The North Carolina Center for Afterschool Programs, in partnership with the Public School Forum of North Carolina, wants to hear from you. Please complete the brief survey below to help us identify and address the needs of afterschool, before school and summer programs statewide through a range of advocacy efforts. All programs that complete the survey by January 17th will be entered into a drawing to win a gift card for your program.
The Synergy Conference 2021 will convene virtually April 27th, 2021 to April 30th, 2021.
This year's conference is themed: 
The conference timeline can be viewed here. Please note that the Tuesday, April 27th and Wednesday, April 28th portion of the conference will consist of the 21st Century Community Learning Center Statewide Meetings only. For those registered attendees that are not 21st CCLC programs, the first live plenary of the Synergy Conference will begin at 10:00 am on Thursday, April 29th. It is our hope that you will join us virtually utilizing the platform, iCohere. 
The Requests for Proposals (RFPs) for workshop presenters and vendors are now open. Workshop strands include Arts & Literacy, Closing Gaps, College & Career Readiness, Organizational Capacity, Public/Private Partnerships, S.T.E.M, Social & Emotional Learning, and Youth Development. 
Descriptions for each conference strand can be viewed on the Request For Proposals.
Copies of each RFP, deadlines, and additional details can be accessed by visiting the 
Synergy Conference 2021 page. Proposals are due by January 31st, 2021.
Registration for the Synergy Conference 2021 is now open. Registration for this year's virtual conference is $75. To register, please click the button below.
Student participation that exceeds the national average and overwhelming parent satisfaction with afterschool programs make North Carolina a "Top 10 State for Afterschool", according to a household survey commissioned by the Afterschool Alliance. Nevertheless, unmet demand for programs - the percentage of North Carolina parents who say they would enroll their child in an afterschool program if one were available to them - is high, especially among low-income families who report cost as a significant barrier. Despite being in the Top 10, for every child in an afterschool program in North Carolina today, three more are waiting to get in.
America After 3 PM 2020 is based on survey responses from more than 30,000 American households, including 927 in-depth interviews in North Carolina. It was completed before the coronavirus pandemic struck. It finds that 12% of North Carolina students, 192,548 children, and youth in all, are enrolled in afterschool programs. But 666,625 North Carolina students are still without the afterschool programs parents say they need. "North Carolina is doing better than most and that's an important accomplishment that speaks to the state's strong commitment to children and youth," Afterschool Alliance Executive Director Jodi Grant said. "But much more work remains. America After 3 PM 2020 paints a picture of unmet need, and that is a problem we must fix. Every parent should have access to an affordable, quality afterschool program that will keep their child safe, supervised, and learning. Quality afterschool programs are essential to student success in school and life. If we want to emerge from this pandemic strong, we need to provide all our children and youth access to the important enrichment opportunities and resources afterschool programs provide. We're not doing that now." The Top 10 States for Afterschool in the new study are the District of Columbia, California, Florida, Alaska, Tennessee, North Carolina, Georgia, Missouri, Vermont, and South Carolina.

To learn more about America After 3 PM Report, click here.
To learn more about North Carolina After 3 PM, click here.
NC CAP is inviting individuals engaged in STEM to join the STEM Coalition! No matter your role in the STEM pipeline (K-12 Education, Out-of-School Time, Business, Industry, etc.), this is an open invitation. On January 28th, 2021 at 2 pm, NC CAP will host the winter convening to engage in rich discussion regarding access, diversity, equity, and inclusion within STEM pathways in North Carolina. During the winter convening, the STEMco will develop an action plan based on the SWOT analysis conducted in the fall convening. If you are interested in attending, please click the link below to register. 
To better assist program providers statewide with advocacy, NC CAP has established a Publications webpage. This webpage is a "one-stop-shop" to find various publications to support advocacy efforts, funding proposals, and much more!

To view the Publications webpage, click here.
NC CAP has two opportunities for youth to serve on panels.
To learn more about each opportunity, please read the information below.

