Take action to support out-of-school time programs
Contact Your Elected Officials
Reaching out to your elected officials at the local, state, and federal levels is a quick way to advocate for more funding, more high-quality programs, and greater student success!
Common Cause: Enter your address at Common Cause to find your elected officials, learn how to contact them, see bills they’ve introduced, committees they serve on, and political contributions they’ve received.
Afterschool Alliance – Contact Congress: Reach out to House and Senate Appropriators in support of 21st CCLC funding by emailing a message, sending a tweet, or posting on Facebook.
Ask your legislators to stand up for afterschool by joining their colleagues in Kansas Afterschool Caucus!
Organize a Site Visit for a Policymaker
Inviting policymakers to visit your afterschool program is a powerful way to help them understand the benefits your program provides to the community.
Below are steps to take to setup a successful site visit. If you would like a sample timeline and agenda as well as templates for an press release, invitation and thank you letter, contact Rachel Willis.
- Find the address, telephone number and email address for your Elected Official(s)
One great resource to find your Elected Officials is BallotPedia.
2. Identify a date for the visit
Select a date that is most optimal for you. Remember to check Congressional calendars to ensure your date coincides with Congressional recesses.
3. Call the Elected Official’s office
Tell the person who answers the phone that you would like to schedule a visit to your afterschool program. Be flexible so if the lawmaker is not available, ask if a senior staff person can visit instead.
4. Confirm the agenda for the visit
Identify the activities that will occur during the site visit and who will serve as a host or spokesperson for the Elected Official(s).
5. The Visit
Make sure that the Elected Officials have the opportunity to hear from young people in your program. Share all of your successes and take pictures.
6. After the Visit
Send the Elected Official a Thank You card and copies of the pictures.
Participate in Lights On Afterschool
Lights On Afterschool (LOA) is the annual celebration of afterschool programs across the nation. Since 2000, annual participation in Lights On Afterschool has grown to over 8000 events reaching over 1 million Americans. Each October, children, families, and their communities come together to draw attention to the importance of afterschool in their lives through a talent show, a service project, a day of play, or something entirely different. A Lights On Afterschool event can inspire parents, educators, funders, policymakers, and other influential community leaders to become champions for afterschool.
If your program has an interest in organizing a Lights On Afterschool event, there is an online toolbox to help programs conceptualize and plan their LOA events. The resource is complete with a planning timeline, promotional and outreach sample materials, logistical tips and reminders, and much more to ensure your Lights On Afterschool event is remembered for years to come!
To learn more about organizing a Lights On Afterschool event, click here!
Every Student Succeeds Act
What is the Every Student Succeeds Act?
The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) is the new K-12 federal education law, which reauthorizes the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and replaces No Child Left Behind. It was signed into law in 2015 and will be phased in over the next few years. The law was designed to increase opportunities for local input and flexible decision making based on what communities and states need. A key goal of the new law is to ensure all students have access to a quality education—inside and outside the classroom. Click here for the complete text of ESSA (21st CCLC starts on page 233 of PDF).
The law has 10 Titles (sections), three of which are very important for afterschool:
- Title I – Includes school accountability and interventions (like afterschool) to help support students. Each state is now determining how schools will be held accountable (i.e., how to measure a good school) and local districts with community input will be expected to determine what supports they need to be successful.
- Title II – Includes teacher professional development including ways where school day and afterschool teachers can work and be trained in coordination.
- Title IV – Includes two important parts:
- Title IV A has funding for Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants.
- Title IV B funds the 21st Century Community Learning Centers – the largest federal funding stream for afterschool, before school and summer programs.
Watch the Afterschool Webinar – ESSA: What does it mean for afterschool and summer learning?
What You (as a program, parent, partner) Can Do:
- Keep track of timelines, input/listening sessions, and progress within Kansas. Click here for the Kansas Department of Education ESSA webpage.
- Be prepared with talking points about how afterschool helps: Talking points for ESSA Titles.
- Send a letter to superintendents and principals to let them know how your program is poised to help. Here is a sample letter.
- Share research about afterschool and student success indicators:
KESA (The Five R’s) and OST
Get on the Kansas Program Map
Be Your Voice in the Community
Write a Letter to Your Local Newspaper Editor
Adapt and send a letter like this to your local newspaper to encourage community awareness and discussion of afterschool programs. The Kansas Press Association has an active directory of all member newspapers.
Distribute Media Advisories and Press Releases About Events
Share Information on Your Website
Use your website and social media to highlight a recent afterschool event. Something as simple as this helps spread the word that afterschool matters!