Calling for Innovator Award Nominations

By Nora Fleming — April 07, 2011 3 min read

Let’s put aside talk of budget cuts and programming struggles today and instead focus on some positive news in the out-of-school-time realm.

Nominations are currently being taken for the MetLife Foundation and Afterschool Alliance’s 4th annual MetLife Afterschool Innovator awards, the only national awards exclusively for programs that operate during after-school hours.

The innovator awards honor after-school programs that have developed and executed commendable programming that addresses at least one of this year’s focus areas: providing opportunities for service learning for middle school students; aligning after school with the middle school day; addressing middle school bullying; and supporting literacy for middle schoolers.

Five winners will receive grants of $10,000 each from the MetLife Foundation to use to enhance their programs, up from $5,000 last year. (MetLife also underwrites Education Week’s sister publication, Teacher.)

“We wanted to focus the awards specifically on middle school students [this year] because we see the middle school years as a crucial juncture in young people’s lives during which they form behaviors that will go on to greatly affect their futures,” said Chris D’Agostino, a research associate with the Afterschool Alliance who is working on the awards committee.

Program staff members or outside individuals can nominate programs through an online nomination form that asks questions regarding the program’s offerings, population served, assessments, and plans for future curricula. Winners—announced this summer—and other commendable applicants will be featured in the Afterschool Alliance’s 2011 issue briefs on the aforementioned topics. These briefs will be published and disseminated at conferences through the end of the year and then compiled into an overall document used to educate programs and after-school leaders on best practices and strategies in these programming areas.

D’Agostino said the application and evaluation process for the awards will allow “lesser known, yet highly effective after-school programs” to be contenders and to shine.

“The best nominations will highlight unique aspects of the middle school after-school program, while also showing important program outcomes that have led to increased benefits for the children being served and surrounding community,” D’Agnostino said.

Well over 300 nominations are expected this year.

Also on the grant-award front, after-school and summer learning program provider BELL, Building Educated Leaders for Life, recently won a $5 million grant from the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation’s private-public True North Fund. The three-year Social Innovation Fund grant will be used to expand BELL’s summer learning programs by roughly 17 percent to 18,500-21,500 students at program sites throughout the East Coast. BELL’s after-school and summer programs currently serve 14,000 at-risk students from low-income families.

Nine other organizations (out of 225 applicants) were grant recipients in addition to BELL. These programs, which include teen-pregnancy prevention and literacy programs, also serve disadvantaged youths. The True North Fund, which combines private resources from the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation and other donors, as well as public funding from the federal Social Innovation Fund , will spend roughly $42 million in grants in the next few years.

Additionally, a few months ago, I mentioned some upcoming after-school and OST conferences. I did not include the BOOST (Best of Out-of-School Time) Collaborative Conference, “Refining Leadership in Out-of-School Time” at the end of this month. The conference will take place from April 27 through April 30 at the Palm Springs Convention Center in Palm Springs, Calif., with more than 125 exhibitors, as well as many workshops and themed sessions hosted by leaders in after school and OST.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Beyond School blog.


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Future of Work Webinar
Digital Literacy Strategies to Promote Equity
Our new world has only increased our students’ dependence on technology. This makes digital literacy no longer a “nice to have” but a “need to have.” How do we ensure that every student can navigate
Content provided by
Mathematics Online Summit Teaching Math in a Pandemic
Attend this online summit to ask questions about how COVID-19 has affected achievement, instruction, assessment, and engagement in math.
School & District Management Webinar Examining the Evidence: Catching Kids Up at a Distance
As districts, schools, and families navigate a new normal following the abrupt end of in-person schooling this spring, students’ learning opportunities vary enormously across the nation. Access to devices and broadband internet and a secure

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Speech Therapists
Lancaster, PA, US
Lancaster Lebanon IU 13
Elementary Teacher
Madison, Wisconsin
One City Schools

Read Next

Education Obituary In Memory of Michele Molnar, EdWeek Market Brief Writer and Editor
EdWeek Market Brief Associate Editor Michele Molnar, who was instrumental in launching the publication, succumbed to cancer.
5 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: December 9, 2020
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: Stories You May Have Missed
A collection of articles from the previous week that you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: Stories You May Have Missed
A collection of stories from the previous week that you may have missed.
8 min read