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Local After School Programs Get Low Grades

c72a8 ppf report Local After School Programs Get Low Grades

A review of the state’s “YoungStar” rating system finds most afterschool programs in Milwaukee County are failing to make the grade.

An ongoing review of local early childhood and afterschool programs has uncovered many operations here are lacking experienced or well trained instructors. The Public Policy Forum released its latest report, Reaching for the Stars, on afterschool programming in Milwaukee on Tuesday.

Rob Henken, President of the Public Policy Forum, says the group reviewed a rating system used by the state to evaluate providers seeking funding from the Wisconsin Shares Program.

Organizations with two stars forfeit some funding while four and five star programs get bonuses.

Henken most afterschool operations are get low marks.

“We found that nearly three-quarters of the school age programs that have been rated so far have received two star ratings,” Henken says.

Meanwhile, he says there is a small numbers of top performers. “Fewer than one percent of school age programs have received ratings of four or five stars,” Henken says.

Henken says research shows a lack of well trained staff is a leading reason so many programs are getting low ratings.

“Overwhelmingly, where the providers are having difficulty is in meeting the requirements for three, four or five stars, was in the educational credentials of their staff,” Henken says.

Henken says the fact that the afterschool programs offer mostly low paying and part time jobs, it’s difficult to attract, and retain, well trained staff.

The latest study is part of a series of research projects by the Public Policy Forum into local early childhood and after school programs.

Article source: http://wuwm.com/post/local-after-school-programs-get-low-grades

Which five Buffalo schools are losing their afterschool programs and why it …

Today’s story by Tiffany Lankes mentions five Buffalo public schools that were originally promised afterschool programs — and had already started them – only to find out that those programs aren’t being offered any longer because of funding shortfalls.

These are the five schools affected:

  • School 81
  • Hutchinson Technical High School
  • Hillery Park Academy
  • Olmsted School 64
  • Discovery School 67

All five schools are schools in good standing with the state, schools the district has determined will be least hurt by the lack of after school programming.

We asked both the district and Say Yes to provide us the names of the five schools that had started afterschool problems but are either being forced to abandon them or find ways through their parent organizations to run the programs themselves.

The district provided a spreadsheet that was difficult to decipher, and David Rust, the executive director of Say Yes Buffalo, also had difficulty coming up with the information. Finally, District Parent Coordinating Council President Sam Radford came up with the list of five schools, and explained to us how to read the district’s chart. Thanks, Sam.

In a follow-up message late Monday, district spokeswoman Elena Cala, said the five affected schools were originally scheduled to end their afterschool programs at the end of December, but were extended to January 30th. The programs were funded through the general fund or grants. She also said it was ”incorrect” to say in our story that the programs that ended last Thursday were “cancelled.”

“They were in fact extended one month beyond their original end date,” she wrote. ”By way of analogy, it would be like saying school is cancelled this June 27th, rather than saying it ends on the 26th.”

That’s one way of looking at it. The other way of looking at it is that the original expectation of the collaborators of Say Yes, the district and these five schools was to allow these five schools in good standing to continue offering afterschool programs through the spring. That was part of the public presentation given to the school board in mid-December by Supt. Pamela Brown and David Rust. The fact that the district changed its mind based on funding issues is, in effect, a “cancellation” of its original plans.

This information was conveyed to Cala. She responded, ”The Say Yes programs began today, for the first time, in the district. While it is true that they did not begin in these 5 schools, it is not factual to say any programs were cancelled. The District programs ended in these schools. Say Yes programs did not begin in these schools. What you refer to as an expectation is better characterized as a possibility that was discussed.  Unfortunately a funding source was not ultimately found because our budget was finalized last May without this possibility included.”

Here are the facts: The budget was finalized in May. The presentation to the board regarding the 2013-14 program rollout for afterschool programs was made in December. That presentation said seven schools in good standing would receive programs. Subsequently, all the schools in good standing told their parents that they could look forward to afterschool programs for their kids this spring semester. Last week, five of these schools have told their parents the “disappointing” news that these programs are no longer being offered.

They must not have realized that these programs were a “possibility” not an “expectation.”

