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November 2009
Vol 1, Issue 2

Afterschool ActionNJ Afterschool Action
News, Policy and Research from NJSACC

Welcome to NJ Afterschool Action!
Photo of ED Diane GencoI was delighted that Governor-elect Christie chose to spend the day after his election visiting a school in Newark. Improving our schools and cities is essential to New Jersey's future.
Afterschool programs are among the most cost effective ways to extend learning for students. Study after study shows that quality afterschool programs lead to improved grades, increased school attendance and better behavior.
At the same time, afterschool programs keep young people off the streets and productively engaged between 3 and 6 PM, when juvenile crime soars. Parents miss fewer days of work and perform better on the job when they know their children are safe after school.
NJSACC is ready to work with the Christie administration to strengthen afterschool programs in order to improve educational outcomes, increase public safety and keep New Jersey parents in their jobs.
How do you think Governor-elect Christie can improve afterschool in New Jersey? Send your comments to

Read. Learn. Get involved. Together we can make a difference.
Diane Genco
NJSACC Extends Science Learning through Afterschool

Afterschool ActionNJSACC's Executive Director, Diane Genco and Chad Ripberger, County 4-H Agent of Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Mercer County  were selected to serve as the state leaders  for New Jersey's participation (one of eight states) in a three-year project recently funded by The National Science Foundation (NSF). The eight states involved are California, Georgia, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, and Ohio.

This project, called, Taking NPASS (National Partnerships for After School Science) to Scale: Creating State-based Professional Development Networks for Out-of-School Time (OST) Science, will identify and train ten to twelve New Jersey afterschool professionals as science trainers for afterschool providers throughout the state. The project builds on new Jersey's leadership in afterschool science education, and on our statewide campaign connecting children and the environment, "Celebrate Afterschool! Outdoors in the Garden State".
National leadership for the project includes  the Center for Science Education at EDC, the Boston Children's Museum, and the National Institute on Out-of-School Time (NIOST).
New Community Building Initiatives in Newark and Camden Include Focus on Out of School Time
Governor Corzine recently announced two new initiatives that take a comprehensive approach to improving student outcomes, including a focus on students' out of school time.  Both initiatives seek to keep young people in school and on the pathway to college.

Both initiatives are part of the Strategy for Safe Streets and Neighborhoods, a comprehensive anti-crime plan created in 2007 to battle violent crime through more aggressive law enforcement, prevention programs aimed at at-risk youth, and re-entry programs for convicted offenders leaving prison.  Governor Corzine called the programs "innovative and evidence-based initiatives that will help to build better futures by raising standards, lifting expectations, and by ensuring that supports are there to meet those goals."    Attorney  General  Anne  Milgram,  Education  Commissioner  Lucille  E. Davy,  Newark  Mayor  Cory  Booker,  Harlem Children's  Zone  Founder,  President  and  CEO  Geoffrey  Canada,  New  York  University  Professor  and Broader, Bolder Approach co-founder Dr. Pedro Noguera as well as other project partners attended the launch event held at the Quitman School in Newark. 

>Click here to read more
Extended Learning in Action:  Citizen Schools
Citizen Schools logoAlmost 300 Newark middle school children are leading mock trials guided by attorneys, working with structural engineers to plan new residential buildings and participating in other experiential learning experiences through Citizen Schools. This month, we profile Citizen Schools' unique approach as part of our series on extended learning in action.
Citizen Schools, an organization founded in Boston in 1995, connects students to community professionals through real-work experiences and apprenticeships. Through its volunteer training, Citizen Schools prepares adult 'Citizen Teachers' to create rigorous hands-on learning projects and meaningful engagement with middle school youth.
>Click here to read more
Extended Learning Opportunities Are Bringing New Attention to Afterschool Programs
The practice of providing students with extended learning opportunities (before- and after-school, weekend, and summer) to expand their learning and participate in a variety of extracurricular activities is long standing. Afterschool programs provide young people with a positive alternative to spending time on the streets or being home alone in the afternoons. A growing body of research indicates that high-quality after-school programs can reduce risk-taking behaviors, provide positive developmental opportunities, and improve the academic performance of students, particularly those at risk of academic failure.
Extended learning opportunities (ELO), as a means to reduce the achievement gap and improve student outcomes, have captured the attention of policymakers and funders alike. ).  U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has also long been an advocate of this model since his days working in Chicago Public Schools.   President Obama has also endorsed the concept.

For New Jersey afterschool organizations, attention to extended learning can lead to funding opportunities and new tools to strengthen programs and improve student outcomes. At their hearts, afterschool organizations are extended learning organizations. They build new skills, create opportunities for leadership, and guide social and emotional development for young people. Every program has a story to tell about a child that has thrived both in and out of school.

Support for these programs comes from the local, state and federal level, with substantial federal support coming through the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) program and additional support through the Supplemental Educational Services (SES) provisions of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB).

