It’s National Summer Learning Day!

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Today we celebrate National Summer Learning Day, a national advocacy day aimed at elevating the importance of keeping kids learning, safe and healthy every summer, ensuring they return to school in the fall ready to succeed in the year. Advocates will gather throughout the country to celebrate and share what they are doing this summer to #KeepKidsLearning.

Whether you work in a summer program, have a child in a summer program, or are a program supporter, here are a few easy ways you can join in the Summer Learning Day festivities and help raise awareness for the importance of summer learning in Missouri.

  1. Donate a Tweet or Facebook post via Thunderclap! 

    Helping to spread the word via your social networks is a great way you can raise awareness for the importance of summer learning. The National Summer Learning Association has made this even easier by creating a Thunderclap. Visit the Thunderclap page and log-in to your Facebook and/or Twitter, so that you can join advocates from around the country in raising your voice for summer learning!

  2. Check out the Summer Learning Day Events Calendar! 

    Register your summer learning event or program to the National Summer Learning Day events calendar to help families in your area find opportunities to celebrate and engage. You can register one-time events for Summer Learning Day, or add details about your programming taking place throughout the summer.

  3. Contact Congress and urge them to support Summer Learning! 

    Just as with afterschool programs, the federal 21st Century Community Learning Centers program is a key funding source for summer learning in Missouri. Contact our Congressional delegation to let them know how important it is to #KeepKidsLearning this summer. Tell Congress to protect funding for summer and afterschool programs.

Help us make a difference today in the lives of kids in Missouri and throughout the country.

Happy Summer Learning Day! 

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Summertime is here!

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June marks the official start of summer! Afterschool programs are closing out their programming, while summer learning programs are gearing up for a few months of fun and learning. There are many opportunities to advocate and educate throughout the summer months.

Legislative Advocacy in June

The start of June kicks off with the annual Afterschool for All Challenge in Washington DC on June 7. Advocates from around the country gather together in the Nation’s Capital to let Congress know that Afterschool Works for youth and families in Missouri and throughout the country. Visit the Afterschool Alliance’s website here for more information about how you can participate in the Challenge at home.

If you have summer programming, it’s also time to invite your legislators into your program while they’re not in session. Plan ahead and invite them on a day when kids can display what they’ve been working on this summer—think culminating events or performances—or if you plan to host an event for National Summer Learning Day on July 13 you can invite your legislators out to see your program in action. Take advantage of the opportunities you already have scheduled, and don’t worry about reinventing the wheel! Contact MASN if you need assistance (hansoncb@missouri.edu).

Local Advocacy in June

If you aren’t doing summer programming, June can be a great time to reflect on the past year and start planning for the next year of afterschool. Take the time to thank all of your partners and provide an update or end-of-year report to highlight what happened in your program this year.

Try making an inventory of current and prospective local partners. Use the summer months to make a plan for engaging partners that can provide funding, resources, and volunteers for the next year of programming.

Summer Activities for Youth and Families

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With Mother’s Day in May and Father’s Day in June, it can be a great time to have youth thinking about their role models. By not restricting it to just parents, you can make activities that are more inclusive for all children, from all situations. Consider devoting a unit to help youth think about their role models, write about their role models, and conclude the month by having them create something for their role model or invite their role models into your program.

Dates to Remember this Month:

6/7/2017—Afterschool for All Challenge

6/20-6/23/17—MAACCE Conference at the Lake of the Ozarks (Tan-Tar-A)

Save the Date:

7/13/17—Summer Learning Day!

The end MAY come…

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May is the culmination of the school year and the state legislative session. In many ways, it is a time to celebrate the end of things. But it also marks the beginning of many people’s favorite time of year: summer!

Download a PDF version of this page here.

Legislative Advocacy in May

With legislative session wrapping up in Jefferson City in May, now is a great time to thank our legislators for their service and for accomplishments throughout the legislative session. It is another key step in continuing to build relationships with our legislators.

If you have summer programming, it can also be a great time to think about inviting legislators to your summer program, as they will spend most of their summer in the district connecting with constituents. Visit http://house.mo.gov or http://senate.mo.gov to connect with your legislators this summer.

Though session is ending in Jefferson City, the next round of budgeting is kicking off in DC. Now is the time to let our Federal Senators and Representatives know that “Afterschool Works!” in Missouri for youth, family and communities. To take action and make your voice heard, take a few minutes and visit the action center here.

Local Advocacy in May

The end of the school year can be a great time to reflect on some of your best success stories from the previous year. As we continue to collect success stories, reach out to students, parents, and teachers to find out what some of their highlights of the year were.

Stories can be anecdotal, or if you work in a program and have data to share, you can share that as well. You can also upload pictures to share with your story.

Share your afterschool story here!

Activities for Youth and Parents

End of year events are a great way to engage youth and their parents by highlighting what the youth have been working on throughout the year in your program, and by having fun, family-oriented events to cap off the school year. Consider how your end of year events might engage parents with their youth, while showing off the great work you’ve been doing throughout the year.

