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2019 Afterschool and STEM Advocacy Day Huge Success!

Advocates on the steps of the Rotunda at the Pennsylvania State Capital in Harrisburg, rallying for better out-of-school time opportunities.

PSAYDN held their annual legislative advocacy day in Harrisburg on Wednesday, March 27. More than 200 advocates – including parents, program providers, youth, educators, faith-based leaders, community and business leaders from across the state – came together to highlight the importance of out-of-school time opportunities in our state. The advocates visited with legislators, attended legislative sessions and rallied in the Rotunda of the Pennsylvania State Capitol.

Photo: Advocates on the steps of the Rotunda at the Pennsylvania State Capital in Harrisburg, rallying for better out-of-school time opportunities.


When you ask American teenagers to pick a single word to describe how they feel in school, the most common choice is “bored.” The institutions where they spend many of their waking hours, they’ll tell you, are lacking in rigor, relevance or both. What would it take to transform high schools into more humanizing and intellectually vital places? The answer is right in front of us, if only we knew where to look. Debate, drama and other extracurricular provide the excitement many classrooms lack, and they can help overhaul the system.


“Why can I buy four bags of chips at the corner store for $1, but one smoothie at the supermarket costs $4?” This is the question that sparked the idea of the Rebel Market, a corner store run by high school students that is set to open next year through the Rebel Ventures program. Rebel Crumbles became the first student-produced food to be available in all Philadelphia district schools in 2017. More than a million of the Crumbles have been distributed as part of the free breakfast program. “Our ongoing desire to bring healthy foods to neighborhoods through creating our own store connected with funding opportunities really focused our energy into trying to make this become a reality here and now. We really are trying to take advantage of these unique opportunities to bring some youth power into food retail in our neighborhoods,” said Stein.


Kitsap Regional Library, provides interest-based, community-led, informal STEM learning opportunities through a variety of modes – public programs facilitated by librarians, clubs or classrooms at all of the Kitsap-area school districts, and intentional outreach to local service organizations to meet people where they are in the community.


Advocates push for investments in preparing children and youth for future workforce needs, cite introduction of House Resolution on Afterschool Return On Investment.

HARRISBURG, Pa., March 27, 2019 — The Pennsylvania Statewide Afterschool/Youth Development Network (PSAYDN) today convened nearly 200 advocates including students and parents, educators and program providers, policymakers, community, business and faith-based leaders from across Pennsylvania at the capitol to highlight the importance of afterschool and out-of-school time youth development programs. Numerous legislative visits reminded the commonwealth’s leaders that afterschool programs provide many benefits, including keeping kids safe, inspiring them to learn and helping working families. The event was a call to action for all levels of government, philanthropy, business and every sector to step up and do more to support afterschool initiatives.


Congressman Glenn Thompson Honored as 2019 Afterschool Champion

The Honorable Glenn Thompson excepting his 2019 Afterschool Champion Policymaker Award from Laura Saccente, director of PSAYDN

The Pennsylvania Statewide Afterschool Youth Development Network (PSAYDN) recognized 15 champions including elected officials, practitioners, youth and organizations for innovation and excellence in afterschool and summer learning programs that keep kids safe, inspire learning and help working families.

PSAYDN honored U.S. Representative Glenn Thompson as an Afterschool Champion for outstanding work in supporting and promoting meaningful high quality afterschool and out-of-school time programs to benefit children, youth and families across Pennsylvania. The awards took place last night during PSAYDN’s annual reception, which brought together elected officials, program providers, youth, faith-based leaders, parents and business leaders to emphasize the importance of afterschool programs in the state.

Afterschool programs pick up where the school day leaves off. In addition to offering kids a safe, supervised place to go before and after school, on weekends and during summers to get academic help; programs provide a variety of activities – art, music, dance, sports, science, service learning, career exploration and much more – that help kids develop new interests and skills. The Afterschool Champion Awards honor programs, elected officials, youth and practitioners for excellence in the service of children, schools and communities.

Press Release | Meet All the 2019 Afterschool Champions


The Innovation Collaborative is conducting a national study that will help outline effective practices for sciences, technology, engineering, arts/humanities, and math (STEAM). The first national study of its kind, your participation as out-of-school time educator could help determine what constitute an effective STEAM program in a broad range of out-of-school settings and provide the foundational research base for the out-of-school STEAM movement.


Women outperform men in many of the underlying skills that lead to job success — skills commonly referred to as noncognitive because, like emotional IQ, creativity, and conscientiousness, they are not clearly predicted by test results. The demand for soft skills, as they are also known, was borne out in a 2017 Harvard study that found that “social skill-intensive occupations” — including teaching and some computer science and health care jobs — had increased by 12 percent since 1980 and enjoyed higher wage growth. Positions that demanded lots of brain power but little social aptitude had declined. The huge rise over the past century in the number and percentage of women who work in the U.S., highlighted by more recent nationwide efforts to steer young females toward traditionally male-dominated STEM careers, would appear to give women at least an equal shot at great jobs. But it has not turned out that way — at least not yet.


The week of February 25 to March 3, 2019 is National Leap Into Science Week, the annual celebration of Leap Into Science, a national program with a mission to integrate open-ended science activities with children’s books and literacy efforts in libraries, museums, and out-of-school time programs. Interested educators from out-of-school time spaces are encouraged to sign up for curriculum and facilitation strategy trainings. No trainings in your state? You can also sign up as a leader to kick start the effort in your state. This is a great opportunity for afterschool and summer learning programs to brush up on their STEM education skills and meet a national network of educators interested in bringing STEM learning and literacy outside of the classroom.


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