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Policy Projects 2016-17

Policy Projects 2016-17

During their time in the Fellowship, 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 in their state. These projects align with their State Afterschool Network’s policy goals and help to build the capacity of the Networks. Projects focus on a range of topics including coalition building, afterschool quality standards, statewide line items for afterschool, summer learning pilot programs, STEM afterschool programming, career and technical education partnerships, middle school afterschool, among many other things.

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.

Click here to meet the 2016-17 class of Policy Fellows!

Billie Jo Bakeberg, South Dakota

Billie Jo is the Steering Committee Chair for the South Dakota Afterschool Network. Her policy project is to work to bring together all South Dakota entities that provide afterschool enrichment to begin conversations and sharing of the great opportunities available to South Dakota youth. The larger plan is to write Afterschool Quality Standards in South Dakota. Currently there is no such document available. This process includes the Department of Education, SD Childcare Services, The South Dakota afterschool Network, higher education representation, as well as provider input from all types of programs – private, non-profit, faith based, school based, and franchise.

Suzanne Birdsall-Stone, New Hampshire

Suzanne is an Afterschool Consultant and Trainer/Facilitator for NCASE. In NH there is unprecedented statewide synergy among business, education, philanthropic, and government sectors around solutions to critical economic and health issues facing New Hampshire families. Specifically, business leaders have sounded the alarm concerning availability of qualified employees with the technical skills and social emotional skills needed for all professions – especially for STEM related jobs.  This policy project addresses the relationships and opportunities between businesses and afterschool to support a strong foundation for lifelong learning, healthy relationships, and improved outcomes for youth. Tools, resources, and training for businesses and afterschool partnerships will be disseminated through the NH Afterschool Network (NHAN) and NHAN’s Leadership Team partners based on lessons learned from a pilot project.

David Carroll, Missouri

David is the Chief Program Officer for Neighborhood Houses. He is currently working on The Champions of After School Project, which is designed to develop high level champions from the business, legislative, educational, philanthropic, and legal sectors of Missouri. The goal is to leverage those relationships to begin the process of creating legislation supporting Expanded Learning Opportunities.

Leslie Garvin, North Carolina

Leslie serves as the Executive Director of the North Carolina Campus Compact. Leslie is seeking to strengthen partnerships between North Carolina colleges and universities and the afterschool programs. The policy goal is for afterschool/higher education partnerships to receive priority points in securing funding through the After-School Quality Improvement Grant Program administered by the NC Department of Public Instruction. Her process for building these partnerships involves creating an AmeriCorps VISTA program in which fulltime VISTA members will provide capacity building support to afterschool programs throughout the state.

Nichelle Harris, Ohio

Nichelle is the Network Lead at the Ohio Afterschool Network. She is working on a policy project involving ESSA and the 5th indicator. Right now Ohio has not decided what that indicator will be, but "School Climate" is on the table. OAN should be able to leverage that opportunity to provide TA and PD for 21st CCLC programs.

Jessica Hay, California

Jessica works as the Program Director at the California Afterschool Network (CAN). California has the nation’s largest expanded learning infrastructure, and the California Afterschool Network plays a key role in this field. CAN serves as the connector between the grassroots and grass tops of the expanded learning field. Due to this role, CAN is uniquely positioned to build field capacity to advance afterschool and summer learning. This policy project will focus on a multi-pronged approach to address the needs for increased state funding, recognition of programs implementing healthy eating and physical activity, building local policy hubs of champions to support the movement, and broad communications to the field and policy makers through the CAN field committees, the CAN Newsletters and the State of the State of Expanded Learning in California report. There has been a historic groundswell of support for expanded learning in California. The field has been engaging and responsive to statewide efforts in ways it has never been before. The legislature has a clearer understanding of the need for policies that will support high quality expanded learning programs. The California Department of Education is a stronger partner and ally with the field than it has ever been. All of this has created the perfect timing to build field capacity to advance expanded learning. Advancing three critical pieces – coordination, communication, and making the case with data – will not only enhance CAN’s placement in the expanded learning community, but also build lasting organizational and field capacity that can be leveraged for years to come.

Stephanie Lennon, Washington

Stephanie works as the Policy & Advocacy Coordinator at School’s Out Washington. Seattle Mayor Ed Murray proposed a new Soda tax as part of his budget earlier this year. Revenue from the tax, which is on distributers and not consumers, would go to education programs, including afterschool and summer programs based on the recommendations from the Mayor's Education Advisory Group/Education Summit in 2016. Several upcoming hearings are scheduled, and Stephanie is working with a coalition of health advocates as well as bringing afterschool and summer providers together to advocate. It is possible that the tax will end up on the ballot in November 2017, in which case continued support and advocacy for passage would take place.

