
Free Physical Fitness/Health Curriculum
The American Council on Exercise (ACE) is providing educators with FREE copies of their Operation FitKids curriculum to help them integrate health and fitness into their programs. The 7-lesson curricula are available to grades 3-8 and teach students the extreme dangers of being overweight and the importance of a healthy and active lifestyle. The program is available in an easy-to-download PDF format.
 
New Research Bulletin on Benefits of Music Education
Music Matters: How Music Education Helps Students Learn, Achieve and Succeed was prepared by the Arts Education Partnership (AEP) with support from the Quincy Jones Musiq Consortium.

Improving Afterschool Quality: How it Works
Just how does an organization increase the quality of its afterschool programs? In Chicago, the answer was to adopt research-based quality improvement tools developed by the Weikart Center, a division of the Forum.  In this article, Afterschool Matters explains how use of the Weikart Center's quality improvement approach is helping the Chicago Out-of-School Time Project. Learn more about the Weikart Center's Youth Program Quality Intervention.
Year-Round Learning: Linking School, Afterschool, and Summer Learning to Support Student Success
The Harvard Family Research Project (HFRP) has released a new report, Year-Round Learning: Linking School, Afterschool, and Summer Learning to Support Student Success. Expanded learning has come to the forefront of discussions about education reform, as policymakers and providers work to discover the best ways to support students beyond the traditional school model.   In this report, HFRP examines one approach to expanded learning—what they call year-round learning—which consists of intentional, community-based efforts to connect school, afterschool, and summer learning to support positive youth outcomes, develop continuous learning pathways, and provide equitable opportunities for both students and families.
Read the full report here>>


Making Summer Count: How Summer Programs Can Boost Childrne's Learning

Low-income students suffer large learning setbacks over summer vacation, but in Making Summer Count: How Summer Programs Can Boost Children's Learning, RAND researchers find evidence of ways to ease the problem, and analyze costs, challenges and opportunities.  You can also read a research summary from RAND.


The Undereducated American

 A new study by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce confirms that over the past 30 years, the demand for college-educated workers has outpaced supply, resulting in economic output below potential and growing income inequality. The current recession and grudging recovery, however, hides the fact that we are underproducing college graduates. "The data are clear," said Anthony P. Carnevale, the Center's director and co-author of the report, "the demand for college-educated workers is growing much faster than the supply. In recession and recovery, we remain fixated on the high school jobs that are lost and not coming back. We are hurtling into a future dominated by college-level jobs, unprepared."

Read the full report here>>

National Guild for Community Arts Education's Engaging Adolescents Guides 
Meaningful engagement in arts education can have a life-changing impact on teens, as well as benefit your organization and community. Engaging Adolescents: Building Youth Participation in the Arts outlines a holistic approach that integrates arts learning with principles of youth development. It is designed to help staff and faculty develop new programs and services for teens or to rethink and strengthen programs they already offer.
http://www.nationalguild.org/programs/engagingadolescents.htm
 

 

Planning and Implementing STEM Education Programs for Gifted Students: An Essential Book for Parents and Educators

Harry Roman's book, "Planning and Implementing STEM Education Programs for Gifted Students" contains many specific suggestions for use by teachers of the gifted in presenting an integrated STEM program. The book covers numerous topics such as the roots of STEM, the study of engineering, importance of math and math activities for the gifted, employee skills, creativity & imagination in the lab, STEM challenge problems, technology education, and applications to the business world.

Details & purchase at Amazon.com.

 

What Kids Can Do (WKCD)

For nine years, WKCD has listened and talked with students nationwide about their learning, their schools, their hopes and dreams. Going to college has been a big part of these conversations. What does it take to get to college, especially if you are the first in your family to go? Where does the motivation come from? What stands in the way? What supports do students need, and where can they-do they-turn for help? How well do they feel their schools are preparing them for college?  From this work, WKCD created a set of resources for first-generation and low-income students about college: a website, books, videos, multimedia, feature stories, student-led research, and free downloads.

www.whatkidscando.org

 

Harvard Family Research Project's Research Update 7: Out-of-School Time Programs for Older Youth

Out-of-school time (OST) programs focused on older youth-specifically, youth in middle and high school-can help participants successfully navigate their adolescence and learn new skills well into their teens. OST programs can also help prepare older youth for a variety of new roles that they will assume as they enter college and the workforce. However, some programs struggle to implement high-quality services, recruit and retain older youth, and reach optimal outcomes. This Research Update addresses the benefits, challenges, and successful strategies of OST programs for older youth, based on data from eight recent evaluations and research studies profiled in the OST Research and Evaluation Database.

Download the publication here>> 
 
 

Science Afterschool: How to Design and Run Great Program Activities
Whether or not you were able to attend our 2010 Afterschool Conference, you may be interested in taking a look at this new resource guide on STEM in Afterschool.  The After-School Corporation (TASC) has put together a comprehensive guide which offers a framework and practical advice for creating and maintaining high-quality science learning program in out-of-school time sites. 

Core Competencies for Afterschool Trainers
The National AfterSchool Association has just released Core competencies for Afterschool Trainers.  It can be used as a tool to identify what to look from in a trainer for direct service staff or to evaluate trainers.  Trainers can utilize it for self-evaluation or for reference when creating trainings and training systems can employ it to recognize or approve quality trainers and to update or expand current standards for trainers.

