Speaking Up for Afterschool & Summer

On June 7th, OregonASK staff and partners joined hundreds of advocates on Capitol Hill to share about the importance of expanded learning opportunities. Our key message was to do the right thing for youth and families by continuing funding for 21st Century Community Learning Centers and many other programs utilized to serve youth and families – Afterschool for All!

Beth, Merkley, Stakeholders
OregonASK Executive Director Beth Unverzagt with Senator Merkley and Oregon advocates

In just one day, advocates from 45 states participated in 200 meetings on Capitol Hill and an additional 3,700 calls and emails were sent in support of federal afterschool funding.

If you missed it, do not fear, there are several other opportunities for you to share your perspective. On June 28, summer and afterschool supporters will be together again on Capitol Hill talking to members of Congress about benefits of summer programs. You can amplify their voices by contacting your members of Congress to ask them to fight cuts to afterschool and summer programs!

Don’t forget to mark your calendars for several other opportunities:

July 4: Congress is home for an extended holiday—set up a meeting or site visit to bring policy-makers to your program

July 13: Sign up for Summer Learning Day! Invite your congressional district offices and local leaders to come see your summer programs!

Thank you to everyone who participated and continues to advocate for Afterschool & Summer Programs!

Ready to Play in the Park this July?

Did you know that July is Park and Recreation Month? While it’s been celebrated since 1985, the annual event became official when the U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution in July 2009. This year, the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) is challenging everyone to “get their play on” with their local parks and recreation. See this infographic about how vital play is for the well-being, physical health, and personal interactions of children and adults. Find more resources HERE to support your program as we all celebrate play during Park & Recreation Month.

Zero Robotics

zeroZero Robotics is coming to Oregon again this summer! We have had two successful pilot years, and we’re excited to bring the program back better than ever.
Zero Robotics is a program out of MIT that offers 5 weeks of programming curriculum for middle schoolers. Students work in teams with summer program educators to learn about computer programming, coding, robotics and space engineering while gaining experience programming SPHERES (Synchronized, Position, Hold,  Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites). The program culminates in a tournament where winning teams’ SPHERES battle aboard the International Space Station (ISS).  Middle school participants get to see the SPHERES operate in space via a live feed from the ISS while NASA astronauts provide real-time commentary.
You can see more about the program on their website. If you’re interested in finding out more or finding a team near you, you may contact Roddy Jacobson.

 STEM Learning in Afterschool

Researchers from the PEAR Institute and Texas Tech University conducted a study of how afterschool helps shape STEM identity. The study examined more than 160 afterschool programs in 11 states: Oregon, Florida, Iowa, Indiana, Kansas, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina.

The study found that these programs change the way the majority of students see the STEM field:

  • 80 percent said their STEM career knowledge increased
  • 78 percent reported a more positive attitude about STEM
  • 72 percent said their perseverance and critical thinking skills increased

Across all 11 states, 70 percent of students reported positive gains in these areas. The study also found that the vast majority of teachers/facilitators felt the programs helped students increase their STEM skills with 90 percent of them reporting their students’ science proficiency and confidence had improved.

The study was released March 1 in Washington DC. You can find an overview of the study here.

Smart Summers Report: Investing in Experience, Skills, and Oregon’s Future through Summer Learning


We are thrilled to share with you this summer learning report created by the House Education Committee’s Summer Learning Work Group, convened by Representative Smith Warner between the 2016 & 2017 legislative sessions.
The Smart Summers Report explains the nature of summer learning, provides policy context for decision makers, and offers examples of how summer learning has made a difference for children in Oregon- and across the nation.
Drawing on the experiences of diverse stakeholders, this report offers recommendations for linking enrichment and skill-building opportunities to provide high-impact learning experiences for Oregon kids most in need of them. Together, these recommendations support broader improvements in the structure, design, and quality of educational offerings that Oregon leaders are working toward.
We convened a small group of stakeholders and legislators at the Gilbert House Children’s Museum on Thursday April 13th for our official release of the report and to highlight all the good work continuing in Oregon. Many thanks to all the work group participants and partners who have helped inform our summer learning work! You can access the full report here.

Training and Curricula Brochure

Do you need to schedule training for your program for the spring or summer of 2017? CLICK HERE to download our current Training Brochure. OregonASK is proud to offer training on a variety of content and curricula that aligns with Oregon Center for Career Development (OCCD) and the Oregon Registry Online (ORO). Contact Katie Lakey for more information about scheduling a training for your program.

OregonASK training content areas:

  • Science, Technology, Engineering, and 31769380125_c108d9f2b4_hMath (STEM)
  • Health and Wellness
  • Homework Support
  • Literacy
  • Art
  • Behavior Management
  • Social and Emotional Learning
  • Emergency Preparedness
  • Program Management and Planning

ESSA & Informal STEM Workgroup


With the recent authorization of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), OregonASK has taken the opportunity to partner with Oregon Department of Education in the development of the Oregon State ESSA Implementation Plan. This winter, we set out to provide a framework that would encourage cooperation between state agencies, communities, and nonprofit organizations, while building on the foundation set forth in the Oregon STEM Education Plan.

OregonASK worked closely with the Chief Education Office and Oregon Department of Education to convene a workgroup of representatives from diverse local, state and community-based organizations. Over the past several months, we have worked with our stakeholder group to develop a clear vision, mission and the strategies to best support a more equitable and accessible STEM system, creating a resource to support the goals of our affiliates and encourage collaborative efforts across the state. CLICK HERE for a full report on our work and findings this month, as well as hosting a series of informational webinars over the next two months. OregonASK would like to thank to the Overdeck Foundation for supporting this work.

Welcome to the new OregonASK website! Resources you’re looking for may have moved or may not be available online at this time. If there is something specific you’re looking for but can not find contact us here and we will do our best to find it for you.