The Afterschool Advisor
December 2015
Happy Holidays From Your Friends at the IAA

Presenters Needed for Impact 2016
  Join us for our 4rd Annual 
April 28 - 29, 2016 
Ramada Tropics Resort and Conference Center 
5000 Merle Hay Road
Des Moines, IA 50322

We hope you will join us for our annual conference for afterschool professionals! 
In the meantime... 
We are now accepting submissions for presentations and student speakers! Please click on the link to apply:  

Submissions will be accepted until January 15, 2016 at noon (12:00 CST). 
If you have any questions about the conference, or suggestions, please contact Indira Karic at Your input is very valuable to us!   

No Child Left Behind is Left Behind!
On December 10, 2015, President Obama signed into law the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). This law replaces the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), or No Child Left Behind. The new law gives states a lot of discretion over policy: from accountability measures to how Title programs are run. Some highlights of the new law:
  • A new $1.6 billion block grant consolidates dozens of programs, including some involving physical education, Advanced Placement, school counseling, and education technology.
  • Districts that get more than $30,000 will have to spend at least 20 percent of their funding on at least one activity that helps students become well-rounded, and another 20 percent on at least one activity that helps students be safe and healthy.
  • Some programs live on as separate line items, including the 21st Century Community Learning Centers, as well as Promise Neighborhoods, and a full-service community schools program.
  • States can pick their own accountability goals, both a big long-term goal, and smaller, interim goals. These goals must address: proficiency on tests, English-language proficiency, and graduation rates.
  • For elementary and middle school, states will need to incorporate at least four indicators into their accountability systems. The menu would include three academic indicators: proficiency on state tests, English-language proficiency, plus some other academic factor. States are required to add at least one additional indicator of a very different kind. Possibilities include: student engagement, educator engagement, access to and completion of advanced coursework, postsecondary readiness, school climate/safety, or whatever else the state thinks makes sense.
  • States must identify and intervene in high schools where the graduation rate is 67 percent or less.
  • Schools will have to come up with an evidence-based plan to help particular groups of students who are falling behind, such as minority students or those in special education.
  • In general, ESSA would apply to any competitive federal grants given out after Oct. 1, 2016, so most grants would still be under the NCLB version of the law for the rest of this school year.
  • ESSA enshrines the Preschool Development Grant program in law and focuses it on program coordination, quality, and broadening access to early-childhood education. But the program is housed at the Department of Health and Human Services, jointly administered by the Education Department.
For more information on the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015, visit the Education Week website at
New Report on Black Student Achievement
A new report from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce provides a telling story of black student achievement in the United States. The Chamber's report, titled "The Path Forward, Improving Opportunities for African American Students," provides a detailed portrait of where African-American students are today. It looks at a variety of metrics ranging from elementary and middle school achievement scores to the percentage of students taking remedial courses in college (EdWeek).

Among the report's key findings:
  • Although African-American students' NAEP scores have gone up over the last 25 years, they remain low overall compared to their peers;
  • There is a mismatch between how many African-American students are graduating from high school and how many are prepared for credit-bearing college courses;
  • Too few African-American students are taking Advanced Placement courses and even fewer are passing the exams
  • Many African-American students are not excelling in STEM subjects, an area the report deems especially important in terms of international competitiveness (EdWeek).  
Ways to Promote High Quality STEM

The IAA is seeking individuals across the state who are interested in observing afterschool STEM programs using the DoS tool. To ensure tool validity, observers must participate in a two-day online training via webinar. Thanks to funding from the Noyce Foundation, this training is provided at no charge to you and you keep your certification which you can use at your own program.

There are spaces available at the following times: 
  • January 14-15, 10am-4pm EST; SPOTS AVAILABLE
  • February 9-10, 10am-4pm EST; SPOTS AVAILABLE
The Iowa Afterschool Alliance is using Dimensions of Success (DoS), an observation tool that pinpoints twelve indicators of STEM program quality in out-of-school time. It was developed and studied with funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) by the Program in Education, Afterschool and Resiliency (PEAR), along with partners at Educational Testing Services (ETS) and Project Liftoff.

This is your chance to become part of a growing network of active learning STEM experts in Iowa!

If you are interested in becoming a DoS observer, please contact Indira Karic at to find out more and register!
How Can We Better Serve You?
The Iowa Afterschool Alliance strives to support afterschool professionals with resources regarding program sustainability and professional development. By filling out this short survey, we can see how we are doing and what we can improve to better serve YOU!
Professional Development Opportunities
The Iowa Afterschool Alliance keeps a calendar of professional development opportunities on our website at  

Out of School Time Professional Development Center
The Out of School Time Professional Development Center provides Out of School Time training to OST professionals. The classes provide in-depth curriculum and certificates. If you or your staff are interested in signing up for courses visit the Out-of-School Time website. Check out the entire course catalog here

Blank Park Zoo Educator Workshops
Mark your calendar for this school year's educator workshops facilitated by the Blank Park Zoo! The workshops are good for one hour of Drake University or licence renewal credit and teachers will be elligble to schedule a free classroom animal program. The following dates and topics are scheduled:
January 15/16. 2016 - Wild Genes
February 19/20, 2016 - Climate Change
April 15/16, 2016 - Wonders of Water

All academic year workshops are held at Blank Park Zoo on Friday evenings and all day Saturdays.
More detailed information and registration forms may be found on the zoo's website.
Literacy Content on Y4Y!
You 4 Youth is a free online professional development site that is designed to support 21CCLC program staff, but is a valuable tool for any afterschool professional looking to build their skills! Recently, Y4Y has rolled out a whole module on literacy. Click here to register.

Beyond School Hours: Every Minute Matters
March 9-11, 2016; Dallas, Texas
Get big ideas and use them for your programs! The ideas will be presented via:
  • Hands-on workshops and pre-conferences led by national experts
  • Motivating keynote presentations and panel discussions
  • Fascinating educational excursions
National Afterschool Association Annual Convention
March 20-23, 2016; Orlando, Florida
Join NAA in the Sunshine State at the 27th annual Convention, at the beautiful Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center in the Greater Orlando area. Gathered will be the brightest, most passionate, and talented minds in the afterschool community.

Afterschool professionals are superheroes that go above and beyond the call of duty. NAA is committed to helping you grow, share and connect, and our annual convention offers all of that and more across four days of engaging, insightful programming and networking.

Register online at
Grant Opportunities 
Along with various other resources, the IAA maintains a list of grants that afterschool programs may access. Check out our Resources Page on our website for more information.