News and insights about Out-of-School Time in Philadelphia
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 May NewsBOOST

OST Matters
Local Spotlight
Data and Quality Insights
Other News and Highlights
Did You Know?
Fun Facts


OST Matters

(Via Afterschool Alliance)
Afterschool funding continues to be in peril, and recently we have read about the latest federal budget proposal and its potential impact on many safety net programs. Its impact on the education sector specifically is explained here. It wouldn't just wipe out 21st Century Community Learning Centers—it would slash funding for dozens of programs that are vital for children and families.

You can make your voice heard and take action!
Hosted by Afterschool Alliance, you can make your voice heard and oppose the cuts by being part of this event at Capitol Hill
On June 7, afterschool advocates, parents, students, and supporters are coming together to call Congress and send a clear message that voters won't accept these cuts. On the same day, a group of brave kids will be on Capitol Hill talking about the ways afterschool has helped them beat the odds. Let's get their backs: help drive their message home by keeping the phones ringing on Capitol Hill before, during, and after their meetings. For more details and to RSVP, please click here for more details...

Local Spotlight

Researchers and policy-makers have frequently debated whether afterschool programs should focus more on academics or youth development. For the latter, the idea is that if communities systematically apply more holistic models of youth development, academic benefits will follow. Both focus areas have their merits and challenges. In this month's issue of NewsBOOST, we are not putting a spotlight on any one particular afterschool program, but rather providing an overview of a handful of the many diverse afterschool programs that are serving the youth of Philadelphia (more highlights can be found on our website).

In Philadelphia, the OST services provided by these programs are diverse and range from a focus on literacy to sports to arts, and an eclectic mix in-between.

We have programs like those offered by Taller Puertorriqueño that offer an Art Education Program for Children and Youth. The young artists in the program take part in issues of the day through creative expression and art-making under the guidance of experienced teaching artists and educators. SEAMAAC’s Hip Hop Heritage (HHH) Program is a one-of-a-kind initiative which provides youth with a comprehensive menu of artistic and creative activities. Youth are able to delve into music production, video production, DJ instruction, break-dancing, graphic design, and silk-screening.

Community Education Alliance of West Philadelphia offers a variety of activities ranging from intramural and competitive sports such as hockey and track & field to hip-hop and dance to culinary arts in their program at Belmont Charter School. In the Salvation Army Citadel OST program, students K - 5 participate in activities ranging from dance to sports and educational cooking class.

The Harrowgate PAL Center in Philadelphia’s Tioga section is an afterschool home to 1600 registered OST participants. The center offers services that include educational and recreational activities in a safe, educational, and fun environment to young people after the 3 o’clock school bell rings.

Other programs like the ones offered at all of the 54 Free Library branches, the Free Library of Philadelphia Literacy Enrichment After-school Program (LEAP), provide homework assistance, computer literacy, and library skills to students K - 12.

The above mentioned programs are just a few of the many diverse OST programs that make up the OST landscape of Philadelphia, which includes community-based organizations (many funded by DHS), Parks and Recreation (PPR), Free Library of Philadelphia (FLP), Police Athletic League (PAL), sports-based organizations, and also enrichment service providers like After School Activities Partnerships (ASAP), Philadelphia Out-of-School Time Literacy Initiative (POSTLI) and Black Women in Sport Foundation (BWSF), to name a few.

All these diverse programs provide an environment and opportunity for positive youth development with a mix of enriching and creative activities in which youth can participate.

Note: We will continue to highlight individual programs and are reaching out to ask providers to get in touch with us to showcase your program in our future issues (and on our website) by emailing us at:


Data and Quality Insights

This month we are showcasing a quick snapshot of the attendance data (excluding Parks & Recreation) by month from the beginning of the School Year until early February, and average daily attendance by day of the week (for the same period). OST Providers using our Data System have this data available (for their programs/sites) and can drill it down further to gain even more insights into their programs. Feel free to reach out to us if you need additional information on how to extract that data.

The chart below includes all attendance data entered for DHS-funded OST programs, Free Library LEAP programs, and Police Athletic League programs.

The following chart includes all attendance data entered for DHS funded OST programs, Free Library LEAP programs, and Police Athletic League programs, from 9/12/16 through 2/25/17, showing average daily attendance by day of the week.

Other News and Highlights...

