During the month of July, the NC Center for Afterschool Programs (NC CAP) hosted its second series of Policy & Practice Regional Convenings, which offered out-of-school time providers, elected officials, educators and higher education and community stakeholders opportunities to engage in meaningful dialogue pertaining to the 2019 Roadmap of Need.

The two convenings, which were held at Central Piedmont Community College and Durham Technical Community College, also offered attendees an opportunity to explore a range of STEM-specific educational strategies through enrichment activities presented by partnering STEM experts and organizations.

The annual  Roadmap of Need uses data on economic development, education, health and youth behavior & safety to take a whole child needs assessment of what youth living in each of North Carolina's 100 counties must have in order to thrive in school and in life. This year's report found that the top five counties where youth have the greatest likelihood for success are Orange, Wake, Union, Henderson and Moore; the bottom five counties where young people are most at-risk are Northampton, Vance, Robeson, Edgecombe and Washington.

The Roadmap provides a clear view of how North Carolina is now divided into "two North Carolinas"-one that can attract industry and experiences significant job growth, while the other suffers from economic decline and is left with struggling schools. Keith Poston, Executive Director of the Public School Forum, told attendees, "if one were to divide North Carolina into half along I-95, the state formed in the east would be the poorest and unhealthiest state in the country."

Attendees brainstormed tactics and strategies to alleviate the counties' challenges in these areas for the benefit and well-being of youth residing there. After the policy portion of each convening, attendees participated in two program enrichment activities focused on SEL and STEM or Physical Activity. Program enrichment activities spotlighted the NC Resilience & Learning Project, the NC Tennis Foundation and Dropping Seeds in Motion.

To view pictures from each of the convenings, click  here
With the 2020 presidential election 16 months away, more than 25 politicians and business leaders have declared themselves candidates. The first round of debates for Democratic candidates has already happened, most candidates are in full time campaign mode, and the first primaries and caucuses are only six short months away. Education has been a popular campaign topic for many candidates, from student loan forgiveness to increasing teacher pay, however several candidates have gone on the record in support of afterschool and summer learning programs as well. While the nonpartisan Afterschool Alliance does not endorse candidates, we do track their proposals related to support for afterschool and summer learning programs and have summarized the positions of the candidates that have gone on the record in support of afterschool, community schools, summer learning, and wrap around supports for school age children. As more candidates take positions on these topics we will be updating this blog.

As of July 2018, the following is where the 2020 candidates stand with regard to support for afterschool programs. Note the candidates that have not addressed afterschool programs are not included in this list:

President Trump: While afterschool programs are not mentioned specifically in his campaign platform, the president's budget has three times sought to eliminate funding for 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC), the only federal funding stream dedicated to afterschool and summer learning programs. On a personal level the president has supported local afterschool programs in New York City in the past.

Joe Biden, the former vice president, has outlined a number of education proposals and specifically has addressed both the need for career and technical education as well community schools with support services for children and families. "When parents are working hard to make ends meet, it can be difficult if not impossible for them to navigate various family needs like after-school care, health and social services, and adult education courses..." Community schools work with families, students, teachers and community organizations to identify families' unmet needs and then develop a plan to leverage community resources to address these needs in the school building, turning schools into community hubs. Biden will expand the federal investment in full service community schools, providing wraparound supports for an additional 300,000 students and their families.

Pete Buttigieg, mayor of South Bend, Indiana, has spoken on the need for investment in education. His platform includes a proposal to fund the Serve America Act to increase service opportunities from 75,000 to 250,000 in the existing federal and AmeriCorps grantee organizations and through new Service Year Fellowships, targeting high school, community college, vocational, HBCUs and MSI students, and opportunity youth (out-of-school and work).

Julian Castro, former secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President Obama, proposed to launch an eight-year plan to extend the community schools model to schools in areas of high need to operate as community hubs that have resources and facilities, such as health centers, adult education classes, food banks, and other support facilities for families.

Bill deBlasio, early in his term as mayor of New York City supported and implemented universal access to free middle school afterschool programs in NYC schools in addition to and complementary of his universal pre-school plan.

Kamala Harris, current U.S. senator representing California and former state California Attorney General, includes in her campaign a proposal for the largest increase in federal education funding in history. On the campaign trail in South Carolina at a town hall this past summer she reiterated her support for afterschool programs and the 21st Century Community Learning Centers programs in particular.

Amy Klobuchar, current U.S. senator from Minnesota, has announced as part of her campaign's support for education and teachers, that as president she would find ways for states to invest in afterschool & community hubs for working families.

