The stakes are high! As afterschool professionals and leaders, you are equipping yourself or others to prepare young people for a world we can only imagine. Come share your ideas and explore innovative and proven practices. Challenge yourself to explore new perspectives, make key connections, and build lasting relationships that will strengthen the afterschool field and profession. Are you ready to go all-in?

Save the date for:
  • Inspirational speakers & showcases
  • Dynamic Learning Expo with over 100 exhibitors
  • 10+ hours of professional learning sessions

Registration opens on September 15th, 2021.

To learn more about the 2022 NAA Convention, click here.
Afterschool and summer programs offer hands-on learning opportunities that spark students' interest in STEM subjects and help them gain critical STEM skills. The just-released America After 3 PM Special Report, "STEM Learning in Afterschool on the Rise, But Barriers and Inequities Exist" finds that programs offer STEM learning opportunities, but inequities exist and too many young people are missing out.

America After 3 PM is the nation's most comprehensive look at how children spend their time during the hours after school and during the summer. The 2020 survey findings provide important new insights into STEM learning in afterschool, and the first-ever look at trends in afterschool STEM learning since the first special STEM report released in 2014.*

Top Takeaways for North Carolina:

  1. Opportunities for STEM learning in North Carolina afterschool programs have increased. According to the America After 3 PM survey, 192,548 North Carolina children participate in an afterschool program and 145,530 children have opportunities to participate in STEM learning in those programs. Compared to the 2014 America After 3 PM survey, the percentage of families reporting their child's afterschool program offers STEM learning has increased. Follow-up surveys conducted during the pandemic found that nationwide, STEM learning opportunities in afterschool programs remained steady, and 72% of 2021 summer programs offered STEM learning opportunities.
  2. North Carolina parents value STEM learning in afterschool and summer programs. 76% of North Carolina parents agree that STEM learning in afterschool helps children gain interest and skills related to STEM, an increase since 2014. 81% of parents say that STEM and computer science offerings are important when selecting their child's afterschool program.
  3. Afterschool programs reach populations traditionally underrepresented in STEM. Women and people of color are underrepresented in STEM professions. Nationally, parents of Black and Latinx students report that their child's afterschool program offers STEM learning at higher rates than parents of White students. Girls have opportunities to participate in STEM learning at similar rates to boys.
  4. Many North Carolina Children are missing out. In North Carolina, for every child in an afterschool program, 3 more children are waiting to get in. Unmet demand for summer programs is also high for families in North Carolina, with 400,713 children who would participate in a summer program unable to attend. Parents report that cost and access top the list of the biggest barriers to afterschool program participation.
  5. North Carolina parents support public funding for afterschool and summer programs. 89% of North Carolina parents support public funding for afterschool programs and 91% of North Carolina parents support public funding for summer learning opportunities. Public funding brings greater opportunities for students to explore hands-on STEM learning in their afterschool programs. Afterschool and summer STEM learning offer unique benefits and reach youth traditionally underrepresented in STEM, but millions are missing out.

To check out the data dashboard to explore more North Carolina and nationwide data, click here.

America After 3 PM serves as a resource for policymakers, educators, parents, and advocates on afterschool and summer program participation, demand, expectations, and benefits of programs.

*Data from America After 3 PM survey of parents conducted during January to March 2020.
On October 19th, 2021 at 2 pm, the North Carolina Center for Afterschool Programs (NC CAP) will be hosting a FREE virtual event for out-of-school time professionals to discover ways to leverage the James Webb Space Telescope launch and mission milestones in their programs. Participants will have the opportunity to engage with a content matter expert and access free resources and content aligned to the Webb Space Telescope launch and mission. To register, click here.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. The webinar will be recorded. If you are unable to attend, you will still need to register for the event to access the recording. To view a list of other events happening across the nation, click here. If you would like to access free printable materials for the James Webb Space Telescope, materials are available here and here.

To learn more about the Webb Space Telescope, click here.
The North Carolina Center for Afterschool Programs is a part of the Million Girls Moonshot, a collective impact initiative designed to increase diversity and equity in STEM. Million Girls Moonshot is working to close the persistent gender gap in STEM fields by engaging one million girls across the United States in STEM pursuits through high-quality, innovative afterschool learning opportunities over the next five years. The Million Girls Moonshot is committed to sharing high-quality STEM resources and content to assist providers across the nation in investing and engaging girls and minorities in STEM.