– Sandra Tan

Article source: http://blogs.buffalonews.com/school_zone/2014/02/which-five-buffalo-schools-are-losing-their-afterschool-programs-and-why-it-was-so-hard-to-find-out.html

Coalition disappointed with education budget increase

d0eff a236EFTlK168D507.med Coalition disappointed with education budget increaseAfter the unveiling of the 2014-2015 Executive Budget, legislators, parents and school administrators are calling the proposed 3.8 percent increase in funding for New York’s schools a disappointment.

While Gov. Andrew Cuomo outlined plans to increase school aid by more than $600 million this year — nearly 4 percent — the amount falls far short of the $1.9 billion in direct funding education advocates have been demanding.

In his Executive Budget, Cuomo outlined plans to implement statewide pre-K, establish policies to smooth the implementation of Common Core standards and create financial incentives for the most effective teachers. The early education initiative will be funded with $1.5 billion provided over a five-year period. Cuomo also proposed $720 million for the expansion of afterschool programs and a $2 billion Smart Schools Bond Act to fund the use of technology in the classroom.

While applauding the governor’s demand for access to early education, advocates including the Alliance for Quality Education and Citizen Action of New York said inadequate funding levels would not allow for the successful implementation of the initiatives announced.

e-mail this article link to a friendletter to the editor about this articleprint this articlefacebooktwitterdigg itshareLarger | Smaller“The governor has frequently harped on the idea that money really doesn’t matter in education and we spend too much on education,” said Billy Easton, executive director of Alliance for Quality Education. “The fact is that in those school districts that we spend a lot— the ones that drive up the statewide average — the outcomes of students are phenomenal but there is a huge inequality between wealthy and poor districts.”

According to Easton, New York leads in education inequality that has consistently grown since Cuomo has taken office. He added, despite an overall increase in school funding laid out in the governor’s budget, schools would still be forced to make cuts to much needed services.

Assemblywoman Pat Fahy, D-Albany, said she’s thrilled with the governor backing after school programs and pre-kindergarten. However, she raised concern over whether expanding the programs would detract from the K-12 system.

Fahy criticized the governor’s plans to provide $2 billion in tax cuts without providing the $1.9 billion education funding requested by 83 members of the state Legislature or the $1.3 billion recommended by the Board of Regents.

“I was thinking this morning I must still be very, very new, because I made the mistake of really getting my hopes up this year,” Fahy said. “We cannot talk about $2 billion in tax cuts in this state while we’re knocking the knees out from under education and we can’t talk about raising standards without the funding to do so.”

Larry Spring, the superintendent of Schenectady School District – which was recently identified by the Comptroller’s Office as one of the most fiscally distressed schools in the state – said his district only receives 54 percent of what the Foundation Aid Formula calculates it should receive in aid.

Spring has filed a civil rights lawsuit against the governor and Legislature in response to what he calls the discriminatory distribution of funds.

Article source: http://www.legislativegazette.com/Articles-Top-Stories-c-2014-01-27-86522.113122-Coalition-disappointed-with-education-budget-increase.html

Christie to visit Camden after-school dinner program tomorrow

Dinner is served.

Gov. Christie is scheduled to stop in Camden Thursday afternoon to meet with students at Dudley Elementary who are benefitting from an afterschool dinner pilot program launched earlier this month.

The governor, who put the Camden School District under state control last year, touted the work of state-appointed Superintendent Paymon Rouhanifard in his state of the state speech last week. Rouhanifard was one of several Camden leaders Christie tipped his hat to in the address.

In Camden, 95 percent of the district’s 15,000 students qualify for free or reduced lunches.

The dinner program, like the breakfast and lunches is provided in a partnership with ARAMARK and is offered at five elementary schools and Camden High School to about 75 to 100 students at each school each day, a district official said.

In an annual report to the Department of Education, Rouhanifard mentioned the program along with the growth of a breakfast program in two schools.

Newark Public Schools also provide meals for students in an after school youth development program, according to the district website.

An official with the district did not have immediate figures on how after-school attendance has grown since the program launched.