Amber May, Mississippi

Amber serves as the Program Director at Operation Shoestrings, Inc. Her policy project is to help build the Mississippi Statewide Afterschool Network in support of afterschool programs and coordinate a unified vision to inform policy and improve the quality of afterschool initiatives across the state. Amber’s efforts will be centered around working with the educational state agency to include afterschool opportunities in the ESSA state plan and establish a representative and durable structure of governance for the network.

Shallie Pittman, Illinois

Shallie works as the Youth Development Associate at ACT Now. Her policy project focuses on using ESSA to increase the number of afterschool initiatives in Illinois by getting the State Plan (Title I/IV) to acknowledge/mention afterschool as a viable option for the use of ESSA funds and educating various stakeholders (districts, providers, etc.) on how, through ESSA, afterschool programs can be used to support the needs of students. The project entails preparing afterschool advocates to share comments – at the third round of the ESSA listening tour – on how afterschool can support the Illinois State Board of Education in achieving its goals. In addition, this work calls for directing intentional outreach towards a Title I community where some schools receive 21st CCLC funds and where some schools applied, but did not receive grants due to limited funding. The project works to enhance education around how schools can use ESSA to pay for collaborating with STEM afterschool programs, establishing community partnerships, promoting healthy lifestyles for students, and supporting mentoring opportunities.

Kelly Riding, Utah

Kelly works as the Network Lead at the Utah Afterschool Network (UAN). Her policy project focuses on increasing UAN’s sphere of influence in Utah’s STEM policy initiatives, as well as work more closely with the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, STEM Action Center, state agencies, and policy makers. Specific goals include: create an engaged network of practice that supports informal STEM education, expand advocacy efforts, align professional learning opportunities, and create collaborative partnerships.

Laura Saccente, Pennsylvania

Laura is the Director of PSAYDN. In Pennsylvania (PA), state government relies heavily on public-private partnerships to offset the resource and funding needs that the state does not have the capacity to provide. PA has accessibility and affordability needs when it depends on Out-of-School Time (OST) programming to serve its most under-represented populations. Laura’s policy project establishes resources for OST providers to embrace partnerships with business/industry and provide information of partnership example/opportunities. The project will provide increased dialogue and relationship-building through the Network level down to individual programs. PSAYDN will provide tools and resources for business-OST partnerships to thrive in the areas of workforce development opportunities, advancing STEM policies and state level activities including EITC and business-education partnership grants. PSAYDN will provide direct communication to the collaborators as well as to the Network partners in convening workshop opportunities, drafting resource material, hosting webinars and surveying partners.

Megan Stanek, Oklahoma

Megan is the Special Project Managing Director for the Oklahoma Public School Resource Center. Her project involves snack and food funding for ELO programs. Oklahoma is one of the highest food-insecure states while simultaneously one of the lowest states utilizing the USDA food grants for ELO providers. ELO providers have two ways in which to access snacks and meals for participants: 1. Become a licensed DHS provider 2. Have a Sponsor. There are inherent restraints in option 1: The majority of rural ELO providers are unable to meet the rigid licensing requirements and DHS does not give exemptions easily.

Patrick Stanton, Massachusetts

Patrick is the Creative Research Director for the Massachusetts Afterschool Partnership. His project focuses on looking at the multitude of funding streams that provide resources to afterschool and summer learning in Massachusetts. With over 20 different state line items available (not including federal, local, or private sources), it can be confusing and time consuming for providers to raise funds for the program. After surveying afterschool providers about where they get their money, it was clear that funding streams are as diverse as the programs themselves. Patrick crafted policy recommendations that seek to improve accessibility for providers who get grants from the state. Over the long term, he hopes his findings can help inform bigger policy projects around funding and sustainability.

Kelly Sturgis, New York

Kelly is the Executive Director of the New York State Network for Youth Success.  Her policy project addresses the need for investments to cover the cost of all background checks and other necessary clearances to comply with the reauthorization of the Child Care and Development Block Grant. New York State Department of Budget has estimated a minimum of $190 million to cover the costs of complying with the eligibility and health and safety requirements. More specifically, the cost of background clearance compliance is estimated between $24 and $28 million. Providers worry that without significant state or federal investments, the cost of background checks will fall on the already heavy shoulders of providers. This policy project will address the need for investments to cover the cost of all background checks and other necessary clearances to comply with the reauthorization of the Child Care and Development Block Grant.

Courtney Sullivan, Arizona

Courtney serves as the Executive Director of the Arizona Center for Afterschool Excellence. In Arizona, she is working on getting their Quality Standards adopted by state agencies such as the Department of Education, Department of Health Services, Department of Economic Security and the Governor's Office.