To learn more about the Million Girls Moonshot, click here.

The Brokering Youth Pathways Toolkit was created by Hive Research Lab to share tools and techniques around the youth development practice of "brokering" or connecting youth to future learning opportunities and resources. The toolkit shares ways in which various out-of-school educators and professionals have approached the challenge of brokering. Hive Research Lab provides a framework, practice briefs, and reports that focus on a particular issue or change and provide concrete examples, as well as illustrate how partners have worked through designing new brokering routines in partnership with the Hive Research Lab team. You may use the toolkit to help develop insights for your organization, discover techniques to try to help broker opportunities to youth, or inspire your own process of exploring how teens and learning opportunities get connected in your context.

To learn more about the Brokering Youth Pathways Toolkit, click here.
NC CAP is proud to showcase a new STEM Lesson, Parking Frenzy. In this lesson, students will assume the roles of an architect and an engineer to design blueprints for and construct a model parking garage in a fictional town. Students will also manage a budget for their projects and evaluate the two career pathways.

To access the STEM lessons, click here. Each lesson includes Spanish translations.  Please subscribe to the NC CAP Youtube Channel for more videos and resources!
The U.S. Department of Education has released the Return to School Roadmap, a resource to support students, schools, educators, and communities as they prepare to return to safe, healthy in-person learning this fall. The Roadmap provides key resources and support for students, parents, educators, and school communities and lays out actionable strategies to implement updated CDC guidance for K-12 schools. The following materials are available: a fact sheet for schools, families, and communities on the Return to School Roadmap, reviewing the three “Landmark” priorities, and elevating schools and districts that are addressing each in effective ways; a guide for schools and districts outlining what schools can do to protect the health and safety of students; and a checklist that parents can use to prepare themselves and their children for a safe return to in-person learning. Over the coming weeks, additional resources will be made available to schools, districts, and directly to parents and students as part of the Return to School Roadmap.

To read the full announcement, click here.
It's almost back-to-school time and The Walking Classroom is excited to share their podcast bundles with you -- for FREE! With the CDC's latest recommendations for kids to be back in school but masked or socially distanced, The Walking Classroom wanted to ensure that you had extra tools in your arsenal to make it a little bit easier and more fun.
The Walking Classroom is a great way for kids to get supplemental academic instruction, fresh air, exercise, and remain socially distant. This program fits naturally into both physically distanced, in-person learning and virtual learning from home. Your students will love getting outside and walking while listening to their fun, standards-aligned, educational podcasts. Download The Walking Classroom mobile app today! To access this month's free podcast bundle, click here.

To learn more about The Walking Classroom, click here.
The Food Research & Action Center (FRAC) released its Food Insufficiency During COVID-19 Dashboard in July to illustrate how the pandemic has caused alarming spikes in hunger in America.

The Dashboard features up-to-date national and state-by-state data on reported food insufficiency rates, research on how the pandemic has exacerbated existing disparities in access to food, and resources that show the connections between hunger, poverty, and health.

"Even before COVID-19, millions of households struggled to put food on the table," said Luis Guardia, president of FRAC. "Our new Dashboard is a one-stop resource that shows how the pandemic has only deepened America's hunger crisis, especially among Black, Latinx, and Native American households. Things would be even worse if not for boosts to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits that help families who are struggling to afford food, the creation of the Pandemic EBT program to provide nutrition benefits to families who rely on free and reduced-price school meals when schools are closed, and the USDA nutrition waivers that allow free meals to be provided to children to the pandemic. We hope lawmakers will use FRAC's Dashboard to better understand the critical need for investing in the proven federal food programs to ensure everyone has access to the nutrition they need and to stimulate our economy."

Key components of the Dashboard are calculated using the Census Bureau Household Pulse Survey Data Tables:
  • Food insufficiency data in the U.S., organized by race and ethnicity, family type, and gender from August 2020 to June 2021;
  • Data visualizations that map the average rate of food insufficiency during the pandemic and provide a state-by-state comparison of food insufficiency; and
  • Research briefs that highlight key concepts of pandemic-related hunger by defining and measuring food insecurity and the impact of COVID-19 on communities of color and underrepresented populations.

The Dashboard is updated every two weeks and is available here.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has said, "Play is fundamentally important for learning 21st-century skills, such as problem-solving, collaboration, and creativity."

American psychologist, Kay Redfield Jamison, said, "Play is not luxury. Play is a necessity."

