MTAA Welcomes New Network Lead

The Montana Afterschool Alliance (MTAA) Steering Council is pleased to welcome Julia Gustafson as our new Network Lead. Julia will serve as the primary contact for the Montana Afterschool Alliance. We appreciate her help as we continue our work supporting and advocating for sustainable, high-quality afterschool programs by drawing together key decision-makers committed to improving outcomes for youth, their families, and communities.

Julia brings strong communication and organizational skills to MTAA and an enthusiasm for our vision that all Montana youth have access to enriching afterschool activities in a safe and healthy environment.  Most recently Julia served as the Organizational Development Director for the Montana Nonprofit Association and has also worked with PacificSource Health Plans and the Governor’s Office of Community Service. Julia is the new board chair for Helena Food Share, Helena's food pantry, and previously served on the board of Helena Community Gardens. She lives in Helena.

You can reach Julia at 406-624-9272 or
networklead@mtafterschoolalliance.org.

Please also note that our mailing address has changed to Montana Afterschool Alliance, PO Box 1952, Helena, MT 59624.

Julia

Montana Celebrates Lights On Afterschool!

In October, 2016 over 10 Montana afterschool programs celebrated the Afterschool Alliance's nationwide Lights On Afterschool! campaign by hosting events across the state. Highlights include:

Governor Steve Bullock visited Greater Gallatin United Way kidsLINK Afterschool's event with about 45 Bozeman school children. Events for the day focused on nutritional education, including making a kale salad and learning about the negative impacts of too much sugar. The Bozeman Daily Chronicle featured the Governor's visit to this event at Hyalite Elementary.

Youth make haunted houses out of sugar cubes while Governor Bullock looks on (Photo credit: Louise Johns, Bozeman Daily Chronicle)

Youth make haunted houses out of sugar cubes while Governor Bullock looks on (Photo credit: Louise Johns, Bozeman Daily Chronicle)

Libby Elementary Afterscool Program hosted a Lights On Family Night. Students helped prepare an evening meal for their families, decorated for the event and assembled math game packets. Seventy guests attended. Libby will also be hosting a free Lights On Halloween event on October 31, including Trunk or Treat, a Haunted House, outside games with prizes and refreshments. More than 300 participants are expected to attend

Libby Elementary Lights On Afterschool! Family Night, October 24, 2016

Libby Elementary Lights On Afterschool! Family Night, October 24, 2016

Libby Elementary Lights On Afterschool! Family Night, October 24, 2016

Libby Elementary Lights On Afterschool! Family Night, October 24, 2016

The Helena Family YMCA hosted a Lights On event on October 13, 2016. In preparation, Helena middle schoolers addressed invitations to Montana political leaders. Bryant elementary schoolers practiced introducing themselves and inviting guests to join them in activities. Together the students prepared kale chips and decorated cookies for the event. During the event families sampled the snacks made by the students and colored a light bulb to be sent to Montana's legislature to show Helena's support for afterschool funding. A record number of Bryant families attended, totaling 40 students and 25 caretakers.

Helena Middle School and Bryant Elementary School Lights On Afterschool!  event, October 13, 2016

Helena Middle School and Bryant Elementary School Lights On Afterschool!  event, October 13, 2016

Helena Middle School and Bryant Elementary School Lights On Afterschool! event, October 13, 2016

Helena Middle School and Bryant Elementary School Lights On Afterschool! event, October 13, 2016

Although over 18,000 Montana children attend programs after the school day ends, there is still more work to be done to meet the great need for afterschool programs that keep Montana’s kids safe, inspire them to learn and help working families. Of Montana children not enrolled in afterschool programs, 38% (49,273) would if a program were available. 

“Afterschool programs keep kids safe, help working families and inspire learning. They provide opportunities to help young people develop into successful adults. MTAA promotes Lights On Afterschool!, a project of the Afterschool Alliance, to demonstrate our dedication to ensuring that all children have access to quality, affordable afterschool programs,” says Jan Lombardi, MTAA Steering Council Past President and Executive Committee member.

Thank you to all the Montana afterschool programs who hosted events for Lights On Afterschool! We hope you will join us next year in celebrating the importance of keeping students safe after school!

Annual Afterschool & Beyond Conference Huge Success

On August 15 and 16, 2016 MTAA hosted its second annual Afterschool & Beyond Professional Development Conference for educational professionals. The conference, held at Montana State University (MSU), was a huge success and included 220 participants, presenters and panelists.  There were 20 different workshops to choose from throughout the two-day event that focused on out of school time program leadership, program delivery and program wide enhancement. The Conference was an outstanding networking and resource sharing opportunity for attendees and many participants learned about new funding and training opportunities and gained new tools, both tangible and intangible, for their afterschool programs. 

MTAA would like to thank conference sponsors for helping to create such a successful event:

  • Montana Office of Public Instruction
  • BlueCross BlueShield of Montana
  • NorthWestern Energy
  • Montana Girls STEM Collaborative
  • Montana Education Partnership
National speaker Dr. Ruby Payne provides the keynote address discussing how to break the cycle of poverty.

National speaker Dr. Ruby Payne provides the keynote address discussing how to break the cycle of poverty.

Panelists Jan Lombardi, Shannon Hughes, Chuck Johnson and Chris Seifert discuss Why Your Afterschool Story Matters.

Panelists Jan Lombardi, Shannon Hughes, Chuck Johnson and Chris Seifert discuss Why Your Afterschool Story Matters.

Every Student Succeeds Act

The Every Student Succeeds Act was passed by the Senate earlier today, and it's expected to be signed by President Obama by the end of this week. In addition to maintaining a dedicated funding stream for 21st Century Community Learning Center programs, the new legislation will also make some improvements. 

One of these improvements includes a focus on making it easier for schools, the state, and other community resources to communicate and share resources. In addition, new measurements for helping to keep students on track with college and career readiness will be put in place. Overall, it appears that the legislation is a step forward from the out-of-school time policy viewpoint.