Archive for July, 2010

Childrens Outdoor Bill of Rights

Wednesday, July 14th, 2010

Great news!  NJ Audubon worked very hard to make this happen.
Now we need you to contact your  state legislators to show your support for this no cost resolution!

The Children’s Outdoor Bill Of Rights , this ties in  so very much with the work all of you do every day !and with our statewide campaign  to

Celebrate Afterschool! Outdoors in the Garden State, show your support for this Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights!


The Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights, a bipartisan resolution (AR103) was drafted by NJ Audubon, introduced to the Assembly on July 1, 2010 and we hope it will be posted in fall.

We thank Assembly Sponsors:  Assemblyman Peter J. Barnes, III, Assemblywoman Denise M. Coyle and Assemblyman Scott Rudder for their leadership on this resolution.

Key points of the Resolution:

  • Children are spending less time outdoors exploring, discovering and observing our natural world and playing and creating in open spaces;
  • Not  participating in these types of activities has been shown to have adverse health, social and emotional consequences;
  • Spending time in the outdoors with frequent access to nature experiences and lessons provides a foundation upon which to build physical strength and environmental awareness;
  • Learning about the environment and other subjects in an outdoor setting, an outdoor classroom or garden, and through field studies and outdoor lab activities, is known to help increase student performance in class, increase student interest in learning, reduce disciplinary problems, and increase student ownership of work being done;
  • The future quality, quantity and use of New Jersey’s natural resources will lie in the hands of children; and
  • Children will need to understand natural systems and the interrelationships between natural and human-built systems, in order to make decisions and take actions that would maintain a high quality of life;

Every child has the right and should have opportunities to:

  • Explore the woods; climb a tree
  • Run through a field; build a fort
  • Splash in the water; catch a fish
  • Explore a city park; turn over a log
  • Sleep out in a tent; gaze at stars
  • Follow a trail; listen to bird song
  • Play in the mud; hold a frog
  • Plant a garden; eat locally grown food
  • Play in the rain; follow animal tracks
  • Be alone in nature; share it with a friend
  • Celebrate NJ’s habitats; embrace our natural heritage!

Please encourage your state legislators to support this resolution and thank those who have already signed on!

Additional Co-Sponsors:

Assemblyman Egan

Assemblyman Greenwald

Assemblywoman Lampitt

Assemblyman McKeon

Assemblyman Diegnan


To show your support of this Resolution , email your state legislator and the message should be,

“I support Assembly Resolution #103, the Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights !”


Childrens outdor bill of rights


Great News!

Wednesday, July 14th, 2010

$1 Million Grant from National Science Foundation

The National Science Foundation has awarded a $1 million grant to Citizen Schools to support our science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) apprenticeships, specifically to increase computing apprenticeships nationwide.  This prestigious grant will help us significantly increase the number of students who have the opportunity to work side-by-side with professionals and graduate students from information technology and other scientific fields on projects ranging from computer game design to robotics to web design.

The Edgerton Center at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has conducted research indicating that 85% of middle school children are interested in STEM, but that two-thirds of them believe they will not pursue careers in STEM either because they don’t know any STEM professionals or they don’t know what those professionals really do.  At Citizen Schools, we know that early exposure to STEM careers, professionals and project-based learning opportunities is a great way to increase interest in the STEM field.

With assistance from supporters like the National Science Foundation, we’ll continue to connect students with volunteers who can speak credibly to the students, telling them about career opportunities in computing and related fields, as well as the academic preparation required to pursue them.   For more on some of the most recent Citizen Schools STEM apprenticeships across the country, visit and select science/technology projects


Tuesday, July 13th, 2010


Need a training to energize you and your staff?
Is your program  in jeopardy of losing the school it operates in due to  competition from  other afterschool providers?

One problem is that afterschool programs have historically “done the right thing” by :

  • providing enriching experiences for children afterschool
  • promoted inquiry based learning and project based learning
  • encouraged children to use critical thinking skillsEven though you are doing all the “right things”  , many afterschool programs historically do not know how to tell their story .
    Does your program  clearly articulate  to families , funders and the school district what experiences you are providing for children and youth.
    Times are changing and the afterschool program needs to supply families and school districts with an intentional approach to learning.

This training will help you and your staff achieve this by  linking to learning!

Our suggestion is to you is to send 2 or more staff as a team, they can also use this time to ready for the school year.

NIOST’s (Nation Institute on Out-of-School Time) Links to Learning training responds to the call for improving academics in afterschool, while addressing the full range of youth and children’s developmental needs.

