MARCH 2022
The Synergy Conference 2022 is scheduled to convene utilizing a hybrid model with in-person and virtual attendance options from April 20-22, 2022. The in-person conference will be hosted at the Koury Convention Center in Greensboro, NC. The in-person conference timeline can be viewed here.
Please note that the Wednesday portion of the conference will consist of the 21st Century Community Learning Center Statewide Meeting only. For those registered attendees that are not a current 21st CCLC program, check-in for the Synergy Conference will begin at 8:00 am on Thursday, April 21, 2022. The virtual portion of the conference will go live on Wednesday, April 20, 2022.

Registration for the Synergy Conference 2022 is open. Registration for in-person attendance is $225 until March 9th. After March 9th, the registration cost for in-person attendance will increase to $250. Registration for virtual attendance is $50 until March 9th. After March 9th, the registration cost for virtual attendance will increase to $75.

All in-person attendees will have access to the virtual aspects of the conference. All live in-person plenaries will be recorded and available for virtual conference attendees.

Please note that ALL in-person conference attendees must attest to being fully vaccinated or to have received a negative Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test result for COVID-19 within 72 hours of conference attendance. Additionally, ALL in-person conference attendees will be required to wear a mask throughout the duration of the conference with the exception of live plenaries where a meal is served.

The Synergy Conference 2022 has a hotel block at the Sheraton Greensboro at Four Seasons for the discounted rate of $149 per night. Hotel reservations can be made here. Hotel reservations must be made by 5 pm on Friday, April 1, 2022, to obtain the discounted rate. Hotel reservations should be made as soon as possible to secure your room.

To register for the Synergy Conference 2022, please click the button below.

We hope to see you in Greensboro!
On February 3, 2022, the NC State Board of Education approved the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NC DPI) to launch the Nita M. Lowey 21st Century Community Learning Centers (CCLC) Cohort 16 Competition for the 2022-2023 school year for any Public School Unit (PSU) or Non-PSU organizations [NPO (Non-Profit Organization), CBO (Community Based Organization), FBO (Faith-Based Organization), For-Profit, IHE (Institutions of Higher Education, City/Local Gov].

Authorized under Title IV, Part B, of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015, the purpose of Nita M. Lowey 21st CCLC Programs is to provide federal funds to establish or expand community learning centers that operate during out-of-school hours providing three specific services: intentional academic support, quality enrichment experiences, and family engagement opportunities.

The competitive grant opportunity will be processed through the CCIP system. Grant amounts will range from $50,000 to $400,000 depending on (1) needs identified in the community and schools; (2) scope of the program; (3) proposed number of students served; and (4) program design. Depending on funding availability, grant awards may continue for up to three years (through Summer 2025).

The Cohort 16 Request for Proposals (RFP) document is posted on the NCDPI website: NCDPI 21st CCLC webpage. Additionally, NCDPI will host two technical assistance webinars to support potential grantees:

Webinar 1: Overview of the RFP and How to Apply
March 15, 2022 from 10am-12pm
To join, click here.

Webinar 2: Application Guidance and Rubric Overview
March 16, 2022 from 10am-12pm
To join, click here.

**Both technical assistance webinars will be recorded and posted to the 21st CCLC NCDPI webpage.**

There will also be a virtual training webinar to teach new users how to utilize the web-based grants management system, the North Carolina Comprehensive Continuous Improvement Plan (CCIP) to support potential grantees:

Cohort 16 CCIP Introduction and Training
March 2, 2022 from 10am-12pm
To join, click here.

**The CCIP virtual training webinar will be recorded and posted to the 21st CCLC NCDPI webpage**

Applications are due May 4, 2022.
To learn more, click here.

For questions regarding the 21st CCLC FY22 Competitive Summer Mini-Grant Program, please contact Susan Brigman at
The NC Center for Afterschool Programs is seeking a full-time STEM Coordinator to support the programmatic and policy efforts of the organization, specifically within the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) landscape. The STEM Coordinator will work with the NC CAP Director, Program Manager, and key partners to develop, lead, coordinate and drive the NC Network's STEM initiatives. This person will support the design and delivery of professional development opportunities, advocacy, and shaping of policy that advances out-of-school time learning and brings together state and national afterschool stakeholders.

