From Hurricane Katrina to the Joplin, Mo., tornado, the past dozen years have given education researchers unwelcome opportunities to study schools in the wake of disaster.

Lessons learned from studying those disasters may help Texas and Louisiana educators pick up the pieces in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey and, potentially, Hurricane Irma as Florida braced for that storm late last week.

Above all, this body of research finds that the full effects of disasters on children are far deeper and longer-lasting than expected.

While floodwaters may recede in a matter of days or weeks, students in communities hit by natural disaster often face disruptions for months or years, including missed school, living in a shelter or a home under repair, and experiencing family financial and emotional stress.

"It is not only the event itself, but what comes after the event that causes problems for children," said David Schonfeld, a developmental-behavioral pediatrician and the director of the National Center for School Crisis and Bereavement at the University of Southern California.

"There's a tendency to say, 'Look, the kids are better'-meaning they aren't crying anymore and they can sit in a classroom and have a conversation-and they say, 'Well, kids like structure, let's get them back to normal.' But they still may not be functioning at full level," Schonfeld said.

One large-scale analysis of studies of children after natural and manmade disasters found they often reported symptoms of trauma-such as intrusive memories and feelings of detachment-that adults did not observe. " PTS [post-traumatic stress] may manifest largely without parents' awareness," found the study by researchers at Boston and Temple universities. "Observable symptoms of PTS may occur only in situations outside of the home, e.g., at school."

After Hurricane Katrina, a group of researchers led by Joy Osofsky of the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center also found that, "children's worries about school were significantly associated with long-term distress." Trauma not only sometimes triggered test anxiety, but interventions that addressed test anxiety improved students' post-traumatic-stress symptoms, too.

You can read the full article 
here .



On September 13 the House of Representatives   voted 228 to 188 in support of the DeLauro/Lowey amendment (#161) to restore $100 million of the 21st Century Community Learning Center (21st CCLC) afterschool and summer learning funding that had been cut in the Make America Secure and Prosperous Appropriations Act (H.R. 3354). The vote sends a strong signal of bipartisan support for afterschool and summer learning programs as the appropriations process continues into the fall.

The amendment vote was the latest step in the   long appropriations and spending process that began last spring when the president's budget proposed elimination of Community Learning Centers afterschool funding. The inclusion of the amendment stands as a testament to the hard work of our field - advocates and allied organizations have delivered more than 78,600 calls and emails to Congress in support of federal funding for local afterschool and summer learning programs since March. Read Afterschool Alliance Executive Director Jodi Grant's statement  here.

The House passed H.R. 3354 today after completing debate on amendments. Because a continuing resolution was signed into law earlier this month, the federal government is funded temporarily until December 8, giving the House and Senate several months to reconcile the differences between their very different versions of FY2018 spending bills.

While Amendment sponsors originally sought to restore the full $192 million cut that was made in the House education spending bill, the House Rules Committee would not allow an amendment that funded the program above the ESSA authorized amount of $1.1 billion. As a result the amendment restores $100 million of the cut but is still below the current funded level of $1.192 billion. 

For Community Learning Centers, the Senate will enter those negotiations with $1.192 billion for afterschool, while the House will now start with $1.1 billion. Leadership in both chambers will have to come up with a larger spending agreement, as well as figure out final program funding levels for initiatives like Community Learning Centers before the December 8 deadline.

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This past summer, 27 educators from across the region, including Alexander, Burke, Caldwell, Catawba, and Lincoln counties spent the week training to become GEMS coaches and create GEMS Clubs. GEMS (Girls Excelling in Math and Science) clubs will enhance self-efficacy and skills in our female students in elementary and middle schools. These school clubs will focus on females in STEM careers (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) and STEM inquiry-based activities.

This project was developed and implemented by STEM West, the educational arm of Workforce Development of the Western Piedmont Council of Governments and funded by the Duke Energy Foundation and the Appalachian Rural Commission. STEM West partnered with the NC Center of Engineering Technologies and The Science House of NCSU to provide training. Dr. Laura Bottomley of Women in Engineering from NCSU kicked off the training Monday. She shared research about females in STEM careers and why these clubs are important to our community. On Tuesday, GEMS coaches from Charlotte Mecklenburg, Dee Chinault and Corry Broxterman, shared practical experience they learned from their club of five years.  Wednesday, Gina Barrier of The Science House/NCSU, trained the coaches in data-collection devices and Makey, Makeys. The GEMS coaches have access to the free equipment loan program to use in their GEMS clubs.

