Washington in Bottom 10 States in Nation for Afterschool Participation

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Washington, DC — Washington state has made progress since 2009, but still lags behind the rest of nation on afterschool participation, according to a new household survey commissioned by the Afterschool Alliance. The 2014 edition of America After 3PM found that demand for afterschool programs still far exceeds supply; the number of children in Washington who would be enrolled in an afterschool program if one were available surpasses the number of children enrolled in afterschool programs in the state. The household survey also found that the vast majority of parents of children in afterschool programs in Washington report significant benefitsfrom their children’s participation.

The America After 3PM survey included 30,000 American households and 293 in-depth interviews in Washington. It found that 17 percent of Washington students, 183,099 children in all, are enrolled in afterschool programs, up from 12 percent in 2009, when the survey was last conducted. But 217,293 Washington students are still without adult supervision in the afternoons. The parents of 333,927 Washington children not already in an afterschool program say they would enroll their child if a program were available.

afterschool-partidipation and demand

“Afterschool providers and advocates in the state are working tirelessly to provide quality afterschool programs to as many children and families as resources will allow,” said Afterschool Alliance Executive Director Jodi Grant. “But Washington has a lot of work ahead if it’s to keep up with other states, and even more if it is to provide all children with the afterschool opportunities they need. Most parents in the state who want their child in a program can’t find one, and that needs to change. Every child who is unsupervised after school is a child potentially at risk. Quality afterschool programs keep kids safe, inspire them to learn, and help working families. Every Washington family that needs an afterschool program should have access to one.”

“Since 2009 our state has made significant cuts to funding and other supports for afterschool programs,” said Janet Schmidt, Chief Program and Policy Officer for School’s Out Washington. “$3 million for direct support to communities was cut in June 2009. In June 2013, more than $400,000 that supported quality supports, such as on-site professional development and quality assessments was also cut. Washington’s drop in ranking underscores how critical state investments are to a high quality continuum of services for kids and families to succeed in school and life.”

To determine the state rankings, a composite score was calculated for all 50 states, plus the District of Columbia, and indexed against the national average. Each state’s overall score is based on afterschool program participation, afterschool programs reaching children in need, and parents’ satisfaction with key features of their child’s afterschool program.

In important respects, Washington results mirror the national survey findings, which include:

  • Participation in afterschool programs is up nationally, with 18 percent of the nation’s schoolchildren in programs (10.2 million children), up from 15 percent in 2009 (8.4 million children) and 11 percent in 2004 (6.5 million children).
  • At the same time, unmet demand has increased. The parents of nearly 20 million children (19.4 million) say they would enroll their child in an afterschool program if a program were available to them. That means that the existing supply of afterschool programs is meeting barely one-third of demand.
  • Demand is greatest among African American, Hispanic and low-income families. Both participation in afterschool and unmet demand for afterschool are much higher among children from low-income households than higher-income households, and higher among African American and Hispanic children than white children. The parents of 60 percent of the nation’s African American children would enroll their child in a program if one were available, as would the parents of 57 percent of Latino children. The same is true of 35 percent of white children.
  • Despite increased participation in afterschool, the number of children unsupervised in the hours after school remains high. Across the nation, more than 800,000 elementary students, and 2.2 million middle school students spend time alone and unsupervised during the after school hours. In all, 11.3 million children — one in five — are unsupervised in the afternoons.
  • Parental satisfaction with afterschool remains high. Nine in ten parents (89 percent) say they are satisfied with their child’s afterschool program.
  • Support for public funding of afterschool programs remains strong. More than four in five parents (84 percent) report that they favor public funding for afterschool opportunities in communities that have few opportunities for children and youth. Support is bipartisan, as well, with 91 percent of parents who identify as Democrats, 86 percent Independents and 80 percent of Republicans favoring public funding for programs. Parents across all geographic regions support public funding for afterschool programs.

The national and Washington America After 3PM reports, and accompanying data, are available at http://www.afterschoolalliance.org. A snapshot of national participation and demand for summer learning programs is also available online.