Opportunity One:
For this year's Synergy Conference, NC CAP endeavors to amplify the voices of youth to discuss the value of out-of-school time programs in North Carolina, especially during a global pandemic. Youth panelists will discuss their experiences in afterschool, before school, and summer programs amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Panelists should be active or recently graduated participants of out-of-school time programs from across the state. Selected youth will be awarded a gift card for their contribution to the Synergy Conference 2021. For questions, please contact Sheneika Simmons at

Opportunity Two:
The Dudley Flood Center for Educational Equity and Opportunity is seeking youth to participate in the upcoming Diversity in STEM webinar. In this session, students will engage in a critical conversation on the importance of STEM engagement with an equity lens and discussing ways to breach the critical barriers that exist in K-12 STEM education. Youth panelists should be enrolled or recently enrolled in STEM courses in school. For questions, please contact Ashley Kazouh at

Ideal panelists for both of these opportunities are between the ages of five and twenty years old.
Join Million Girls Moonshot on January 7th, 2021 for an exciting start to the new year!

Afterschool programs and youth are invited to a virtual trip to the International Space Station to see and hear Expedition 64 astronauts Kate Rubins and Shannon Walker answer questions from youth around the country.

There are two opportunities to participate on January 7th, 2021:
(1) between 12:20 and 12:40 PM EST on January 7th, the astronauts will answer pre-recorded questions from aboard the International Space Station and (2) at a special afterschool-hours event, NASA will host a Watch Party at 5 PM EST to view the astronaut Q&A from earlier in the day and have scientists and engineers on hand to answer questions from students live!

To register for one or both events, click here.
For Spring 2021, all Early Childhood Education courses at Southeastern Community College will be offered online! Also, the first registered class will be free. All classes will be offered in 8 or 12-week formats. The following courses will be offered with start dates of January, February, and March:

EDU 119 (Credential Class)
EDU 131 Child Family & Community
EDU 144 Child Development I
EDU 145 Child Development II
EDU 146 Child Guidance
EDU 151 Creative Activities
EDU 153 Health, Safety, & Nutrition
EDU 163 Observation & Assessment
EDU 250 Teacher Licensure Prep
EDU 261 Early Childhood Admin I
EDU 262 Early Childhood Admin II
EDU 280 Language/Literacy Experiences
EDU 284 Early Childhood Capstone Practicum

For information on "First Class Free", admissions, etc. please visit the SCC Admissions page. For information on Early Childhood Education, please visit the SCC Early Childhood Education page. Please contact Emily Worley Russ via email at or by phone at (910) 788-6409 for additional questions.
"Educators, this is a great day for y'all." - President-Elect Joe Biden, November 7th, 2020

When President-Elect Joe Biden spoke to the nation on Saturday, November 7th, he specifically pointed to his commitment to the field of education, giving credit to his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, and her role as an educator. As of this time, Biden has appointed his education transition team that will begin setting the stage for the new administration and its policy priorities. The team comes in combination with a Biden platform which already includes a number of state education priorities, including some that would directly affect and support access to and quality for afterschool programs if they come to fruition, including:

  • Tripling support for Title I programs under ESEA: The Biden campaign notes a $23 billion funding gap between white and non-white districts as well as gaps between high-income and low-income communities across the United States. Title I programs are provided to schools based on their population of low-income students to help school improvement and student achievement. Afterschool programs are an allowable use and have an evidence base on moving the needle on indicators of student success. A number of districts and schools use some of these funds to support afterschool and summer programs, addressing needs such as transportation, staffing, and more. The platform mentions that Title I funds should allow communities to direct funding resources to meet the specific local needs of their area.
  • Increased support for Community Schools: This section begins, "When parents are working hard to make ends meet, it can be difficult, if not impossible, for them to navigate various family needs like afterschool care." It goes on to envision increased access to community schools serving as community hubs with broad stakeholder input and wraparound services for 300,000 additional students.