Check out some of ideas for fun Family Nights here

Staying Connected via Social Media

As we continue our advocacy efforts, use the hashtag #AfterschoolWorks to share what is going on in your program and to show how afterschool is working for the youth and families in your community. Early next month, a team of Missourians will be meeting with our members of Congress in DC on June 7, and need your support from online (and by phone!) to let our representatives and senators know how important our programs are in Missouri.

Don’t forget to follow us @MO_Afterschool on Twitter and look for the Missouri AfterSchool Network on Facebook!

What If Wednesday: Are you making time for YOU?

What If you need to make time to take care of yourself? 

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“Self-care is not selfish. You cannot serve from an empty vessel.” –Eleanor Brownn 

Answer the urgent emails and leave the rest for another time. Finalize program plans for the day. Gather supplies for the activity. Get snacks together. Make sure you have the sign-in sheet. Be upbeat when you greet the students. Build those relationships. Settle the dispute going on at the table in the corner before someone takes a swing at someone else. Get all the kids to their first activity space. Help get the homework finished. Fill in for the staff that called out that day. Call the mothers of the students who got in a fight. Transition the kids to their enrichment time. Be as positive as possible in all your interactions with students and staff. Make sure everyone who is supposed to be on the bus is on there. Greet the parents who come to pick up their children. Build those relationships. Hold a brief staff meeting before everyone scatters for the evening. Clean up your space so the people who come in and use it tomorrow aren’t irritated with you. Take the bus driver’s call when she calls about the issue that happened as she transported the students home. Enter student attendance into your data base. Check email and voicemail one more time. Answer what is urgent and leave everything else for later. Go home to rest so you can do it all again tomorrow.

Are you tired yet?

There is a good chance you are a little bit tired. There are multiple factors at work here but one of the greatest factors is that, typically, people who work with students are givers. We are pleased to serve and rarely do we see our chosen profession as only a “job”. We get into it to make a difference and to change the world, not to make piles of money. We live in the space of always giving of our time and our talents and we are happy to do that. Until…

Until we can’t give anymore.

What we do in the world of education, regular day and afterschool, is a difficult task and, most of the time, it is a thankless job. We work long hours, with other people’s children, and it takes a very long time for us to see a “finished product”. In order to keep doing what we do, we have to learn to take care of ourselves….and usually we’re not very good at that. However, it is imperative that we take time to replenish our energy and to refill our tanks. We must seize the opportunities to be inspired and to remember why we started.

Are you tired? Not tired like you didn’t sleep well last night but deep-down, in your soul, tired. If so, make some time to take care of yourself. Take a couple of days off work. Find a creative, physical, or emotional outlet. Go to a conference. Read a book that has nothing to do with your job. Talk with friends or family. If your tired is bigger than a conversation with a friend, make an appointment with a professional. Whatever it is, find something that restores your energy and your desire to keep doing what you’re doing.

If we are running on empty, it’s hard to come up with anything to give to those in our programs.

What If we understand that taking care of ourselves is one of the best things we can do for our students?

Make some time for yourself! 

brad-lademann_______________________________________________________
Brad Lademann

Afterschool Resource Coordinator
Missouri AfterSchool Network 

Brad Lademann is a dynamic youth speaker with 16 years of public speaking experience and 12 years of experience working with middle school and high school students. He has worked with teens in many capacities including teacher, youth pastor, coach, mentor, and afterschool program supervisor. He currently works with MASN as our Resource Coordinator and provides technical assistance to SAC and 21CCLC grantees.

April is for ADVOCACY!

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April showers bring May flowers and many opportunities for advocacy with the state legislature in full swing and Congress working on the budget in Washington.

Legislative Advocacy in April

In President Trump’s skinny budget proposal, funding for 21st Century Community Learning Centers is eliminated. While the budget ultimately has to pass through Congress and is nowhere near final form, this is alarming news for afterschool advocates. 21stCCLC funding is the largest source of funds for afterschool in Missouri at just over $18 million annually, serving over 18,000 youth daily, and over 24,000 youth throughout the school year and in summer.

Now is the time to let our Federal Senators and Representatives know that “Afterschool Works!” in Missouri for youth, family and communities. To take action and make your voice heard, take a few minutes and visit the action center here.

Local Advocacy in January

To support our advocacy efforts, we are also teaming up with the Afterschool Alliance to collect stories about the impact afterschool has on youth, families, and communities throughout Missouri.

We want to hear stories from youth/afterschool alum, parents, teachers, afterschool professionals and other partners. Stories can be anecdotal, or if you work in a program and have data to share, you can share that as well. You can also upload pictures to share with your story.

Share your afterschool story here!