These 27 coaches are starting their new GEMS clubs this fall. Using grant funds, provided by the Duke Energy Foundation and the Appalachian Rural Commission, to purchase materials or fund club field trips, the coaches will provide experiences for approximately 30 girls in each club to build their confidence and provide opportunities in the STEM fields.
Girls Who Code, a national nonprofit working to close the gender gap in tech, wants to work with you! Through their afterschool  Clubs Program , 6th-12th grade girls use computer science to impact their community and join a sisterhood of supportive peers and role models. Clubs can be hosted by many kinds of youth-serving organizations, including schools, community centers, faith-based organizations, universities, libraries, and other nonprofits.

All materials from Grils Who Code are provided for free, including: 
  • 120+ hours of curriculum, activity sets, and an online learning management system
  • Recruitment materials, including student, and volunteer flyers
  • Program management support, including field trip and grant opportunities 
  • Facilitator trainings, resources, and real-time support 
To start a club, you need: 
  1. An adult who will be responsible for communicating with Grils Who Code are leading students through the Girls Who Code curriculum for 1-2 hours each week. 
  2.  Space to regularly host the club. 
  3. Computers and internet for each club member if possible. Tablets and phones won't work. 
For more information, check out these other resources: 
Bring computer science to girls in your afterschool program with a Girls Who Code Club: Start a club today! 
Are you concerned for children in your community who are missing out on free, nutritious summer meals? 

If so, take the first step to a solution and register now for the fourth annual NC SummerPalooza! Summit, hosted by the NC Department of Public Instruction. Registration is free and lunch will be provided. 

SummerPalooza! Summits provide an opportunity to learn more about the summer nutrition programs in North Carolina, identify ways to reduce barriers, and pinpoint areas where summer meals are needed to reduce food security. They celebrate the successes of summer nutrition for our children in 2017, celebrate summer meals champions, and provide a jumpstart for 2018. 

Some dates for the 2017 SummerPalooza! Summits have changed. The tickets you've signed up for are still good, but the Greensboro Summer Palooza! date has changed from Wednesday, November 8th, 2017 to Monday, November 6th, 2017. This year's series of planning meetings on summer meals will be held from 9:30AM to 4:00PM in four cities across the state in November: 

  • GREENSBORO [November 6 at the Deep River Event Center]
  • ASHEVILLE [November 7 at Four Points Sheraton]
  • WILLIAMSTON [November 14 at the Bob Martin Eastern Agricultural Center]
  • NEW BERN [November 16 at the New Bern Convention Center]
If you need to make a change to which summit you plan to attend, tickets are still free and spots are still available for each event.  To learn more about SummerPalooza! Summits or to register, click here

The 18th annual Lights On Afterschool is three weeks away. On October 26, 2017, America will light up for the nation's biggest event celebrating afterschool programs and their important role in the lives of children, families and communities.  Lights On Afterschool is an excellent opportunity to show policymakers and elected officials, as well as parents and community members, what takes place in your program when the lights are on - and conversely what learning opportunities students miss out on in communities where the lights are off afterschool.
Here are a few ways to get the word out in support of afterschool programs at your Lights On Afterschool event:
  • Invite local, state, and federal elected officials to your Lights On Afterschool event to meet students and parents, or to speak about their role in policymaking. Use this  sample invitation to reach out to your representatives.
  • Engage students in civic education by roleplaying and acting out meetings with elected officials and explain the role of advocacy in policy decision-making. 
  • Create a fact sheet on your program that explains where your funding comes from and points parents to more information about how they can support afterschool at the local, state, and federal levels. (For inspiration or to share them at your event, check out these factsheets on  21st Century Community Learning Centers,   STEM in afterschool, or  about the many ways afterschool works!)
  • Have petitions or postcards out and available  for parents and community members to make their voices heard in support of afterschool programs. You can also have tablets or laptops set up to allow online action alerts for parents wanting to send an email or tweet to elected officials.
  • Use Facebook live or other social media tools to stream the event so policymakers and the public and see the amazing activities that happen afterschool. Be sure to tag your representatives - you can look up their handles  here!
Sometimes reaching out to elected officials can be intimating, but if you don't promote the good work you are doing and share your success, it is unlikely others will do it for you. Don't forget to check out the  templates, tools, and resources  that have been developed to make the process a little easier - and always feel free to reach out to us if we can help!   Let's make the 2017 Lights On Afterschool the best!
Playworks NC helps build tomorrow's citizens through safe, fun, and healthy play at school every day. 

