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On May 21, 2020, Pennsylvania youth leaders and student advocates held a Virtual Town Hall with Lt. Gov. and Second Lady Fetterman to address concerns about COVID-19 effects on their families, schools and communities; and ask questions about the afterschool and summer learning programs they rely on for academic help, extracurricular activities, service learning and career exploration. Press Release Virtual Town Hall


The studio’s Minecraft: Education Edition has for the last few years played host to virtual curricula. Much of this content had previously been available only to schools and teachers and worked in tandem with Microsoft educational accounts. In March, however, Microsoft made an assortment of Minecraft’s popular educational tools available for free, with easier access for all players via the Minecraft Marketplace.


The paper, “Cumulative and Differential Effects of Early Child Care and Middle Childhood Out-of-School Time on Adolescent Functioning,” describes how the effects of high quality early childcare and organized afterschool activities were cumulative, with both contributing to adolescents’ reading and math achievement in high school. Importantly, the effects of these two experiences (early childhood education and afterschool programs) appeared to add up over time. The effects were comparable in size.


In a first effort of emergency support for childcare providers, which was part of the CARES Act signed into law in late March, the federal government provided an additional $3.5 billion dollars through the Child Care and Development Block Grant program with new flexibility for states to help mitigate some of the impact on the sector.


This summer the Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Pennsylvania are excited to become the first Club in the nation to announce their partnership with Outschool. Outschool is a platform that will allow them to flip what online learning normally looks like and turn it into high interest driven live sessions. Each week during their summer camp programming, they will offer 15-20 highly curated classes taught by their instructors, as well as give their members special access to numerous classes taught by teachers from all over the world.


There is a powerful case for making meaningful parental engagement a critical piece of what K-12 education looks like during and after this pandemic. Alejandro Gac-Artigas, the Founder and CEO of Springboard Collaborative provided his insight and expert advice to make this case and share powerful, but practical strategies to help educators overcome the challenging, but necessary difficulties needed to close this gap. Gac-Artigas has experience in leading this work for over a decade.


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