Joseph Durkin, a chemistry teacher at Woodrow Wilson, which has not yet implemented the program said, “anything that helps these kids smooth the speed bumps of their life improves their chance of preparing for success in life.”

It was just three years ago that Christie vetoed the entire $2 million allocation for grants for after school and summer activities for at-risk children and the $3 million allocation for the New Jersey After 3 after – school program, eliminating afterschool activities.

In October Christie appeared in Camden with Shaquille O’Neal to announce an initiative called Just Play, in which $500,000 in state funds would be distributed to non-profits to establish afterschool programs.

- Julia Terruso

Article source: http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/camden_flow/Christie-to-come-to-Camden-tomorrow-tout-afterschool-dinner-program.html

Mott Foundation provides $3.1 million for afterschool programs

Categories: After School Programs
Comments: No Comments
Published on: September 27, 2013

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Article source: http://www.eastvillagemagazine.org/en/news-releases3/20131-mott-foundation-provides-3-1-million-for-afterschool-programs

Preventing Obesity with Life Skills for WA Kids

a2607 getimage Preventing Obesity with Life Skills for WA Kids
PHOTO: Yakima Valley teens use their nutritional knowledge and cooking skills to create healthy recipes in “Teen Battle Chef” competitions. Courtesy 21st Century Schools.

September 23, 2013

TOPPENISH, Wash. – It’s Childhood Obesity Prevention Awareness Month, and afterschool programs in some Washington communities have made it an all-year priority. In the Yakima Valley, with the help of local chefs they have organized “Top Chef”-style competitions for middle-school students and restaurant visits and cooking classes for younger kids.

Melanie Willis, 21st Century Afterschool Program coordinator at the Northwest Community Action Center, says it’s a fun way to get them interested in better nutrition.

“We have lots of different cultures and recipes. And we’re also introducing them just to new foods they’ve never experienced or might have never heard of – like mussels and ginger – and ingredients that are a little bit tough for even us to find in some grocery stores.”

Parents are invited to dine on what their children have prepared, she adds, and also can take part in adult classes on nutrition education and shopping for healthy foods on a budget. The training for adults is funded by SNAP (food stamp) education grants, which are now in jeopardy in Congress.

Research has shown that diets of lower quality and less variety contribute to obesity. Linda Stone, food policy director, The Children’s Alliance, says that is often the result when families experience food insecurity.

“They have to make really tough choices about what they purchase, and the cheapest calories there are sugar and fat,” said Stone. “Sometimes, when it comes down to your kids having something and kids having nothing, that’s the kind of dilemma that you’re in.”

The USDA has reported that Washington ranks 15th in the country for the number of families experiencing food insecurity. Stone explains most of those parents are working, but don’t make enough money to feed their families without assistance.

In terms of obesity prevention, it isn’t only about what kids eat, but about how much exercise they get, says Willis. She notes that the afterschool programs are working on that, too.

“One way to kind of entice them is taking the technology outdoors – maybe doing some blogs about their experience or taking pictures, documenting what they’re seeing and then writing about it. They also take the cooking component and cook outdoors,” Willis said.

She says kids also are learning about dance, martial arts, soccer and other activities to keep them moving, as well as to cultivate new interests.

A statewide Obesity Prevention Summit is coming up December 4. Information about it is available at www.copcwa.org.

Chris Thomas, Public News Service – WA

Article source: http://www.publicnewsservice.org/2013-09-23/childrens-issues/preventing-obesity-with-life-skills-for-wa-kids/a34567-1

Brooklyn Student wins national ‘Lights On Afterschool’ poster contest

Afterschool programs help children “shine and grow.” That is the message of this year’s poster to promote Lights On Afterschool, the only nationwide rally for afterschool programs. The poster was designed by 10-year-old Rosanie Cazeau, who attends the Children of Promise, NYC afterschool program in Brooklyn. Cazeau’s poster features a tree with leaves that represent many of the activities afterschool programs offer, including: study, play outside, paint, draw, write, math, music, healthy snacks, gym, feel safe, and have fun.

