It is difficult to predict exactly which policy issues will come to the forefront in the new Congress, but many in Washington expect a number of education policy issues to be addressed, including targeting college access and affordability issues through reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA).
Additionally, the Perkins Career and Technical Education (CTE) act, child nutrition reauthorization, and the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA) reauthorization may all see new life in the 115th Congress after failing to cross the finish line this year. All of these represent opportunities to strengthen existing support, or in some cases, build new support, for local afterschool and summer learning programs and the school and community partnerships that sustain them.
"...investing in education is investing in the economy. And right now, we absolutely need investment in afterschool and summer programs — especially targeting rural communities where working parents often travel over some distance to their jobs or piece together multiple jobs and are gone for longer hours. Afterschool and summer camp programs allow parents to work a full day while their children are safe and learning."
"The majority of future careers will require some STEM skills. Here in Vermont, we will see an 18% increase in STEM jobs in the next four years alone, with 87% of these jobs requiring postsecondary education & training. Research shows that early engagement and sustained opportunities throughout a child’s development will yield greater success in STEM fields. In sum, the STEM job sector is growing and building STEM skills now helps to benefit all in the future.
Afterschool, summer learning, and expanded learning programs are well-positioned to complement and supplement school-day learning with experiences outside of the classroom. These programs provide youth with the opportunity to explore STEM topics in a flexible, hands-on, inquiry-based environment. Kids can enjoy more freedom and time to dive deeper in STEM subjects that spark their interests."
Vermont currently has no dedicated state funding to ensure that after school and summer learning programs are available and accessible to all.
More than 21,000 Vermont K-12 youth are enrolled in after school, but 22,000+ are waiting for an available program.
Quality after school and summer learning programs keep kids safe & healthy, inspire learners, help working families, and support Vermont’s vision for education. Vermont has the lowest level of low-income children enrolled in after school in the entire nation. Help to zap all the gaps–the achievement gap, opportunity gap, geographic gap, and homework gap—by supporting a $2.5 million appropriation to the ELO Special Fund.
The ELO Special Fund was passed in 2015 as part of Act 48, which included language establishing a state fund for ELOs. The purpose of the ELO Special Fund is to expand access to programs that serve preK-12 children and youth outside the school day on a regular basis, including before and after school, school vacation weeks, and summer.
An annual appropriation of $2.5 million would help to ensure that all high-need communities in Vermont get the support they need to make sure that children, youth, and families have access to quality afterschool and summer learning programs.
When we compared the STAR reading scores from the spring to the scores from this fall, here is what we found:
To succeed in school and life, children and young adults need ongoing opportunities to learn and practice essential skills. This is especially true during the summer months.
Many Americans have a wonderful image of summer as a carefree, happy time when "kids can be kids,” and take for granted the prospect of enriching experiences such as summer camps, time with family, and trips to museums, parks, and libraries.
Unfortunately, some youth face anything but idyllic summer months. When the school doors close, many children struggle to access educational opportunities, as well as basic needs such as healthy meals and adequate adult supervision.
Did You Know?
What are the needs for summer learning programs?
· Children need summer programs:
· Programs need funding to grow:
· Schools need support to offer services:
· Families need access to programs:
During the summer months too many children, especially disadvantaged children, lose academic ground and suffer what’s known as the summer slide. Summer slide results in students falling further behind academically and widens the academic achievement gap. Summer learning programs, often run by afterschool providers, keep kids on track. These programs also provide critical support to working families by keeping kids safe and offering healthy meals and snacks.
1 Vermont Department of
Education. School Data and Reports: NECAP
In the U.S. today, more than 11 million children - 1 in 5 youth - are on their own unsupervised after school. These children face grave risks. They are also missing out on opportunities to learn and grow. Research shows that after school, summer learning, out-of-school time, and expanded learning programs offer a range of valuable benefits:
1. Inspiring Learners
2. Helping Working Families
3. Keeping Kids Safe & Healthy
4. Supporting Vermont’s Vision for Education
 Durlak, J. A., Weissberg, R. P., & Pachan, M. (2010). A Meta-Analysis of After-School Programs that Seek to Promote Personal and Social Skills in Children and Adolescents.
 Vandell, D., Reisner, E., and Pierce, K. (2007). Outcomes Linked to High-Quality Afterschool Programs: Longitudinal Findings From the Study of Promising After School Programs.
 Catalyst & Brandeis University. (2006). After-school Worries: Tough on Parents, Bad for Business.
 Afterschool Alliance. (2014). America After 3PM: Afterschool Programs in Demand.
 Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. (2006). OJJDP Statistical Briefing Book.
 Vermont Afterschool. (2014). Return on Investment Study. Available at http://bit.ly/1zaTHp0.
 Brand, A. and Valent, B. (2013). The Potential of Career and College Readiness and Exploration in Afterschool Programs.
Zap the Gap with Afterschool & Summer Learning is Vermont Afterschool’s statewide advocacy campaign to increase support for public funding of after school and summer learning programs in Vermont. These programs help working families, support Vermont’s major education initiatives, keep our kids safe, and help them succeed. More than 21,000 Vermont kids are enrolled in after school, but 22,000+ are waiting to get in.
Help us zap ALL the gaps – the achievement gap, opportunity gap, geographic gap, and homework gap – and bring after school and summer learning to ALL by signing their online supporter card that will be delivered to your legislators during the 2016 legislative session.
We all want to welcome Donna Gaston as our new 21C Director beginning in August 2014.
Many of you already know Donna, she was instrumental in getting the 21C Programs up and running this past school year and helped in organizing and creating the Summer Camp 2014. Donna was Barnet School's and the Barnet/Peacham Summer Program Site Coordinator.
Donna's background as an architect greatly enhances her skills for this position. Donna also has substituted in the front office, taken short term assignments and is a soccer coach within the Barnet School.
We are proud to add her to our team.