January 2012 Archives

Carol Tang is leading the charge for the Coalition for After School, an organization based at the University of California, Berkeley, that aims to have more out-of-school programs put science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, or STEM, instruction into their curricula. The coalition's 2,300-plus members run the gamut of after-school programs nationwide, large intermediary organizations like TASC and the National Afterschool Association, museums, and science-focused organizations like the New York Academy of Sciences. The coalition facilitates partnerships to enhance STEM in out of school, develop models for incorporation into existing programs, and mobilize stakeholders that can help expand STEM programming. ...


The National Summer Learning Association has just released results of its "Smarter Summers" initiative. The three-year project is supported by a $11.5 grant from the Walmart Foundation, which is used to expand and enhance summer programs in 10 cities, serving around 20,000 middle school students. (The Baltimore-based association advocates and supports summer learning programs nationwide.) The programs receiving funding are: THINK Together (California), BELL (Detroit, Boston, New York, Baltimore), Summer Advantage USA (Chicago, Indianapolis), and Higher Achievement (Washington, Baltimore). Profiles of the programs are provided in the report, and how their strategies are having a positive impact on ...


A friend of mine was teaching in a classroom last year in Los Angeles. After noticing some of her students were coming to school hungry (and not eating throughout the day), she started bringing snacks from home to make sure her kids had something in their stomachs, and could pay attention in class. The "granola bar drawer" she kept was a lifesaver to get a few of the most unruly (and hungriest) to pay attention, she said. Her experiences don't seem to be unique, according a new report from the Center for American Progress, a Washington-based public policy think tank, ...


Not only are Chicago schools being rewarded for a longer day; the district is now shelling out $3 million to schools that use the added time in innovative ways. As I wrote on Tuesday, 40 additional schools in Chicago just joined the original 11 that accepted incentives from the district to add 90 minutes to the school day at the beginning of this year. Next year, all schools in the district will shift to the longer schedule. So far, the incentive plan is costing the district $7 million. But now, more money is up for grabs. In order to be ...


The Ohio Afterschool Network and the Ohio health department have teamed up on a guide on how best to incorporate physical activity into after-school programs to curb childhood-obesity rates. These activities should not look like your typical dodgeball game, the report says. Instead, the guide includes a list of 11 main recommendations for programs along with tips and strategies for implementing them. A section on resources that after-school programs can access for further advice is also included. Children should be active at least 60 minutes a day, it says, with a decent percentage of the activity being strenuous. According to ...


Update in Chicago: Forty additional schools just joined an original cadre of 11 schools that have lengthened the school year. Thirty-eight of these schools are charters, the Chicago Tribune reports. All schools are part of the Longer School Day Pioneer Pilot that lengthens the day to 7.5 hours. The extra time is used for instruction in core subjects, teacher planning, and in some cases, arts, enrichment, and recess. Prior to the initiative, Chicago public schools had some of the shortest days in the country. By next year, all schools will have the longer schedule. See background here. The second ...


I have a story up today that takes a look at the momentum to put STEM curricula into out-of-school programs through the lens of Techbridge, a Bay Area-based program I visited recently. I was able to observe two sites of the Techbridge program—one high school, one elementary school—which is run by a nonprofit that supports a number of initiatives focused on promoting girls' interest in STEM. It's even reached the Girl Scouts: the organization's STEM "curriculum in a box" is now being used by Girl Scout Troops all over the country, reaching an estimated 4,000 girls. A...


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