We know afterschool boosts student success, keeps kids safe, and helps parents keep their jobs. The demand for afterschool and summer learning opportunities far exceeds the supply and too many young people are being left out.
Afterschool provides a solid return on investment. Research shows that every $1 invested in afterschool programs saves at least $3 by:
✓ Increasing kids’ earning potential
✓ Improving kids’ performance at school
✓ Reducing crime and juvenile delinquency
Afterschool works for students, families, and the economy.
Show your support!
Expanding STEM Learning Across the Big Sky
A daylong summit next month will bring together representatives from education, business, after-school providers, government and the larger community to discuss how Montana can build a strong science, technology, engineering and math ecosystem across Big Sky country.
The STEM Summit takes place Aug. 8 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the Strand Union Building Ballrooms on the campus of Montana State University. Participants will explore ways to expand STEM experiences outside the classroom and create a collaborative framework for more high-quality STEM learning for Montana youth. The College of Education, Health and Human Development and the Montana Afterschool Alliance are co-hosting the event.
The day consists of panel discussions with action tables, networking sessions, a hands-on demonstration with STARBASE Montana and key speakers, including conversations with MSU President Waded Cruzado, state Superintendent of Public Instruction Elsie Arntzen and Lt. Gov. Mike Cooney. An optional one-hour TechBridge Role Models Matter workshop will be offered immediately following the close of the summit.
Jan Lombardi, a founding member of the Montana Afterschool Alliance, which was organized in 2014 with funding from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, said there are children in Montana who don’t have the opportunity or support to experience high-quality after-school or summer learning. Today’s youth need to be critical thinkers, and by building knowledge and skills outside of school, children are more college and career ready.
Alison Harmon, dean of the College of Education, Health and Human Development, said that the summit will be a critical gathering of individuals whose input is needed to identify state priorities and chart a course for expanding STEM education.
The summit is made possible by a planning grant from STEM Next, a national initiative housed at the University of San Diego designed to prepare more young people for careers in STEM fields, as well as numerous local and state sponsors.
Participants must pre-register. There is no cost to attend. To register, go to stemmontana.org/Home/Summit.
The Montana Office of Public Instruction (OPI) is inviting you to participate and provide feedback on webinars on specific topics for the Montana State Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Plan.
The Every Student Succeeds Act, signed into law in 2015, replaces No Child Left Behind and reauthorizes the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965. The purpose of Montana ESSA Plan is to show how Montana is working to ensure federal standards are met on various federally funded programs while allowing flexibility and ensuring community input. OPI wants to use ESSA as a vehicle to accomplish their priorities, goals and vision for education in Montana.
OPI is hosting webinars for each of the areas of the plan that they are revisiting in order to build upon and edit due to feedback, new requirements, or peer review expectations. The webinars are around ten minutes long and have guiding documents you can review beforehand. All of the information can be found on the Info, Docs & Webinars page on the OPI’s ESSA site. You can also find the feedback Montana has received on the plan submitted in December and the Peer Review Criteria the Department of Education released on that same page. After watching the webinars, you can send your feedback, input, and questions to ESSAinput@mt.gov.
Afterschool programs are especially encouraged to look at the ESSA Title IV Part B: 21st Century Community Service Centers Webinar. After watching the webinar, please consider the following questions and submit your responses to Tracy Moseman at email@example.com.
- With regards to the activities provided by the state to sub grantees, are there any activities missing or training topics you would like to see prioritized by the state for the grantees?
- With regards to the sub granting procedures identified in the application, is there anything unclear about the process, or is there anything you would like to see further defined?
Science Action Club: Bugs In Your Schoolyard launched last fall and now Birds In Your Schoolyard is ready for spring training thanks to Montana State University’s Extended University. MSU is providing free STEM resources and training to a group of educators who work with middle school students in after-school or out-of-school programs.
Afterschool programs can affect how students perform in school and help students be college and career ready. The Montana Afterschool Alliance (MTAA) recognizes MSU’s efforts to increase STEM-based learning opportunities for Montana’s youth outside the school day. MTAA is fortunate to have a strong partnership with Montana State University (MSU), which, as the state’s land-grant institution, has a strong focus on outreach and learning in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math.
Montana’s Science Action Club educators today will receive a complete Science Action Club kit featuring high-quality science equipment and classroom supplies for 20 youth, plus digital resources to provide opportunities to extend learning. The afterschool sites across Montana will conduct 12 hands-on activities this spring with youth in middle school; contribute data to researchers via citizen science apps; and assist with evaluation and feedback to the California Academy of Sciences, which developed the Science Action Club curriculum. Science Action Club program is also supported by the Montana Girls STEM Collaborative, National Girls Collaborative Project, the Montana Women’s Foundation, Montana NSF EPSCoR and the MSU Chemistry and Biochemistry Department.
Science Action Clubs: Birds in Your School Yard are from following communities:
- Lame Deer
- Seeley Lake
- White Sulphur Springs
Science Action Club sites that implemented the Bugs In Your Schoolyard curriculum include Ashland, Browning, Hamilton, Hinsdale, Townsend and Willow Creek.
Science Action Club (SAC) is a high-impact STEM program for middle school youth in out-of-school time. Through hands-on games and projects, youth in SAC investigate their local environment and use citizen science to document discoveries, share data, and design strategies to protect our planet.
Montana Afterschool Alliance’s mission is to support and advocate for sustainable, high-quality afterschool programs by drawing together key decision-makers committed to improving outcomes for youth, their families, and communities. The vision of the Montana Afterschool Alliance is that all Montana youth have access to enriching afterschool activities in a safe and healthy environment. In October of 2014, the Montana Afterschool Alliance (MTAA) received funding from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, making Montana the 43rd state to have a statewide afterschool network.
For more information about Science Action Clubs, contact Suzi Taylor, Assistant Director of Outreach and Communications, MSU Extended University; (406) 994-6550, firstname.lastname@example.orgFor more information about the Montana Afterschool Alliance contact Julia Gustafson, Network Lead, (406) 624-9272, email@example.com.
Check out the February 10, 2017 Newsletter from MTAA.
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
Please also note that our mailing address has changed to Montana Afterschool Alliance, PO Box 1952, Helena, MT 59624.
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.
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
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.
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!
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
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.
It was a big morning for afterschool policy! Congress agreed upon a bill titled the Every Student Succeeds Act, which would reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.Read More
Most out-of-school time programs provide a snack or even a meal to kids who participate. The different routes a program can take to be reimbursed for food, however, can be confusing. In this post, we’ll take a look at the two main options in Montana.Read More
The Montana Afterschool Alliance is conducting a survey to gain valuable insight into Montana’s out of school time strengths and needs. We are looking for input from families, providers, advocates, and other interested parties.Read More
Registration is now open for your Lights on Afterschool event!
Lights On Afterschool is the only nationwide celebration of afterschool, and if you are a program provider, a parent, a community member or a program participant, you know that there is a lot to celebrate. Afterschool programs across the country inspire kids to learn everything from coding to poetry to healthy habits, help working parents, and keep kids safe and engaged after the school day ends. Last year, more than a million people celebrated the unique programs that they love at Lights On Afterschool events across the country. This year, help afterschool programs get the attention they deserve by registering your Lights On Afterschool celebration!Read More