April 2011 Archives

Out-of-school-time programs were listed as a turnaround strategy in 70 percent of the school improvement plans for 1,400 underperforming schools in several Midwestern states, a new report says. Researchers at the Midwest Regional Educational Laboratory Program, supported by the federal Department of Education examined improvement plans from Title I schools in Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Ohio. They found 980 of them listed before-school, after-school, and summer programs as a means to improve school performance. Roughly 90 percent also listed increased parent involvement as a goal to help student achievement. The federal government requires schools to submit plans that ...


A new project that tries to find strategies on how after-school programs can improve student attendance during the regular school day was outlined in a webinar,"Leveraging the Power of Afterschool to Reduce Chronic Absence," I listened in on last week. The project is supported by a grant from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation and is a combined effort of the Maryland, Utah, and Pennsylvania after-school networks and Attendance Works, a national initiative that seeks to lower student-truancy rates in all 50 states, particularly through improving the attendance of those who are chronically absent or miss more than 10 percent ...


A couple weeks ago, I wrote a few items about New York state and New York City's innovative and expansive out-of-school-time programming. Given the pressing budget issues at the state level, as well as some time sensitive projects in the city, I had to hold my Q&A with Jeanne Mullgrav, commissioner of the city's Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD), until this week. As I mentioned earlier, DYCD administers city, state, and federal funding to New York City programs that support needy and underserved children, families, and the community. Mullgrav's responsibilities are extensive and include overseeing the funding ...


Middle school students in California have been raising abalone to return to the ocean and have organized efforts to show the community that overfishing has caused a crisis for the local abalone population. A group of 7th graders in Colorado hosted a town meeting with local residents and energy experts to address the pros and cons of their town's uranium mining. High school students in Vermont launched an ongoing lobbying campaign to get their state legislature to pass a smoking ordinance that prevents adults from smoking in cars around children. And 4th graders in Washington planned a festival and forum ...


This Friday, April 15, marks the annual Global Youth Service Day, the largest service event in the world and the only service day just for young people. The event, sponsored by Youth Service America, will go through the weekend, as millions of youths participate in more than 3,000 projects in 100 countries and all 50 states. Later this week, I'll bring you more about the event, but first I'm going to delve into some background and context on youth participation in service and service-learning today. I asked some questions of Peter Levine, director of the Center for Information and ...


Let's put aside talk of budget cuts and programming struggles today and instead focus on some positive news in the out-of-school-time realm. Nominations are currently being taken for the MetLife Foundation and Afterschool Alliance's 4th annual MetLife Afterschool Innovator awards, the only national awards exclusively for programs that operate during after-school hours. The innovator awards honor after-school programs that have developed and executed commendable programming that addresses at least one of this year's focus areas: providing opportunities for service learning for middle school students; aligning after school with the middle school day; addressing middle school bullying; and supporting literacy for ...


After-school and out-of-school-time programs in high poverty, rural communities have some of the same positive effects on children that after-school programs elsewhere have had, but rural programs face unique challenges that their high-poverty peers in urban and suburban areas do not, according to the Harvard Family Research Project. The findings are from the recent report, "Out-of-School Time Programs in Rural Areas," which concludes that such programs have significant struggles— particularly with access for children and availability of resources to sustain the program sites. Researchers at the project, a Harvard-supported organization that evaluates and advises initiatives and large organizations that serve...


Under the leadership of city officials and local organizations, New York City implemented an Out-of-School Time initiative in 2005 that put significant city dollars into funding expanded learning and after-school programs, believing the programs would improve the performance of youth in the city's underperforming schools. These goals were supported by results seen in previous years by some existing, well-established after-school providers who helped steer the development of after-school program expansion in New York, with the increased city money and support. Nearly doubling in size in the past six years, the initiative remains the largest city funded after-school initiative in the ...


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