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The NASA SPARX Challenges and Competition leverages Webb’s Depth of Knowledge (DoK) framework to organize NASA educational content by DoK level, allowing educators to select the appropriate level of engagement for their students. Take a short survey to let us know of your interest.


Fifty-nine percent of rural Black children who are not in afterschool would be if a program were available, their parents say. The same is true for 47% of rural children overall and 58% of the country’s Black children in communities of any size.

A powerful body of evidence demonstrates improvements in school attendance and engagement, grades, behavior and more among children who participate in afterschool programs.

The study, Spiking Demand, Growing Barriers: The Trends Shaping Afterschool and Summer Learning in Rural Communities, finds that just 11% of America’s rural children are enrolled in an afterschool program.


As the winter air blows in, it’s the perfect time to warm up with thoughts of summer. In fact, many school districts and afterschool programs know that planning for summer begins in the fall.

Fortunately, the hard work programs, partners and schools undertook during summer 2021 provided some models that can help make 2022 the best summer yet — including the use of American Rescue Plan funds for a first-round response to pandemic-related learning loss and acceleration.


One purpose of the American Rescue Plan is to bolster and expand out-of-school activities and programs that will support kids who missed out on learning and social development opportunities as a result of the pandemic. The federal aid package provides $122 billion for pre-K through grade 12, with $30 billion available to go directly to local, community-based afterschool and summer programs.

Eligibility and application processes vary state to state, and most concerning to advocates, the money only lasts for three years.


The evolution and impact of STEM education and its accompanying career opportunities benefit science, technology, engineering and mathematics. But as the need grows for a specialized STEM-focused workforce, it’s becoming clear that not everyone has an equal opportunity.

During the Harvard-sponsored talk, “New Pathways to STEM,” panelists cited a large subset of students who are not being fully prepared for STEM careers. They then discussed ways the gap could be closed, such as the rapid advancement of new digital tools as ways to make STEM education more readily available. These new ways of learning, they said, can ultimately expand access to STEM education and create a more inclusive and equitable STEM workforce.


Multiyear projects can expand students’ opportunities for deeper learning and give educators room to explore the breadth of a subject. Learning how to manage a project that will be handed off to someone else to shepherd, however, is a unique skill set.


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