President-Elect Biden also has a "caregiving" platform focusing on the needs of parents trying to balance their jobs and their families, especially in the light of the COVID crisis, but extending before the pandemic as well. This plan includes:

  • Improved access to afterschool, weekend, and summer care for school-aged children: Importantly, this section mentions "expanding the 21st Century Community Learning Centers that provide critical enrichment to school-age children." In addition, this section of the caregiving platform loops back to other listed priorities and initiatives and includes a combination of increased investments in the child care and development block grant (CCDBG), the child care tax credit mentioned below for youth birth to age 13, and investments in community schools.
  • Increased Child Care Tax Credits: The plan outlines a refundable credit of up to $8,000 for one child and $16,000 for multiple children which would pay for as much as half (depending on income levels) of a family's child care expenditures for low-income and middle-class families making $400,000 and under.
  • Other areas: Early childhood, universal pre-kindergarten, military family care, and family care for college students, child care staff compensation, benefits, professional development, and infrastructure.

Vice President Harris also comes to her historic position with a history of supporting certain education goals in her role as a U.S. Senator. Last year, Harris introduced the Family Friendly Schools Act. The Act had a number of education-related components but most importantly proposed to "authorize an additional $1.3 billion for 21st Century Community Learning Centers to allow up to 1.8 million more children to access summer programming."

It is encouraging to see both Biden and Harris explicitly recognizing the importance of increased funding for 21st Century Community Learning Centers. We, as an afterschool community, hope 21st Century Community Learning Centers continue to be at the forefront of policy when ideas become actions in this administration. For some general thoughts on where an education policy agenda might land given the election results, New America offered a good analysis based o the likely possibility that Congress continues to be split between a Democratically-controlled House and Republican Senate.

In our role as supporters of afterschool and positive youth development, we can remember that afterschool programs enjoy widespread bipartisan support that can cross party divides. Continuing to raise our voices as to what the field needs to serve youth as the administration and new Congress get their footing is crucial to realizing the changes we need to move the field forward, especially at this critical time. If we succeed, our children will have the support they need to have access to enriching, engaging, and empowering learning across times and settings, and our communities and country will be ready to prepare for the workforce of tomorrow while supporting working families today.

Excerpt from:
National Youth Leadership Council is offering a professional development opportunity, "Climbing the Ladder of Youth-Adult Partnerships" on January 12th, 2021 at 12 pm. This session introduces Roger Hart's Ladder of Participation as an evaluation and planning tool for youth workers and educators.
The Ladder of Participation details levels of youth involvement in classrooms and youth programs, from the lowest level of "manipulation" to the highest level of "youth-initiated; shared decisions with adults". This opportunity will cost $25 for Premium Members. To learn more about this opportunity, click here.
Girls in Science: Future Focus is an afterschool program focused on engaging middle school girls in exploring careers in science with like-minded peers. Each week, girls will meet a woman in science or other STEM professions, hear her story, and engage in fun, hands-on activities related to her career.

Running virtually January through March 2021, Future Focus is an intensive, ten-week program for 6th and 7th-grade girls and non-binary students who have shown ability and a strong interest in the sciences, especially the natural sciences. The Girls in Science mission is to engage girls in hands-on science experiences, connect participants to inspiring women in science, and to create a safe atmosphere where diversity can be celebrated and students' natural curiosity can flourish.

Fee: $150 per child: full or partial need-based scholarships are available and families requesting scholarships are highly encouraged to apply.

The program will run for ten weeks: January 21st, 2021 - March 25th, 2021 on Thursdays from 4 PM to 5:30 PM virtually.

Applications are now open! Submit all components of your application by 11:59 PM on January 11th, 2021 to be considered for the program. Applications for the Spring 2021 virtual programs are open across North Carolina. To apply, complete the three-part online application: (1) Student Application;

Please note that this is a competitive program. If you have questions about the application process, please contact Erin Apple at To learn more, click here.
The North Carolina Center for Afterschool Programs (NC CAP) is excited to announce a partnership with Afterschool Coaching for Reflective Educators in STEM (ACRES). Over 400 educators from across the country have participated in their workshops. The ACRES Project brings together educators in live and interactive virtual workshops. They create small communities of reflection, so participants have a safe and brave space to learn new skills. ACRES offers participants contact hours, certificates of attendance, and many ready-to-use resources. North Carolina out-of-school time educators that participate can earn a $100 stipend!