Primary Job Responsibilities: 

  • Design and implement high-quality STEM lessons aligned with the NC Standard Study Course.
  • Support coordination of NC CAP programs and events, including the annual Synergy. Conference, STEM Coalition Convenings, STEMinar Series, STEM Lessons, STEM PD, STEM Opportunity Spotlight, STEM Intensives, and Advisory Board Meetings.
  • Research and compile information related to STEM education in NC and nationally.
  • Collaborate with and increase the engagement of STEM partners across NC.
  • Film and produce high-quality STEM-based webinars.
  • Coordinate STEM-based professional development workshops with NC CAP partners and stakeholders.
  • Identify and map statewide STEM assets.
  • Disseminate and market NC CAP's STEM content via the website, social media, and e-newsletter.
  • Identify resources, strategies, and content aligned to STEM education in NC.
  • Support the overall coordination of the STEM Hub and its initiatives.
  • Attend state and national convenings.
  • Increase NC CAP's visibility, and represent NC CAP as needed.
  • Other duties as assigned by the NC CAP Director.

To learn more about this position and for details on applying, please click here
The NC Center for Afterschool Programs is accepting nominations for the 2022 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 deadline to submit nominations is March 14, 2022. Selected award recipients will be recognized during the in-person award ceremony at the Synergy Conference 2022 on April 21st, 2022.

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 ten (10) 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 three (3) and ten (10) 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.
Every February, Black History Month is commemorated across the U.S., honoring the legacy and impact of Black Americans who have inspired individuals and communities to follow in their footsteps.

However, the dedication of Black health leaders and educators extends well beyond February, and Healthier Generation celebrates health champions who are working together to advance whole-child health all year round.

In celebration of this year's theme of Black Health and Wellness, Sheronda Witter Fleming, Ph.D., Director, NC Center for Afterschool Programs, David P. "Anderson," MSSE, General Manager, Think Together - Southeast Los Angeles County and Ashlyn Pinkins, MPH, Surveillance Epidemiologist, Lousiana Department of Health, share the role models who have had an impact on them, the lessons they have learned, and what gives them hope as they work towards a healthier future.

To continue reading, click here.
The National AfterSchool Association (NAA), the voice of the afterschool profession and lead organization for the advancement of afterschool professionals and leaders has selected Sheneika Simmons, Program Manager, NC Center for Afterschool Programs, as one of NAA's 2022 Next Generation of Afterschool Leaders.

In selecting its 2022 Next Generation of Afterschool Leaders, the National AfterSchool Association sought to highlight emerging young leaders who are active in the broader afterschool community, demonstrate contributions that have started to influence beyond individual programs to entire organizations and communities, are actively engaged in efforts to elevate the afterschool field, have a proven passion for the development of themselves and others, and demonstrate persistence in their work to grow as leaders. Honorees will be profiled in the Spring 2022 issue of NAA's AfterSchool Today magazine.

View a digital edition of the magazine here after March 15, 2022.
In late January, U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona gave a major address at the Department of Education, laying out his vision for improving the American education system. He largely focused on continued recovery through the pandemic and the need for broader investments in education to ensure that all students have the supports they need to succeed and thrive. Among the priorities discussed, the Secretary set a goal for increased access to out-of-school time activities for older youth. He also emphasized the importance of American Rescue Plan funds being used for effective strategies like "afterschool and summer programs to meet the needs of our students and the demands of our economy."

The wide-ranging speech included strategies the Department, schools, colleges, and universities must take to help students, educators, and school communities - from preschool through postsecondary education - continue to recover from the pandemic and address inequities in the education system.

Regarding engaging older youth in out-of-school activities, the Secretary stated the following: "I'd like to see every high school student in America participate in at least one extracurricular activity in their school - whether that is being a part of an arts or theater program, athletics, or an afterschool club. All kids must be seen, all kids must be connected, and all kids must hear their names in school every day."

There are currently close to 2 million high school students who are involved in afterschool and 4.6 million who would participate in a program if one were available to them. Programs that work with older youth help them stay on track for success, help equip young people with skills and competencies for life and work, provide an opportunity for them to find their passion, and prepare students for college and the future workforce.

To continue reading, click here.

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 BWF's home state of North Carolina. These awards provide up to $60,000 per year for three years. Since the program's inception in 1996, BWF has awarded 201 grants totaling $33.7 million to 103 organizations that reach more than 43,000 North Carolina students.

