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 Tuesday, April 27th and Wednesday, April 28th 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 Request for Proposals (RFPs) for workshop presenters, vendors, and keynote speakers 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 (RFPs). Copies of each RFP, deadlines, and additional details can be accessed by visiting the Synergy Conference 2021 page. Proposals will be due January 31st, 2021. Early registration for the virtual conference will open in January. 

WELCOME to the NC CAP Team!!!
NC CAP has a new STEM Lesson, Blood Building. This lesson is designed for grades 3-9. This lesson asks students to analyze and compare human blood viscosity, or the thickness and stickiness of blood, versus simulated zombie blood. Students will test their own hypothesis, create blood models (using red candies, marshmallows, sprinkles, water, bottles, and corn syrup). This lesson has virtual and in-person accommodations. 

This lesson contains video guidance to assist program providers and educators. Videos encompass an overview of the lesson and addressees potential misunderstandings with the lesson for adults and students. Lessons can be completed at-home with adult assistance. Materials used within the lesson are budget-friendly and can be purchased online or at local stores. This lesson has a Spanish and English version. 

Lección STEM - Blood Building en español
STEM Lesson - Blood Building in English

To learn more about implementing the NC CAP STEM Lessons in your programming, email Sheneika Simmons at [email protected] or Diana Paredes at [email protected].  To view the Blood Building Lesson, click here
NC CAP is inviting individuals investing 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 2pm, 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. 

*Note: Attendees are not required to have attended the Fall convening. 
The North Carolina Society of Hispanic Professionals is a professional membership group, made of individuals who are united by a common desire, to see Hispanic students succeed in the classroom so they can succeed in life. Since 1999, the NCSHP has existed to promote the education of Hispanic students at all scholastic levels. Through our educational programs and initiatives, we work to lower the dropout rate of Hispanic students in North Carolina and provide them with access to higher education. We believe that an investment in a Hispanic student is an investment in North Carolina. The students of today are the future leaders of North Carolina. 

Tu Portal STEM
Tu Portal STEM is a web portal dedicated to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM), was designed to raise awareness and increase access to information about STEM education, STEM career opportunities, and STEM programs and opportunities for Hispanic students and their families. If you would like to receive personalized help regarding STEM, please call our bilingual hotline at 919-467-8424. For more information on Tu Portal STEM, visit 

Duke Energy Engineering Scholarship
As a recipient of a Duke Energy Engineering scholarship, please be aware that you MUST pursue a major in engineering. You MUST be enrolled in a four-year institution in any field of engineering OR enrolled in a community college in the fields of Engineering Technologists and Relay Technicians ONLY

Biogen Scholarship
Recipients must pursue a STEM Career: Science, Technology, Engineering, or Mathematics at a university or community college

General Scholarship
Recipients can pursue any field or degree at a community college or university.
To learn more about the resources and opportunities that the North Carolina Society of Hispanic Professionals has to offer, 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! 

To learn more about NC CAP's STEM PD offerings, click here

COVID-19, coronavirus, has impacted students and families throughout the world and has significantly altered our education systems, including out-of-school time programs. The activities and resources in the Learning About COVID-19 Activity Guides were intentionally designed to support youth-serving programs in engaging students in learning about the science of COVID-19 and developing greater social awareness and empathy. All activities should be safely executed and aligned with state and local health guidelines. The Activity Guides are organized by four different age groups and comprised of 40 different activities and challenges. Each activity or challenge is adaptable for in-person and virtual instruction, or a hybrid of both, as well as sent as take-home packets. 

To access the COVID-19 Activity Guides, click here
An EngineerGirl Ambassador designs, develops, and implements a project in her local community that will encourage upper elementary or middle school girls to think about engineering and engineering careers. Potential EngineerGirl Ambassadors submit information about their proposed project along with supporting documents. Ambassadors are selected based on feasibility, potential impact, and evidence of support for their proposal. Applications are due March 1st, 2021.

To learn more about EngineerGirl's Ambassador Program, click here
As champions for children, program providers are doing everything they can during this time to keep youth safe and continue to serve them. NC CAP wants to continue to support providers during this time. In every way, providers throughout North Carolina and the nation have risen to the challenge in every way. 

