Learn more about the benefits of afterschool, out of school time and summer learning programs by joining the Afterschool Caucus. Learn how to build support for afterschool programs and increase resources for quality afterschool care. Please contact Jake Smeltz, Chief of Staff for Senator Aument, to join the Afterschool Caucus.
Penn Live Op-Ed from Afterschool Caucus Leaders: June 7, 2017
Inside and outside the classroom, after-school programs work: Another View
The President's 2018 fiscal budget eliminates federal funding for after-school programs, saying there is no evidence of their impact.
That is not the case here in Pennsylvania, where after-school programs are a proven, high yield investment in our kids, our communities and our economy.
Every one dollar invested in after-school programs saves at least THREE DOLLARS by increasing kids' earning potential, improving kids' performance at school and reducing crime and juvenile delinquency.
At the end of a typical school day, learning and growth do not stop for the 40,000 Pennsylvania youths enrolled in approximately 460 high quality, school based and community powered after-school programs that are funded in part by the federal 21st Century Community Learning Centers (CCLC) program - the one the president wants to end.
Pennsylvania's 21st CCLC programs provide mentors to students that have no place to go after the school day. They offer healthy snacks. Students develop a sense of self that is not taught during the normal school day.
They are able to learn essential skills such as doing their taxes, writing a check and balancing a checkbook.
In 21st CCLC programs, students have the opportunity to learn and explore some of the most innovative technology available today through STEM activities. They are able to design, construct, implement and troubleshoot. Failure is a part of the learning process and part of life. Teamwork is cultivated.
Other Pennsylvania 21st CCLC programs have conquered the "summer slide," which is the tendency for students, especially those from low-income families, to lose some of the achievement gains they made during the previous school year.
This was accomplished through strengthening literacy techniques and using speech opportunities for healthy debates. Student reading levels through the "Read by 4th" metric were measured at the beginning and end of the summer program and increased by an average of two letter levels.
These successes underscore the vital role that after-school programs play for thousands of Pennsylvania families - and their role in growing citizens who will power our future.
It is just plain common sense: After-school works.
But for those that need more convincing, we have data.
Recent studies found that, across the nation, afterschool programs help students succeed in school today and prepare them for the jobs of tomorrow.
Students in after-school programs attend school more often, get better grades and improve their work habits and behaviors. Our working parents want and need these programs.
In Pennsylvania, STEM jobs are key to strengthening and diversifying our economy. They are among the fastest growing and highest paying jobs; yet across the state, employers are struggling to find skilled STEM workers.
A recent national study showed that afterschool STEM programs help close that gap by inspiring young people and equipping them with the skills they need to pursue STEM careers.
Among the Pennsylvania students participating in this study:
More than 9 in 10 parents across our state support public funding for after-school programs.
Nearly 812,000 Pennsylvania students are already being left without after-school access.
The worst thing we can do is take these programs away from the kids and families who depend on them.
Supporting afterschool is a healthy, smart investment in our kids, our families and our communities.
Let's protect that investment in Pennsylvania.
Laura Saccente is the director of the the Pennsylvania Statewide/Afterschool Youth Development Network and the Pennsylvania Afterschool Caucus; State Sen. Ryan Aument, a Republican, represents the Lancaster County-based 36th Senate District; Sen. John Yudichak, a Democrat, represents the Luzerne County-based 14th Senate District; Rep. Bernie O'Neill, a Republican, represents the Bucks County-based 29th District, and Rep. Jake Wheatley, a Democrat, represents the Allegheny County-based 19th House District. They write from Harrisburg.
Afterschool Advocacy Day Held
On May 10, 2017, the Afterschool Caucus supported the efforts of the PA Statewide Afterschool Youth Development Network (PSAYDN), the Pennsylvania School-Age Child Care Alliance (PENN SACCA) and the Allegheny Partners for Out-of-School Time (APOST) who conducted the 2017 Afterschool Advocacy Day.
Over 200 individuals from across the commonwealth attended the event. A legislator breakfast was held in the morning for Afterschool Caucus members. In addition, Afterschool Caucus member Representative Ed Gainey (D-24) recognized APOST and PSAYDN on the House floor. There were numerous legislator visits held.
In addition, a demonstration of programs STEM exhibits occurred in the East Wing Rotunda. In the afternoon, a rally was held in the Main Rotunda. Afterschool Caucus leadership was honored to speak.
Caucus members Senators Ryan Aument, John Yudichak, and Sharif Street and Representative Jake Wheatley drove home the important message about afterschool. The musically talented Hope Academy Theatre Company from Allegheny County provided entertainment. Members of the YMCA Youth and Government program acted as the masters of ceremonies.
“Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)” Caucus Breakfast Held
On May 24, 2017, the Afterschool Caucus held an “Every Student Succeeds Act or ESSA” breakfast. Deputy Secretary for the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education in the Pennsylvania Department of Education Matt Stem, and Jillian Luchner from the Afterschool Alliance presented on the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). In attendance were Afterschool Caucus leaders Chairman Wheatley, Senator Yudichak, and Chairman O’Neill as well as other legislators and staff. In all, over 20 people attended this event. Please contact the Afterschool Caucus leadership for information from the session.
Afterschool Tour on Pittsburgh's Northside
On Thursday May 25th, in partnership with PSAYDN and APOST , Afterschool Caucus Co-chair, Representative Jake Wheatley, toured Pittsburgh Northside afterschool programs. Other officials joining the tour were Deputy Secretary of Education Matthew Stem, Representative Hal English, Pittsburgh Public School Board Members Dr. Regina Holly and Sylvia Wilson, and representatives from Senator Bob Casey’s office, Rep. Adam Ravenstahl’s office, and the office of Mayor William Peduto.
The group started at the Children’s Museum Makeshop where they learned more about the Remake Learning Network and its connection to the OST community. Next, the group headed to Pittsburgh Perry Afterschool Academy to visit a 21st Century Community Learning Center funded OST program, followed by stops at two community based programs: The Pittsburgh Project and YouthPlaces.
Following the tour the group Joined APOST’s first ever Making Time for Afterschool Awards Reception, an opportunity to celebrate the APOST Quality Campaign, where Rep. Wheatley was recognized for his leadership in advocacy, while Saturday Light Brigade and Human Services Center Corporation were also recognized for high quality programing. For more pictures from the tour click here.
PA Senate and House Pass Summer Learning Day Resolutions!
Please consider visiting a summer learning program in your district!
National Summer Learning Day is a national advocacy day aimed at elevating the importance of keeping kids learning, safe and healthy every summer, ensuring they return to school in the fall ready to succeed in the year. Your participation sends a powerful message across the commonwealth that summers matter and offers an opportunity to showcase how summers can make a life-changing difference in the lives of young people.
301 East Main Street
164 South Market Street
1201 North Street
801 Wyoming Avenue
Hon. Mindy Fee
47 Market Square
Denver Borough Office
Hon. Jake Wheatley, Jr.
2015-2017 Centre Avenue