Easily accessible, interesting after-school programs that are relevant to teens and adolescents are most likely to attract older minority youths and keep them coming back, a new study finds. In a brief titled "Recruiting and Retaining Older African American and Hispanic Boys in After-School Programs: What We Know and What We Still Need to Learn," Public/Private Ventures, or P/PV, explores successful strategies that groups use to attract and retain middle- and high school-age minority youths in after-school programs. The report recommends that, in creating new after-school programs, organizations conduct a needs assessment to identify "what older minority boys" ...


Long, long ago, I promised to keep readers updated on news of expanded learning from publications around the country. Well, sorry—those updates had a way of getting delayed by other, more pressing deadlines. But today I return to news of note in the expanded learning realm. Read on for details and links. This piece from wickedlocal.com (gotta love that URL!) asks why an extended-learning program in Framingham, Mass., is being abandoned. The article doesn't definitively answer the question, but does make clear that expanded learning can pose challenges. It's "not as simple as adding two hours to the ...


After a short break last week, I'm now scrambling to get back on top of all the expanded learning news out there—much of which, understandably, centers on summer learning. On that note, I'll point you to this piece by The Washington Post's Jay Mathews on the need to rethink old visions of summer school. It might be time to shed our discomfort with the notion of summer school for all, and see whether it helps our kids, particularly those in districts such as D.C. Mathews, who also serves on the board of Education Week's nonprofit parent company, references...


Today, I'm a guest blogger on ASCD's Whole Child blog. I've decided to write about the National Summer Learning Association's "Champions of Summer Learning." The five honorees live the idea that summer learning means more than makeup work. Their work in schools and communities is designed to engage children and to keep low-income students from falling behind their peers in the summer. Check out the blog post here. On a personal note, Beyond School is taking a brief holiday break. The blog will return the week July 5. Happy 4th everyone!...


Education Week has a new story today about the cuts many districts are making to summer school programs to save money. My colleague Erik Robelen, however, also highlights the innovative and expanded summer-enrichment programs that some schools are offering. Take a look at his story to see how different districts are approaching summer learning. Baltimore is one of the places that's trying to do things differently—and more creatively—this year. "Last year, we took on that more remedial approach," Ryan Reid, Baltimore's coordinator for summer middle school programs, tells Education Week. "But we've decided, we have to go beyond...


The Afterschool Alliance has named Anita Krishnamurthi to its newly created post of director of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) policy. She will work to advance policies that grow STEM curriculum in after-school programs. Krishnamurthi served most recently as the John Bahcall Public Policy Fellow at the American Astronomical Society. Prior to that, she worked at NASA for six years, first as an education-and-public-outreach-program planning specialist at NASA headquarters and later as lead for education and public outreach in the Astrophysics Science Division at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. Her formal training is in astrophysics. "After-school ...


The Wallace Foundation this week announced a $9 million initiative to expand, test, and promote high-quality summer-learning and expanded day- and school-year programs for disadvantaged children in cities. "It's becoming increasingly clear that the traditional school calendar may not be ideal for students, especially those in the most need," M. Christine DeVita, president of The Wallace Foundation, said in a news release announcing the effort. "If we provide more high-quality learning time for disadvantaged students by offering summer learning and extending the school day—and use that time effectively—we may be able to substantially improve students' achievement." The initiative...


Happy summer—and happy Summer Learning Day! Yes, June 21 isn't just the summer solstice (in the Northern Hemisphere) this year; it's also the day to raise awareness of summer learning efforts and their benefits. The goal of Summer Learning Day is "to focus attention on how summer learning programs help close the achievement gap and promote healthy development," the National Summer Learning Association says. (NSLA is a major proponent of the day.) To find out about summer learning events nationwide, check out this page on the NSLA website....


Over at the Curriculum Matters blog, my colleague Erik Robelen writes about NASA's new Summer of Innovation initiative. The program is designed to engage thousands of middle school students in STEM—science, technology, engineering, and math—activities during the summer months. "I hope that by getting these students involved in NASA's missions and programs now, it may pave the way for a new generation of scientists and engineers, which is critically important to our nation's future," NASA Administrator Charles Bolden says in a news release announcing the initiative's launch (so to speak)....


"What would I do without summer learning?" That question, posed by Baltimore 4th grader Brandon McKoy on Capitol Hill this morning, capped an interesting event where a "new vision" for summer school was unveiled to congressional staffers and education advocates. Officials of the National Summer Learning Association and others (including Brandon) highlighted the importance of sustaining—and expanding—high-quality programs, even in tough budget times. Speakers called the programs critical, particularly in terms of easing achievement gaps between students and fighting the summer-learning loss that is a perennial problem for poor children and the schools that educate them. For too ...


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