Between the end of classes and the beginning of dinner, were for millions of teenagers everywhere the golden hours of the day. They provided a release from the pressures of school or an escape from a stressful home. It was a time for friendship and fun. Some students spent their time hanging out aimlessly, shuffling through nearby eateries, parks and friends’ houses. But many others had more structured routines, at school clubs, on sports teams or in afterschool programs. City-funded spaces like public libraries, community centers and recreational facilities offered havens for free-form socializing. For most students reopening cannot happen soon enough. Read some of their stories.

As anticipation for a post-COVID world continues to build, it will become all that much more important to remember that the deep, pervasive inequities in our education system exposed by the pandemic will not disappear with the virus. This was the main focus of a briefing on summer learning and afterschool programs hosted by the National Summer Learning Association. As NSLA CEO Aaron Dworkin stated in his opening remarks, “When we’re talking about summer learning and afterschool learning, we’re talking about equity for all children.”

Staff and students from school districts, Cajon Valley Union School District in California and Tulsa Public Schools in Oklahoma, emphasized the importance of building and maintaining relationships during the pandemic, including those between teachers and administrators, teachers and students, staff and parents, and schools with the surrounding community. Read about their unique approaches.

The Pennsylvania Girls Collaborative is recruiting teachers and afterschool providers from across the nation to take part in the free CryptoClub Project. The Project consists of classroom and web-based materials, which teach cryptography and related mathematics to students, in grades 5 through 12, in both formal and informal settings. The curriculum was developed with NSF support and has been nationally field-tested.

Monday, June 14 through Friday, July 30, 2021 | Virtual
Application deadline: Sunday, April 18, 2021

The Research Experiences for Teachers (RET) Program is a seven-week summer research program for middle and high school STEM teachers. Teachers selected for the program will participate in ongoing research projects with Penn State science or engineering faculty and work with CSATS science education faculty to develop a classroom research project based on their research experience.

Capitol Washington D.C.

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, Congress’s latest COVID-19 relief bill, passed a final 220-211 vote in the House and is expected to be signed into law by President Joe Biden. It includes $122.8 billion for K-12 under the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund, in addition to a separate $7.2 billion for E-rate through the Emergency Connectivity Fund, which district leaders pushed for after previous emergency packages failed to include E-rate funding, and nearly $3.1 billion for IDEA and $1 billion for Head Start.

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