Archive | May, 2014

The Afterschool for All Challenge: 2014

22 May

Calling all Florida afterschool champions and partners!

On May 22, afterschool leaders from around the country are in Washington, D.C. to meet face to face with members of Congress, and to urge them to co-sponsor the Afterschool for America’s Children Act.  We need your help to amplify their voices.

Afterschool programs keep kids safe, inspire learning, and help working families.  All students should have access to these life changing opportunities.  Yet, 18 million children, roughly one million in Florida, who would like to participate don’t have a program available in their community.

The Afterschool for America’s Children Act will stregthen the 21st Century Community Learning Centers initiative – the only federal funding stream dedicated to supporting out-of-school programs nationwide.

Members of Congress need to hear from constituents like you who care about making afterschool for all a reality.  Help us make 535 calls to Congress – that’s one for every senator and representative on Capital Hill.

First, make the call.  Call one of Florida’s 29 senators or representatives on Capital Hill today.  Use these links to find the contact information for our Senators and Representatives.

Use this script to help guide your call:

“Hello, my name is (name), and I’m a constituent from (city, state).

“I’m calling to ask for (Congress person’s name) to co-sponsor the Afterschool for America’s Children Act.  This bill would support afterschool programs that keep kids safe, inspire learning, and help working families in our community be strengthening the 21st Century Community Learning Centers initiative.

“As a (educator, parent, concerned citizen, etc.), I am asking that (Congress person’s name) support our young people, and champion high-quality afterschool and summer learning opportunities for our kids by signing on as a co-sponsor to this bill.

“Would you please pass my message along to (Congress person’s name)?

“Thank you!”

Second, log your calls with the Afterschool Alliance here.

Lastly, spread the word to help us reach our goal of 535 calls to Capital Hill!

Thank you,

Joe Davis, CEO, Florida Afterschool Network

FAN awarded a STEM System Building grant

5 May

From the new Florida Afterschool Network STEM Policy Director, Samantha Thorstensen:

Through a grant awarded to the Florida Afterschool Network in 2014 by the NOYCE Foundation, FAN has begun to build a quality STEM system for afterschool programs in the state of Florida.  We are excited to already be working with regional partners in Jacksonville, Orlando, Miami, Tampa, and Tallahassee.  These partners will host existing afterschool programs to help them to build quality STEM activities within their programs.  The first to do so is the Museum of Science and History (MOSH) in Jacksonville, which is hosting a STEM Afterschool Workshop on September 20, 2014.  This workshop will feature additional FAN STEM partners, such as NASA STEM educators, MOSH educators, the National Magentic Laboratory, CPALMS, and Click2Science representatives.

Workshops of this nature with all of our regional partners are in the works, with the goals of :

  1. Increasing the percentage of students successful at conducting real-world STEM projects and inquiry, capable of authentic and collaborative problem solving, proficient in applying multidisciplinary knowledge and skills through STEM, and knowledgeable about and interested in STEM careers;
  2. Increasing the quality and quantity of STEM educators;
  3. Creating a statewide sustainable STEM leadership organization to align existing and emerging STEM initiatives and represent Florida as one voice in meeting STEM demands.

If programs are committed to prioritizing quality STEM learning, they must also apply the resolve needed to provide quality support to their staff.  Professional development is absolutely vital to advancing quality STEM learning.  Programs must also commit to quality STEM learning beyond training.  Quality STEM learning activities offer time for student reflection.  The plan should focus on increasing student interest and engagement, ensuring that each of their activities are purposeful in support of their plan, and links cohesviely to what students are learning in the core instructional day.  Program leaders must seek the resources, tools and partnerships necessary to make such a plan successful.  These workshops will help build quality STEM plans for programs, as well as guide and support them with resources to accomplish this.

Support of FAN’s work to help infuse STEM into afterschool is overflowing across Florida.  This support was evident at the Midwest Afterschool Science Academy held in Kansas City in April 2014. where Florida stood out as a shining example of community and state support.

FAN’s staff has also bee working together with other exciting projects and partners, which include:

  • The National Zero Robotics Middle School Summer Program,
  • the Florida Institute of Technology TEDx event,
  • Prime Time of West Palm Beach Afterschool Symposium, and
  • NASA Days with Florida program.

Look form more amazing STEM-ulating projects in the near future for Florida afterschool programs!