Light’s On Celebrations Happening Now

On October 23, more than 1 million people in communities across the nation and at U.S. military installations worldwide will join the only national rally for afterschool programs. Sponsored by the Afterschool Alliance and now in its 15th year, Lights On Afterschool brings communities together for science fairs, fun runs, community service events, music and dance performances, open houses and other events at schools, community centers, malls, parks and recreation centers,
science museums, state capitols, and other settings. Find a local Lights On Afterschool event here.

Findings from America After 3PM are based on in-depth interviews with 13,709 U.S. households with children, completed by way of an online survey using a blend of national consumer panels. Shugoll Research collected and analyzed the data for America After 3PM. The goal of at least 200 completed interviews was reached in every state and the District of Columbia. In states where this goal could not be reached using online panels, random-digit dialing was used to complete supplementary telephone interviews. In order to participate, respondents had to live in the United States and be the guardians of a school-age child living in their household. All interviews were completed between February 28 and April 17, 2014.

America After 3PM is funded by the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, The Wallace Foundation, the Ford Foundation and the Noyce Foundation, with additional support from the Heinz Endowments, The Robert Bowne Foundation and the Samueli Foundation.

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This post was provided by The Afterschool Alliance, a nonprofit public awareness and advocacy organization working to ensure that all children and youth have access to quality afterschool programs. More information is available at www.afterschoolalliance.org.

Celebrate the 15th Annual Lights On Afterschool on October 23rd!

Lights On Afterschool, the only nationwide event celebrating afterschool programs and their important role in the lives of children, families and communities is right around the corner on Thursday, October 23rd!

Have you planned your event yet? It’s not too late!  The Afterschool Alliance has resources and tools to help you plan an event, garner media attention and support for your program and afterschool. Check-out their Lights On Afterschool webpage. Don’t forget to register your event and put Washington on the map.

School’s Out Washington will be providing two very different opportunities as part of Lights On Afterschool.

  1. School’s Out is partnering with the Pacific Science Center and the Associated Recreation Council to host a Lights On Afterschool Event at Schmitz Park Elementary School on October 23rd from 4-6pm. The Pacific Science Center’s Science on Wheels program will provide hands-on learning experiences for children and families and we will celebrate the importance of afterschool programming in supporting STEM learning. The event is free and light refreshments will be provided. Feel free to contact Krista Galloway at kgallowa [at] schoolsoutwashington [dot] org with any questions about this event
  1. Webinar: Lights On Afterschool is Here! The Afterschool Alliance will be releasing new polling data for Washington State this week! As we celebrate Lights On Afterschool and the importance of programs in supporting young people, join in a conversation to discuss how we can use this new data to influence community support. Join this conversation to hear the latest results and learn concrete action steps to take with parents in your program that will increase support for afterschool programs in your own community. Register for this great opportunity to learn how you can better promote your program and raise awareness around the importance of afterschool. Register now → 

We’d love to hear about your Lights On Afterschool celebration! Contact Danielle Baer at dbaer [at] schoolsoutwashington [dot] org to share how you celebrated afterschool!

What We’ve Been Learning About STEM This Fall

by Krista Galloway of School’s Out Washington

We’re presenting a series of STEM workshops this fall, based on the Click 2 Science skills and modules, and we want to share some of what we’re learned with everyone. The first workshop was held in September, and centered on selecting high-quality STEM activities. A Google search for “STEM activities” will turn up an overwhelming number of pages, and selecting something that will meet both the needs of your group and the goals of your program takes careful consideration.

The workshop group discussed successful STEM experiences they had had and listed the elements that made these activities work, as criteria for quality STEM activities. They watched a video showing some program staff considering a number of elements for their STEM lesson plan. They dug into the STEM PQA, the Exploratorium’s Criteria, and another list from Great Science for Girls. They kept adding criteria, until they had a comprehensive list.

Next, the group put their list to the test. They participated in a typical STEM activity, NASA’s Future Flight Design Challenge, involving paper airplanes. After experiencing the activity, the workshop participants took a look at their list of criteria, and considered how the airplane activity met the criteria, where it fell short, and how it might be improved.

Finally, the group took time to explore some STEM activity websites, and used their list of criteria to evaluate the activities on the websites. There are so many to choose from, and the list that the group developed helped them to think about why they might choose one activity over another, and what to look for in an activity (or how to change one to better fit their needs). We are sharing it with you, in the hopes that it will help you select high-quality activities, too.

