WYOMING AFTER 3PM

STEM Learning Opportunities Being Offered by More Wyoming Afterschool Programs, But Nationwide, Students from Low-Income Families Have Less Access, New Study Finds

August 18, 2021 | NEWS RELEASE CONTACTMatt Freeman, 301-758-3279 

WASHINGTON, DC — With demand for well-trained STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) workers expected to skyrocket, and women and people of color grossly underrepresented in STEM professions, afterschool programs in Wyoming and across the country have been ramping up their STEM offerings. Today, 48% of Wyoming parents report programs are providing STEM, up from 39% in 2014. Sixty percent of parents nationally and 47% in Wyoming report that their child participates in STEM in afterschool twice or more per week. Learning opportunities in each of the STEM disciplines – science learning, technology and engineering, and math – are more available in afterschool programs nationwide today than they were in 2014. Two in five parents (41%) report that their child’s afterschool program offers computer science opportunities – a question asked for the first time in this survey. 

Those are among the findings from STEM Learning in Afterschool on the Rise, But Barriers and Inequities Exist, a household survey conducted by Edge Research for the Afterschool Alliance and released today. In total, 7,112 Wyoming students and 5,740,836 students nationwide are getting STEM learning opportunities in their afterschool programs. 

But while afterschool programs are reaching populations underrepresented in STEM fields, including Black and Latinx students, students from low-income families are much less likely to be getting technology/engineering and computer science activities in afterschool than students from higher-income families nationwide. That may be, in part, due to cost; parents across the country report the mean cost of programs offering STEM learning is $107 per week, compared to $74 per week for programs that do not offer it. 

“Afterschool programs are uniquely positioned to provide the STEM learning opportunities students need to succeed in school and in life,” said Afterschool Alliance Executive Director Jodi Grant. “Thanks to the team-based, hands-on learning these programs provide, they have become a cornerstone of STEM learning for children and youth from all backgrounds. But the inequities are troubling. We need to build more partnerships and invest more resources to ensure that all students, no matter their family income, gender, or race, can access STEM in afterschool. And we need to increase access to afterschool overall, because even though a greater percentage of programs are providing STEM, fewer children are in afterschool programs today than in years past. That trend is alarming.”

“Our programs here in Wyoming have been doing heroic work during the pandemic, helping students who have been dealing with stress and uncertainty for more than a year,” said Michelle Sullivan, Director of the Wyoming Afterschool Alliance. “Many programs provided STEM learning before and during the pandemic. We are pleased to see that a growing number of parents recognize the importance of STEM learning in afterschool. But we know there is more work to do. We are determined to find ways to increase resources and engage new partners so that all Wyoming families have the afterschool programs. they need and all children and youth get STEM in their afterschool programs. We are particularly proud of our partnership with STEM Next and the Million Girls Moonshot, which is inspiring and preparing the next generation of innovators by engaging one million more girls nationwide in STEM learning opportunities through afterschool and summer programs over the next five years.”

  • STEM Learning in Afterschool is based on responses from more than 31,000 U.S. families, including 252 families in Wyoming. It includes national-level findings from smaller surveys of parents and program providers conducted in summer and fall of 2020 and spring of 2021. In important respects, Wyoming results mirror the national survey findings, which include:
  • Parents strongly support STEM learning in afterschool. Three out of four parents nationally, and 82% in Wyoming say that afterschool programs help children gain interest and skills related to STEM. Seventy-two percent of parents across the country say STEM and computer science learning opportunities were important in choosing an afterschool program for their child, up from 53% in 2014. In Wyoming, 57% of parents say that today.
  • STEM learning opportunities are widely available in afterschool and summer learning programs. Today, nationally, 73% of parents report that their child’s afterschool program offers STEM learning opportunities, up from 69% in 2014. Among the STEM disciplines, the greatest jump is in technology/engineering activities, which were offered by 30% of afterschool programs in 2014 and 39% today. Nearly 2 million U.S. children (1,904,846) participated in summer STEM camps in 2019, including 1,545 children in Wyoming.
  • Afterschool programs provide STEM learning opportunities to populations underrepresented in STEM fields. Nationally, more parents of Black (77%) and Latinx (77%) students report that their child’s afterschool program offers STEM than White (72%) and Asian (68%) parents. Afterschool STEM opportunities have increased for both boys and girls since 2014, rising from 69% in 2014 to 75% for boys and 72% for girls today.
  • But opportunities are not the same for all families. Nationally, three in five children in families with higher incomes (62%) participate in a STEM activity in their afterschool program twice per week or more, but just 56% of children in families with low incomes do. Students in families with higher incomes also have a greater variety of STEM offerings, particularly in technology/engineering, science, and computer science.
  • There are gender disparities in the students afterschool and summer learning programs reach with STEM. Although afterschool STEM opportunities have increased for both boys and girls, opportunities are growing faster for boys. Nationally, STEM learning opportunities in afterschool increased from 69% in 2014 to 75% for boys, while increasing from 69% to 72% for girls. Nationally, 53% of STEM summer camp participants are boys and just 47% are girls.

The national and Wyoming America After 3PM reports, and accompanying data, are available at www.afterschoolalliance.org

This 2021 America After 3PM special report, STEM Learning in Afterschool, is based on research commissioned and funded by Overdeck Family Foundation. Data from this special report is based on the 2020 America After 3PM survey results, which was made possible with support from the New York Life Foundation, Overdeck Family Foundation, The Wallace Foundation, the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation, Altria Group, and the Walton Family Foundation, as well as the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation.

