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Proposed Deep Cuts to Afterschool Programs would hurt Students and Communities

President Donald Trump’s proposed federal budget includes a $1.2 billion cut to after-school and summer programs. In explaining the budget on Thursday, Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said there is no evidence that after-school programs benefit student performance.

Michelle Schmitt, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the Department of Counseling and Special Education in the School of Education at Virginia Commonwealth University, helped obtain a grant that established the Virginia Partnership for Out-of-School Time, a statewide public-private partnership that is dedicated to expanding programs that serve students before-school, after-school, during vacation periods, and over the summer.

Schmitt is director of the Center for School-Community Collaboration at the School of Education, and a licensed clinical psychologist and certified substance abuse counselor who has worked in juvenile and adult corrections. When it comes to improving students’ grades, attendance, self-esteem, teamwork or even just providing them with a safe place, Schmitt said she can think of few investments of public spending that are as effective as evidence-based after-school and summer programs.

For a number of years, You served as a grant reviewer for Virginia's 21st Century community awards, which distributes federal funds to school programs in Virginia and which is on the chopping block in Trump’s budget. What sort of programs does this money fund?

The 21st Century program funds after-school and summer programs. Grants are awarded in Virginia through a competitive process, as there are more sites with students who want these programs than there are funds available. Typically, less than half of those who apply are awarded funding. Priority points are given in the competitive review process for sites that serve more impoverished areas, as well as high school-aged youth. In 2014-15, 22,489 students in Virginia were served by 21st Century funded programming.

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7th Annual VPOST Conference

The 7th Annual VPOST Conference was sponsored by the Virginia Department of Education, the Virginia Department of Social Services, the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, and the SOHO Center.

This event was kicked off by VPOST Youth Ambassadors. They led attendees in a fun activity about how Afterschool and Out-of-School Time aids in workforce development. Blaire Denson, VPOST Director, spoke about the impact of out-of-school time programs on strengthening families, engaging youth, and improving outcomes for children and youth in Virginia. The keynote address was offered by Len Forkas, founder of Hopecam. Len motivated his audience by sharing his story about his son, the creation of Hopecam, and his endurance athleticism. Following Len's keynote address, Sara Dunnigan, with the Virginia Board of Workforce Development shared her experience in the field, and gave some personal and anecdotal insight about the readiness of today's youth for post-secondary options. Lynn Sodat, with the Virginia Department of Education spoke next about the new Every Student Succeeds Act.

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What Can We Do?

Dear Afterschool Professional:

Events recently have left our small team at the National AfterSchool Association and the members of our community sad, frightened and asking, "What can we do?"
To all who work in this field, our answer is this: Keep doing what you are doing. Keep teaching children that love is greater than hate. Help them understand that violence is never an answer. Teach them to build bridges, not walls. Teach them to love and respect every single person. And above all, keep up the laser focus on developing their skills to acknowledge and manage feelings and use communication, compassion and curiosity to work through adversity.
We know this what you all do every day in your programs. That knowledge is one of the few things that gives us encouragement on days like this. Your servant leadership to the children you work with and for gives us hope for a much brighter future than we have today.
Sincerely,

The Team at NAA

 

Student-Athlete Concussions

During the 2015 General Assembly Session, legislation was introduced by Delegate Luke Torian (House Bill 2006) and Senator Richard Stuart (Senate Bill 998).  The legislation as introduced would have required each local school division to establish a management plan for implementation of and compliance with its policies and procedures on the identification and handling of suspected concussions in student-athletes.  The Senate Education and Health Committee and the House Education Committee members reviewed these bills and determined that further study of this issue would be appropriate.  The members of the Committees requested the Commission on Youth to study the provisions set forth in the legislation.  As a result, the Commission on Youth adopted a study plan on May 5, 2015 to address student-athlete concussions. 

According to the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, concussions are considered to be one of the most complex sports injuries.  Short-term effects may include: loss of consciousness, confusion, memory disturbance, slowed reaction time, headaches, dizziness, vomiting, mood changes and sleep alternation.  Long-term effects may include: depression, mild memory disturbance, mild cognitive impairment, chronic headaches, irritability, vertigo, difficulty concentrating, impulsiveness and posttraumatic stress disorder. 

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Providing supper to kids through an afterschool program? The Virginia No Kid Hungry campaign is requesting your participation in a short (5-10 minute) survey designed to study how afterschool programs in the Commonwealth are meeting the nutritional needs of their participants. Please click here to support the First Lady’s initiative to end child hunger in Virginia and learn about about federal funding to provide kids with healthy meals after school. If you are interested in supporting your program’s food service with funding from the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) and/or the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), please contact No Kid Hungry Virginia State Director, Eddie Oliver, at 804-692-2583 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . For information about Virginia No Kid Hungry and grant opportunities follow No Kid Hungry on Facebook or Twitter, or visit their website.

 

 

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America After 3PM

More Students in Virginia and Nationally Are Attending Summer Learning Programs, But Unmet Demand Is High. Washington, DC — Participation in summer learning programs in Virginia has increased in the last five years, but there is still tremendous unmet demand, according to data from the America After 3PM study. It found that 34 percent of families in the state report that at least one of their children participated in a summer learning program in 2013, compared with 26 percent in 2008. Nationally, 33 percent of families have at least one child in a summer learning program, up from 25 percent in 2008. Despite the progress at the state and national levels, the demand for summer programs far exceeds the rate of participation.

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Afterschool is the New Norm

By: Jodi Grant

As the pace of work ratchets backs up, and we face the challenges and opportunities a new year brings, I wanted to take a moment to look at where we are, and where we need to go.  We learned a lot about that in 2014, with the release of our third America After 3PM report, the most in-depth survey exploring the afterschool hours in our nation. Over the past 10 years, afterschool program participation has increased by more than 50 percent, to more than 10 million children.  Quite an accomplishment. But the unmet demand for afterschool programs has also seen a steady increase.

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Raising the Bar for Afterschool

On November 5, 2014, an exclusive gathering of champions for quality out-of-school time programming in Virginia convened at the Virginia Partnership for Out-of-School Time (VPOST) Summit.  This event was designed for professionals working in the field of education, juvenile justice, school-age child care, prevention and youth development, recreation, military family support, and social services. Hosted by VPOST at the Williamsburg, Virginia DoubleTree Hotel, attendees had the opportunity to build knowledge and public will in support of Raising the Bar for Afterschool and Summer Learning for Student Success. A focus on increased awareness among all stakeholder groups regarding the impact of out-of-school opportunities on both youth and community outcomes was the overriding theme of this event.

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