In support of your efforts, NC CAP has a new resources to share, Mizzen by Mott. Mizzen by Mott is a new app built with and for afterschool professionals to provide high-quality, engaging learning content to the afterschool field. 

To meet the needs of this moment, the Mizzen team has added new activity playlists and multi-week modules that can be done at home or in a small-group setting. The app's content focuses on youth learning and well-being and is provided by organizations like Jazz at Lincoln Center, the California Academy of Sciences, After-School All Starts, OregonAsk, and VentureLab. Through support from the Mott Foundation, the app and all of its content is available for free to afterschool providers. 

With winter afoot, during a school year like no other, are you looking for fun, healthy, and restorative activities you can share with children and youth? Check out the 23 Days of Fun, Healthy, and Creative Activities for December which offers just that!
 To learn more about the Mizzen app, click here
GSK Science in the Summer is a free, informal science summer program for children entering grades 2-6. The program is designed to inspire students to become the next generation of scientists, through hands-on explorations based in real science careers, which may be implemented through in-person or virtual program models. The program seeks to serve children from traditionally underrepresented populations in STEM, including people of color, low socio-economic status populations, rural communities, and girls. Sponsored by GSK, offered in partnership with The Franklin Institute, and supported by the National Girls Collaborative Project, the goal of this program is to increase children's value of and confidence in doing science and pursuing STEM careers. 

Applications are being accepted for two years of participation in the GSK Science in the Summer program in 2021-2022 from informal science education organizations such as science museums, science centers, children's museums, and universities. Applications are due January 12th, 2021. 

GSK Science in the Summer: Be a Chemist
GSK Science in the Summer: Be a Chemist

To learn more about GSK Science in the Summer and becoming a host organization, click here
The North Carolina Center for Afterschool Programs is joining the Million Girls Moonshot, a collective impact initiative designed to increase diversity and equity in STEM. Launching now, the Million Girls Moonshot will help close the persistent gender gap in STEM fields by engaging 1 million girls across the United States in STEM pursuits through high-quality, innovative afterschool learning opportunities over the next five years. 

The Million Girls Moonshot is providing grand funding and in-kind resources such as technical assistance, access to educational resources and STEM mentors to the afterschool networks in a 50 states so they can provide high-quality, immersive STEM learning opportunities to afterschool students. In addition to grant funding, Million Girls Moonshot is providing NC CAP and other state afterschool networks with access to innovative, hands-on STEM learning programs like Intel's She Will Connect program, special curriculum from NASA, and much more. The Million Girls Moonshot is also providing afterschool programs across the nation with access to STEM experts and mentors who will not only spark girls' passion for STEM, but also support them and keep them engaged so they can pursue higher education and careers in STEM fields. 

To solve today's most pressing problems - from health pandemics, to climate change, to economic uncertainty and more - we must tap into the great potential embodied in our nation's girls. By inspiring and keeping them engaged in STEM pursuits, they can become the breakthrough scientists, inventors, builders, engineers, and entrepreneurs of tomorrow that will drive our society forward. Just as the original "Moonshots" nearly 60 years ago united the nation behind a common goal and advanced scientific achievement, so too the Million Gilrs Moonshot will "move the needle" and truly change the trajectory of women and girls in STEM in the U.S. 

The Million Girls Moonshot also includes resources for programs throughout the nation including the The Engineering Mindset Toolkit. The Engineering Mindset Toolkit is a collection of resources and tools for all 50 Mott Afterschool State Networks and their partners to access and utilize for the Million Girls Moonshot Initiative. The resources in the Engineering Mindset Toolkit are not exhaustive. STEM Next will continue to add and modify the resources as the Initiative evolves and depending upon the needs of the Networks. The Million Girls Moonshot focuses on the Engineering Mindset which STEM Next believes compliments the STEM mindset, as well as innovation, invention, and entrepreneurial education. To access the Engineering Mindset Toolkit's activities, tools, and webinars, click here

To learn more about the Million Girls Moonshot initiative, click here
For community school adherents, school has always had a central function as a hub of integrated student supports. The COVID health emergency has not only impacted how, where, and when education is delivered but also reinforced the idea of schools as a conduit for children and families to other resources in their communities as well. Now, with two new pieces of legislation under consideration in Congress, Community School models may have more opportunities to showcase the potential of a coordinated approach to student and family needs, inside and outside the school, just when they seem to be needed most. 

