On Friday, September 18, the Department of Education put forth the waiver request form for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program to operate during non-school hours as a follow up to the earlier notice in the Federal Register.

As parents nationwide tread through a wildly different education landscape this year, many kids disappear from the rosters of their public schools.

Enrollment equals money for classrooms and teachers, especially in high-poverty districts that are funded primarily through state aid. Less money means teachers get moved around, reassigned or laid off. Or it could mean fewer support services for students, fewer specialized classes, or fewer nurses and counselors.

Afterschool programs have for years kept kids safe, inspired them to learn, and given parents peace of mind that their children are constructively engaged in the hours between the end of the school day and when parents return from work. They are now rising to meet the moment COVID-19 has created. In many communities, these programs are getting meals to families who would otherwise go without, providing all-day, in-person care to children of essential workers, and helping vulnerable families connect to health care and social services they urgently need.

A group of multi-ethnic students taking a selfie outside. They are dressed casually and having fun together in a group.

Tallo, a PSAYDN partner and the nation’s leading workforce connection platform, has partnered with Yello, the nation’s leader in early talent acquisition software, to create the Yello Sourcing Marketplace — a first-of-its-kind virtual network connecting millions of early talent candidates to leading employers. Over one million students and early-career professionals use Tallo to create digital profiles and showcase their skills, accomplishments, and goals. Companies, colleges and governmental entities work with Tallo to strengthen their diversity and inclusion programs, strategically micro-target and connect with talent, and build their future workforce pipeline. The partnership between Tallo and Yello is removing traditional boundaries between hard-to-reach or underserved early-career candidates and their future employers by increasing access to virtual career connections.

The Nita M. Lowey 21st Century Community Learning Centers grant program has offered a waiver to state education agencies based on section 8401 [20 U.S.C. 7861] of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, as reauthorized by the Every Student Succeeds Act. By allowing SEAs to waive the definition of Community Learning Center(s) for implementation of services during “non-school hours or periods when school is not in session,” such as before and after school or during summer recess per section 4201(b)(1)(A) [20 U.S.C. 7171], subgrantees may more effectively meet the needs of students through a nimbler 21st CCLC program. The waiver will expand the times in which programs may be offered and allow regular school hours to be considered in program implementation. Public comment period in now open.

We are at an inflection point, one that challenges teachers, and everyone in education, to not succumb to the way things used to be, but instead give voice and energy to what can be for each and every classroom around the country. Now is the time to be nimble and brave enough to know that change is absolutely critical. As leaders, we must create a set of expectations for learning as we move forward and meet the needs of ALL the students we teach — put students at the center, build a pathway between the classroom and industry, and encourage innovation, incubation and then acceleration.

PSAYDN at Center for Schools and Communities
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