Activities for Youth and Parents

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In addition to collecting afterschool stories from youth and parents, Afterschool Professionals Appreciation Week (April 24-28) is a great time to involve them in thanking the professionals who work in programs every day. Give parents and youth an opportunity to leave thank you notes for the staff in your program, or share why they appreciate the professionals who are truly the HEART of afterschool.

Staying Connected via Social Media

We will be taking to social media for Afterschool Professionals Appreciation Week (April 24-28) using the #heartofafterschool hashtag to show our support for afterschool professionals during the week!

As we continue our advocacy efforts, use the hashtag #MOAfterschoolWorks to share what is going on in your program and to show how afterschool is working for the youth and families in your community.

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Don’t forget to follow us @MO_Afterschool on Twitter and look for the Missouri AfterSchool Network on Facebook!

Download a printable version of this calendar here.

What If Wednesday: Is it worth the effort?

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What If what you are trying to do is worth the effort, despite the apparent “lack of progress”?

“It takes a long time to happen so fast.” -Lupe Fiasco

We are an instant society, aren’t we? We have everything at our fingertips in a matter of seconds on our phones or our tablets. We can gain instant fame through a viral video or social media. When a major event happens halfway around the world, we can be informed within the hour. We can even change our life with a 7-minute workout or a 4-day work week. Our society is about maximum results with minimal effort. Seriously, what is more fun than a nobody, from out of nowhere, becoming an overnight success?!

Most times though, there is no way to get what you want other than to go through the long, arduous process of putting in the work. There are no shortcuts, no easy paths. The way may have been laid out but it is still difficult and full of obstacles. When the barriers are encountered and the stumbles come, what makes a person get up and keep going? Could it be the final product is so appealing, so captivating, that the struggle to get there is irrelevant compared to the joy of achieving the goal? Is it possible that the “overnight success” often is years in the making?

As we work with children and young people, it’s easy to get the feeling there is no significant progress. We see the kids every day and they don’t seem to be getting “better” and, sometimes, they appear to be getting worse! It helps to remember that we are planting seeds in the students we work with. They will not learn all there is to know about math and reading and life by spending a couple of hours a day with us. But each day, we get to plant one more seed, one more idea, one more skill as we spend time with kids after school. Over time, we see the growth.

Whether you are chasing a dream, working on a project, working with people, or trying to improve your health, it is going to take time. There is work to be done. There will be progress and setbacks. Don’t get discouraged because you aren’t seeing immediate, drastic results. Most change and progress is achieved by incremental steps gained by determination and perseverance. Don’t despise the small beginnings. Hang on to the seemingly insignificant victories.

What If it does take a long time to happen so fast?

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Brad Lademann

Afterschool Resource Coordinator
Missouri AfterSchool Network 

Brad Lademann is a dynamic youth speaker with 16 years of public speaking experience and 12 years of experience working with middle school and high school students. He has worked with teens in many capacities including teacher, youth pastor, coach, mentor, and afterschool program supervisor. He currently works with MASN as our Resource Coordinator and provides technical assistance to SAC and 21CCLC grantees.

Thursday Thoughts: Making Math Fun in Afterschool!

Encouraging math in afterschool programs not only promotes better grades and increased understanding for students in their classes, but also prepares students for their futures. Employment in STEM related fields is growing, and fostering student’s interest in these subjects is vital to success. Incorporating math into engaging activities can be hard, so here are some ideas to get you started.

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A Missouri Example

“Buffalo Prairie Middle School has done a fantastic job of getting their students actively involved in Math. Every Monday they begin with a “math problem” and students are challenged to take a form, work out the problem by showing their work on how they arrived at the answer, then place their answer forms back into the box on Tuesday. The Math Afterschool Club checks the entries and those that get it correct are put in a drawing.  One student, with the correct answer, is picked from each grade, and the principal/Math Club group then announces the winners each Friday. The rewards are donated candy bars.”

Submitted from MASN Afterschool Regional Educator Sandra Pratt

Other Activity Ideas

In order to reinforce student’s understanding of the clock, time, and simple mathematical equations, have students create a clock with the time values being equations. For example, 2 o’clock is written as 3-1, 6 o’clock, 2×3, etc. To make it more advanced for an older age group, they could spot check each other’s clocks, make more complex mathematical equations, and even create a puzzle by cutting their clock into 12 slice.

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Games which incorporate a group of students are another great way to get students excited, and Math Bingo is a simple and fun way to do just that! Staff members call out equations and have students search for their answer on their board, or vice versa- students hear the answer and search for a corresponding equation. This works for any age group–you’ll just want to target skill levels accordingly.

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Another fun option is to have a Math Race. Divide students into two teams, with two students (of opposite teams) racing each other to find the correct answer to the equation called out by staff. Every time the team wins, they get a point. At the end the winning team gets candy. This game not only allows for a competitive spirit, but also makes quick thinking a priority!

We hope you’ll try these activities and more, as making math a part of your afterschool program can positively affect students by reinforcing their learning in the school day and getting them excited about math!