Cazeau’s artwork was selected from thousands of submissions. In addition to having her drawing featured on the official 2013 Lights On Afterschool poster, which will be displayed at thousands of rallies around the country, she will receive a $500 gift certificate from Discount School Supply.

“We are so proud of Rosanie,” said Monique Newton, vice president of programs for Children of Promise, NYC. “She worked a long time on her drawing and we feel that it is a wonderful representation of the comprehensive activities we offer the students in our program. It’s an honor to have her art used for this national event.”

The poster will be used by afterschool programs across the country and on military bases overseas to promote their Lights On Afterschool events this October. This is the 14th year for Lights On Afterschool, and more than a million people are expected to participate in more than 8,000 events.  

“I’m very excited to have my artwork seen by people all across the country,” said Cazeau. “My brothers and I really enjoy our afterschool program and I like being able to share how much we learn and all the great things that afterschool programs do for kids like us.”

The Afterschool Alliance organizes Lights On Afterschool to draw attention to the myriad ways afterschool programs benefit students by offering them opportunities to learn new things – such as robotics, Tae Kwon Do and art – and discover new skills. The events give youth a chance to showcase the skills they learn and talents they develop at their afterschool programs, and to send the message that millions more kids need quality afterschool programs.

* * *

The Afterschool Alliance is a nonprofit public awareness and advocacy organization working to ensure that all children and youth have access to quality afterschool programs.  More information is available at www.afterschoolalliance.org.

11100 Screen%2520Shot%25202013 09 18%2520at%25202.02.51%2520PM 409x550 Brooklyn Student wins national Lights On Afterschool poster contest


Article source: http://www.brooklyneagle.com/articles/brooklyn-student-wins-national-%E2%80%98lights-afterschool%E2%80%99-poster-contest-2013-09-18-173000

Landrum Elementary School afterschool program earns state recognition

Landrum Elementary School’s Afterschool Program’s Rock Band 13 earned the “Most Innovative Activity” award at the Afterschool Centers on Education state conference.

The program provides science enrichment activities through the use of music and musical instruments.

The innovative program helps students learn science components as they receive instruction on how to play musical instruments, such as keyboard, electric guitar, electric bass guitar and five-piece drum set and is framed around Texas Ace Critical Success Factor dealing with school involvement.

The ACE program is one of the largest statewide afterschool programs in the country, serving more than 180,000 students at nearly 1,000 sites. The ACE program is administered by the Texas Education Agency and is funded through the 21st Century Community Learning Centers initiative of the U.S. Department of Education.

“Students learn about science as they become knowledgeable about the amplifiers and watts of the different instruments,” Afterschool Program site coordinator Albert Sanchez said. “There is a science to setting up the equipment and having the best sound from each instrument. This helps students learn about instrument’s electrical currents, including amperage and wattage.”

Students have to connect the instrument to the amplifier and then from the amplifier to the soundboard, where different effects and equalizers are used to produce the clearest and loudest sound possible, Sanchez explained.

“They also learn about how sound travels through sound waves and the use of our sound equipment,” Sanchez said.

Using a detailed lesson plan and integrating the use of technology, the school has offered the science enrichment activity for the past three years, allowing third through fifth grade students an opportunity to learn an average of six to eight songs per year.

The program not only teaches students music, it also helps them learn about the importance of teamwork builds their self-esteem.

“Self-esteem also plays a role in the campus needs assessment because the students learn to believe in themselves and in their ability and the confidence to perform in front of people,” Sanchez said. “They begin to learn how to set goals and overcome obstacles to reach those goals.”

Estrella Serna, a fifth grader, has developed a greater sense of self-esteem and self-confidence. She’s thrilled that she learned how to play the bass guitar last year.

“I didn’t know that actually I could do it,” she said. “I never pictured myself with a bass and now, I can, and that’s great!”

Serna, a longtime Afterschool Program participant, wants to learn how to play more instruments with this year’s Rock Band 14.

Another program participant, fifth grader Karen Sanchez, was excited about her involvement in the program.

“I get to play in a rock band because music is my life,” she said.

To learn more about this innovating award-winning program, call 956-361-6800.