Albert Einstein said, "Play is the highest form of research."

In a nutshell: fun matters. A ton. With summer in full swing, now's the perfect time to infuse creativity, fun, and play into your out-of-school time program in ways that give everyone a chance to recharge, reconnect, and renew.

Here are five ways to bring the fun this summer:

The Art of Improv
Cackle like a grackle! Croak like a frog. Brought to you by Jazz at Lincoln Center, "The Animal Spin" will have young people (grades 4-6) jumping into the art of collective improvisation through everyday conversations and fun animal sounds. Take "Animal Spin" out for a test drive and open new worlds of music, fun, and collaboration.

Everybody Dance
Who can forget the Electric Slide or The Twist? Kids will crank up the way back machine with "Dance! Dance! Dance!" an activity for grades 3 to 5 from Mizzen by Mott, LLC. You will get step-by-step dance moves and the skinny on the best songs to get kids stretching into ballet, catching the rhythms of salsa, and crushing waltz box steps. Now to the e-slide: Everybody to the right. Grapevine. Step back!

Dream Team
Quick! Pick from a group of friends and real or fictional people throughout history that can help you face any challenge or solve any problem. Anyone kids imagine can be part of their entrepreneurial "Dream Team" through an activity by VentureLab that jump-starts the entrepreneurial spirit.

New Game Hall of Fame
Beanbag Basketball! Hula hoop freeze tag! The possibilities are endless with OregonAsk's "Invent an Outdoor Game" for 6th to 8th graders. Do you have any bats, balls, hoops, nets, dice, jump rope, or a stopwatch lying around? You are all set.

Make a Splash
Inspired by Jackson Pollock, young people (grades 1 to 12) will create their own abstract artwork with "Jackson Pollock - Drip Painting." This fun activity from YouthQuest can be done individually or in groups. Invite your students to host an in-person or virtual gallery walk so each person can share their work or cut big paintings into smaller posters so everyone has their own.

To dive into these activities more deeply, create an account in the Mizzen App today!

Download the app today from your preferred app store, click here to visit the Mizzen website.
The events of the 2020-2021 school year -- a global pandemic, calls for racial justice, and an unprecedented shift to remote school -- have highlighted the challenges and inequities faced by many of America's young people. To better understand young people's experiences, America's Promise Alliance and Research for Action conducted a wide-ranging, national survey of more than 2,400 high school students, providing one of the most comprehensive looks yet at the high school experience during a year of historic upheaval.

Overall, young people's responses to this national survey suggest that:

  • Finding 1: High Schoolers are struggling with a decreased sense of well-being -- reporting declines in mental health and concerning levels of disconnection from peers and adults.
  • Finding 2: Opportunities to learn about race and racism in the classroom vary but are associated with higher levels of critical consciousness and social action.
  • Finding 3: COVID-19 has upended postsecondary planning, yet feelings of postsecondary readiness are highest among students who are most connected to teachers and peers, have opportunities to discuss race and racism in school, and feel academically interested and challenged.

These findings illuminate several recommendations for school and district leaders to act on in both the immediate recovery period and afterward:

  • Recommendation 1: Address student mental health, now and on an ongoing basis.
  • Recommendation 2: Teach a comprehensive and accurate history of race and racism in the United States.
  • Recommendation 3: Prioritize postsecondary success through relevant content and pathways planning.
  • Recommendation 4: Saturate young people's environments with caring adult relationships.

To view the full report, click here.
In August, the House and Senate began the redistricting process amid the census data release. The redrawing of congressional and state legislative and district lines occurs every ten years to ensure that population shifts reported in the census are reflected in the distribution of seats in the state legislature and federal House of Representatives. This process is guided by case law, the United States Constitution, and state-based requirements.

North Carolina allows for the state legislature to draw and vote don't the district maps. Before releasing the census data, state-based requirements to guide the state's redrawing process were debated and passed by the Joint Redistricting Committee. The state legislature plans to vote on the final district lines in late November. Carolina Demography has three-part series on " What Redistricting Means for NC " to learn more about what's at stake in North Carolina during the redistricting process; check out Carolina Demography's three-part series on "What Redistricting Means for NC". Additionally, Carolina Demography has a guide to compare 2010 census data to 2020 census data. The guide focuses on finding the data, analyzing the data, and questions you can ask.

