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May 2010Vol 1, Issue 8

Afterschool ActionNJ Afterschool Action
News, Policy and Research from NJSACC

Welcome to NJ Afterschool Action!
Photo of ED Diane Genco
As the weather turns warmer, I find myself dreaming of all my favorite summertime activities.  Many of you probably know that I raise monarch butterflies; last year, I released more than 100 and this summer I hope to release many more.  As a lifelong nature lover, I'm always looking to help afterschool programs incorporate nature and science learning into their plans.  That's why I am so excited to share this edition of NJ Afterschool Action with you.  In it we highlight Project Ports, an environmental learning program at Lakewood Middle School.  We also have exciting news to share about a new afterschool science initiative called Great Science for Girls. 

Do you have a story to tell about nature and science learning afterschool?  Please share it by emailing 

Read. Learn. Get involved. Together we can make a difference.
Diane Genco
ELO In Action:  How Many Lessons Can an Oyster Teach?
Children at Lakewood Middle School are throwing bags into the Delaware Bay. No, this isn't an environmental disaster in the making-it's Project Ports, an educational program on environmental stewardship and science, and its opening eyes in Lakewood's afterschool program.

Project PORTS is a unique community-based restoration and education program. The program uses the oyster as a vehicle to acquaint school children with the Delaware along with important concepts in science and math. "We dissect an oyster with students so they learn about biology. We use the metric system to measure the oyster, then convert it to learn math concepts. We even get into the history and geography of the Delaware Bay," says Lisa Calvo, who runs the program for the Cousteau Center at Bridgeton, Rutgers University.

>>Click here to learn more

NJSACC Joins National Initiative On Great Science For Girls

NJSACC was selected to join Great Science for Girls -- a five-year National Science Foundation initiative to build the capacity of after-school educators to deliver programming that will broaden and sustain girls' interest and persistence in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

Through Great Science for Girls, NJSACC will provide support to afterschool centers throughout New Jersey to provide learning environments with the three ingredients necessary for student success in STEM: engagement, capacity and continuity. Programs and activities will offer girls opportunities for leadership, active engagement with concerned adults, and inquiry based experimentation. 

"The afterschool hours are our best opportunity to expand learning. Great Science for Girls will enable New Jersey afterschool programs to maximize this opportunity," says NJSACC executive director Diane Genco. 

>>Click here to learn more
Expanded Learning for Students Afterschool

Expanded learning opportunities, or ELOs, provide safe, structured learning environments for students outside the traditional school day. Expanded learning comes in many forms. Programs might offer tutoring, community service, organized sports, homework help, or art and music classes. While the activities can vary widely, the key to ELO programs is their focus on building connections to the learning that happens during the school day through strong relationships between afterschool and school staff. School and afterschool staff share class  curricula. they may also share data about students progress so that afterschool programs can help students address specific challenges.

According to NJSACC Executive Director Diane Genco, ELO programs "complement instead of compete" with the learning that happens in the classroom. For example, if students are learning about weather during the day, their afterschool program could reinforce this knowledge through hands-on projects, crafts, and outdoor activities that focus on weather.

>>Click here to learn more
Summertime Means... Healthy Meals and Snacks!   
ItSummer Food Service Program logo is almost time for summer and that means many afterschool programs will transition to summer learning programs. Just as a nutritious afterschool snack is a critical part of a quality afterschool programs, meals and snacks play an important role in summer learning as well. Hunger is one of the most severe roadblocks to the learning process. Research shows that children gain weight during the summer months when they typically do not have regular meals and activity routines. Hunger also may make children more prone to illness and other health issues.

The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) provides free, nutritious meals and
snacks to help children in low-income areas get the nutrition they need to learn, play and grow throughout the summer months when they are out of school. The Food and Nutrition Service, an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, administers SFSP at the federal level. In New Jersey, the state Department of Agriculture is the administering agency. Organizations can be either sponsors or feeding locations.
The New Jersey Department of Agriculture is looking for organizations interested in providing meals for needy children this year under this federally funded program.

>>Click here to learn more
Seeking Nominees for NJSACC Advisory Committee
NJSACC, the Network for NJ's Afterschool Communities, seeks nominees for our 2010-2011 Advisory Committee.  Meetings are held quarterly.  The Advisory Committee offers expert advice and networking opportunities.  Members will help strategize our campaign to strengthen Afterschool in New Jersey. 

If you are interested or would like to nominate someone, please contact us at 

In This Issue
ELO In Action: How Many Lessons Can an Oyster Teach?
NJSACC Joins National Initiative on Great Science for Girls
Expanded Learning for Students Afterschool
Summertime Means... Healthy Meals and Snacks
Afterschool In The News
NAA Conference and Afterschool for All Challenge a Great Success
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Afterschool In The News
A collection of local and national news articles of interest to the afterschool community.

New Jersey

"Health partnership attempting to combat obesity in New Jersey", New Jersey Newsroom


"Study Sees Gains in Good Child Care",  Wall Street Journal

"An Afterschool Lesson", Centre Daily Times
National Afterschool Association Conference and Afterschool for All Challenge a Great Success
US Capitol Building
The National AfterSchool Association's (NAA) annual convention, brought more than 2,500 afterschool providers, parents, youth, principals, and others to the nation's capital last week to learn, share and advocate on behalf of afterschool.  Denise Sellers, Executive Director of Haddonfield Child Care,  described  meeting several "entrepreneurs" -- individuals opening new afterschool programs to meet unmet needs in their communities. 

More than 50 people from NJ attended, including 4 of NJSACC Afterschool Ambassadors:  Jane Sharp, Theresa Roessner, Rosalind Norrell-Nance and Piedad Vasquez.  On a single day, more than 600 advocates held meetings at 250 congressional offices to advocate for afterschool as part of the Afterschool Alliance's Afterschool for All Challenge.
Deadline Extended for Annual Lights On Afterschool Poster Contest
The Afterschool Alliance is seeking artwork for our 2010 Lights On Afterschool poster.  The submission deadline has been extended to June 11, 2010. 

The winning image will be printed on 70,000 posters sent to afterschool prograLights On Afterschoolms from coast to coast to use at their Lights On Afterschool celebrations.  The image will also be featured on the Afterschool Alliance's Lights On Afterschool website and facebook page.  The Afterschool Alliance will work with the artist and/or program on an appropriate credit for the artwork.

Click here to learn more about the contest and enter your poster.

Join NJSACC on Facebook
We're using Facebook to share information about trainings and events, and highlight important actions you can take to support afterschool.  Simply click the Facebook icon below to visit and join!

Thank you so much for reading this edition of NJ Afterschool Action.  We always 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.