Part of national effort to improve children's out-of-school opportunities
LAWRENCE — At the inaugural Afterschool STEM Summit in Washington, the National League of Cities (NLC) announced the selection of seven statewide afterschool networks (SANs), including the University of Kansas-based Kansas Enrichment Network (KEN) and Missouri AfterSchool Network, to receive technical and financial assistance to host statewide municipal summits on afterschool and expanded learning in 2016.
Hosted by the Kansas Enrichment Network, Missouri AfterSchool Network and the United Way of Greater Kansas City, the Kansas-Missouri summit will be held April 26, 2016, at a site to be determined, bringing together city leaders and state agency officials from across both states to focus on improving and expanding afterschool and summer learning opportunities for young people. All of the afterschool networks will partner with mayoral champions to host the summits, with technical assistance and support from the NLC. Each state summit is supported by a $9,000 grant funded by the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation and The Wallace Foundation.
These summits reflect a growing national movement of mayors, councilmembers and other elected officials who are taking the lead in their cities to develop and promote high-quality, citywide afterschool and summer-learning programs. “We are thankful for the opportunity to work with the United Way of Greater Kansas City and the Missouri AfterSchool Network to engage in a conversation about how to create effective out-of-school-time systems,” said KEN Director Marcia Dvorak, who is based at the Center for Public Partnerships & Research (CPPR), part of KU’s Achievement & Assessment Institute. “We believe out-of-school time could be the silver lining for our communities.”
The OST: A Community’s Silver Lining Mayoral Summit will emphasize the links between afterschool learning, workforce readiness and promotion of healthy lifestyles, as well as reduction of risky behavior including juvenile crime and high-school dropout rates.
“Education, including the availability of meaningful learning opportunities outside of the classroom, is the most important issue facing our region,” said Sly James, mayor, Kansas City, Mo. “To be truly great we have to have excellence across the board, including in our citywide afterschool programs. This exciting partnership with the National League of Cities, United Way of Greater Kansas City, Missouri Afterschool Network and Kansas Enrichment Network will help us achieve a level of excellence that our kids deserve.”
Other selected networks include the Alabama Afterschool Community Network, the Florida Afterschool Network, the Indiana Afterschool Network, the Massachusetts Afterschool Partnership and the Ohio Afterschool Network. The SANs are statewide organizations dedicated to improving policies, partnerships, funding, and quality of afterschool opportunities. NLC has supported 19 state municipal summits over the past five years.
The municipal summit on afterschool and expanded learning will:
- Educate city leaders about the critical need for afterschool in their state;
- Engage mayors in helping to inform afterschool and expanded learning policies at the state level;
- Connect mayors and councilmembers with peers from across their state to develop strategic partnerships that advance afterschool and summer learning initiatives; and
- Highlight successful approaches to building citywide afterschool systems.
“I am extremely grateful that the National League of Cities is supporting the Kansas and Missouri Mayoral Summit on Afterschool and Expanded Learning,” said Mayor Peggy Dunn, City of Leawood, Kan. “Youth safety and engagement in extracurricular activities as well as assistance for working parents are of utmost importance. Gaining greater knowledge of best practices in afterschool opportunities and summer learning initiatives will be a tremendous outcome from this needed endeavor.”
Clifford Johnson, executive director of NLC’s Institute for Youth, Education, and Families, said summits will help city and state leaders work together more effectively to ensure that all children and youth have access to high-quality afterschool opportunities. “Afterschool programs are a powerful solution to not only keep young people safe,” Johnson said, “but also equip young people with the necessary interpersonal and workforce skills for a successful future.”
More about CPPR
One of the KU Achievement & Assessment Institute’s four research centers, the Center for Public Partnerships & Research (CPPR) assists partners with addressing complex social issues through research and evaluation, systems development, professional development, technical assistance and performance management systems. CPPR currently has more than 50 grants in the areas of early childhood, child welfare, child-abuse prevention, K–12 education and at-risk families. CPPR staff members have extensive experience working collaboratively with state, federal, and community-based organizations to drive research, build capacity, and make big changes possible. Strong partnerships with the Kansas Children's Cabinet & Trust Fund, Kansas Department of Health & Environment, Kansas State Department of Education, and the Kansas Health Foundation result in innovations, positive change, and support for at-risk children, youth and families across the state.
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