Over the next few months, NJ Afterschool Action will highlight news, profiles of Extended Learning in Action, research and resources all related to ELOs.  Additionally, NJSACC will offer several trainings, webinars and technical assistance to programs interested in learning more about the model.
NJSACC Welcomes First Class of Afterschool Ambassadors
Second class to be inducted in January 2010

NJSACC, the network for New Jersey's afterschool communities, welcomed its first class of Afterschool Ambassadors this month. 19 Ambassadors were chosen for their leadership, expertise and commitment to the field of afterschool.  
"Afterschool programs work hard every day to help children succeed in school and in life. I want to represent the field, to share our successes and help programs be even more effective," says Theresa A. Roessner, Afterschool Ambassador. 
The NJSACC Afterschool Ambassadors are a select group of leaders in New Jersey's Afterschool communities who volunteer to serve as spokespeople, conveners and resources for the field. Afterschool Ambassadors will work with NJSACC to build countywide networks of afterschool organizations, advocates and partners.  Afterschool Ambassadors will develop public awareness of afterschool issues, build a strong network for afterschool program professionals, and establish professional development opportunities throughout the state.
"The field is changing rapidly as we learn more about how afterschool can improve the odds for children and families. We are looking to the Ambassadors to build local and countywide support for the kinds of high quality afterschool programs that make a real difference," says Diane Genco, executive director of NJSACC.

All Ambassadors receive special training workshops and networking opportunities.  An application for the second class of Ambassadors will be available soon.  Completed applications will be due on December 4, 2009.  If you have questions about the Afterschool Ambassadors, please contact Sarah Cruz at

>Click here to read more
In This Issue
Science Learning Afterschool
New Community Building Initiatives
Extended Learning in Action: Citizen Schools
ELOs are an Opportunity for the Afterschool Field
NJSACC Welcomes First Class of Afterschool Ambassadors
PL 80 Update
Lights On! Afterschool Report
Annual Conference a Success
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PL 80 Update
Last month, we told you about PL 80, new state legislation requiring certain districts to develop plans for comprehensive afterschool programs.
NJSACC is examining standards for quality afterschool that will help these districts develop effective plans. We have put together a review committee that includes both providers and state funding agencies. The committee is currently looking at NJ State licensing standards, National Afterschool Association Standards for Quality and afterschool quality standards from other states. 
Our goal is to endorse a set of standards for quality afterschool that protect the safety and wellbeing of children and staff and promote extended learning opportunities, social and emotional development and full engagement of participating students.
We look forward to sharing this new tool with you. In the meantime, please send comments and suggestions to
49 States Participate in 10th Annual Lights On! Afterschool
Annual Event Featured Nearly 8,500 Events NationwideLights On Afterschool

Communities around the country honored the importance of quality afterschool programs for the 10th annual Lights On! Afterschool celebration held on October 22, 2009.  147 events were held here in New Jersey, up from 87 in 2008 and the event was recognized by a proclamation from Governor Corzine.  The US Department of Education also participated in Lights On! Afterschool.  Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said, "Learning doesn't just happen in a classroom between school bells...Children learn all day long. So it's vital to give students and their families the tools, the facilities and the opportunity to continue working on traditional academic subjects as well as a place for broader lessons in areas like art and music to enrich their lives." 

Learn more about the Lights On! Afterschool campaign and see photos from the events by clicking here.
Annual Afterschool Conference A Success

Afterschool ActionNJSACC's Annual Afterschool Conference was held last week in Princeton, NJ on November 13 and 14, 2009.  More than 400 attendees enjoyed an exciting Friday opening session that featured performer Flora Cruz, a parent and consumer of afterschool care for her 9 year old daughter, singing her inspirational song "Let the Sunshine Out" and workshops on topics including bullying, incorporating nature and science into afterschool programming and playground safety.  Saturday's conference began with a rousing performance from "Seventh Principle", an West African dance group from Young Audiences NJ. 

Our 2009 conference was presented in partnership with the National Institute for Out of School Time (NIOST), the NJ Department of Education, and the NJ Department for Children and Families.  The NJ Principals and Supervisors Association and the Foundation for Educational Administration sponsored a special sequence of workshops for program directors and principals called "Aligning the Learning Day: Collaborative Strategies for Principals and Afterschool Program Directors" presented by Dr. Paul Young.  In addition to his role as Executive Director of the West Afterschool Program in Lancaster, OH, Dr. Young will assume the role of Interim Executive Director of the National Afterschool Association (NAA) beginning on January, 1, 2010. 

Look for details on our 2010 Conference on NJSACC's website next Spring.   
Thank you so much for reading this edition of NJ Afterschool Action.  We want to hear from you, so please send your questions, comments, and ideas to
Diane Genco
New Jersey School Age Care Coalition

This newsletter is a part of the New Jersey Afterschool Network, the policy arm of NJSACC. The Network builds lasting public support for quality afterschool programs across New Jersey. Led by a public-private partnership, the network enhances public awareness and support; offers guidance for parents, providers, and advocates; strengthens relationships with policymakers, funders, practitioners, and parents, and shares best practices in the field.