Tim Ryan, congressman from Ohio, has made clear his support for afterschool programs, stating that every student deserves a quality education and the constitution requires it. He supports an equity approach that would provide to high need communities: highly-trained teachers, social-emotional learning programs, afterschool programs, mental health counselors, healthy lunches, pathways for family engagement, and up to date books, technology, and curriculums. His education proposal would invest $50 billion in federal programs that will transform every public school by giving them the best resources and services America has to offer. His plan will put every public school in the country on a path to becoming a public community school, with tailored supports that match local resources and assets to student and community needs.

Bernie Sanders, current U.S. senator from Vermont and past Presidential candidate, outlined an extensive education campaign platform with multiple investments including investing $5 billion annually in afterschool and summer learning programs.

Article from: 
Understanding our SEL begins with the adults. It is essential that leaders understand and develop their own social and emotional competencies because of their influence on the overall environment. This summer webinar series will dive into the reports that support SEL in afterschool, offer tips for choosing SEL curriculum and guide leaders how to assess their own EQ and determine next steps to grow.   This webinar series is an exclusive offering for Executive members of the National Afterschool Association. Not yet an Executive member?  Upgrade today!

Part 5: Trauma-Resilient Afterschool and Summer Learning Programs: A Vision for Transformation Change
August 13, 1 pm EST
Half of public-school students in Los Angeles report moderate to severe traumatic stress symptoms. Afterschool and Summer Learning Programs have always been dedicated to positive youth development, but LA's BEST Afterschool Enrichment Program has realized that to truly address the impacts of trauma, we must go deeper. In this session, we will discuss how we embraced a trauma-resilient approach and Sanford Harmony's social emotional learning program to reinvigorate a large-scale expanded learning system, equip staff to care for themselves as well as students and transform not only our programs but also our systems and culture. Presented by Eric Gurna, President & CEO, LA's BEST Afterschool Enrichment Program. Webinar sponsored by  Sanford Harmony.
Summer 2019 is here and members of Congress marked the occasion by introducing legislation that would greatly improve access to healthy meals during the summer months by making it easier for summer learning programs to provide meals and snacks. This month Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) introduced the bipartisan Summer Meals Act  S. 1908 which would enhance the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). The Afterschool Alliance supports the legislation (as well as the similar House version  HR 2818 introduced last month by Reps. Rick Larsen (D-Wash.) and Don Young (R-Alaska)) as it would help improve nutrition and enhance learning in underserved areas by better integrating summer learning programs with meal programs.

Across the country, about 21 million children receive free or reduced price school lunch-meaning their families live at or near the poverty line-but only 1 in 7 of these high-need children have access to summer meals. The bipartisan, bicameral Summer Meals Act would:
  • Help more children access healthy food by lowering the threshold to allow areas with 40 percent or more of students receiving free or reduced lunch to be eligible for the program, rather than the current threshold of 50 percent. This would make the meals programs consistent with the eligibility for summer learning programs provided through the 21st Century Community Learning Centers initiative.
  • Reduce the paperwork burden for meal program sponsors who want to participate in the program by streamlining the application process for programs operating year round.
  • Improve nutrition in rural, underserved, and hard to reach areas by providing transportation grants for underserved areas to get children to summer meal sites and by promoting innovative ways to increase children's access to summer meals, such as through mobile meal trucks.
  • Offer sites the option of serving two meals and a snack or three meals to children who attend evening enrichment programs during the school year and summer months.
  • Allow Summer Nutrition Program providers to serve food to children after emergencies or disasters and be reimbursed if the meals are taken offsite.
The bill builds on the USDA  Summer Food Service Program which provides low-income children under age 18 who would normally receive free or reduced price school lunch with quality, nutritious food during the summer. Summer meals sites often run in tandem with educational enrichment programs to keep children engaged and safe during the summer months. According to USDA, 84 percent of sites offered education activities and 77 percent of sites offered organized sports to engage with children. Check out the USDA Food and Nutrition Service's  summer meals site finder to find a summer program site nearby.

Article from: 
STEM is more than Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. STEM is 
hands-on, minds-on FUN.   When we teach STEM, we:
  • Ignite curiosity
  • Reinforce what students learn in the classroom
  • Build critical thinkers who can collaborate
  • Build STEM families and economically vital communities
  • Empower a new generation of innovators and problem solvers.
This month's lesson represents Physical Science. The lesson includes:
  • Snapshot Overview
  • Fast Facts
  • Lesson
  • STEM To-Go
  • Video Overview 
To view this month's lesson and to download each aspect of the lesson content to utilize in your program, click here. Let us know what you think about this month's STEM lessons on twitter @ncafterschool. 

Physical Science 
Check out this lesson here
High-quality afterschool programs can enhance the overall health and development of students by helping build and foster protective and promotive  factors-conditions or features within an individual, family, or community that buffer children and youth against the negative effects of   adversity and trauma  and that enhance the likelihood of positive development. A new  white paper , released by Child Trends, the Claremont Evaluation Center, and LA's BEST afterschool program examines positive youth development in the afterschool context, with a particular focus on supporting malleable protective and promotive factors that help to reduce students' risk for  substance misuse/abuse problem behaviors , and   poor academic performance and dropout .