SSEP awards support career-oriented and practical programs intended to provide creative science enrichment activities for students in K-12 education who have shown exceptional skills and interest in STEM, as well as those perceived to have high potential. Afterschool programs are demonstrating value in helping to close opportunity gaps for underserved and underrepresented students. These programs must enable students to participate in hands-on STEM activities and pursue inquiry-based avenues of exploration - an educational approach that BWF believes to be an effective way to increase students' understanding and appreciation of the scientific process. To increase academic achievement, programs must provide a well-defined structure that aligns with the school-day curriculum, well-trained staff, and student follow-up.

To learn more, click here.
Applications are due April 21, 2022.
The NC Center for Afterschool Programs has released two new STEM lessons: Rocket Science and Cabbage Chemistry. All lessons include family engagement strategies, Spanish translations, differentiation tools, and background knowledge.

The Rocket Science lesson asks students to engineer and launch rocket prototypes, record and collect data, and identify factors that must be considered when engineering rockets. To view the lesson, click here.

The Cabbage Chemistry lesson allows students to compare and contrast pH indicators, collect and analyze data, and test the pH in various household items.

To access the STEM lessons, click here.

Please subscribe to the NC CAP Youtube Channel for more videos and resources!
Rootle's Block Party LIVE! At Home
March 19th, 2022 at 9 am.
Rootle's Block Party LIVE! At Home is BACK! - Get ready to join Miss E, Miss Shana, and Read-a-roo as they discover what it means to be a caring neighbor. Join in some fun hands-on activities, and guest star appearances including friends from the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Tar River Region, Burkey County & Cumberland County 4-H, Mother's Finest Family Farms, North Carolina families, and more. Watch this super special edition of Block Party LIVE! At Home on PBS NC and Rootle on Saturday, March 19th at 9 am.

Rootle Roadstar Tour
Saturday, March 26th, 2022 - 11 am - 2 pm
Location: Transylvania County Library - 212 South Gaston St., Brevard, NC
The Rootle Roadster is on tour! Join them at one of their stops as they PLAY, LEARN, and SHARE free hands-on activities, games, demonstrations with community partners, PBS Kids education resources, and more. Rootle's Roadster Tour offers learning experiences through purposeful play that families can take home with them.
To learn more, click here.
The stakes are high! As afterschool professionals and leaders, you are equipping yourself or others to prepare young people for a world we can only imagine. Come share your ideas and explore innovative and proven practices. Challenge yourself to explore new perspectives, make key connections, and build lasting relationships that will strengthen the afterschool field and profession. Are you ready to go all-in?
To register, click here.

To learn more about the 2022 NAA Convention, click here.
48-member parent advisory commission elevates parent voice in K-12 education

Superintendent Catherine Truitt is launching a new Parent Advisory Commission to elevate the voice of parents in students' education. The 48-member advisory board will include six parents or guardians from each of the state's eight educational regions to ensure diverse geographical participation with the application available for parents today. Members will share their aspirations for public education in the state and discuss challenges it faces, helping to put together recommendations for elected officials and policymakers in North Carolina while providing direct feedback to Truitt.

The commission's membership will include parents with students enrolled in traditional public schools, charter schools, as well as homeschool and private schools to ensure broad representation of all school choice options across the state and include diverse feedback. This advisory board of parents will advise, inform, and engage leaders and public policy officials on various aspects of education and student well-being.

Once convened, members will work collaboratively with other parents in their communities to facilitate engagement and ensure that many parent voices are heard. The composition of the commission includes:
  • 2 traditional public schools
  • 1 charter public school
  • 1 homeschool
  • 1 private school
  • 1 at-large public school member from the largest county in each region, including Buncombe, Catawba, Cumberland, Guilford, Mecklenburg, New Hanover, Pitt, Wake

"This Commission is focused on giving parents a seat at the table and strengthening parent and family involvement in education," Truitt said. "Parents play an integral role in encouraging their child to achieve excellence in the classroom."

With applications available beginning today, parents from across the state can apply through March 31. Members will serve two-year terms, with the full commission aiming to convene quarterly beginning this summer. The full commission will be composed of regional sub-groups, which will hold monthly meetings conducted both in-person and virtually to accommodate parents' schedules.

"Data shows us that students with parents who are involved in their education are more likely to achieve academic success and have a more positive attitude towards learning," Truitt said. "This commission is an important way we can create better outcomes for students, as we are hearing from parents about what's working and what we can do better. We need to engage families in the district and policy-level decisions, and this commission helps that work get underway."

