Those who missed last week's 21st Century Community Learning Centers conference, or are looking for a chance for professional development and networking opportunities with other providers/instructors in the out-of-school-time realm, can access the Department of Education's new website: You for Youth. Profiled in a session at last week's conference, the site offers a number of features for OST professionals. There are multimedia videos on project-based learning, school day alignment, STEM, and partnerships. Several coaching modules offer ideas for program curriculum and step-by-step instructions for implementation. A searchable state map includes a listing of every state's programs that receive 21st ...


Even with access to Kindles and iPads, public libraries are still in demand, and readers, particularly young ones, still abound. In fact, libraries appear to be playing an important role in providing out-of-classroom reading-program opportunities for youths this summer, and just not for a cool place to beat the heat, or for free Web surfing. According to a recent study by the American Library Association, libraries across the country are seeing increased traffic and greater demand for access to materials (digital and print), tech services and training, as well as youth programs both in the summer and school year. Yet ...


Thousands of people, along with me, spent the past two days at the annual 21st Century Community Learning Center's Summer Institute held in Oxon Hill, Md., and sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education, the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, and J.C. Penny. The 21st CCLC federal grant program has been one of the fastest-growing in history, currently budgeted at more than $1 billion—funding that supports programs that provide academically enriching experiences for children during out-of-school time. Formula grants are allocated to states, which then redistribute them via competitive awards to organizations, local education agencies, and schools to run...


Detroit public school students are getting an early start on next year's curriculum through a virtual summer program.


"Why does vacation have to mean vacuum?" asks Matthew Boulay, interim CEO of the National Summer Learning Association.


Some leaders in California are working to increase the options, availability, and quality of summer programs in the state, particularly for low-income kids. In 2008, a bill established a legislative task force on summer learning to make research-backed recommendations to California officials on how to meet the needs of the state's underserved children in the summer. The task force has been advising state leaders since, including generating recent legislation that may enable California to use state and federal after-school funding to build summer programs and make summer learning a priority in future efforts. According to the National Summer Learning Association, ...


A group of senators proposed a reauthorization plan yesterday for the federal 21st Century Community Learning Center grant program that would enhance application protocol and accountability requirements for after-school, before school, and summer programs.


My story on summer programs is up on our homepage today. (It's in the print issue of our paper this week, too.) It takes a look at four cities that have managed to maintain, enhance, and increase summer programs when many others are slashing them given budget shortfalls. The four cities—Baltimore, Chicago, New Orleans, and Oakland, Calif.—have made building programs in the summer months a priority to counteract the effects of "summer learning loss," which is particularly harmful to low-income students. While the stories and programs are all different, they have some commonalities: strong partnerships with local organizations...


How do you improve the quality of summer schools and make them more cost-effective, the New York Times asks seven education leaders, in a discussion posted online yesterday. It's about time and structure. To Kathleen Porter-Magee, director of the High Quality Standards Project; Pedro Noguera, professor of education at New York University; and Paul Thomas, education professor at Furman University; the answer lies in changing the school calendar, particularly with reducing what they consider to be the overly long block of time constituting summer vacation, which research has shown can significantly hinder academic gains made during the school year. While ...


Standardized-test scores of charter schools vs. traditional public schools recently released in Chicago had surprising results: The charter schools that had added time to their schedules did not seem to produce much higher scores than the other public schools that had a shorter school year. The news comes as the Chicago district looks to expand its school calendar this coming fall. In light of those Chicago results, an article in The Washington Independent a few days ago makes comparisons between schools nationwide that have implemented an extended learning time model and its impact on test scores. It finds an inconsistent ...


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