If you are interested in participating in a future workshop, topics will be:

Neil DeGrasse Tyson Inspires Walla Walla Youth

The Walla Walla 21st Century Youth with Dr. Tyson (center)

by Brent Cummings, Walla Walla Public Schools

Passionate! Charismatic! Humorous! Celebrity!!! Scientist?!? That’s right, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, the world’s sexiest astrophysicist (as proclaimed by no-lesser an authority than People magazine) wowed a packed Walla Walla audience at Cordiner Hall on Whitman College’s campus earlier this fall. Fortunately, through tremendous community collaboration, 350 of our Walla Walla Public Schools’ 21st Century Community Learning Center (CCLC) after school program students witnessed this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity (set aside a couple minutes to view The Cosmic Perspective firsthand).

A champion of scientific literacy, Neil DeGrasse Tyson inspired our students through a combination of scientific observation and humorous, dynamic discourse.

The long-term impact of Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s time in Walla Walla on our students will continue to manifest itself over the course of their academic careers. The scientific knowledge and insights shared by Dr. Tyson were “eye-opening” for the many youth in attendance.

More important than the emphasis Dr. Tyson placed on the diversity of ideas and the empirical, objective observation necessary to scientific advancement and discovery, was his intense embodiment of the Habits of Mind. Learning, particularly scientific learning, necessitates a non-cognitive skill set which often must manifest itself before the cognitive side of learning can occur. Questioning and problem solving, thinking and communicating with clarity and precision, striving for accuracy, creating, imagining, and innovating, to name a few, are the skills we must continually develop and foster in our students.

Brent Cummings

Brent Cummings

As the Program Director for the Walla Walla Public Schools’ 21st CCLC after school programs, I could not pass up the opportunity to expose my students to the genius and passion of one of the world’s preeminent scientists. An effort of this magnitude, though, required significant community support. The overwhelming assistance provided by the many individuals, businesses, and organizations in Walla Walla to bring this event to fruition demonstrated there is a latent, passionate scientist residing deep within all of us.

Sometimes, this inner-scientist, our inherent curiosities, lead us to question our world and push the envelope of discovery; often times though, the process requires a guide. As educators, it is imperative we embrace our role as guides. We must continuous lead our students to unexpected places where they get the chance to respond with wonderment and awe. When you occasionally lose your way, like the early navigators, look to the stars. Neil DeGrasse Tyson, thanks for being a star and imparting in us a cosmic perspective.Brent Cummings serves as the Program Director for the 21st Century Community Learning Center initiative managed by Walla Walla Public Schools. This program’s ongoing success rates, significantly higher than expected, reflect Brent’s passion for educating at-risk youth in after school environments. The unique methodologies and curricula utilized in the WWPS 21st CCLC programs captivate all youth, whose intense engagement prepares them for future success.

Seattle & King County Policy Updates

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and King County Councilmember Dow Constantine have been in the news lately regarding restructuring of education services and proposals for funding to support children during their early years.  Take a moment to read about these recent headlines and issues facing Seattle and King County area residents.

Mayor Murray Announces Creation of City Department for Education and Early Learning

On September 22, Mayor Murray transmitted his 2015-2016 budget proposal. Included is the creation of the new Department for Education and Early Learning. This new department would combine the City’s education-related investments and programs into one new department. This department would serve to:

  • Demonstrate the City’s renewed commitment to closing Seattle’s achievement and opportunity gap
  • Align the City’s education and early learning programs and initiatives to maximize learning outcomes for children
  • Embed the goals and principles of the City’s Race and Social Justice Initiative into its day-to-day approach to education
  • Prepare for implementation of a voluntary, high‐quality, preschool program for the city’s three‐ and four‐year‐olds
  • Boost students’ academic achievement through closer collaboration with the Seattle School District

There will be two upcoming City Council sponsored public hearings on the Mayor’s 2015 Proposed Budget. One hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, October 7 at 5:30 p.m. at Garfield Community Center. The other hearing is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, October 23 at Seattle City Hall, Council Chambers.

