MARCH 2019
Regular Registration is now open for the annual SYNERGY CONFERENCE! We hope you will join us on April 24-25, 2019 at the Koury Convention Center in Greensboro, NC. You can register here by March 10th at the regular rate of $225. Late registration will begin on March  11th at the rate of $250.  

Afterschool, before school and summer programs that have never attended the Synergy Conference are being offered a special rate. If your program/organization has never attended or participated in the Synergy Conference, staff can register to attend at the rate of $175. Please send a registration request for this discounted rate to In your email, please include your program/organization name and the names of staff that are registering. 
***Note: This discount is specific to programs that have never been represented at the Synergy Conference. 

We will continue the conference trend of engaging keynotes, a plethora or workshops, and networking with providers from across the state.  Featured speakers and events this year include: 
Atrayus Goode, Movement of Youth
Dr. Torie Weiston-Serdan, Youth Mentoring Action Network
Fred Baker, Leading To Change
Susan Thomas, Leading To Change
Byron V. Garrett, National Family Engagement Alliance
Chris Vecchione, NC Department of Public Instruction
Networking Reception
Lunch & Awards Ceremony

This year, we have a full slate of 65 workshops with a range of topics within each of our workshop strands. This year's workshop strands include the following: 

The SYNERGY CONFERENCE 2019 has a hotel block at the Sheraton Greensboro at 
Four Seasons for the discounted rate of $145/night.  You can make hotel reservations here.   Hotel reservations must be made by 5 pm March 25th to get the discounted rate. Please make your hotel reservations as soon as possible to secure your room. 

Check out the SYNERGY CONFERENCE 2019 page periodically for additional conference details. 

We can't wait to see you in Greensboro!
As January winds down and the partial government shutdown on hold at least until February 15, it is a good time to look at the new 116th Congress: what are the priorities; what might get accomplished, and what are the challenges and opportunities ahead from the afterschool advocate's perspective. This second part of our two-part blog series describes the policy opportunities for afterschool. For a lay of the land of the 116th, see  part one.

Afterschool Opportunities

For afterschool advocates, key opportunities to promote and support afterschool and summer learning priorities for the 116th Congress include:
  • Protecting and increasing funding for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) initiative to $1.32 billion-an increase of $100 million over the current level that would provide access to quality afterschool, before-school, and summer learning opportunities for an additional 100,000 students across all 50 states.
  • Maintaining or increasing federal funding for the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) to ensure access to school-age care. Roughly one-third of children served through the Child Care and Development Fund are school-aged and participate in afterschool and summer learning programs.
  • Supporting funding for other key education programs including the Youth Mentoring Initiative, Title IV Part A of ESSA the Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants (SSAEG), Titles I and Titles II of ESSA and funding for AmeriCorps and VISTA.
  • In reauthorizing the Higher Education Act, working to protect and expand the commitment that federal work-study supports afterschool programs; supporting teacher pipeline programs that include afterschool programs' and other policies that build on the strong partnership between colleges and universities and afterschool programs.
  • Within the re-authorization of the Child Nutrition Act we support policies that reduce the paperwork burdens and improve access to nutritious summer an afterschool meals for low-income students. 
  • Promoting afterschool and summer learning programs as critical partners in preventing substance abuse among students and providing protective factors that support social, emotional and physical health and wellness for young people. Afterschool programs should be part of comprehensive school safety efforts and part of the coordinated response to the opioid epidemic.
To read the full articles, click  here.

Article from: 

This year's conference is themed " DOING THE M.O.S.T.: MAXIMIZING OUT-OF-SCHOOL TIME".  For a limited time, you can purchase an official conference t-shirt with the Doing The M.O.S.T. logo celebrating the many ways afterschool, before school and summer programs engage youth and families.  Doing The M.O.S.T. t-shirts are available in adult and youth sizes and will be available at the Synergy Conference during registration. 

Meghan Sauer joins the NC Center for Afterschool Programs as STEM Coordinator. Meg views STEM education as the catalyst to develop children's curiosity into exciting careers. As STEM coordinator, Meg works with the NC CAP Director and key partners to design and coordinate programs to both demystify and ignite passion for science in all students. In addition to helping with the Synergy Conference, Meg develops curricula and resources for afterschool and summer programs to reach students who are traditionally underrepresented in STEM fields - particularly girls and student of color.

