NYSAN Digest December 2014
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NYSAN Digest
December 2014

As 2014 comes to a close, we want to thank all of you for your support this year. The afterschool field benefits immeasurably from all of our afterschool champions and advocates, program practitioners, technical assistance providers, and dedicated funders. We look forward to great progress on behalf of New York’s youth in 2015!
Best wishes this holiday season!
                 -The NYSAN Team



What Does NYSAN Do for You?

We are so pleased to announce an exciting result of our efforts. As highlighted in the April NYSAN Digest, the Expanded Learning Network of the Southern Tier (ELNoST), one of the regional networks formed with assistance from NYSAN, fostered collaboration between network agencies to create a joint summer experience for youth entitled The Garden of Fire. In that same April NYSAN Digest, we highlighted the National Endowment for the Arts Challenge America grant. The Garden of Fire summer program applied for the grant through the lead agency, The Rockwell Museum, and was selected to receive this prestigious federal grant! Read about it in the Star Gazette.
This grant opportunity is open again and is highlighted below under Funding & Competitions.
How do you make use of NYSAN’s work?

Policy Updates

FY15 Spending Bill Includes Increases for Afterschool

This month, Congress passed a spending bill that funds most federal programs through September 30, 2015. The appropriations include an increase of $2.3 million for 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC), bringing the total 21st CCLC funding back to the pre-sequester funding level.  The bill also includes language that emphasizes the importance of afterschool and summer programs, saying that “data demonstrates that quality afterschool programs have a positive impact on a number of measures of student academic achievement, positively affecting behavior and discipline and helping relieve parents’ worries about their children’s safety during the hours when school is out.” Several other programs that support afterschool and summer programs also saw an increase in funding, including $25 million for Title I and $75 million for Child Care Development Block Grants (CCDBG). Read more here.
Thank you to New York’s legislators that voted in favor of this spending bill: Senator Chuck Schumer, and Representatives Timothy Bishop, Chris Collins, Joseph Crowley, Michael Grimm, Chris Gibson, Richard Hanna, Pete King, Nita Lowey, Daniel Maffei, Sean Patrick Maloney, Carolyn McCarthy, Gregory Meeks, Bill Owens, Tom Reed. We appreciate your support of 21st CCLC, CCDBG, and other funding on behalf of New York’s youth!


Survey on Staff Fingerprinting

It has come to NYSAN’s attention that many out-of-school-time programs are feeling a burden due to requirements to have staff fingerprinted by more than one state or local agency. The Greater Rochester After-School Alliance (GRASA) has conducted a survey in Rochester regarding this matter and has shared this survey with NYSAN.
Please take a moment to fill out this short survey to let us know how fingerprinting requirements do or do not affect your program. We will be using all of the results to inform our policy agenda, and greatly appreciate your input. 

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QSA Tip of the Month

Programming & Activities

“A quality program provides a well-rounded variety of activities and opportunities that support the physical, social, and cognitive growth and development of all participants.”

Indicator 12

“Employs a variety of grouping strategies, for both structured and unstructured activities, including individual, small group, and large group.”

Tip for Success

Think about what skills you use when you are working alone – independence, time management, and problem solving might be some that come to mind. Now what about when you are working in a large group? Leadership, group management, and compromise might be some skills you employ. The same goes for youth – they cultivate different skills depending on the group setting they are in. This is why it is important to vary the grouping strategies for activities in your program.
Take a look at each day’s schedule and see when any given participant will have a chance to do individual work, small group work, and large group work. What about varying strategies within an activity? Is there a planning piece that could start as individual work and then move to a small group for implementation? Can the large group then come together to share their projects and get feedback?
Also consider varying who is in each group so that all participants get to know each other. Check out this great strategy that a teacher has used for 15 years to combat bullying in her classroom. How can you use this same strategy in your program to identify any bullying issues and vary your groups?

NYSAN Resource of the Month

Benefits of Afterschool

Do you ever struggle to explain the benefits of afterschool programs? When in doubt, remember that afterschool programs support student growth and learning, keep youth safe and reduce negative behaviors, and help working families. Check out NYSAN’s webpage, Benefits of Afterschool, with links to research supporting each reason. You can also look at the following page, What Does the Research Say About Afterschool Programs?, for additional research on afterschool. 

