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Policy Projects 2014-15

Policy Projects 2014-15

Participants in the ten-month-long White-Riley-Peterson Policy Fellowship are required to design and implement a policy action project focused on afterschool and expanded learning during their time in the Fellowship. These projects align with their State Afterschool Network’s policy goals and help to build the capacity of the Networks. In states where no afterschool network exists, Fellows work to establish one. For example, in Hawaii, through advocacy, coalition building, and a statewide conference, Fellows Paula Adams and Marlene Zeug successfully laid the groundwork for the state’s first ever afterschool network, to be launched in 2014-2015. In Nebraska, Fellow Anna Wishart introduced legislation to create an Expanded Learning Opportunity Legislative Task Force. This bill was turned into an interim study for 2014. To read about all of the Fellows’ policy projects and watch their associated videos, please visit the policy projects link that appears within each class year.

Meet the 2014-15 class of Policy Fellows, click here.

Caroline Allen, Pennsylvania

Caroline is a coordinator for the Pennsylvania Statewide Afterschool/Youth Development Network (PSAYND). Caroline worked to establish quality Out-of-School Time (OST) care for all Pennsylvania students by the year 2024. The first step of her project was to create quality afterschool programs in areas where the need is highest. The second step was to form a bi-partisan, bi-cameral afterschool caucus that was followed by an OST planning bill.

To see a video about Caroline’s project, click here.  

Sara Beanblossom, Indiana

Sara provides leadership for the Indiana Afterschool Network’s (IAN) communications, advocacy, technology, research, and other strategic initiatives. Sara’s primary project goal was to lay the groundwork to increase state investment in Out-of-School Time. The key element in reaching this goal was developing a communication plan to inform legislators about the value of OST. The plan engaged local programs, state leaders, and national leaders and set the stage for a financial ask within the next three years.

To see a video about Sara’s project, click here.  

Armelle Casau, New Mexico

Armelle is a research and policy analyst at New Mexico Voices for Children.  Armelle advocated for additional science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) afterschool opportunities for children in the state and for professional development funds for providers focused on delivering quality STEM programming. This project advocated for STEM in afterschool, wrote and disseminated data-focused fact sheets and a short policy brief that outlines the benefits of quality STEM in afterschool programs, and secured legislative champions from both political parties to provide funding and support for STEM in afterschool across the state.

To see a video about Armelle’s project, click here.  

Erin Frati, Maine

Erin works as the Director of the Maine Afterschool Network. Erin worked to build alignment between the Maine Department of Education’s Proficiency Based Diploma and the states 21st Century Community Learning Center Afterschool programs. She developed an alignment questionnaire to study the relationships between schools and their 21st Century programs. She developed much stronger relationships with the Maine DOE and 21st Century program directors throughout the year and played a strong advocacy role when ESEA reauthorization and protecting the 21st Century funding stream become a big issue nationally. Maine’s email campaign to its Congressional Delegation was in the top ten in the country. 

To see a video about Erin’s project, click here.  

Ricky Gourrier, Nevada

Ricky works for the Nevada Afterschool Network and is currently pursuing his doctorate in Workforce Development and Organizational Leadership. The project he selected was to garner support from the Nevada Department of Education (NDE) to assist in the implementation and execution of the Nevada Quality Standards (NQS) amongst 21st CCLC’s across the state. The NQS were developed among stakeholders and practitioners within Nevada. The execution of this project included utilizing a Quality Improvement System (QIS) to assist these programs with obtaining a quality ranking, and getting the NDE to allocate funds for professional development. Ricky’s goal has been to have the NDE write in the RFP that all successfully funded programs from here on out would utilize and subscribe to the NQS to insure success and quality of these programs.

To see a video about Ricky’s project, click here.  

Casey Hanson, Missouri

Casey is the Evaluation and Communication Coordinator for the Missouri AfterSchool Network (MASN). Casey worked to create more awareness and support around the state to support statewide policies or appropriations aimed at increasing afterschool program capacity. The first activity of this project was to recruit Champions in key legislative districts around the state to help build relationships needed to advance funding for afterschool programs. Casey’s goal was to have five to ten Champions statewide who are dedicated to helping foster these relationships by the end of May 2015.

To see a video about Casey’s project, click here.  

Alli Lidie, New York

Alli works as the Policy and Communications Coordinator for the New York State Afterschool Network (NYSAN). Alli worked to bring together afterschool programs, the New York State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS), and the legislature. The purpose of this was to increase capacity at OCFS to sufficiently train registrars, explore statutory changes to include some necessary program exemptions to the regulations, and create venues for more consistent communication, both internally and externally at OCFS.

