Promoting young people's safety, learning, and healthy development outside the traditional classroom

March 2013

NYSAN News and Resources

  • NYSAN Joins Afterschool Alliance in the Afterschool for All Challenge
NYSAN’s Executive Director, Nora Niedzielski-Eichner, was among 200 advocates for quality afterschool and summer programs that participated in the Afterschool for All Challenge in Washington, D.C. this February. She spoke with members of Congress to show support for afterschool programs and to educate on current legislation that may impact the afterschool field.
  • NYSAN Gives Testimony 
Nora Niedzielski-Eichner has been advocating for afterschool in New York State. She gave testimony at the Joint Legislative Public Hearing on the 2013 - 2014 Executive Budget Proposal on Human Services to increase funding for Advantage After School. She also encouraged consideration of the impact of combining the Youth Development and Delinquency Prevention and Special Delinquency Programs, requested an increase in funding for Summer Youth Employment funds if the minimum wage is increased, and asked for an increase the State's contribution to child care subsidies. To view her testimony, click here.

Nora also testified at the Joint Legislative Public Hearing on the 2013 - 2014 Executive Budget Proposal on Education to discuss the importance of the Governor's proposal for competitive grant programs for Extended Learning Time and Community Schools and to encourage the programs to include required community partners. View a copy of this testimony here.
  • NYSAN Welcomes New Policy and Communications Coordinator
NYSAN is pleased to introduce Alli Lidie, the new Policy and Communications Coordinator. Alli recently moved to New York City after working in Dallas as a Quality Advisor with Dallas AfterSchool Network. In her role, Alli worked alongside program providers to assist them in growing program quality. Alli is excited to join the NYSAN team and to support programs in New York.
  • NYSAN Quality Self-Assessment Webinar
Improving afterschool program quality must begin with a commitment on the part of practitioners to examine their programs with a critical eye. A quality program is one that is reflective, willing to improve, change, and grow, and believes in successful outcomes for its participants. Moreover, outstanding practitioners understand that improving program quality is an ongoing process. Self-assessment provides an important opportunity for programs to identify strengths and weaknesses free from the pressures of external monitoring and evaluation. In fact, ongoing self-assessment is a key program development practice that can assist in preparing for program licensing, accreditation, monitoring or evaluation. The NYSAN Program Quality Self-Assessment (QSA) Tool is based on these concepts. Listen to a recording of the most recent webinar on using the QSA tool to learn more.

News from the Field
  • Inclusion of Youth with Disabilities in Afterschool Programs
The Therapeutic Recreation Journal recently released a study, Factors Affecting Staff Inclusion of Youth with Disabilities in After-School Programs. The findings indicate that programs promoting inclusion of youth with disabilities should focus on conveying expectations of inclusion to staff. After-school programs may convey this expectation through a variety of methods, including the employee handbook, an inclusion policy, and trainings on inclusion.

A survey of youth and families with autism revealed that one of the top experiences they wish to get out of attending community programs is the opportunity to participate in team sports and camping trips. Learn how to train and prepare staff to include these youth in physical activities and more with Leading the Way: Autism-Friendly Youth Organizations, a guide meant to better prepare organizations to serve youth and families with autism.
  • Digital Media and Learning in Afterschool
Technology and digital media are transforming the way children learn, but it can be a challenge to successfully integrate digital media into an afterschool program. Afterschool Alliance put together this issue brief that shows that intermediaries and other community organizations can provide support for programs who are wishing to get started in the digital media realm. Sites that offer high quality technology programs can help alleviate the new "digital divide" that separates those who use technology to produce content, such as blogs, videos, and digital art, and those who consume content by simply watching videos and using social media. Learn from the featured afterschool programs from around the country that have integrated digital media and technology in varying ways.
  • Expanding Minds and Opportunities
The Collaborative Communications Group, in partnership with the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, has put together a compendium of studies, reports, and commentaries on the best practices, impact, and future of expanded learning opportunities. Expanding Minds and Opportunities: Leveraging the Power of Afterschool and Summer Learning for Student Success makes the case for the importance of quality expanded learning opportunities.

Some pieces in the compendium include:

Maintaining a positive approach to homework can allow a program to strengthen connections with the school day, build relationships with families, complement youth development practices, and engage participants in expanded learning opportunities.
This piece, written by NYSAN's Co-Chair Lucy Friedman, explains the ExpandED Schools model to reinvent the learning day by expanding the traditional school day approximately 3 hours. Schools partner with a community organization in this model, and are able to offer at least 35% more learning time at 10% of the cost of the school day.
Afterschool and summer programs are essential partners in improving and increasing STEM education opportunities for youth. The article recommends that federal and state education policies ensure that afterschool and summer programs are included in STEM education policy initiatives.
High quality afterschool and summer programs that run programs within a global learning framework provide enhanced meaning for youth in the rapidly evolving world. This article describes steps and strategies to run a program with a global learning framework.

