The Afterschool Advisor
March 2016
Register Today for Impact 2016!
Impact After School Conference logo
Registration is now open for the 2016 Impact After School Conference!

Join afterschool professionals in Iowa from all areas and levels of expertise - administrators, directors, front-line staff, educators, out-of-school time partner organizations, and others - for our 4th Annual Conference on April 28 and 29, 2016 for a day and a half of professional development and networking.  

This year, we are also offering optional afternoon pre-conference sessions beginning at 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 27. Check out all the details on the registration page.
Ensure Kids are Eating Over the Summer
The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) is a federally funded program that enables qualified organizations to serve free meals to children and teens in low-income areas over the summer. During the school day, more than 195,000 Iowa children and teens rely on school meals to power their learning. What happens when school lets out? The USDA Summer Food Service Program is designed to fill that gap by providing nutritious meals and snacks to low income children during the summer.
As an afterschool provider or partner, you can nourish both kids' minds and bodies! You are uniquely positioned to provide summer meals & snacks as part of your planned programming.
Summer Food Service 101:
  • Sites can operate the day after school dismisses for summer all the way up to the day before school resumes.
  • Local sponsors determine the actual days of operation, the length of overall service, and the meals and snacks provided.
  • Sponsors can provide up to 2 meals OR 1 meal & 1 snack per day.
  • A simplified meal pattern is available.
  • Reimbursement is provided for all eligible child meals served.
 Consider getting involved.
  • Connect with a colleague about summer meals and snacks. Afterschool programs across the state have experience with this program and could share insight.
  • Host a meal site at your location. Adding a summer meal or snack can enhance your existing program.
  • Spread the word! If there are meal sites already in your community, notify families that participate in your afterschool programs via program materials, bulletin boards, Facebook page, website, bookmarks, flyers, etc.
  • Partner with local sponsors to provide enrichment activities to meal sites already in your area.
For more information on the Summer Food Service Program, contact Stephanie Dross at or 515-281-4760 and check out USDA's website at
Four Keys to Effective Centers
Centers are a great way to organize several activities in a single space. But is it enough to just let the kids go and play? Make centers more impactful with this advice from EdWeek guest blogger Alison Stumacher.

"...After reflecting critically on my classroom practices, asking colleagues for advice, and attending workshops--I transformed my centers from chaos to order, and from busywork to meaningful learning tasks. Here are four keys to effective learning centers that allowed me to make this transformation:
  1. Create, communicate, and practice procedures. Centers involve a complex choreography of diverse students, areas, and materials. Teachers must create comprehensive procedures, communicate them to students, and allow adequate time to practice them until they become routine. 
  2. Group with intention: Centers allow students to work in different configurations including independently, in groups they choose based on interest, and in mixed ability or leveled groups.
  3. Provide meaningful tasks: Centers tasks in any content area should be interesting, challenging, and when possible, provide students a chance to practice skills in authentic ways--meaning that activities help students connect their learning to the real world or develop real-life habits of mind.
  4. Assess the impact. Whether by observing students as they're working, collecting student work to review, or engaging students in reflections on their learning, teachers must monitor student progress.

For the full article, go to EdWeek online.  

Rural Report on Afterschool Released!
A new report from the Afterschool Alliance focuses specifically on afterschool in rural communities. For the first time, the Afterschool Alliance's America After 3PM research focuses exclusively on the rural communities that encompass 72 percent of the country, from demand for afterschool in rural America to the unique strengths and challenges of rural programs.

To view the report, executive summary, and infographics for this new research, visit the Afterschool Alliance website today!
President's Budget Slashes 21st Century Community Learning Centers
Last week President Obama released his budget for the 2017 fiscal year. Items related to afterschool include:
  • $1 billion for 21st Century Community Learning Centers. This is a cut of $167 million from the previous year.
  • $15 billion for Title I grants
  • $120 for a new Stronger Together Grants program, which aims to increase socioeconomic diversity by expanding existing efforts through the states and local communities.
  • $100 million for Computer Science for All development grants for school districts.
  • $3 billion for STEM education

For more on the President's budget, read the Afterschool Alliance's blog here.  