Asking Purposeful Questions
Questions are the beginning of a path towards discovery, imagination, and STEM exploration. How can the providers help youth expand and clarify their thinking and develop their reasoning through the questions that they ask them? This module is designed for educators who have some experience facilitating STEM learning and would like to grow in their practice within a supportive group of other educators. Please note that the expectation is that attendees will be present at all three sessions and an active member of this coaching cohort. $100 stipends are available upon the completion of the professional development.

The upcoming sessions for the Asking Purposeful Questions PD are
February 2nd, February 16th, and March 2nd, 2021 from 12 pm to 2 pm.
When registering, use the code: NC02PQ to join the North Carolina cohorts.

Ready, Set, STEM & Asking Purposeful Questions
Are you ready to bring meaningful STEM learning into your program? This module offers educators who are NEW to facilitating STEM, the opportunity to build supportive relationships with other educators while exploring the principles of STEM learning. This module combines an introduction to STEM facilitation with the skill of Asking Purposeful Questions. Please note that the expectation is that attendees will be present at all three sessions and an active member of this coaching cohort. $100 stipends are available upon the completion of the professional development.

The upcoming sessions for the Ready, Set, STEM & Asking Purposeful Questions are
February 9th, February 23rd, and March 9th, 2021 from 12 pm to 2 pm.
When registering use the code: NC03SR to join the North Carolina cohort.
As we approach the new year, this is a great time to begin thinking about how to incorporate youth entrepreneurship into your afterschool program. To help, the Mizzen team is proud to spotlight exciting activities in Mizzen from VentureLab that foster an entrepreneurial mindset and let your students' creativity soar.

VentureLab is a nonprofit that works with educators and leads programs that bring world-class entrepreneurship learning to kids around the world. The Mizzen team reached out to Scott Mann, VentureLab's director of education and training, to ask about the activities that he likes most and why an entrepreneurial mindset and skillset are so important for kids - especially now.

"We think everyone is an entrepreneur. Everyone has the capacity to model and apply a growth mindset"
Scott Mann, Director of Education and Training, VentureLab

For younger students, in grades 1 to 2, Scott recommends Planet Mooz Diner. Planet Mooz challenges students to create a diner on a strange, newly discovered planet. In the midst of this, they strengthen teamwork and communication skills to learn and to think entrepreneurially. For students, in grades 6 through 12, Scott loves Wacky Inventions, an activity that's all about jumpstarting creativity and generating new ideas and adaptations.

To read more information about Scott Mann's recommendation of activities to foster an entrepreneurial mindset in youth, click here.

The Mizzen Minute is a blog created for afterschool, summer, and out-of-school time professionals to bring you tools, tips, resources, and stories to support their work. The Mizzen Minute will provide a first look at Pro Tips, special guest playlists, and new content in Mizzen from organizations like NASA; Jazz at Lincoln Center; Foundations, Inc.; California Academy of Sciences; STEM Next Opportunity Fund; and PBS Student Reporting Labs.
Social and emotional learning has long been shown to be beneficial for young people, and out-of-school time programs are a prime example of where learning and development take place. A recent report by the RAND Corporation dives in even further.

Early Lessons from Schools and Out-of-School Time Programs Implementing Social and Emotional Learning offers early lessons for schools and out-of-school time programs on how to carry out high-quality social and emotional learning instruction. The report presents findings from the first two years of the Partnerships for Social and Emotional Learning initiative (PSELI), a multi-year initiative funded by The Wallace Foundation that is exploring whether and how children can benefit from partnerships between schools and OST programs focused on building social and emotional skills. The report, which focused on the six PSELI communities, is designed to be useful to those carrying out SEL instruction in schools, out-of-school time programs, or both.

According to the report, SEL has been a growing priority among educators and education policymakers. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, that priority continues to increase, especially when it comes to addressing the social and emotional well-being of students who experienced anxiety, trauma, and loss of connections with peers and adults. Benefits from the implementation of SEL practices abound, from the improvement of student behavior and academic achievement to long-term educational success, and more.