The Full Service Community School (FSCS) Expansion Act, introduced in October, by three Democratic senators, Sens. Brown (Ohio), Gillibrand (N.Y.), and Van Hollen (MD.) would aim to invest $3.65 billion over 5 years to plan for, implement, develop, and expand full-service community schools in low income communities. 

The legislation defines four pillars of a community school: 
  • Integrated student supports including health and social service agencies
  • Expanded and enriched learning time and opportunities
  • Active family and community engagement
  • Collaborative leadership
Each school (or group of schools in rural areas) would have a designated community school coordinator, a full-time staff member to integrate and direct supports. Planning for community schools would include a needs and assets assessment to identify how to employ, leverage, and prioritize elements in each of the pillars of support. Funding would also be available for state grants to establish a state level steering committee, establish goals on implementing and expanding community schools, and provide evidence based technical assistance among other areas. Read the bill one-pager here

To learn more about the Community School Bills, click here

Embrace artistic creativity while engaging in educational activities inspired by science, technology, engineering, art, mathematics, and design (STEAM'D). Inspired by the weekly afternoon program in Kidzu's Makery, the @ Home STEAM'D Up uses household items and some of Kidzu's most popular themes o make STEM accessible and FUN! 

To learn more about STEAM'D Up and Kidzu, click here
On February 17-19th, 2021, Beyond School Hours - the nation's most popular education conference - is going virtual! Attracting a diverse audience of thousands, form frontline staff and school leaders to philanthropic organizations and the U.S. Department of Education, the Beyond School Hours conference focuses on hands-on, interactive workshops on the topics that matter the most right now. 

In this unique year, the conference theme is RESILIENCE - with a special focus on preparing children for success, program fundamentals, supporting the support system, and youth engagement. 

This year's virtual conference provides a unique opportunity to extend the learning experience for a full year! After three intensive days of live workshops, the learning will continue with weekly follow-up webinars to help educators across the country keep up with the most current resources and strategies for adapting to the ever-growing educational landscape. 

To learn more about Beyond School Hours 2021 and to register, click here
A recent webinar from Grad Nation, Building a Grad Nation: Meet the Moment 2020!, marked the release of their report, 
A Grad Nation 2020: Progress and Challenge in Raising High School Graduation Rates. The annual report discusses recent progress and challenges towards reaching the goal of a national on-time graduation rate of 90 percent by the Class of 2020. The report found that in 2018, the country reached an all-time high graduation rate of 85.3 percent, with gains primarily driven by improvements among underserved students - Black, Hispanic, low-income, and students with disabilities have all made larger gains compared to the national average. That said, as we find ourselves in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and facing the effects of longstanding systemic racism, crucial work still needs to be done. The webinar discussed that students who primarily drove the graduation rate increases are the ones most impacted by COVID-19 and racial injustice. A greater percentage of Black and Hispanic students are learning remotely; low income students are more likely to lack reliable technology and internet access; students with disabilities are missing out on the full services needed; and overall these students are more likely to lack support from counselors and other support systems. While the report shows that the numbers to reach the 90 percent goal are manageable, the magnitude of the challenge varies by state, and equity needs to be achieved across subgroups. Because of over 100 years of segregation and the high poverty districts this created, much of the challenge in reaching the 90 percent goal is concentrated in a small subset of school districts. In fact, the report states that 50 percent of the students who did not graduate in four years are found in just four percent of school districts; these numbers are even smaller when looking at Black and Hispanic students who did not graduate. 

The question then becomes, what is the plan to achieve this goal as we move out of COVID-19? The report provides multiple recommendations for addressing the problems, such as aligning diploma requirements with college and career standards, creating state-specific high school graduation plans, addressing the social, emotional, and academic gaps exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, increasing the use of early warning systems, and expanding the capacity of evidence-based nonprofits that can support these efforts. 