To send a message that afterschool is important, please get involved in the We Love Afterschool social media campaign. Find out more on the Afterschool Alliance's website

Intensive Summer Reading Program Pilot
More than 40 schools and 1,800 students in Iowa will participate in a statewide pilot project this summer to provide intensive help for third-grade students struggling to read at grade level. Beginning in 2017, Iowa third graders who are persistently at risk of reading below grade level will need to participate in a summer reading program to move on to fourth grade. The following school districts are participating in the 2016 pilot:

  • Algona
  • Aplington-Parkersburg
  • Bondurant-Farrar
  • Carroll
  • Cedar Rapids
  • Central Community
  • Central DeWitt
  • Columbus
  • Council Bluffs
  • Davenport
  • Decorah
  • Eagle Grove
  • East Marshall
  • East Mills and Essex
  • Emmetsburg
  • Fort Dodge
  • Hamburg
  • Hinton
  • Howard Winneshiek
  • Hubbard-Radcliffe
  • Humboldt
  • I-35
  • Indianola
  • Keokuk
  • Marion
  • Marshalltown
  • Mason City
  • Montezuma
  • Newton
  • Oskaloosa
  • Perry
  • Pocahontas
  • Shenandoah
  • Sioux City
  • Southeast Valley
  • Starmont
  • Storm Lake
  • Wapello
  • West Des Moines
  • West Liberty
  • Woodbury Central
    If you are an afterschool program in one of the above districts, consider approaching school administrators to begin a discussion on how your program can help support the goals of the intensive summer reading program.

    For tools on how to integrate literacy into your enrichment, visit the United Way of Central Iowa OST Initiative website. There you will find hundreds of resources for programming, staff development, and scheduling to provide high quality, enriching activities that support a child's literacy development.  
    Honor Mentors at the Capitol April 13
    As a part of the Governor's Volunteer Hall of Fame Awards, the Iowa Mentoring Partnership will be hosting the 2016 Excellence in Mentoring Awards on April 13th at 10.00 am at the Iowa State Capitol. You are encouraged to attend the ceremony to honor exemplary mentors from across the state. Your attendance shows the strength of support for mentoring programs. The governor and lieutenant governor have been invited to award this highest honor for mentors in Iowa. Registration for this event is not required. Go to the Facebook event page for more information.
    Follow IAA on Facebook for Latest Updates
    Facebook Follow the Iowa Afterschool Alliance on Facebook at for the latest updates on the Every Student Succeeds Act (formerly No Child Left Behind), PD opportunities, IAA activities, and grant opportunities. Expect an update on an issue of interest every day! You can also follow us on Twitter by following @iowaafterschool.
    SEDL Resources for Afterschool
    Looking for resources on how to run a high-quality program? SEDL, an affiliate of the American Institutes for Research, has no-cost resources on lesson plans, practitioners' guides, and training toolkits. Visit the National Center for Quality Afterschool here:  
    Summer is Just Around the Corner!
    The time for planning for summer is now. Don't let too many weeks pass before you start thinking and planning for summer 2016! The National Summer Learning Association can be a resource for developing your summer programming. Check out their Summer Learning Library, publications, and resources for programs, including their "Summer Starts in September" planning guide.
    Iowa Literacy Blog
    The Iowa Reading Research Center (IRRC) applies current research for the development and dissemination of best practices in literacy so that every child in Iowa will achieve reading proficiency. The IRRC has resources for programs and parents on reading and writing that can be valuable in implementing literacy in your programs and with families.

    Follow the Iowa Reading Research blog for literacy-specific content.
    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:
    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.

    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.

    2016 Impact After School Conference 
    April 28-29; 2016; Des Moines, IA
    The premier out-of-school time conference in Iowa, Impact After School is back for its fourth year! Join the Iowa Afterschool Alliance for two great days of learning, networking, and having fun! This year, the conference is also hosting two simultaneous pre-conferences. Be sure to check out all the details on the registration page.

    Register online today!

    BOOST (Best of Out-of-School Time) Conference
    April 26-29, 2016; Palm Springs, CA
    The BOOST Conference is the largest, most recognized and comprehensive global convening for after school, expanded learning, and out-of-school time professionals. Set in a retreat-like atmosphere, this annual, extraordinary event will rejuvenate your passion, boost your direction for quality programming and provide tools and resources that will inspire you to create change.

    Register online at

    Iowa Association for the Education of Young Children Spring Leadership Institute
    May 7, 2016; Des Moines, IA
    This year's Spring Institute will feature STEM and Dr. Douglas Clements leading the Institute in a discussion of the importance of mathematics in the early childhood setting. Registration materials will be available in February.

    For more information on IAEYC, visit their website 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.