To see a video about Alli’s project, click here.  

Britney Lomax, Maryland

Britney serves as a Program & Policy specialist with the Governor’s Office for Children in Maryland. Britney developed standardized outcome performance measures to serve as guidelines for out of school programs throughout the state of Maryland. Britney conducted research in this field. Then, she used Results Accountability decision making to use results as the starting point for making decisions. This process starts at the end and works backwards to develop successful methods for reaching her goal.

Lemar Marshall, Louisiana

Lemar sits on the Hammond City Council in Louisiana where he focuses heavily on afterschool work. Lemar’s project was to establish a sustainable afterschool program for the youth in the Hammond Community. He established the Hammond Youth Education Alliance, successfully completed his pilot year with Young Audiences of Louisiana to establish a baseline for what we wanted to accomplish in afterschool, and held an election cycle with a strong commitment to support Afterschool and summer learning. The community will also be hiring an Out of School Coordinator to facilitate afterschool for the 2015-2016 school year.

Judith McShane, Idaho

Judith is an Extension Associate with the University of Idaho 4H Youth Development. Judith worked to conduct a statewide survey and map of Idaho out-of school programs currently operating, including those that are offered seasonally, afterschool, or intermittently. With this data, the Idaho Afterschool Network (IAN) will accomplish a number of things. First, IAN will create and promote a statewide interactive GIS-based map for families and youth to search for programs in their communities. Second, IAN will provide the data to analyze the quality and variety of afterschool programs, identifying gaps in service and opportunities for growth. Finally, IAN will provide the feedback to determine what services, resources, or professional development can be collectively offered to ensure programs continue, improve or have a solid beginning.

To see a video about Judith’s project, click here.  

Del Ruff, North Carolina

Del works as the state network lead at North Carolina Center for Afterschool Programs. Del developed the NC Student Opportunities Map, which uses specific icons to provide a snapshot about expanded learning programs in the surrounding zip code or county so that stakeholders can select their preference of programs. This map allows stakeholders to review county data around education, health, economic development, and youth behavior and safety of a given area’s expanded learning opportunities. State leads are also able to report on fiscal snapshots of local, state, federal, and philanthropic funds that expanded learning programs are receiving.

To see a video about Del’s project, click here

Jim Snell, Tennessee

Jim is the Executive Director of Volunteer Tennessee. The Tennessee Afterschool Network, which is still fairly new to Tennessee, is still in its developing stages in terms of policy. Jim has been working to organize afterschool policy initiatives and develop them into more productive policies for the state of Tennessee. Jim assessed existing afterschool policy in Tennessee and compiled best practice policy from other states. Combining these, he created a policy roadmap for the Tennessee Afterschool Network.

To see a video about Jim’s project, click here.  

Samantha Thorstensen, Florida

Samantha is the first STEM Director for the Florida Afterschool Network. Samantha’s goal was for the Florida Afterschool Network to receive more money from state funding for quality STEM education. She began with a pilot project from the state to run one program, and has used this as a step to make connections with legislators in order to receive larger appropriations in the future.

To see a video about Samantha’s project, click here.   

Rachel Willis, Kansas

Rachel serves as a Project Coordinator for the Kansas Enrichment Network with the Center for Public Partnership and Research at the University of Kansas. The creation and implementation of a Kansas regional afterschool ambassador program was her project. The afterschool ambassador program was compromised of nine Kansas out of school time champions representing a variety of programs and demographics. The ambassadors were charged with a variety of assignments including participating in the first annual Day at the Capitol and hosting elected officials at their sites. These nine individuals created awareness and appreciation for what afterschool and summer learning programs offer youth, families and communities.

To see a video about Rachel’s project, click here

Lori Zahradka, North Dakota

Lori works as the Project Director of the North Valley Extended School Project and also works with the 21st CCLC at North Valley Career-Tech Center. Lori developed a public-private partnership in the afterschool network. She developed a team to assist her in reaching her goal. They have met with a group of partners, found a fiscal sponsor, and have met with legislative leaders to gain input on how to move the project forward. They have also gained support from multiple people in the North Dakota state government. In addition, the University of North Dakota Stem Field Coordinator is advocating for the ND STEM Network, Department of Public instruction, and Dakota Science Center to partner with the emerging work.

To see a video about Lori’s project, click here.   


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