Prior to joining the Public School Forum, Meg was a secondary science teacher who taught 6th, 7th, and 8th grades, Earth and Environmental Science, AP Environmental Science, Honors Human Anatomy, and Forensic Science. Meg is equally comfortable teaching outdoors as the former Naturalist for Eno River State Park and a veteran summer camp instructor for the Museum of Life and Science. Prior to education, Meg managed nonprofits and worked in natural resource management. Meg earned bachelor's degrees in English and Geology from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and holds a graduate certificate in Middle School Science from UNC-Chapel Hill. Meg is licensed as a NC Professional Educator for Secondary Science (6 - 12) and Middle School Social Studies (6-9). She was the 2016 North Carolina Conservation Educator of the Year.
The NC Center for Afterschool Programs is accepting nominations for the 2019 Afterschool Champions. Nominees should demonstrate outstanding work in developing, supporting and promoting high-quality afterschool and out-of-school time programs to benefit youth and families statewide.

Afterschool Champion Award categories are below, followed by the nomination form. The final deadline to submit nominations is this Friday, March 8th. Selected award recipients will be recognized during the lunch and award ceremony at the Synergy Conference 2019 on Thursday, April 25th.

This award spotlights an individual, program, or organization whose life or mission has demonstrated outstanding work in developing, supporting and promoting high-quality afterschool and out-of-school time programs to benefit youth and families. Nominees should have more than five (5) years of experience.

This award spotlights an individual, program, or organization whose life or mission has demonstrated considerable work in developing, supporting and promoting high-quality afterschool and out-of-school time programs to benefit youth and families. Nominees should have between two (2) and five (5) years of experience.

A letter of recommendation or support should accompany every nomination. **Note: For a program nomination, a letter of support must be from a youth program participant or parent.
Today's youth must navigate a complex, economically competitive, and globally connected world. In efforts to help young people thrive, educators, parents, and leaders have historically focused on academic improvement as the key target for future success.

But that's not the whole picture. While academics form a critical part of every child's development, they don't cover the full scope of the development of a child - academically, socially, and emotionally. This is something afterschool programs have known, and lived, for years, as they strive to support students in academic and non-academic ways. Thousands of quality afterschool programs are already doing what works - and the research bears them out.

The  Aspen Institute National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development unites leaders to re-envision what constitutes student success in schools and life. With the help of teachers, parents, and students across the country, the Commission explores how schools can fully integrate social, emotional, and academic development to support the whole student, culminating in the new  "From a Nation At Risk to a Nation At Hope" report.

The report asserts that community partners, including afterschool and summer learning programs, are critical to accelerate efforts to support the whole child. In addition to citing the importance of "provid[ing] access to quality summer school and afterschool programming for each young person," the report makes the following  topline recommendations:
  • Align resources and leverage partners in the community to address the whole child.
  • Set a clear vision that broadens the definition of student success to prioritize the whole child.
  • Transform learning settings so they are safe and supportive for all young people.
  • Change instruction to teach students social, emotional, and cognitive skills; embed these skills in academics and schoolwide practices.
  • Build adult expertise in child development.
  • Forge closer connections between research and practice by shifting the paradigm for how research gets done.
CONGRATULATIONS to the YMCA Horizons at Cane Creek Middle School . Your program was randomly selected from the Mapping Database. The registration fee will be waived for a member of your staff to attend the Synergy Conference 2019 free of charge. Please email to register your staff member for this year's conference. 

Will your program win next month's free Synergy Conference registration?   Register you program today in the Mapping Database.  Program registration in the database is quick and takes less than five minutes...
Are you an out-of-school time educator? The Innovation Collaborative is conducting a national study that will help outline effective practices for sciences, technology, engineering, arts/humanities, and math (STEAM). The first national study of its kind, your participation could help determine what constitute an effective STEAM program in a broad range of out-of-school settings and provide the foundational research base for the out-of-school STEAM movement.

The study will focus on the wide variety of out-of-school learning experiences including field trips, afterschool programs, summer camps, and a wide variety of other experiences held outside of the formal classroom environment.  Looking at early childhood through higher education, this study's focus is on the intersections of STEM with the arts and humanities and the experiences of students that participate in this type of integrated learning.

This research will provide validated strategies and tools that out-of-school educators can use to assure that their STEAM practices have the maximum effectiveness in promoting vital innovative thinking skills. Any out-of-school educator serving early childhood through higher education students can participate by completing a brief survey. With materials on hand, this survey should take 10 minutes or less. Responses are due by the end of March.

Interested? Access the  survey to learn more and share your views!

Article from: 
For schools and communities interested in implementing SEL interventions, a new report offers guidance on how to do just that! The Wallace Foundation and RAND recently released " Investing in Evidence Based Social and Emotional Learning," a companion guide to a 2017 RAND evidence review of SEL programs intended to better inform providers and policymakers on how the programs could be used under ESSA. This report builds off of that review by providing more targeted guidance about best practices for implementation. It identifies five steps that communities can take to effect change, while emphasizing the importance of taking into account local factors of equity, coherence, and capacity.