Through a comprehensive literature review, Child Trends and Claremont Evaluation Center researchers identified 12 protective and promotive factors linked to the prevention of negative outcomes (substance abuse and problem behaviors), and promotion of positive outcomes (better academic performance) in afterschool. Researchers then highlighted strategies for how afterschool programs can engage in a variety of evidence-informed practices to counteract youth's risk for these outcomes. Findings suggest that there are several strategies that are necessary to promote these 12 factors.

Strategies for Afterschool Programs to Promote Protective and Promotive Factors for Youth who are At Risk for substance abuse/misuse, problem behaviors, and poor academic performance and dropout:
  1. Engage in intentional organizational practices, including hiring staff who can connect with youth effectively, training staff on how to help youth develop self-regulation and emotional awareness, fostering connections between afterschool staff and teachers, and developing relationships with broader networks and institutions in the community that can help support youth.
  2. Create high-quality learning environments that ensure that youth have choices, autonomy, and opportunities for leadership, that offer safe and supportive learning environments for developing and practicing new skills, and that offer a wide range of activities that appeal to youth's different strengths and interests.
  3. Build supportive and nurturing relationships with youth that celebrate each youth's unique identities, contributions, and strengths, that clearly communicate rules and expectations and hold youth accountable to them, and that create and reinforce norms for prosocial behavior.
  4. Engage in activities that intentionally and explicitly focus on youth skill development for youth to learn about, practice, and develop emotional self-regulation and awareness, problem-solving, and relational skills. 
Article from:
The NC Center for Afterschool Programs [NC CAP] developed a statewide, searchable database for out-of-school time programs that serve K-12 youth before school, after school, summers, weekends and during school breaks. Programs that take place in schools, school-age child care centers, community-based organizations, faith-based organizations, universities, libraries, museums, camps, and other locations can register their programs in the statewide mapping database. You can utilize this database to search for information on program locations, activities, number and grades of youth served. This database helps families, schools, communities and elected officials locate programs for their youth.  It also aids in identifying community assets and gaps in out-of-school time programming. 

Registering your program in the statewide database is easy and takes less than two minutes. Register your program today! 

The National Geographic GeoChallenge is a project-based, multilevel competition that empowers students in grades four through eight to develop creative solutions to today's urgent environmental problems. 

Students form teams of between four and six people and-through research, collaboration, and creativity-take action on a real-world environmental issue. Along the way, students present their ideas through mapmaking, model building, and video production. Combining science, geography, and communication skills, GeoChallenge teams generate solutions to critical issues, just like National Geographic Explorers. 

The GeoChallenge is open all U.S. schools (private, public, home) and community groups/informal education organizations. It is free to register. Learn More here

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 outdoor opportunity grants are for programs that provide youth with outdoor experiences. Eligible programs include nonprofit organizations.

The After School Advantage (ASA) Program is a signature education program and flagship community involvement initiative. The program strives to close the "Digital Divide" for disadvantaged children who get left behind because they do not have the means to access computers in today's increasingly digital society.  Its goal is to address the needs of underprivileged/at-risk children ages five to 18 with a meaningful, yet fun, learning experience during the critical after-school hours in a safe environment. It does this by providing qualifying non-profit community agencies and public schools with digital learning centers. Each digital learning center is unique in its design and specific to an organization's custom needs.
Through the E(2) Energy to Educate Grant Program, Constellation Energy offers students in grades 6-12 opportunities to experience problem-solving of today's and tomorrow's energy challenges. Grant funds support projects designed to enhance students' understanding of science and technology, and inspire them to think differently about energy.

Funding is intended to improve access to music instruction and to give children nationwide greater opportunities to play music early and often. The D'Addario Foundation believes in the transformative power of music to build self-confidence, creativity and discipline and that mentoring and building communities through music can positively affect social change. Programs that align with these beliefs and goals are optimum candidates for grant requests. 

Wells Fargo makes contributions in areas that we believe are important to the future of our nation's vitality and success. Their first priority is to support programs and organizations whose chief purpose is to benefit low- and moderate-income individuals and families. They look for projects that keep our communities strong, diverse, and vibrant.    They support organizations that promote academic achievement for low- and moderate-income students by:
  • Eliminating the pre-K - 12th grade achievement gap in public education through curriculum-based or school-sponsored programs
  • Facilitating merit-based access to higher education for underrepresented groups
  • Advancing teaching through recruitment, professional development, support, and retention of teachers.
The Westinghouse Charitable Giving Program provides financial support  to communities in one or more strategic areas of giving including (1) Education with a focus on STEM, (2) Environment Sustainability, (3) Community Safety and Vitality.
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