Making Afterschool Cool Blog

  • Lights On Afterschool

    Posted by Dr. Lisa Caruthers, Director, HCDE CASE for Kids Division on 10/18/2021 9:00:00 PM

    Image of the Lights On Afterschool logo.

    After 22 years of Lights On Afterschool, it is good to know that the founding principles of celebrating afterschool programs are still being heralded today. The goals of maintaining high quality afterschool programming that supports youth while keeping them safe, healthy, happy, and thriving are just as much a part of the work today as they were in the year 2000 when the celebration began.

    This year in commemoration of Lights On Afterschool, CASE for Kids wants to recognize all programs within our network that have done the work to improve access to quality afterschool and OST services. Special recognition goes to our recent pilot initiative, County Connections. This Harris County funded initiative which supported services to afterschool programs throughout Harris County is a shining example of capacity building that further enriches the lives and experiences of youth in programming.

    CASE for Kids celebrates the extraordinary work that all our OST programs provide daily to keep our students learning and striving. Thank you all for keeping the lights on!


    View the Lights On Afterschool 2021 Kickoff Activities for the Houston Area

    Visit the Lights On Afterschool website

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  • Summer Learning Week 2021

    Posted by Dr. Lisa Caruthers on 7/12/2021

    Out-of-school time (OST) professionals know the importance of summer. It is something we live and breathe every year from the time the last school bell tolls until the ringing begins again at the start of another academic year. The research has already proven that 1) summer learning programs increase access to opportunities, 2) high attendance at summer programs improves scores in math and language arts, and 3) high attendance and consecutive attendance produce academic benefits for students, (McCombs et al., 2020). So how do we take what we know and put it into practice? A great place to start is participation in Summer Learning Week.

    This week dedicated to celebrating the richness of out-of-school time and the opportunity available during summer is a great time to showcase what your program has to offer! Consider opening this celebration of fun and learning experience to your local community as a means of promoting the great work of OST. As we move through this week, we should also take steps toward planning an OST future where programming is accessible to students and families regardless of their ability to pay. “Thirty-nine percent of parents who did not have a child in a structured summer experience report that they did not enroll their child in a summer program because programs were too expensive…For families with low incomes, the cost of programs was by far the most common reason for not enrolling their child in a summer program,” (Wallace Foundation, 2021, 9). Learn more about your community and additional barriers to accessing programming and commit to breaking them down, particularly in summer! Use this information to prioritize the students not yet reached by your amazing services. Learn more about Summer Learning Week and how it can be a great first step for a future of free to low-cost programming for more students within Harris County. This year, Summer Learning Week; next year, the entire summer!

    Visit the National Summer Learning Association website to learn more about Summer Learning Week and explore the available resources.


    McCombs, J. S., Augustine, C. H., Pane, J. F., & Schweig, J. (2020). Every Summer Counts: A Longitudinal   Analysis of Outcomes from the National Summer Learning Project. Wallace.

    Wallace Foundation. (2021, May). Time for a Game-Changing Summer, With Opportunity and Growth for All of America’s Youth. America After 3 PM, 37.               Changing-Summer-Report.pdf

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