Field Resources, Tools, and Research


Click2Science STEM Resources

Click2Science is a fantastic resource for out-of-school time staff, trainers, coaches, and site directors to find interactive professional development in STEM. Improve the quality of STEM education in your program by learning to plan STEM experiences, interact with youth in STEM, and build STEM skills. A few examples of available STEM courses include:
Considerations when Selecting STEM Activities- Staff will be able to evaluate whether STEM activities are appropriate for their program and learn what types of activities best support youth in STEM.
How to Support Community Partners- Staff will learn strategies to develop partnerships with STEM-rich business and institutions in order to enhance the quality of their programs.
Watching for Collaboration- Staff will identify STEM activities that encourage collaboration and cooperation between group members and help them develop skills to work together effectively.
To find more training resources for staff, visit the Click2Science website.


Ready for Fall? The National Summer Learning Project

The Wallace Foundation’s National Summer Learning Project is a six-year initiative to understand how effective district-run summer programs are at improving educational outcomes for children in low-income communities. The project involves the Wallace Foundation, the RAND Corporation, and five urban school districts, including Rochester. The report, Ready for Fall? Near-Term Effects of Voluntary Summer learning Programs on Low-Income Students’ Learning Opportunities and Outcomes, highlights the near-term impacts the summer learning programs had on participant assessment scores in mathematics and reading. Over the first summer of the program, significant improvements were observed in student performance on math assessments. The Wallace Foundation has produced two briefs, Key Findings and By the Numbers, to explain the initial findings of the report. The entire report of the near-term findings for the National Summer Learning Project can be found here, and you can view a video overview here.

Afterschool and English Language Learners

Many afterschool programs serve English language learners in their programs. Two reports recently released by Child Trends examine the academic achievement of English language learners (ELL) and dual language learners (DLL) in the United States, with information that may be relevant to afterschool programs serving ELL or DLL students. A report analyzing the academic achievements of ELL students found the achievement gaps between ELL and non-ELL students has remained unchanged from 2000 to 2013, with an average of a 40% difference in fourth-grade reading and eighth-grade math scores. However, the report did find that some states are making improvements in ELL student achievement, with South Carolina and Louisiana showing no differences in fourth-grade reading scores between ELL and non-ELL students.
The other report found that, while the number of children living in households where a language other than English is spoken has risen by 3 million between 2003 and 2013, the number of DLL students who speak English proficiently has decreased from 2.8 million to 2.4 million. While research has shown that students growing up learning two or more languages can have many benefits, these students must receive the proper support to assist them in maintaining both languages.
 Afterschool and summer programs provide an opportunity to support these English language learners and dual language learners outside of the normal school day. Programs are able to assist students with homework, providing them with the support they may not be able to receive at home, as well as engage parents and provide instruction to parents that allow them to build their English skills, helping their children be more successful. For more information on supporting students through afterschool and summer programs, view this report that was published in the Expanding Minds and Opportunities compendium. 

Spotlight on Expanded Learning Opportunities in New York and Beyond

Programs Across New York Write to Governor Cuomo

Nepperhan Community Center (NCC), a member of the Hudson Valley Afterschool Network (HVAN), gave their participants the chance to express their feelings about the afterschool program. As part of a statewide challenge HVAN issued to get programs to write letters to Governor Cuomo, NCC collected letters from dozens of participants. The participants took pride in knowing that their letter would be sent to Governor Cuomo and could have a positive effect on afterschool programs statewide.
Queens Community House joined in the same challenge and allowed their participants to both write about their favorite part of afterschool and to draw a picture for the governor. Additionally, they collected heartfelt letters from high schoolers participating in their Access for Young Women program.
Olivia, a 3rd grade participant, said in her letter, “I like my afterschool program because we get to go to gym. We have kids’ choice. I go to girls’ group. I get to read my favorite books.”
At the Hudson Bluehawk Nation Afterschool Program, kids wrote about their favorite clubs and why their parents wanted them to attend the program. 7th grade participant Malakai said, “My mom sent me here to meet new people and have fun afterschool. I met my friends John, John, and Ben. Please continue funding for afterschool programs. It helps our family and our school.”
Did you miss out on this challenge? Don’t worry, you can still do your part to reach Governor Cuomo and tell him you support afterschool. Sign and share this petition now to show your support.

Do you have a story about a New York program you would like shared? Email Alli Lidie and your story could appear in a future NYSAN Digest.