To learn more about the Census Data and its impacts, click here.
Reading In the spring of every odd-numbered year, NC Healthy Schools implements a statewide Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS). The NC YRBS helps to assess behaviors in youth that impact their health now and in the future. Topics include violence, personal safety, physical activity, nutrition, mental health, tobacco, drugs and alcohol, protective factors, and sexual behavior questions.

To learn more about the NC Youth Risk Behavior Survey, click here.
In the second summer under the pandemic, prior to the rise of the Delta variant, the Afterschool Alliance found more summer programs opening their doors and providing vital supports to students who have contended with remote learning, social isolation, and the stressors of a continuing pandemic. Thanks to the response from the field, the Afterschool Alliance was able to gain a deeper understanding of what programming looked like this summer. In many respects, what was heard from providers is encouraging in regards to summer programs keeping kids active, connected, and engaged in learning, however, there are also prevailing areas of concern, the most significant of which is staffing. The key findings, broken into three categories: (1) the good, highlighting the areas of growth and promise this summer; (2) the bad, which includes struggle programs are facing this summer; and (3) what's to come, reporting out on what providers are saying about this fall.

The Good:
  • Nearly 9 in 10 summer program providers surveyed reported being open in some capacity this year (88 percent), with programs that are physically open jumping from 49 percent last summer to 83 percent this summer.
  • Kids in summer programs are connecting with friends, staying active, and engaging in learning opportunities, with an overwhelming majority of summer programs that are open reporting that they are providing academic enrichment (90 percent), time to interact with peers (86 percent), and outdoor (83 percent) and physical activity (82 percent).

The Bad:
  • Waitlists have grown this summer, with 52 percent of summer programs that are physically open reporting a waitlist, compared to 40 percent last summer.
  • A majority of summer programs are operating at reduced capacity (56 percent), with just 30 percent reporting that they are operating at pre-pandemic capacity levels.

Whar's to Come:
  • Nearly 9 in 10 (89 percent) of providers report that they plan to offer out-of-school-time programming this fall, and among these respondents, most plan to serve students mostly or all in-person (84 percent).
  • Most program providers (65 percent) say that they are involved in conversations organized by the school district or schools about how to best support students' learning this fall.
To continue reading, click here.

To find additional information about Wave 5, visit the Afterschool Alliance's data dashboard, which features both national and regional-level data, and learn more about previous waves of the survey on the Afterschool in the Time of COVID-19 survey page.

Ed Lab will be collecting information to make ONLINE tutoring placements for the Fall semester in elementary reading and math. All tutoring will be conducted via Zoom. Tutoring Dates will be September 7th through November 19th. Tutors will be required to complete 20 to 25 total hours, depending on course requirements. The tutor and parent will decide on a consistent schedule (twice per week for 20 sessions, approximately one hour each session). The window for tutoring will be Monday through Thursday between 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM and Fridays between 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM. Tutoring will cost $100.

To register a child for tutoring, complete the signup form and submit your payment. Once both steps are completed, Ed Lab will make a placement for the child and the tutor will make contact and get started. If you have any questions, email Dr. Brinkley at

To learn more about Ed Lab, click here.
North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics (NCSSM) is a world-class public high school whose residential education, online offerings, and summer STEM enrichment programs empower students from across North Carolina to design their own future.

NCSSM-Durham: Students apply in the second year of high school and if accepted, live for FREE on our campus in Durham, NC. NCSSM started in 1980 as America's first public, residential high school which is totally FREE.

NCSSM-Morganton: Students apply in the second year of high school and if accepted, live for FREE on NC State's NEW campus in Morganton, NC. The Morganton Campus will open in the Fall of 2022 and will accept students from all across North Carolina, just like the Durham Campus.

NCSSM-Online: Students apply in the second year of high school and if accepted students can take 1 to 2 courses each semester for FREE through NCSSM. NCSSM-Online started in 2008 as a way for students to access NCSSM without leaving home. Students can take courses through dual enrollment or supplemental.

Summer Ventures in Science and Mathematics (SVSM): A four-week FREE summer STEM Research program that takes place at ECU, UNC-Charlotte, UNC-Wilmington, or Appalachian State University. Students can apply in the fall of the second or third year of high school.

Summer Accelerator: These are paid Summer STEM opportunities for rising 6th through 12th-grade students.  

Step Up to STEM: A FREE residential summer program for rising 9th-grade students who are in under-served populations in STEM, including African American, Native American, and Hispanic students. Students apply during the 8th-grade year and if accepted attend in person the summer before both their 9th and 10th-grade years.