As the report mentions, schools cannot face the dropout challenge alone, and community-based nonprofits can provide additional support to schools to help boost achievement, graduation, and overall college and career readiness. Thus, it is recommended that public and private funding go to nonprofits that have the most capacity to meet school needs, and have the strongest evidence of success in increasing student achievement and high school graduation rates. 

Afterschool programs can support these efforts. As we know, students who regularly participate in high-quality afterschool programs are more likely to graduate on time. Afterschool programs help address many of the factors that contribute to students dropping out of high school that were discussed throughout the webinar - they help support students' academic performance, social and emotional learning, school behaviors and work habits, and attitudes towards school. Many programs also provide intentional college and career readiness support. Afterschool programs, and particularly 21st Century Community Learning Centers that provide supports specifically for low-income students, are especially important for the underserved populations mentioned in the report, the ones most impacted by COVID-19. During these unprecedented times, afterschool programs have stepped up to support students most in need, and moving forward they will be a key part in continuing to address the gaps created by the pandemic. 

Read the full 2020 report here and check out how 21st CCLCs positively impact factors that are integral to school engagement and graduation. 

2020 Building a Grad Nation Report Release

Excerpt from: 
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 After School Advantage Program is a signature education program and flagship community involvement initiative. The program is devoted to providing young people with access to technology in a safe, nurturing afterschool environment, whole promoting opportunities in digital learning centers in varying communities. Applications are accepted on rolling basis.

The Aldi Smart Kids program partners with organizations that make positive impact on the health and wellness of youth. The mission of the organization should support youth through education, arts, athletics, or any other program that inspires them to be active and healthy. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. 

Cisco donates networking technology to qualified nonprofit organizations to help them realize significant gains in productivity, scalability, and cost-efficiency. The Cisco Product Grant Program focuses on the social investment areas such as critical human needs, access to education, and economic empowerment. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. 

The Cornell Douglas Foundation offers small grants to non-profit organizations that work to advocate for environmental health and justice, promote stewardship, and encourage respect for sustainability. With grant amounts averaging $10,000, the Foundation supports programs in environmental health, sustainability, and education for elementary and high school students. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

The Costco Charitable Contributions Committee oversees charitable donations to nonprofit organizations focusing on supporting children, education, and health and human services. Award amounts vary, and previous grants have gone to organizations such as United Way, Children's Miracle Network Hospitals, and the Red Cross. Grant-giving focuses on communities in the markets where Costco does business. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

335 For NC was created to submit applications for North Carolina Extra Credit Grants to the North Carolina Department of Revenue. The North Carolina Extra Credit Grants will provide checks for $335 to eligible North Carolina families to help with remote learning and child care expenses incurred due to the pandemic. Applications are due by December 7th, 2020. 

The Public Welfare Foundation offers grants to groups that work to advance fair, effective, community-based justice for all youth across the country, particularly those geared towards fighting the criminalization and incarceration of youth of color. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. 

Triangle Community Foundation is made up of over 800 philanthropic funds, which are used in a variety of ways to provide support for nonprofit organizations. Grants from the Foundation are made in two ways: (1) from discretionary grant programs and (2) through donor-advised grants.  

The Community Connect Program helps rural communities extend access where broadband service is least likely to be commercially available, but where it can make a tremendous difference in the quality of life for people and businesses. The projects funded by these grants help rural residents tap into the enormous potential of the Internet for jobs, education, healthcare, public safety, and community development. Applications are due by December 23rd, 2020. 

The Walmart Local Community Grant is for community development projects. Primary consideration for the grant program is to support local organizations with programs that align with Walmart and the Foundation's areas of giving which include: (1) hunger relief and healthy eating, (2) health and human services, (3) quality of life, (4) education, (5) community and economic development, (6) diversity and inclusion, (7) public safety, and (8) environmental sustainability. Applications are due by December 31st, 2020. 

Westinghouse Charitable Giving Program provides financial support to communities in one or more strategic areas of giving including: education with a focus on STEM, environment sustainability, and community safety and vitality. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. 
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