Playworks NC  partners with elementary schools across North Carolina by providing a  recess coach  who teams up with the school staff to create and model a healthy recess environment. 
Playworks recess programs offer an essential opportunity for children to explore their imaginations, to connect with other kids, and to stretch and grow physically, emotionally and socially.
Playworks also provides professional development training and on-going support to school staff, paraprofessionals, and afterschool care providers to run and maintain safe and healthy play in their schools and programs. Through hands-on professional development workshops and collaborative consultation, PlayworksPro services teach schools and youth organizations to use practical skills that tap into transformative play to change lives.

To learn more, email Janelle Averill, Account Manager, at to learn more about how Playworks can help your school or youth organization.

One of the greatest benefits of quality afterschool programs is their ability to keep kids safe and engaged in learning after the end of the school day. That work isn't going unnoticed: recently, we've seen a spate of police chiefs lending their voices to support afterschool and the positive impact it has on their communities.

" Afterschool programs work," Chief Russel B. Laine of the Fox Lake Police Department in Illinois wrote to the Northwest Herald.

Of a recent trip to the Illinois state capitol, Chief Laine recalled, "We asked that policymakers settle our state budget problems in a way that shores up some of Illinois' most important weapons for fighting crime: proven investments in the well-being of children and youth." Chief Laine emphasized that afterschool programs "help keep troubled youth off the streets during 'prime time for juvenile crime,' and help increase graduation rates.

In " Afterschool funding is a smart public investment," Paul Williams, Chief of the Springfield Police Department in Missouri, discusses the hours between 2 and 6 p.m., often quoted as "prime time for juvenile crime," can be prime time for a different activity - "preparing kids to make the right choices and lead productive lives."

Quality afterschool programs, with their access to recreation, community service, arts and music, and academic assistance, are the key to filling those hours with new opportunities, especially for youth in need. Chief Williams reminds Missourians that 25 percent of kids in the state are "responsible for taking care of themselves after school," and only "only one in three families who want their kids to participate in after-school activities have access to a local program."

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Excerpt from: 


As part of their commitment to high-quality programs, MeckEd offers professional development opportunities to their partners. Their 2017-2018 Professional Development Series will be held from 9am - 11am at Grier Heights Community Center in Charlotte, NC on:

October 11, 2017
WRANGLING CATS: Engaging & Retaining Your Volunteer Base

January 17, 2018
GOT PARENTS: Engaging CareTakers Beyond The Car Pool

March 14, 2018
EXPANDING YOUR SANDBOX: Collaboration For Organizational Success

For additional details or to register to attend their professional development series, click here.


The Dudley T. Doughtery Foundation supports programs in arts, community, education, environment, healthcare and peace. Recent awards include music lessons for people with disabilities, childrens theater, learning center, writing education, afterschool and summer activities, literacy programs, arts education, and services for at-risk children and youth. 

In 2010, America's Promise, along with its campaign co-conveners, set the national goal of a 90 percent graduation rate by 2020 and created the GradNation campaign to mobilize efforts towards the goal. With a national graduation rate of 83.2 percent in 2015, progress has been made and a continued urgent commitment is necessary to accelerate progress towards 90 percent. The GradNation Acceleration Grant is intended to support existing state- and community-level efforts that are poised to support even more young people. With generous support from AT&T, America's Promise will invest in two states and three communities to support more young people toward the critical milestone of high school graduation. 

The Max and Victoria Dreyfus Foundation awards grants to organizations for whom a small amount of money can make a big difference. The Foundation welcomes requests from museums, cultural and performing arts programs; schools, hospitals, educational and skills training programs, programs for youth, seniors and the handicapped; environmental and wildlife protection activitiesl and other community-based organizations and their programs. 
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. 
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