To see when NCSSM Admissions officers will be conducting presentations in your area, click here.

NCSSM would like to partner with your organization to create awareness among your students and parents about the opportunities. To schedule an in-person or virtual presentation with your organization, please email or complete this form to request an admissions presentation.
Founded in 2012 to fill the gap between the STEM world and classrooms and extended day programs in need, TechTerra Education is the expert on STEM learning solutions and Makersapces. We equip educators with the hands-on tools, curriculum, and training needed for 21st-century classrooms and career-ready kids. A company comprised of educators, our mission is to make STEM education accessible and easy to use with their STEM in a Box turnkey programs. Their trademarked Stations of STEM™ allows students to explore best-in-market tools. Plus, they designed their STEM in a Box programs to be used again and again, for years to come. Take your Afterschool Programs and Summer Camps to the next level.

To give back to the community, TechTerra Education is excited to offer a 5% discount to all 21st CCLC programs on any of their STEM in a Box Programs. They are also giving away 3Doodler 3D Design pens to a handful of afterschool sites! Contact TechTerra Education today to enter the giveaway.

What is a STEM in a Box Link:
STEM in a Box Programs:
Contact TechTerra Education:
The North Carolina Center for Afterschool Programs (NC CAP) would like to highlight program successes statewide. Tell us about your program and you might be our Program Spotlight in the next edition of the Afterschool Observer or on Social Media. Click the Program Spotlight below to be redirected to the updated survey link to tell us about your program. 
The Afterschool Advantage Program is a signature education program and flagship community involvement initiative. The program is devoted to providing young people with access to technology in a safe, nurturing afterschool environment, while promoting opportunities in digital learning centers in varying communities. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

The Afterschool Advantage Program is a signature education program and flagship community involvement initiative. The program is devoted to providing young people with access to technology in a safe, nurturing afterschool environment, while promoting opportunities in digital learning centers in varying communities. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

The Barney Family Foundation makes grants of up to $50,000 in the educational field, particularly those that benefit children in grades K-8, with emphasis on creating opportunities for better education. The Foundation seeks original ideas with well-outlined plans for project implementation that will lead to tangible, replicable improvements in children's experiences. Organizations may work directly with children and families or may work on research, policy, and advocacy that demonstrably improves the lives of young people. Applications are due on September 30th, 2021.

The D'Addario Foundation is a nonprofit grant-making organization providing monetary and product support to high-quality sustainable music instruction programs on the front line to improve access to music education. They support programs that bring music back into communities and schools. Applications are due on October 30th, 2021.

The Duke Endowment has introduced a new pre-application process for the Child and Family Wellbeing program area. This pre-application will help applicants confirm eligibility and guide the two areas of work: Prevention and Early Intervention for At-Risk Children and Out-of-Home Care. Applications are due on December 15th, 2021.

The Lawrence Foundation is a private family foundation that provides grants to support environmental, education, human services, and other causes. Grant amounts range between $5,000 and $10,000. Applications are due October 31st, 2021.

The Office of Naval Research (ONR) recognizes the need to support efforts that can jointly improve STEM student outcomes and align education and outreach efforts with Naval Science and Technology's current and future workforce needs. Projects that improve the capacity of education systems and communities to create impactful STEM educational experiences for students. Applications are due March 30th, 2022.

The Saxena Family Foundation is a privately funded, 501(c)(3) registered non-profit charitable foundation that awards grants and supports programs that have a particular focus on STEM education around empowering women in the United States and India. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

The Sidney Stern Memorial Trust funds projects by charitable, scientific, medical, and educational organizations. Grants are typically evaluated on their ability to demonstrate a broad scope of service that has made a significant effect on target populations and contributes sustainability to the general welfare. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

The Learning Engineering Tools Competition 2021 is a multi-million dollar prize challenge to leverage technology, data, and learning science to meet the urgent needs of learners across generations. This year's, Tool Competition will offer more than $3 million in prize awards - more than double the previous year - and it will be one of the largest ed-tech competitions ever convened. Proposal concepts are due October 1st, 2021.

The Westinghouse Charitable Giving Program provides financial support to communities in one or more strategic areas of giving including (1) education with a focus on STEM; (2) environment sustainability; and (3) community safety and vitality. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.
North Carolina Center for Afterschool Programs |