Principal Matters -- 101 Tips for Creating Collaborative Relationships Between After-School Programs and School Leaders
Afterschool programs play an integral part in preparing the whole child.  Working collaboratively with school leaders ensures a seamless experience for youth.  School-Age NOTES recently published Principal Matters -- 101 Tips for Creating Collaborative Relationships Between After-School Programs and School Leaders, by Paul Young.  Young, director of an after-school program and a former elementary school principal, provides suggestions in 10 areas, including tips that enhance student learning, tips that support principal/program director collaboration, tips that develop advocacy for after-school programming and tips that support parent and community engagement.  Whether you're new to the after-school field or a veteran, Young's 101 tips provide positive ideas that will lead to quality programs and positive relationships between after-school programs and school leaders.

Learning Around the Clock: Benefits of Expanded Learning Opportunities for Older Youth
This publication provides evidence that expanded learning opportunities (ELOs) improve academic performance, college and career preparation, social and emotional development, and health and wellness for youth.  The report summarizes 22 evaluations of high-quality ELOs to give policymakers and practitioners a quick understanding of the research findings on effective programs, along with a description of why these programs work.  The report describes key program elements that lead to successful outcomes, such as experiential learning, high-quality staff with ongoing professional development.

The Cost of Quality Out-of-School Time Programs
Funders and program planners want to know: What does it cost to operate a high-quality after-school or summer program? This study answers that question, discovering that there is no "right" number. Cost varies substantially, depending on the characteristics of the participants, the goals of the program, who operates it and where it is located. Based on detailed cost data collected from 111 out-of-school-time programs in six cities, this report, along with an online calculator, provides cost averages and ranges for many common types of programs.

Supporting Student Outcomes Through Expanded Learning Opportunities
This new paper looks at the role of after school and summer learning programs in supporting student success. Inside this paper, you will learn about the benefits of expanded learning, why and how schools should partner, and a warrant for future research on expanded learning and education reform.


Dollars and Sense: A First Look at Financing A New Day for Learning
This publication focuses on how communities can organize resources to support A New Day for Learning, including:

·         connecting programs and services to schools by building bridges for students to connect school and out-of-school time activities;

·         creating community networks to expand learning outside the school environment; and

·         extending the traditional school day or school year to provide more structured time for learning and involve community partners who can share their resources and expertise.


After-School Programs in Public Elementary Schools
This study provides a national profile of various types of formal after-school programs physically located at public elementary schools in 2008. These programs included stand-alone programs that focus primarily on a single type of service (e.g., only day care) and broad-based programs that provide a combination of services such as academic enrichment and cultural activities. This report focuses on four broad types of after-school programs: (1) fee-based stand-alone day care programs for which parents paid fees; (2) stand-alone academic instruction/tutoring programs that focus exclusively on academic instruction or tutoring, including Supplemental Educational Services in schools that did not meet Adequate Yearly Progress; (3) the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLCs) administered through the federally funded 21st CCLC Program to provide academic enrichment opportunities; and (4) other types of formal stand-alone or broad-based after-school programs.
 
Strengthening Out-of-School Time Nonprofits: The Role of Foundations in Building Organizational Capacity
Modestly funded and often stretched to their limits, the organizations that provide out-of-school time (OST) programming face mounting demands to deliver higher quality services to more children. The Wallace Foundation recently asked several experts in the OST field to identify what they think are the key organizational, administrative and management obstacles impeding OST providers from lifting the quality of their programs and discuss how those might be overcome.

SEDL RESOURCE ON INVOLVING PARENT & COMMUNITY IN STUDENT LEARNING
Educators know that involving parents and the community in student learning is vital to successful school improvement. SEDL has developed a new resource, Working Systemically in Action: Engaging Family & Community, to help reframe the way educators work with parents, families, and community members. Through real-life examples and practical guidance, this resource shows educators how to engage family and community members to support every aspect of school improvement.


Helpful Resources

ACT, Inc
ACT, Inc is a non profit organization that offers research, information and assessment on education and workforce development. They offer an annual report showing the results of ACT-tested students in 2010. This report is a valuable tool to inform policymakers and practitioners with the purpose of stimulating discussion and action.
 
The After School Project is a national program of The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) focused on bringing together young people in low-income neighborhoods with responsible adults - in quality programs - during out-of-school time.
 
The Annie E. Casey Foundation, Kids Count Data Center
This website includes data on hundreds of measures of child well-being for children in every state. You can easily create graphs, charts, and maps for easy analysis of the data of your choosing. 
 
Chapin Hall
Chapin Hall is an independent policy research center whose mission is to build knowledge that improves policies and programs for children and youth, families, and their communities. The website offers current information, expert advice, events and ongoing research.
 
Child Trends
This website offers current research about topics ranging from early childhood development to teen sex and pregnancy.
 
Children Youth Families and Education Research Network
CYFERnet is designed to be used by anyone who needs comprehensive children, youth, or family information including: educators, researchers, parents, youth agency staff, community members, human services and health care providers, students, policy makers, youth, and the media.
 
The Finance Project, Out of School Time
The Finance Project is a research and consulting firm that offers its resources and backing to support organizations backing after school programs. 
Harvard Family Research Project
Generates, publishes and disseminates research about disadvantaged children and youth to promote community engagement, and public policy, programs and educational practices that are more effective.
  
McREL
McREL is a national, nonprofit education research, consulting, and professional services organization. On this website, you will find hundreds of tools, free reports, and books that address the most critical areas for ensuring student success.
  
The Urban Institute
The Urban Institute is a nonprofit, nonpartisan policy research and educational organization established to examine the social, economic, and governance problems facing the nation.
 
Wallace Foundation
The Wallace Foundation is a national organization that among other issues, seeks to expand and improve afterschool learning opportunities through research, strengthening leadership and opportunities for local organizations.
 

The @fterschool Advisor