The application can be found on the Department of Public Instructions website or by clicking here.
NC CAP has partnered with Afterschool Coaching for Reflective Educators in STEM (ACRES) to provide FREE professional development opportunities to out-of-school-time professionals statewide. The ACRES Project supports out-of-school providers in rural settings. Each participant is expected to participate in three live sessions for each cohort is an active member. Stipends are offered to participants who complete pre-and-post surveys.

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.

Session Dates
April 27, 2022 - 10 am to 12 pm EST
May 11, 2022 - 10 am to 12 pm EST
May 25, 2022 - 10 am to 12 pm EST

To register, click here.
Cohort Code: AC116SR
To learn more about this opportunity, click here.
The North Carolina Center for Afterschool Programs (NC CAP) has created an Afterschool Advocacy webpage. The webpage is a compilation of resources and opportunities related to afterschool advocacy. In addition to the webpage, NC CAP has also released the Advocacy Toolkit. This toolkit highlights a variety of ways to engage youth and adults in high-quality advocacy opportunities.

To learn more, click here.
The North Carolina Center for Afterschool Programs (NC CAP) and the National Afterschool Association have updated the Core Knowledge, Skills, and Competencies for Afterschool and Youth Development Professionals.

All professional entities share common characteristics. Among them are a body of knowledge, skills, culture, code of ethics, and public recognition. The Core Knowledge and Competencies enable afterschool and youth development practitioners to demonstrate expertise and gain a higher level of recognition within their communities that has long been sought after.

To access the Core Knowledge and Competencies, click here.
Coolest Projects online is a celebration of creativity and innovation where young people can showcase what they've made with technology. Young people, up to 18 years of age, can make games, animations, Scratch projects, websites, apps, hardware projects, and much more. It's an opportunity to share their creations with a global audience and learn in a safe and encouraging space online - for free!

Find out more about Coolest Projects and see the 2022 showcase here.
Living with Nature is the North Carolina Zoo's free distance learning event series available to schools and home school groups. Recommended ages are middle to high school students. The 30-minute program allows students and teachers to submit questions to their experts during the events.

  • International Conservation - May 4, 2022 at 10:00 am
  • Through the International Conservation portion of Living with Nature Live! events, the North Carolina Zoo will show middle and high school students the many ways that they work to conserve. This year, they will be highlighting their work to reduce Human-Wildlife through two projects: SMART and UNITE.

To register for the event, click here.
First-rate leadership skills can be gained in a variety of venues: school, clubs, sports, and Carowinds? Yes, Carowinds! Bring your aspiring leaders to Youth Leadership Day, facilitated by fantastic trainers from nationally acclaimed Leading to Change!, where they will develop skills in public speaking, communication, and decision-making with plenty of engaging action.

2022 Pricing:
  • $50 per person, 1 complimentary admission ticket for every 15 purchased (includes admission, seminar, and meal)
  • $21 Season Passholder & Complimentary Chaperone Ticket Holders (includes seminar and meal)

To learn more, click here.
Every person who works with young people is committed to helping them thrive. On athletic fields, in afterschool programs, in libraries, in faith-based institutions, youth-serving professionals and volunteers are making a difference every day. Through the Power of Us Workforce Survey, youth-serving professionals and volunteers can contribute to a national effort to explore, define, and elevate their profession. Take the survey today!

To take the survey, click here.
Student participation in school breakfast and lunch dropped dramatically across the country during the COVID-19 pandemic and school nutrition programs are still recovering, according to a new report released today by the Food Research & Action Center (FRAC).

FRAC's The Reach of Breakfast and Lunch: A Look at Pandemic and Pre-Pandemic Participation reveals nearly 14 million children received breakfast and 19.8 million children received lunch on an average school day during the 2020-2021 school year, a decrease of 692,000 children and 8.8 million children, respectively, compared to breakfast and lunch participation rates in the 2018-2019 school year - the last full school year prior to the pandemic.

"Childhood hunger in this country has spiked dramatically as a result of the public health and economic fallout of COVID-19," said Luis Guardia, president of FRAC. "But things would be far worse if not for child nutrition waivers, and the hard work of states, school nutrition directors, and community-based organizations, which has supported access to school and summer meals during this unprecedented time." In 2020, Congress gave the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) the authority to issue nationwide child nutrition waivers through the Families First Coronavirtus Response Act. These waivers have allowed school nutrition programs, local government agencies, and nonprofit organizations to keep feeding children in the face of numerous challenges such as school closures, virtual learning, and the need for social distance. The waivers remain critical due to the ongoing supply of chain disruptions and staffing shortages and are needed to support access to meals this summer.