State Spotlight

  • Youth Net: A Wisconsin Afterschool Program Uses Case Management Plans to Link Data for Afterschool Improvement and Health Services
Youth Net, a Wisconsin afterschool program run by Marshfield Clinic (home of The Wisconsin Afterschool Network), focuses on the overall well-being of participants and leverages connections to combat health issues through afterschool programming. The program schedule may seem fairly typical, including homework time, physical activity and nutrition, life skills, and community service, but it is the enrollment process that allows this program to meet the unique needs of each participant.

The program gets parental permission to communicate directly with the participant's primary care provider to design specialized preventative services for each participant. Then, the five step enrollment process begins:

1. A formal enrollment interview, conducted with both the child and parents/guardian, starts the process of assessing the needs of the child, supports establishing preliminary goals and objectives, facilitates establishment of rapport, provides an opportunity to answer questions and obtain signatures on release-of-information forms.
2. Once a child is enrolled, teachers are contacted to assist in assessing needs regarding academic success, development, and healthy active living. Working as a team, day school and afterschool staff tailor intentional and sequential programming to meet individual needs.
3. A case management team convenes to review information collected through the enrollment interview and teacher contract.
4. The team develops a case management plan for each enrolled child.
5. Case management plans are reviewed throughout the year to determine progress and to be adjusted as needed to increase the potential for successful outcomes.

Marshfield Clinic has expanded efforts to continue leveraging the benefits of connections between afterschool and health care. In 2012, 24 AmeriCorps members were placed in afterschool programs, including those in rural areas and sites with 21st Century Community Learning Centers in the clinic's service region. The members implemented the Youth Net program case management system in addition to providing direct service to local schools, making strong connections between afterschool, school, and health activities.

Read more about the Marshfield Clinic program and get recommendations for afterschool providers here.


Tools, Research, and Resources


  • The Importance of Noncognitive and Life Skills in Long-Term Success
When preparing youth to thrive in the 21st century, the focus is often on academic success. It is important, however, to also consider noncognitive factors that individuals draw upon for success. Promoting Grit, Tenacity, and Perseverance-Critical Factors for Success in the 21st Century, examines three noncognitive factors- grit, tenacity, and perseverance- that are influence an individual's capacity to strive for and achieve long-term goals, especially in the face of adversity. The brief examines the extent to which these factors are teachable, tools to measure these factors, and ways in which to promote these factors through designed learning environments.

Child Trends has put together a related study, Encouraging the Development of Key Life Skills in Elementary School-Age Children: A Literature Review and Recommendations to the Tauck Family Foundation. Through review of research literature, they defined self control, mastery orientation, persistence, and academic self-efficacy as skills needed for success in elementary school and beyond. Research also suggests that these skills can be taught at an elementary level both during the school day and in afterschool programs.
  • Equity and Excellence Commission Presents Report to Secretary Duncan of the U.S. Department of Education
The Equity and Excellence Commission has formally presented its report to Secretary Duncan on the disparities in meaningful educational opportunities that lead to the achievement gap. “For Each and Every Child” offers a framework of recommendations to guide policymaking around education in order to address these disparities. The report includes conclusions about the benefits of afterschool programs on education, stating, "high-quality after-school programs that are coordinated with the school’s academic program have been found to result in meaningful positive effects on academic outcomes and significant improvements in educationally relevant attitudes and behaviors." As part of this report, the commission recommends acting to extend learning time.

Event Announcements

  • Design the 2013 Lights on Afterschool Flyer

Afterschool Alliance is looking for submissions of artwork from participants in afterschool programs to feature on their flyer for this October's Lights on Afterschool event. The winning piece will be featured on thousands of posters across the country. Find out more and review the guidelines on the Afterschool Alliance webpage. All submissions must be postmarked by May 1st to be considered.

  • PerformWell Webinars
Join PerformWell, founded by The Urban Institute, Child Trends, and Social Solutions, for webinars as part of their Performance Management Series and their New Surveys/Assessments Series. These free webinars are focused on helping non-profit organizations become more effective.

Lives on the Line: Why and How Mission-Driven Leaders are Embracing Performance Management, the next webinar in the Performance Management Series, will be held on March 7th from 3-4pm. Register and view recordings of past webinars here.

Funding Opportunities

  • GTECH Grants
Want to update your computer lab? GTECH After-School Advantage Program provides nonprofit community agencies and public schools with state-of-the-art computer labs. There are multiple awards of up to $15,000 worth of computers, online technology and computer software available. Deadline: Ongoing. For more information, please click here
  • Fender Music Foundation Grants
Looking for ways to add music instruction to your program, but need the instruments to do it? Multiple awards ranging from $500 to $5,000 worth of instruments and equipment to provide music instruction for people of any age who would not otherwise have the opportunity to make music are available through the Fender Music Foundation. Deadline: Ongoing.  For more information, please click here

If you have content you’d like featured in a future Digest, questions about anything that appears here, or any other feedback you would like to share, contact Alli Lidie, Policy and Communications Coordinator, at

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