Steps for Promoting Effective Investments in SEL:
  1. Identify local needs: The first step for any successful intervention implementation is to recognize the specific needs of a community--to discern the specific areas an intervention will target and any potential limiting factors. This guide offers several suggestions on how to best select a needs assessment, what data to focus on, and how to analyze and make sense of that data once it has been collected.
  2. Select relevant, evidence-based interventions: Decision makers then need to move from data to decisions and prioritize the needs in their communities to select an SEL intervention that makes the most sense for youth, staff, and stakeholders. The report recommends important considerations to direct your focus, shares examples from the field on how to make sense of multiple data measures, and includes helpful resources for selecting relevant SEL interventions.
  3. Plan for Implementation: Once a specific intervention has been identified, those involved will need to develop a plan for high-quality execution; the study recommends the creation of a logic model, which makes the connection between specific activities and targeted outcomes, and provides clear explanation and additional resources for developing your own logic model.
  4. Implement: Practitioners should continually monitor implementation and track relevant data to see how well outcomes and goals are being met. The guide includes explanations of appropriate measures and gauges, and refers to helpful resources to monitor the implementation plan.
  5. Examine and reflect: Providers and decision makers should evaluate the effectiveness of their intervention at different stages throughout implementation. This resource not only outlines effective ways to make sense of collected data, but also offers insight into best practices in sharing out results and next steps once outcomes have been interpreted. Most importantly: leaders should revisit this process of needs-assessment and examination regularly to ensure that their approaches continue to be successful and adapt to the changing needs of the communities in which they work.
On March 12th, elementary schools and afterschool programs across North Carolina will be recognized for scheduling an important event in family engagement and computer science education: "Family
Code Night." At the March 12 program launch, K-5 parents statewide, including 120,000 PTA members, will be invited to to see if their school is among those hosting this free and important evening program later this spring.

Family Code Night has been recognized with an invitation to the White House, and on the front page of the New York Times. Hosting a Family Code Night is within the capability of nearly
any school, no coding experience is required, and all needed materials are provided. It is an ideal next step any school can take to advance K-5 family engagement and computer science

Is YOUR Program or School Hosting a Family Code Night?

Details on how to sign up: 
1. Click on the school district where the youth that you serve attend school, then Zoom In to find their School on the Map.
2. Click on your School: View Pop-up and Download the Event Kit.
3. Schedule Your Family Code Night to get featured on the Map!
Note: The map goes public at the statewide launch on March 12.

NC CAP wants to highlight your program!

The North Carolina Center for Afterschool Programs would like to highlight program successes statewide. Tell us about your program and you might be our Program Spotlight in the next edition of the Afterschool Observer or on Social Media. Click the Program Spotlight below to be redirected to the updated survey link to tell us about your program. 

The Burroughs Wellcome Fund has opened it's application for the 2019 Student STEM Enrichment Program (SSEP) grant awards.  SSEP supports diverse programs with a common goal: to enable primary and secondary students to participate in creative, hands-on STEM activities for K-12 students and pursue inquiry-based exploration in BWF's home state of North Carolina. These awards provide up to $60,000 per year for three years. The application deadline is   April 16, 2019 . 

The goals of these grants are to: empower youth by providing hands-on environmental stewardship opportunities; inspire youth and communities to become agents of change for their environment; serve as a catalyst for education that uses the environment as a context for applied and STEM learning. 

Schools, public libraries, and nonprofit organizations who help students who are below grade level or having trouble reading are eligible to apply. Grant funding is provided to assist in the following areas: (1) implementing new or expanding existing literacy programs, (2) purchasing new technology or equipment to support literacy initiatives, (3) purchasing books, materials or software for literacy programs.

The   Ezra Jack Keats Foundation is offering funding of up to $500 to design and implement a creative program for your school or library! Public schools, public libraries, and public preschool programs are encouraged to apply.   Previous successful projects have included a public story walk, a multicultural portrait project, a school garden, a bookmaking workshop, and an inter-generational storytelling day.

The M. Jack and Dorothy Stephens Fund was established through an estate gift to Triangle Community Foundation in 2012 to address the needs of disadvantaged people in the communities of southern Wake County. The Foundation invites 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations, religious congregations, and governmental agencies to apply. Organizations must: (1) be based in or predominantly serving the communities in southern Wake County (defined as Garner, Fuquay-Varina, Holly Springs, and Apex, (2) address the needs of disadvantaged people, and (3) meet the Foundation's non-discrimination policy. 

The Sparkplug Foundation funds start-up organizations and new projects of established organizations in music, education, and community organizing. Their particular focus is on "the development of democratic movements and communities, especially those that work on issues of local democracy, justice, and sustainable energy. 
To influence policy and serve as a catalyst, convener, and clearinghouse for afterschool programs through advocacy, professional development, and quality improvement. 

High quality afterschool programs accessible to all North Carolina children and youth helping them to succeed in and out of school. 
NC CAP | 919.781.6833 | Email | Website