Seattle Pre-School Initiatives

There has been quite a bit of news coverage of late on two competing Preschool ballot initiatives this fall on the Seattle ballot. Seattle voters will be asked 1) if you want to vote on a Preschool initiative, and 2) which one you’d like to vote for.  While you can only vote for one of the measures, they don’t provide mutually exclusive benefits.

This article from the Seattle Times provides an overview of the differences in ballot initiatives.

King County Updates

King County Executive Dow Constantine announced this week a proposed children’s levy for next year’s ballot.  As he states in his announcement:

“We can build a more prosperous and equitable King County by assuring that every baby born and every child raised in this community has a strong start in life and enters adulthood ready to succeed,” said Executive Constantine in an address to the Metropolitan King County Council. “Over time, investing in healthy children and communities will save lives, and balance our budgets.”

Currently, King County is engaging people in creating a Youth Action Plan.  This work will likely shape the children’s levy.  There will be 4 community conversations around King County in October to help shape the plan.

October 1, 2014, 6:00-8:30 p.m. - Community Conversation

October 1, 2014, 6:00-8:30 p.m. - Community Conversation
Kamiakin Middle School
14111 132nd Ave NE, Kirkland, WA 98034
Interpretation available for Arabic, Cantonese, and Vietnamese speakers

October 4, 2014 – Snoqualmie/Rural East King County Community Conversation
10:30-12:30 p.m.
Fall City Library
33415 SE 42nd Place
Fall City, WA 98024
Interpretation available for Spanish speakers

October 4, 2014 – Kent/South County Community Conversation
3:00-5:00 p.m.
Mill Creek Middle School (cafeteria or multi-purpose room)
620 North Central Avenue
Kent, WA 98030
Interpretation available for Somali, Spanish and Vietnamese speakers

October 25, 2014 – South Seattle Community Conversation

3:00-5:00 p.m.
Smilow Rainier Vista Club
4520 Martin Luther King Jr Way S
Seattle, WA 98108
Interpretation available for Somali, Spanish and Vietnamese speakers

For more information and to stay up to date on policy news, contact David Beard, SOWA’s Education Policy & Advocacy Director.

Education Week Posts Blog on Addressing Structural Racism Authored by School’s Out Staff

School’s Out Washington’s Statewide Training Manager Emily Emerson, and AmeriCorps VISTA member Katrina Go recently co-authored a blog post in Education Week on the work of School’s Out and the role of the afterschool and youth development field in addressing racial equity.  Take a moment to read this very thoughtful post on why it matters that those of us in youth-serving professions understand and take action to address structural racism.

Bringing Ferguson Home: How to Begin Addressing Structural Racism

Ferguson continues to be a national conversation, bringing with it a spotlight on race in the classroom and in afterschool programs. Emily Emerson and Katrina Go share why Schools Out Washington makes racial equity a core part of their work and share some tips for educators to begin addressing these issues. 

By Emily Emerson and Katrina Go

Many have been engaging in the national conversation regarding why a white police officer would kill an unarmed young black man.  Media and social commentary demonstrate prevalent views that race does not and should not matter in the case of Michael Brown and Darren Wilson… Read the full post here.

Washington Afterschool Leader Named Afterschool Ambassador

Brent Cummings_Photo2Brent Cummings loves afterschool education! Expanding upon his love of lifelong learning and his commitment to encouraging and engaging youth afterschool, Brent has recently been selected as an Afterschool Ambassador for the Afterschool Alliance. He is one of just 13 local leaders from across the country to be chosen for the honor this year.

“I am extremely honored to be a member of such an amazing team,” said Brent. “It is increasingly important that we continue to advocate for, and engage our youth in, afterschool programming. I am excited to spread the word and share the awesomeness that is afterschool programming both through measurable results and the actuality of amazing programs.”

In addition to his role as an Afterschool Ambassador, Brent serves as the Program Director for the 21st Century Community Learning Center initiative managed by Walla Walla Public Schools. This program’s ongoing success rates, significantly higher than expected, reflect Brent’s passion for educating at-risk youth in afterschool environments. The unique methodologies and curricula utilized in the WWPS 21st CCLC programs captivate all youth, whose intense engagement prepares them for future success.