Links to Learning can help you transform your afterschool or extended learning program to be youth centered and engaging.
Each training participant receives the publication Links to Learning: A Curriculum Planning Guide, a handy reference piece for practitioners.

Topics from the training :
*Theoretical Framework
*Curriculum Planning Basics
*Linking to NJ’s Learning Standards
* Thematic Curriculum.

In addition, Communication and Coordination with Schools and Family Engagement are covered.

Links to Learning is research-based and helps program staff implement activities and scheduling that appeal to the youth they serve and improve quality and outcomes.

Links to Learning

Date:  August 3  & 4,  2010
Time:  9am-3pm each day

Place:  NJSACC, 170 Elm Street, Westfield, NJ  07090
Cost:  $125 per person includes breakfast, lunch and materials both days


This project is funded in part with federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act, as amended by No Child Left Behind, Title IV, Part B, 21st Century Community Learning Center (21st CCLC) grant funds through a cooperative grant agreement with the New Jersey Department of Education.

Meet the Trainers

Ana De Hoyos-O’Connor

For the past 20 years, Ana has worked in her community, state and around the nation providing training to staff, administrators and parents on topics related to out-of-school time. In her community, she serves on the City of San Antonio Commission for Children and Families to provide information on quality programming for children. Her experience includes positions such as a classroom teacher, lab instructor, college instructor, home visitor and teacher mentor.

As a Training Associate for the National Institute on Out-of-School Time at Wellesley College, Ana travels extensively to lead workshops for school administrators and teachers.  Ana is a Full Time Instructor at San Antonio College. There she teaches courses related to young children, families and the school-age child. In 2004 she received the Higher Education Award from the San Antonio Association for the Education of Young Children for her work with students and the community. A graduate of San Antonio College, Ana models life-long learning to students after having earned her BA and her Master’s of Education degree.

Ana continues to work within her community to provide training and support, and she testifies to school boards, community boards and parents on the need for funding and quality afterschool programs. Ana is currently a board member to Northeast YMCA of San Antonio. She serves on community afterschool projects on quality issues and community awareness.

Molly McNally Dunn

Molly McNally Dunn has been an advocate for the school-age child for thirty years. This passion began professionally as an elementary teacher in Massachusetts and in New York. She then journeyed to early childhood care and education as a nutrition consultant to family child care providers and a teacher for pre-licensing of family child care homes in Colorado. She has worked in both the private and public sectors and currently administers sixteen school-based afterschool  programs for Red Rocks Community College in Lakewood, Colorado.

Molly is a consultant and trainer for the Colorado Department of Education forafterschool. In this capacity she has provided technical assistance to programs throughout the state. She has presented workshops on afterschool and extended learning opportunities throughout the country.

Molly serves on the Board of Colorado Alliance for Quality School Age Programs (CAQSAP) and has served on CAEYC and NAA. She has created and facilitated a multi-agency study group of afterschool site directors, and a grant linking the school day with out-of-school time in fostering literacy with afterschool  programs.

Molly’s most recent venture is with the Colorado Department of Education. She works closely with principals and teachers strategizing with  afterschool  professionals to support children’s learning in schools.


New Resource

Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

LearningPort National Professional Development Library Launched

LearningPort is a national professional development library conceived by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) and developed by the IDEA Partnership.
The intent of the library is to support the use of ARRA funds for the provision of professional development in school districts.
The library provides educators with easy access to an array of resources that can be used or customized to meet their needs including learning modules, tool kits, archived webinars, and video resources.

To access LearningPort, go to or

After-school Programs:


Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

We are asked to circulate this survey. 
If you offer STEM , please complete this survey.

 Dear Afterschool Provider,

 Please help us take a “snapshot” of informal science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education programs serving high school age  youth. The Older Youth Working Group (an outcome of the Older Youth & Science in Out-of-School Time Conference conference/) is circulating a survey with the goal to get a better understanding of the support structure, resources, and activities that  are available to older youth in our country.
Your input will contribute to create a database of information that will be used to positively influence engagement, attitudes and perception, learning  and skill building, and direction for youth around STEM education. Results from the survey will be shared with all organizations that  contribute data.

 The survey takes only 10 minutes to complete but the impact of your participation will be long lasting. Please, make sure to submit your inputs by July 23, 2010. The link to the survey is

 For information about the survey or the Older Youth Working Group, you  can contact Irene Porro at

 Thank you,

 Irene Porro
MIT Kavli Institute
Member of the Older Youth Working Group