  • Sign up now for Philadelphia Parks & Recreation Summer Camps!
    Looking for fun ways your kids can spend those summer days? Look no further: Parks & Recreation offers plenty of summer camp options at playgrounds and recreation centers across the city! Check out their featured neighborhood day camps and specialty camps, offering visual and performing arts, sports, outdoor experiences, and more.
    Questions? Contact:
  • Can a single postcard sent to guardians help reduce student absenteeism? This randomized controlled trial, conducted in collaboration with the School District of Philadelphia, shows that: (a) a single mail piece that encouraged guardians to improve their student’s attendance reduced absences by roughly 2.4 percentage points; (b) there were no statistically significant differences between two types of messages in reducing student absences; and (c) the effect of the single mailing did not differ for students in grades K–8 versus students in grades 9–12. See the full report here...
  • Interested in social and emotional learning (SEL)? A series of publications looks at effective SEL programs, policies, and classroom strategies, as well as outcomes among different student populations and settings. More details here...
Grant Opportunities: 
  • Project Learning Tree Seeks Applications for Environmental Education Projects
    Grants of up to $1,000 will be awarded to support environmental projects that demonstrate service-learning, exemplify student voice, and involve at least one community partner. To be eligible, projects must secure at least 50 percent in matching funds (in-kind acceptable). More details here...

 Did You Know?

Arts are good for kids!
Young children love to draw, paint, sing, and dance, and these activities play an important role in their early development. The benefits of arts participation persist into adolescence and beyond, according to the scholarly article from ChildTrends, as it lists five ways in which the arts are important for children.

In her book "The Artful Parent: Simple Ways to Fill Your Family’s Life with Art & Creativity," author Jean
Van’t Hul explains that educators tell us that art encourages fine motor skills, neural development, and problem-solving abilities, and that it can be used effectively to teach and understand other key subjects such as reading, writing, math, and science. She further states that art is naturally linked to creativity, an attribute that is increasingly being touted as one of the most important factors for the success of individuals, organizations, and cultures. Read what others like therapists, artists, parents, and even kids have to say about art and how it builds creativity, fosters neural network development, builds fine motor skills, and supports other critical components of early


Fun Facts

With Memorial day having just passed us, we hope you fully enjoyed the day. Here are some fun facts about it:
  • It was originally called Decoration Day
    To honor the deceased, soldiers would decorate graves of their fallen comrades with flowers, flags, and wreaths. Hence, Decoration Day. Although Memorial Day became its official title in the 1880s, the holiday wouldn’t legally become Memorial Day until 1967.
  • It wasn't always celebrated the last Monday of May
    After the Civil War, General John A. Logan, commander in chief of the Grand Army of the Republic, called for a holiday commemorating fallen soldiers to be observed every May 30. But due to the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which took effect in 1971, Memorial Day was moved to the last Monday of May to ensure long weekends. 
  • It's legally required to observe a National Moment of Remembrance
    In December 2000, Congress passed a law requiring Americans to pause at 3 p.m. local time on Memorial Day to remember and honor the fallen.
  • Waterloo, New York is considered the birthplace of Memorial Day
    in 1966 Congress unanimously passed a resolution to officially recognize Waterloo as the birthplace of the holiday. However, it remains a contentious debate, with other towns, like Boalsburg, Pa., claiming the title of “Birthplace of Memorial Day” as well.
  • The flag is supposed to be flown at half-mast until noon, and then raised to full mast until sunset on Memorial Day.
  • Memorial Day is sometimes confused with Veterans Day. However, Veterans Day honors all United States military veterans, while Memorial Day honors the soldiers who died while serving.
  • There were more American lives lost during the Civil War then the two World Wars combined. Approximately 620,000 died during the Civil War while approximately 116,516 died in World War I and approximately 405,399 died in World War II.

PhillyBOOST is a collaboration between the various networks of Out-of-School Time (OST) Programs of Philadelphia. We have been working towards building an engaging, robust, data-driven out-of-school time delivery system so that all youth will have the opportunity to be engaged in positive activitiesduringafterschool hours, weekends and summer. PhillyBOOST out-of-school time programs (currently, DHS funded CBO’s, PPR, FLP and a few others) are marked by their use of our Information System and a commitment to continuous program quality improvement. Efforts and resources are being aligned to provide all children in Philadelphia, especially those in greatest need, with accessible, high quality programs and activities resulting in more and better opportunities for learning, while ensuring their safety and wellbeing.

Questions, ideas or feedback (including how you can be part of our growing network of providers)? Please email us at

Visit our website for more in-depth information and regular updates.
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Copyright © 2017 Citywide OST Initiative, All rights reserved.

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