Afterschool Matters Spring 2020

Trends in Creative Youth Development Programs

By Denise Montgomery

Throughout the U.S., thousands of creativity-based out-of-school time (OST) programs combine principles of positive youth development with immersion in the creative process. Many of these programs refer to their work as creative youth development or CYD. According to the Creative Youth Development National Partnership (Montgomery, 2019)

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Designing for Engagement

How High-Quality Arts OST Programs Can Engage Tweens
By Tracey Hartmann and Wendy McClanahan

Tweens—young people age 10 to 14—are notoriously difficult to engage and retain in out-of-school time (OST) programs. As youth age, they have more responsibilities and options after school. They also have more autonomy than younger children, so they “vote with their feet” when a program does not interest them.

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How to Introduce Creative Youth Development into an Existing Afterschool Program

The Casita Maria Story
By Anne Dunning

Out-of-school time program leaders know that engagement is critical to their ability to achieve youth outcomes. Programs have to ignite and sustain participants’ interest in order to help them thrive. According to the Search Institute, “The major component of thriving is the concept of ‘sparks’—the interests and passions young people have that light a fire in their lives” (Scales, 2010). Research into these “sparks” identified creative arts as the top-ranked interest among teens aged 12 to 17, cited by 54 percent of teens surveyed (Benson, 2008).

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Partnerships to Transform STEM Learning

A Case Study of a STEM Learning Ecosystem
By Patricia J. Allen, Kristin Lewis-Warner, and Gil G. Noam

Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics— the disciplines known as STEM—are critically important for economic and societal development. STEM has increasingly been integrated in educational research and practice, as the national agenda has shifted in response to several high-impact reports, including Rising Above the Gathering Storm (National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine, 2007), which emphasized the need to increase STEM proficiency to prepare young people for the STEM workforce and to promote innovative capacity and prosperity.

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Designing for Belonging and Becoming in an Afterschool Tinkering Program

By Meg Escudé, Edward Rivero, and Jake Montano

After spending the morning gathering materials—butcher paper, markers, wooden stands, power drills, screws— and discussing our expectations for the next hour and a half with students, we enter the afterschool center, situated one block from city hall and another block from one of the city’s oldest public housing neighborhoods. Today is a showcase day, where participants will share their foam derby cars with other club members and staff.

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Positive Youth Development Through Hip-Hop Music Production

By Erica Van Steenis

On the surface, Horizon Youth Service (HYS), located in the greater San Francisco Bay Area, resembled many afterschool programs. On a typical day, participants arrived a little before 4:00 pm, greeted HYS youth workers by first name, and caught up on the day. Then they headed into their program activities, where they pursued their interests, collaborated with others, and developed skills. What was special about this space, however, was the kind of creative work young people did: professional-level hip-hop music production using high-end equipment in an in-house recording studio. Daily, participants wrote songs, tinkered on the sound board, constructed beats, collaborated on songwriting, led recording sessions, and sequenced songs for album release.

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Transcend the Summer Slump

How Summer Programs Can Attract and Retain Low-Income High School Students
By Denise Jones and Dennis Jones

Summer learning loss, the phenomenon in which young people lose academic skills over the summer, disproportionately affects low-income students (Afterschool Alliance, 2010; Miller, 2007; National Summer Learning Association, 2009; Wallace Foundation, 2010). High-quality summer learning programs are an important mechanism to help low-income students overcome persistent opportunity gaps so they can improve their academic outcomes, high school completion rates, and access to employment.

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Practitioners Advance Equity and Access

By Elizabeth J. Starr

Hill, S., & Vance, F. (Eds.). (2019). Changemakers! Practitioners advance equity and access in out-of-school time programs. Charlotte, NC: Information Age. The out-of-school time (OST) field aims to provide high-quality learning experiences to all youth, especially those who have often been marginalized or excluded. However, organizational structures and funding, among other factors, have not kept pace with the needs of diverse youth populations. In Changemakers, editors Sara Hill and Femi Vance have collected an engaging set of essays highlighting how OST practitioners and systems are meeting the challenges of equity and access. This book is the latest entry in the series Current Issues on Out-of-School Time, edited by Helen Janc Malone.

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The Afterschool Matters Initiative is managed by the National Institute on Out-of-School Time, a program of the Wellesley Centers for Women at Wellesley College

Georgia Hall, PhD, is Managing Editor of the Afterschool Matters Journal

Wellesley Centers for Women
Wellesley College
106 Central Street
Wellesley, MA 02481-8203 USA

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