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April 2010 Archives

Engaging Teens and Tweens

If you want middle and high school students to enroll in and stick with your after-school programs, give them lots of leadership opportunities within those programs. That's one of the findings in a new study from the Harvard Family Research Project and Public/Private Ventures (P/PV). "Engaging Older Youth: Program and City-Level Strategies to Support Sustained Participation in Out-of-School Time" makes clear that expanded learning programs are important in the lives of adolescents and teenagers, not just young children. "Participation in out-of-school-time (OST) programs can help keep [youths] connected to positive role models and engaged in their education at ...


The TASC Annual Report: 28,800 Minutes

"How much can you learn in a year after school?" That's the question The After-School Corporation asks in its new annual report—and the answer appears to be...quite a lot. TASC's just-released 2009 report takes a close look at schools where TASC is active. TASC postulates that its programs have given students 28,800 minutes—or the equivalent of 72 days—of extra learning time after 3 p.m. So, how did schools use this extra time? Well, at P.S. 182 in the Jamaica, Queens section of New York City, it meant adding about 90 minutes a week...


Senators Weigh 'Whole Child' Efforts

In the best of all worlds, many would say that after-school and summer school enrichment programs would be wrapped into a greater, unified system of engaging students and their families. This week, my Education Week colleague Alyson Klein touched on that very issue in her coverage of the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. She wrote: ...at a hearing of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee last week, lawmakers agreed that the idea of educating "the whole child" encompasses a wide range of support services, which advocates are hoping could be reflected in the rewrite of ...


Looking Back at the 'Juvenile Decency Corps'

I loved this recent item about Washington, D.C.'s long-ago "Juvenile Decency Corps" in ASCD's inservice blog. And, while I concede that the name of the group sounds out of date, its mission was anything but. The Juvenile Decency Corps focused on helping 250 children in a troubled three-block area in Washington stay in school and out of trouble. In the summer of 1963, teen volunteers were trained so they could work with younger children on enriching activities. The volunteers would tutor younger children, play games with them, lead them through arts and crafts projects, and take them on ...


After-School 'Champions' Honored

The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation honored Afterschool Alliance board chair Terry K. Peterson for "excellence in the service of children, schools, and communities" at the Afterschool Alliance's "Breakfast of Champions" this morning. Peterson, a former U.S. deputy secretary of education, received the foundation's William S. White award in recognition of his longtime advocacy for students and after-school programs. In addition to chairing the Afterschool Alliance board, Peterson serves as the director of the Afterschool and Community Learning Resource Network in Charleston, S.C., and works with other education groups, including the National Center for Summer Learning at Johns Hopkins ...


Turmoil in Detroit as NAA Talks Best Practices

Even as after-school educators from around the country gathered this week in Washington to celebrate their work, news of a more distressing nature surfaced in Detroit, where the school district's emergency financial manager has cancelled extended-day, after-school programs until further notice. Last Friday, a district court judge temporarily barred the city district from implementing its academic plan. That action forced the district to cancel a scheduled training for after-school educators and to consider canceling summer school, as well, according to Robert Bobb, the financial manager who had advanced the academic plan and who was accused by the school board of ...


After-School Advocates Gather and Strategize

It was a busy opening day yesterday at the National Afterschool Association conference just outside Washington. One message came through loud and clear, though: Expanded learning needs powerful advocates in these difficult budget times. Members of the Afterschool Alliance—which is holding its Afterschool for All Challenge concurrently with the NAA meeting—were planning to rally on Capitol Hill today to press for the after-school-for-all cause. Many were meeting with individual members of Congress, as well. "You couldn't be in D.C. at a better time," Jen Rinehart, the Afterschool Alliance's vice president for policy and research, told participants...


At the NAA Convention Today

I'll be attending the National AfterSchool Association convention near Washington today to learn more about expanded learning and the many hard-working people involved in it. This year, the convention has been paired with "The Afterschool for All Challenge," bringing together the NAA and the Afterschool Alliance. The three-day meeting will include lots and lots of workshops, as well as celebrity speakers (including actor and author Hill Harper), and Capitol Hill congressional visits and a rally. If you're attending, I hope to see you there. It should be an interesting event....


'Best of Times, Worst of Times'

It's an interesting time to follow expanded learning. This was confirmed for me this week when two experts from the field dropped by the Education Week office to talk about summer learning. "The economy is having a huge impact," Ron Fairchild, the CEO of the National Summer Learning Association, said during the informal interview session on Tuesday. But schools, districts, and other organizations are thinking creatively so it's a "best of times, worst of times scenario," he added. Speaking to fellow edweek.org blogger Lesli Maxwell and myself, Fairchild and Jeff Smink—the association's vice president for policy—pointed ...


Keys to Success for Expanded Learning in Cities

There are three keys to success when it comes to developing programs for expanded learning in cities, a recent study says. According to the report from the National League of Cities, urban leaders should: Work with a broad group of partners; Use the bully pulpit to keep the concept and its value in the public eye; and Spearhead efforts to develop a shared vision for expanded learning programs. Are all cities hitting these marks? It's hard to say, but the study makes it clear that many urban areas are getting creative. For instance, in Nashville, Tenn., city leaders last year ...


Welcome to Beyond School

Today marks the launch of something new for Education Week, a blog devoted exclusively to learning before school, after school, in the summer—or, simply beyond the traditional school day, as the blog's tag line says. I'm relatively new to being a blogger, but excited about the potential. To readers: I'd really love to get a dialogue going about what's working and what isn't in this area. I'm curious about the policy and practical side of things. I want to know who's doing a good job of keeping kids engaged in enriching activities after school hours, how such work is funded,...


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