The report stresses that although SEL has become nearly ubiquitous in schools and OST programs across the United States in recent years, there is insufficient research on how to implement it effectively. However, the National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development identifies the following three essential elements for supporting SEL: (1) establishing safe, relationship-based, and equitable learning environments; (2) teaching and practicing social, emotional, and cognitive skills; and (3) embedding social, emotional, and cognitive skills into academic learning.

The first PSELI report goes on to focus on the lived experiences of the communities studied as they implemented new SEL practices and programs. To view the report, click here.
The Afterschool Alliance announced that Emily Neff, Director of Youth Development at W.A.M.Y. Community Action, Inc., has been selected to serve as an Afterschool Ambassador for the Afterschool Alliance in 2020-2021. She is just one of eighteen leaders in the United States selected for the honor this year. Afterschool Ambassadors continue their work at local afterschool programs while serving the one-year Afterschool Ambassador term, organizing public events, communicating with policymakers and community leaders, and in other ways increasing awareness and support for afterschool and summer learning programs.

"We are so pleased that Emily Neff will serve as an Afterschool Ambassador this year," said Afterschool Alliance Executive Director Jodi Grant. "With the pandemic increasing the need for quality afterschool and summer learning programs so dramatically, we need strong advocates who have their fingers on the pulse of their communities. Emily will do a terrific job mobilizing the community and business leaders, parents, policymakers, educators, and others to send the message that afterschool programs to our recovery from COVID-19. Afterschool programs keep kids safe, inspire them to learn, and give families peace of mind that their children are safe, learning, and constructively engaged while parents are at work or looking for jobs."

"I am very excited to work with the Afterschool Alliance to increase support for afterschool programs," said Neff. "It's a tremendously important issue in my community and state. In normal times, afterschool programs help young people succeed in school and in life and support working families throughout North Carolina. These days, we need to help children with academic, social, and emotional needs created by the pandemic and support efforts to rebuild our economy. That makes these programs even more essential. I look forward to helping build support for the out-of-school time opportunities all students need, now and over time."

WAMY has operated an afterschool program located in Avery County for over twenty years. The program focuses on serving at-risk youth from Kindergarten through Elementary School with tutoring, mentoring, social enrichment, and health and nutrition. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the program is currently serving over 150 students. Usually, without restrictions, the program serves over 250 each year.

To view the current Afterschool Ambassadors, click here.
The AIAA Foundation believes that one of the most significant means to inspire and advance the future of Aerospace is to fund grants to meet the unmet and unfunded educational needs of students. Each school year, AIAA awards grants of up to $500 to worthy projects that significantly influence student learning. Applications are due on January 15th, 2021.

The Afterschool Advantage (ASA) program is IGT's flagship community initiative, devoted to providing young people with access to technology in a safe, nurturing afterschool environment while promoting opportunities in digital learning centers in communities where IGT operates. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

The Coca-Cola Foundation provides grants to a wide variety of 501(c)(3) organizations that focus on children, education, and/or health. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

The New York Life Foundation is seeking applications from afterschool, summer, or expanded learning programs serving underserved middle-school youth. Grant funds may be used for technical assistance, enhancing direct service activities, and/or program expansion. Applications are due February 1st, 2021.

The Student STEM Enrichment Program (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 Burrough's Wellcome Fund home state of North Carolina. Applications are due on April 15th, 2021.

Vernier Software and Technology is committed to helping educators, from any subject area, develop the next generation of engineers and scientists. This $5,500 award will be presented to one educator that is innovatively using Vernier products to introduce engineering concepts or practices to students. Applications are due on February 15th, 2021.

The Department of Labor is providing grants to organizations providing pre-apprenticeship services that support education, occupational skills training, and employment services to at-risk youth, ages 16 to 24, while performing meaningful work and service to their communities. Applications are due February 2nd, 2021.
North Carolina Center for Afterschool Programs |