by Jeseamy Muentes
The Minor Threats Chess Club traveled in 2013 to tournaments throughout the city and state, and as far away as Nashville -- for the Chess SuperNationals in April.
Now, Minor Threats and the Philadelphia Chess Society, which include Paul Robeson Elementary Chess Club and Blair Bishops Chess Club, are raising money to participate in even more competitions this year.
The District’s funding troubles have had some impact on the hundreds of afterschool programs now under way across the city.
Some programs had to pack up and relocate when the District closed two dozen schools last June. Other programs were left scrambling to find volunteers to replace teachers who led afterschool initiatives in past years for extra pay, according to out-of-school-time (OST) advocates in recent interviews.
Despite cutbacks and scrimping, however, the District has kept school doors open for about 100 programs serving more than 3,800 children -- and out-of-school programs operating under the aegis of the city’s Department of Human Services overall still reach about 20,000 children in grades K-12 on weekday afternoons.
The people who run the hundreds of youth programs across the city have their hands full, says Nancy Peter, head of the Out-of-School Time Resource Center (OSTRC) at the University of Pennsylvania.
They’ve got kids to watch over, programs to develop, and funds to raise in an era of static or dwindling resources. And the out-of-school time (OST) programs seem ever more essential as afterschool and summer programming in District schools has withered.
What many program directors lack, says Peter, is the time and energy to enhance staff skills, identify emerging trends and network with peers in the field. And that, by all accounts, is the invaluable, behind-the-scenes role that Peter and her staff play with vigor and efficiency.
“I wanted to have a center whose job it was to assist OST staff,” said Peter, who created the center a decade ago.
by Charlotte Pope
Robin Bethune, a junior at Roxborough High School, is intrigued by forensics, and she is eager about a class she's taking as part of an afterschool program being piloted in the District.
“Last class, we did a lab where we had to figure out who was at a crime scene by looking at DNA fingerprinting,” Bethune said. “I am excited to see the results.”
Bethune is one of 25 District students who are participating in a new biotechnology program launched by Philadelphia Youth Network (PYN) in partnership with the District's 1199C Training & Upgrading Fund. The program, called Quest, uses lectures and lab-based research to help students gain skills in science, technology, engineering, and math -- also known as the STEM fields.
Literacy events and programs provide opportunities to improve the educational outcomes and quality of life in our city and beyond. Throughout November, schools, libraries, and other literacy organizations will be participating through read-a-thons, book drives, celebrity appearances, and more.
Here are several events worth checking out in Philadalphia.
by Kofi Biney
About 15 million children go unsupervised after the school day ends, according to the nonprofit advocacy organization Afterschool Alliance. But in Philadelphia, many students will now have a new afterschool program to keep them busy.
By Kofi Biney
When you first walk into Universal Audenried Charter High School, you are greeted by banners displaying various positive messages, such as “My future begins here,” “I help others succeed,” and “I will overcome.”
Audenried isn't just promoting this can-do attitude through its banners, but as the location of the South Philadelphia Regional Talent Center.
By Kofi Biney and Charlotte Pope
It’s not every day that students get to create technology for a respected political figure. But at the sixth annual Carole I. Smith Technology Symposium held Thursday, three District students launched R3chdev, a mobile application they designed for Pennsylvania State Sen. LeAnna M. Washington of the Fourth District.
A national group hoping to redefine civics education held a conference in Philadelphia earlier this month to strategize about ways to help schools prepare students to be engaged citizens.
The effort, called the National Action Civics Collaborative (NACC), is also aimed at working with schools to move civics beyond classrooms and textbooks into real-world projects and activities, especially in schools that serve less affluent, marginalized students.
By Charlotte Pope
In an early-morning event near Philadelphia’s famed Clothespin sculpture, red-shirted staff from the After School Activities Partnerships (ASAP) distributed fresh copies of the nonprofit’s annual directory of afterschool programs.
The guide is distributed as a supplement to the Philadelphia Daily News.
The publication is the organization’s largest to date, containing information about more than 1,000 afterschool programs, including chess, drama, debate, Scrabble, sports, and art. Through participation, students increase academic achievement, improve attendance and peer and adult relations, and gain a deeper respect for guidelines and expectations around student conduct.