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Afterschool Program Environments Linked to Academic Confidence and Skills

NYU – Staff Writer

“Young people growing up in urban, low-income communities spend significant time in publicly funded afterschool programs. Unlike schools, which grow increasingly segregated and involve more individual instruction as children grow older, afterschool programs are spaces where instructors, often similar to the students in age and background, can facilitate diverse, productive interactions that help youth reach social and academic goals. “Because of their unique position at the juncture of school, neighborhood, and home, afterschool programs may be particularly important for youth on a path toward school disengagement or risky behaviors,” said study author Elise Cappella, associate professor of applied psychology at NYU Steinhardt and director of NYU’s Institute of Human Development and Social Change.”(more)

Girls Outperform Boys on NAEP Tech, Engineering Sections

Education News – Kristin Decarr

“According to results from the NAEP exam, also called the Nation’s Report Card, American eighth-grade girls were found to outperform their male peers in technology and engineering literacy tests. Overall, girls were found to score three points higher than boys. This information is a reversal of gender expectations, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, as boys tend to score higher than girls do in math and science testing. “We did not expect this pattern and the pattern does seem to be pretty clear from the data,” said Peggy Carr, acting commissioner of the National Center for Education Statistics, a data arm of the Department of Education that evaluated the test results. “Overall it looks like girls have the ability and critical thinking skills to succeed in the fields of technology and engineering, and that’s worth noting.”…The test also discovered that students who participated in after-school activities that were focused on design and systems, such as a robotics club, or spent time creating their own design concepts typically scored higher than their peers who did not.”(more)

After-school clubs ‘can improve poorer children’s education’

The Guardian – Staff Writer

“After-school clubs can improve the academic performance and social skills of children from disadvantaged backgrounds, research shows. The study of 6,400 children in England found that those who took part in organised sports and physical activities at the ages of five, seven and 11 were almost one and a half times more likely to reach a higher than expected level in their Key Stage 2 (KS2) maths test at the age of 11. Disadvantaged children who attended after-school clubs also fared better than their peers who did not take part.”(more)

3 Reasons to Enroll Your Student in a STEM Program

KOAA – Staff Writer

“Does your student love learning how things work? Is he all about dinosaurs, space or computers? Or perhaps she’s a math wizard with a passion for numbers? If so, you should consider enrolling your child in a STEM program. STEM programs are focused on four educational areas: science, technology, engineering and math. They’re sometimes also referred to as STEAM to include the arts. “STEM or STEAM programs integrate of a lot of different content areas with the overarching philosophy of kids as explorers,” explains Linda Sanders, science coordinator for Colorado Springs School District 11. “They typically involve a lot of hands-on activities, where questions and answers aren’t given and students create their own authentic questions and do investigations.””(more)

Has your child’s elementary school stopped teaching history, science, and other content? Here’s how to do it yourself

Thomas B. Fordham Institute – Michael J. Petrilli

“In a perfect world, all children would have access to an inspiring, well-rounded education, especially in pre-K and elementary school. They need a solid grounding in history, science, art, music, and literature. This is the period when their minds, like little sponges, are most receptive to learning about faraway times and places, hearing the classic stories from cultures around the world, understanding how the universe works, and unleashing their mini-Picassos and Beethovens. Plus, cognitive science tells us, these “extras” help our kiddos become excellent readers to boot—setting them up for a successful academic career from pre-K to college…Unfortunately, the vast majority of American elementary schools continue to eschew the type of well-rounded education that builds children’s knowledge…Perhaps most tragically, many elementary schools claim not to have time for history, science, and the arts because they are too busy teaching reading…So what’s a mom or dad to do?…Here are some concrete ideas…”(more)

After-school Program Funding Remains Separate Under New Major Education Law

The Huffington Post – Susan Frey

“After-school and summer programs will not only retain a separate funding stream, they will also get a slight boost in dollars under the new federal education bill and budget…the programs will get almost $1.17 billion in dedicated funds, which includes a $15 million increase. About 10 percent of the budgeted funds will likely come to California because of the large size of the state’s student population, said Jessica Gunderson, policy director for the Partnership for Children and Youth, an advocacy group based in Oakland. But the slight increase will not do much to meet the demand, Gunderson said. Currently, less than 20 percent of programs that apply get funded, she said.”(more)