Brent will continue directing WWPS’s 21st CCLC afterschool programs while also serving the one-year Afterschool Ambassador term organizing public events, communicating with policy makers, and building support for afterschool programs.

In his role as Afterschool Ambassador, Brent will be engaged in national and state level work to build public will and raise awareness around the importance of afterschool programming in supporting young people future success in school and in life. Stay tuned for more from Brent over this year as he settles into this new, exciting role.

Scholarships available for Washington State licensed school-age programs

School’s Out Washington is offering partial scholarships to the Bridge Conference to qualified applicants.

To qualify, you must:

  1. Identify as a person of color, and/or work in a program or school serving 75% or more youth of color,
  2. Work at a program site or school in the state of Washington,
  3. Work in a Washington state licensed, exempt, or tribally-certified child care or afterschool program and
  4. Commit to attending both days of the conference.

Scholarships are awarded on a first-come first served basis. Applications are due not later than September 26, 2014, so apply for a scholarship now!

Introducing David Beard, Education Policy and Advocacy Director

davidWe are thrilled to have David Beard joining our team as SOWA’s Education Policy and Advocacy Director. Take a few minutes to learn about David and what brought him to SOWA.

Where are you from?

I was born in Colorado Spring, CO, but grew up in the Fort Lewis and Puyallup areas of Pierce County, WA. My only time away from Washington State was to go to grad school in Texas and to try out the East Coast in Washington, DC, and Maryland for the past five years. I’m very happy to be back home.

What do you like to do in your own time?

I enjoy volunteering for local organizations and am eager to get back into civic life in Washington State. I am also an avid Madonna fan and enjoy diva pop. When I’m not lip syncing, I enjoy dancing as well and I look forward to taking salsa lessons this fall. My family is very important to me and one of my favorite times of the week is Sunday dinner with the family and playing with my mom’s long-haired dachshund Molly.

What brought you to School’s Out Washington?

My entire career has been dedicated to advancing policies that will improve the lives of children and families. My previous work includes advocating for early childhood programs nationally and in Washington as well as improving the Pre-K – 12th grade system in Maryland. School’s Out Washington will be a great place to continue making sure children have the programs and resources they need to be successful in school and life. Youth development enrichment programs helped me academically and socially when I was in school and I am eager to see that all children have these opportunities.

Tell us one thing that you are proud of.

I am proud of the collective efforts of advocates and parents that worked to pass new state regulations in Maryland that will decrease the overuse of suspension and expulsion, increase positive behaviors, and eliminate disparities in discipline by race and ability. Over the past twenty years, all states saw a dramatic increase in suspension rates due to zero tolerance policies that were intended for weapons, but led schools to suspend more for typical childhood behavior such as disrespect. A host of partners worked together to create a winning policy and communications strategy that led to the first-in-the nation regulations. I hope to be a part of many more policy wins

Celebrate the 15th Annual Lights On Afterschool on October 23rd

Launched in October 2000, Lights On Afterschool is the only nationwide event celebrating afterschool programs and their important role in the lives of children, families and communities. The effort has become a hallmark of the afterschool movement.

Lights On Afterschool celebrates the many ways afterschool programs support students by offering them opportunities to learn new things—such as science, community service, robotics, Tae Kwon Do and poetry—and discover new skills. The events send a powerful message that millions more kids need quality afterschool programs.

The Afterschool Alliance, organizer of Lights On Afterschool, has a comprehensive toolkit with resources to help you plan an event along with some guiding questions to help you narrow down what you want your event to look like. Once you register as an office Lights On Afterschool celebration, you will receive an event starter kit, including 10 free posters and a chance to win prizes each week leading up to October 23rd.

We want to make sure that Washington is on the map! Whether it’s a small gathering of youth and families or a larger community event with policy makers, business and other leaders, each celebration makes a difference in spreading the word about the importance of afterschool and joining in this national movement.

School’s Out Washington will be hosting an event, so stay tuned for more details as the location and theme become finalized. If you would like any support with your event or ideas around how to promote the celebration in your community, contact Danielle Baer by email or phone at (206) 336-6928.

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