Without Congressional action, the waivers are set to expire on June 30, 2022. "Now is not the time to pull the rug out from children and families," said Guardia. "It will take a long time for many families to recover from the challenges brought on by the pandemic and we need to make sure they have the resources they need to get back on their feet. The decrees in meal participation revealed in our report support the urgent need for these child nutrition waivers to be extended beyond this school year as schools and community-baed organizations recover from the impact of the pandemic."

The report provides breakfast and lunch data for every state and the District of Columbia. The 2018-2019 school year data includes participation in the School Breakfast and National School Lunch Programs. The data for the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 school years also include participation in the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and the Seamless Summer Option (SSO) to account for the meals provided using the child nutrition waivers that have been made available during the pandemic.

FRAC and nearly 2,000 national, state, and local organizations from every state across the country, and the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico are urging Congress to swiftly extend USDA authority to issue nationwide waivers for Child Nutrition Programs beyond this school year.

To learn more, click here.
Carolina Demography is launching a new tool with myFutureNC - the myFutureNC Attainment Trends Workbook - to help you understand trends in educational indicators at the state and county level. This tool draws from state and federal sources to highlight trends in three attainment-relevant areas:

  • Academic Readiness, including NC Pre-K participation, College and Career Ready in Math and Reading, Advanced Placement and College & Career Promise participation, chronic absenteeism, and high school graduation;
  • College & Career Access, including ACT performance, FAFSA completion rates, postsecondary intentions, and postsecondary enrollments; and
  • Labor Markey, including employment, wages, and unemployment rates.

Where available, the data is provided for the most recent five years and group-level data is provided in addition to overall totals.

To learn more, click here.
Would you like a scientist from one of NC's leading research institutions to talk with your high school science classroom?

Each year, NC DNA Day sends scientists to classrooms across NC. This year those visits will again be virtual due to the pandemic. Scientists can meet with your class for 30 minutes, 45 minutes, or 60 minutes. They can give your class a virtual tour of the research space they work in or talk with them about the research taking place in NC to improve life for those who are sick or healthy. Visiting scientists can also present a slide show aligned with NC's science standards that will reinforce what you are teaching in the classroom.

Please click here to sign up to have a scientist speak with your high school classroom and present an engaging module covering a topic related to genetics and genomics! This year's topics include these exciting, hands-on lessons: The Science of Vaping, Personalized Medicine (Pharmacogenomics), and Forensics.

To learn more, click here.
The North Carolina Center for Afterschool Programs (NC CAP) 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 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.

Centene is offering general operating grants of up to $500,000 to organizations that fall within one or more of the following areas of focus: Health, Education, Children, and the Arts. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

Discover is offering grants of up to $5,000 to nonprofit organizations working in the areas of education and literacy. Funding, donations, and sponsorships are intended to support programs and initiatives that meet the needs of various communities across the country, with a particular focus on communities where Discover employees live and work. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

Dogwood Health Trust seeks to dramatically improve the health and well-being of all people and communities of Western North Carolina. They are interested in projects that address one or more of their strategic priorities: Housing, Education, Economic Opportunity, and Health and Wellness and that align with their overarching commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. They also have interests in projects related to improving broadband access to support education and healthcare bridging rural divides, and addressing racial equity issues. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

The Duke Energy Foundation is committed to making strategic investments to build powerful communities where nature and wildlife thrive, youth can excel, and a talented workforce drives economic prosperity for all. These grants support programs that prevent summer reading loss, while also advancing energy, engineering, and environmental education. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

The Saxena Family Foundation is a privately funded, 501(c)(3) registered non-profit charitable foundation headquartered in Austin, TX. The Foundation awards grants and supports programs that have a particular focus on STEM education and around empowering women in the United States and in India. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

Your Voice is Power provides students and teachers an introduction to computer science through a real-world exploration of how music, computer science, and entrepreneurship can be tools to advance racial justice. Amazon Future Engineer is providing students with a chance to create an original remix of various songs by recording artists such as Pharell Williams, Alicia Keys, and Khalid using coding. Applications for Round Two close on June 19th, 2022.

Public Welfare Foundation awards grants to nonprofits that honor the Foundation's core values of racial equity, economic well-being, and fundamental fairness for all. The Foundation looks for strategic points where its funds can make a significant difference and improve lives through policy and system reform that results in transformative change. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.
North Carolina Center for Afterschool Programs |