Funding Opportunities & Competitions

New York STEAM Girls Collaborative Mini-Grants
Deadline: January 21, 2015

The National Girls Collaborative Project is offering mini-grants through the New York STEAM Girls Collaborative. These mini-grants are awarded to girl-serving, STEM focused programs and are meant to serve as seed funding to support collaboration, address gaps and overlaps in service, and share best practices.  For more information and a link to the online application, please visit the mini-grants webpage

Champions for Healthy Kids Grants
Deadline: January 23, 2015

The Champions for Healthy Kids grant program was created to encourage communities to improve their eating and physical activity patterns for youth. The General Mills Foundation has committed $1 million in funding for programs that operate from June 1, 2015-May 31, 2016. You can learn more about the grant program and access the application here

2015 National Arts & Humanities Youth Program Awards
Deadline: February 2, 2015

Applications are now being accepted for the 2015 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards. Twelve programs will be selected to receive the $10,000 award and will be invited to attend the awards ceremony at the White House, where the President’s Committee’s Honorary Chairman, First Lady Michelle Obama will present the awards. After-school and out-of-school time arts and humanities programs are encouraged to consider submitting an application. More information on the awards and how to apply can be found here

Performance Partnership Pilot
Deadline: March 4, 2015

The Performance Partnership Pilot is an initiative created by five Federal agencies to offer a new opportunity for communities to achieve better outcomes for their disconnected youth. The pilot program offers a unique opportunity to test innovative, cost-effective, and outcome-focused strategies to achieve significant improvement for disconnected youth in education, unemployment, and other key outcomes. For more information on the P3 initiative, which likely requires significant local partnerships, visit Find Youth Info’s webpage here.

Help Save Gorillas and Win $5,000
Deadline: April 3, 2015

The Cincinnati Zoo is holding the Go Bananas! Challenge for schools, scout groups, and community organizations to win up to $5,000 for their program. The contest involves collecting and recycling cell phones to help reduce destruction of gorilla habitats, where an ore found in cell phones called coltan is mined. To view the rules and to sign your team up for the challenge, visit the Go Bananas! Challenge webpage.

National Endowment for the Arts: Challenge America Grant
Deadline: April 16, 2015

The National Endowment for the Arts’ Challenge America grant programs offers support to organizations for projects that expose the arts to underserved populations. Funds are available for programming and projects that emphasize the potential of the arts in the community. Selecting engagement or livability as a desired outcome, programs are asked to provide evidence of the results at the culmination of the project. Grant awards are a fixed amount of $10,000 and require a minimum $10,000 match. The application deadline is April 16, 2015.

Upcoming Events

1/8: Webinar- Kids with Autism: Best Practices for Inclusion

NJSACC: The Statewide Network for New Jersey's Afterschool Communities continues its efforts for inclusion of children with disabilities in New Jersey's out-of-school time programming, with this professional development webinar. The webinar will provide strategies for educational supports, inclusive recreational activities and social interactions, and feature remarks from Lee McDermott Schaefer, Policy Director at NJSACC and Adrienne Robertiello, Autism Educator with the Children's Specialized Hospital.
Inclusion is more than letting children with disabilities into your afterschool program. The true essence of inclusion is the sense of belonging. This presentation will highlight important areas related to providing a welcoming and nurturing environment for children of all abilities. Although there is no standard methodology for inclusion, participants will discover some best practices of understanding and embracing differences, sharing strengths, guiding and adapting activities, supporting different levels of need and facilitating meaningful relationships. The webinar will provide strategies for educational supports, inclusive recreational activities and social interactions. Join the webinar from 1pm – 2pm EST on January 8th. Register here.

2/18-2/21: Beyond School Hours XVIII

The Beyond School Hours XVIII conference will take place in Orlando, Fl from February 18-21, 2015. The conference will include many opportunities for networking and for professional development, including hands-on workshops. Learn more and register here.

3/8-3/11: Nation AfterSchool Association Annual Convention

The National AfterSchool Association's  annual convention will be held from March 8-11, 2015 at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in Washington, D.C. Join other afterschool professionals, including NYSAN, in the nation’s capital to share your successes in afterschool programs and learn valuable new ideas. The Afterschool for All Challenge will take place on March 10th and will give afterschool leaders the opportunity to visit and educate Congress on the benefits of afterschool programs. Registration is now open and additional information can be found here.  

4/28-5/1: BOOST Conference

The BOOST Conference will be held from April 28-May 1, 2015 at the Palm Springs Convention Center in Palm Springs, California. Join over 2,000 other afterschool professionals for meetings with national leaders and public figures, workshops, and endless networking opportunities. Registration in now open at

Afterschool Pathfinder

For more events, check out Afterschool Pathfinder, which has an extensive list of upcoming trainings, seminars, and webinars.

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 & Communications Coordinator, at

Copyright © 2014 New York State Network for Youth Success, All rights reserved.
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