Article source: http://www.valleymorningstar.com/education/san_benito_cisd/article_858d0bf8-19cc-11e3-8eb7-0019bb30f31a.html

Register for Boys & Girls Clubs of Union County afterschool programs

The Boys Girls Clubs of Union County offers NJ State licensed after school program for children enrolled in grades K-five. The Boys Girls Clubs of Union County After School Program is designed to enrich the social, emotional, physical and intellectual development of school age children. This program is offered to children.

Participants must be enrolled in at least kindergarten. We are open from September-June and follow the public school schedule.

Program Objectives:
• To provide an environment of social adjustment in a peer group setting.
• To assist in the development of self-awareness and independent thought.
• To instill a sense of positive self image within each of our children.
• To promote development of physical skills through activities requiring coordination and motivation.

Daily Program:
Includes outdoor and indoor active play, arts crafts, snack, activity time, computer and homework time, special events, etc.

The programs are a offered Monday – Friday, from 2:30-6:30 p.m., at the Club locations in Union, Elizabeth, Plainfield, Hillside, Roselle and Linden.

The Boys Girls Clubs of Union County will continue to implement “Power Hour” at the 6 Boys Girls Club after school programs on a daily basis.

This highly successful homework assistance program, helps young people come to view homework as an opportunity to learn to work independently, complete projects on time and feel positive about their accomplishments.

“We are grateful to Boys Girls Clubs of America for enabling us to continue utilizing such a high-quality homework assistance program like Power Hour,” Russell Triolo, Chief Executive Officer of the Boys Girls Clubs of Union County. “So many of the children we serve simply do not have access to the resources necessary for successful homework completion, which is critical to their everyday academic success.”

Power Hour: Making Minutes Count is an interactive, after-school homework assistance program for children ages 6 to 18. Unlike assignments done in class, Power Hour work is conducted in a non-threatening and fun after-school environment using adults or older students, who serve as “Homework Helpers,” to supervise completion of Club members’ homework.

In addition to homework help, these staff or volunteers offer age-appropriate activities to stimulate Club members’ interest in learning. By explaining the relevance of learning fractions in order to cook a meal, for example, or by showing how geography can enable us to enjoy reading the newspaper, volunteers help Club members learn to value the knowledge homework can bring. Power Hour’s long-term goals are to ensure that youth graduate from high school, pursue postsecondary educations and become life-long learners.

In addition to “Homework Helpers,” Power Hour offers tips for establishing essential communication with teachers and parents. Research has shown that parental involvement is a must if children are to develop good homework habits. Power Hour also provides incentives for Club members, rewarding them with “Power Points” and charting their academic progress on a colorful poster that is displayed prominently in the Club.

Among the available research on the importance of after-school homework assistance is a recent study conducted by the U.S. Justice and Education Departments. In Working for Children: Safe and Smart After-School Programs , experts reported, “children who are left alone when school ends have more difficulties with their class work than those who participate in after-school programs. Not only is the latter group of students more likely to succeed academically, they are also much more self-confident.” Other studies have linked after-school homework assistance programs to improved behavior at school and an overall increased interest in learning.

The Boys Girls Clubs of Union County, which operates facilities in Union, Roselle, Plainfield, Elizabeth and Hillside and Linden serves over 7,500 children. They seek to inspire and enable young people, who need them most, to realize their full potential and have provided opportunity for youth since 1955. They are part of a national network of some 4,000 neighborhood-based facilities, Boys Girls Clubs of America, which serves more than 4.6 million young people annually, in all 50 states and on U.S. military bases worldwide.

Known as “The Positive Place for Kids,” the Clubs provide guidance-oriented character development programs on a daily basis for children 6-18 years old, conducted by a full-time professional staff. Key Boys Girls Club programs emphasize leadership development, education and career exploration, financial literacy, health and life skills, the arts, sports, fitness and recreation, and family outreach.

To find out more about registering for our afterschool child care programs and the many year round youth development programs offered by BGCUC, visit bgcuc.org or call 908-687-7976 ext. 1 or 908-687-2697 ext. 102

Article source: http://www.nj.com/suburbannews/index.ssf/2013/09/register_for_boys_girls_clubs_2.html

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