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This 2021 America After 3PM special report, STEM Learning in Afterschool, is based on research commissioned and funded by Overdeck Family Foundation. Data from this special report is based on the 2020 America After 3PM survey results, which was made possible with support from the New York Life Foundation, Overdeck Family Foundation, The Wallace Foundation, the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation, Altria Group, and the Walton Family Foundation, as well as the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation.

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The Afterschool Alliance is a nonprofit public awareness and advocacy organization working to ensure that all children and youth have access to quality afterschool programs. More information is available at www.afterschoolalliance.org.

Findings from Stem Learning in Afterschool are based on a nationally representative survey of randomly selected adults who live in the United States and are the parent or guardian of a school-age child who lives in their household. A total of 31,055 households, including 59,983 children, were surveyed in English or Spanish. Data from interviews is weighted on race and income within states and by state population. The overall margin of error for child-level and household-level data is +/- < 1 percent. The survey included at least 200 interviews in every state and the District of Columbia. Data was collected between January 27 and March 17, 2020, by Edge Research.

New Study: Wyoming parents praise summer learning programs but, even before COVID-19, programs were out of reach for many Wyoming children.

May 19, 2021 | NEWS RELEASE CONTACTMatt Freeman, 301-758-3279 

WASHINGTON, DC — After a year of isolation, learning loss, and trauma for many students, this summer will be especially important for young people to begin to heal, re-connect, and make learning gains. Yet a study released today finds that even before the pandemic, some 18,083 Wyoming children and youth were without access to summer learning programs. This was 24% of Wyoming children not in a summer program whose parents wanted to enroll them.  

Time for a Game-Changing Summer, With Opportunity and Growth for All of America’s Youth, a  household survey commissioned by the Afterschool Alliance and conducted by Edge Research, finds that nearly half of families nationally (47%) and 36% in Wyoming report at least one of their children  participated in a summer program in 2019. A total of 12.6 million students – or 22% of the country’s K 12 children – participated in a structured summer experience in 2019, as did 20,106 Wyoming children, or 21% of the state’s K-12 kids. An overwhelming majority of parents are satisfied with their child’s summer learning program. 

The study also finds high unmet demand nationally, with children in low-income families most likely to be left behind. Cost is the barrier to enrollment Wyoming parents cite most often; 32% of those who did not have a child in a structured summer experience in 2019 cited cost as the reason. A structured summer experience is defined to include a summer learning program, sports program, summer camp, summer school, or summer job or internship, but is different from child care. 

Participation in summer learning programs dropped significantly in 2020 as the pandemic hit. Just 34% of families across the country had a child in a structured summer experience that year, and many kids who did take part participated virtually.  

“Summer learning and afterschool providers in Wyoming have been doing heroic work during the pandemic,” said Afterschool Alliance Executive Director Jodi Grant. “This research tells us that unmet need for summer learning programs was a significant problem even before COVID-19 struck. The stakes are even higher now, with so many of our children needing academic help, social and emotional support, and opportunities to engage with peers and caring adults, be physically active, and more. This summer, all students need access to summer learning programs that allow them to have fun, be kids, and accelerate their learning through enriching hands-on activities. Cost must not remain a barrier to participation. Every student needs an opportunity to engage, heal, learn, and grow this summer.”  

“Summer learning programs enjoy extraordinary support from parents, with 95% of Wyoming parents reporting they were satisfied with the structured summer experience their child attended and 81% saying they favor public funding for summer learning opportunities for students in communities with few opportunities for children and youth,” said Michelle Sullivan, Director of the Wyoming Afterschool 

Alliance. “Our goal for this summer is to make these essential programs available to all children and  youth in Wyoming. Students and families are relying on us to help kids re-engage, address anxiety and learning loss, and re-discover their passion for learning. That’s why we are bringing together businesses, nonprofits, museums, community-based organizations, colleges and universities, and others to help us make summer learning programs more available and even more impactful here in Wyoming this year.”  

Time for a Game-Changing Summer is based on responses from more than 29,500 U.S. families,  including 241 families in Wyoming. It includes national-level findings from smaller surveys of parents  and program providers conducted in summer and fall of 2020 and spring of 2021, offering a snapshot of how children and youth spent their summers before and during the pandemic. In important respects, Wyoming results mirror the national survey findings, which include: 

  • Unmet demand for summer experiences is high. Nearly 14 million children in the United States whose parents wanted to enroll them did not have access to a summer program in 2019. More than half of families without a child in a summer program report that they would have liked to have had one available to them that year. In 2020, during the pandemic, 48% of families without a child in a summer program would have enrolled their child if a program had been available. 
  • There are troubling inequities in access to summer programs. While 27% of children in higher-income families participated in a structured summer experience in 2019, just 14% of students in families with low incomes did. Approximately three in four children in a structured summer experience (74%) are from higher-income families, compared to only one in four children (26%) from lower-income families.  
  • Cost is a barrier to participation. Two in five parents who did not have a child in a structured summer experience (39%) did not enroll their child because programs were too expensive. Among children not enrolled in a summer program, 35% of children in households with low incomes would have been enrolled in a summer program in 2019 if one were available, compared to 28% of children in higher-income households.  
  • The cost of programs varies by program type and place. The average cost reported by families who pay for activities nationally ranges from around $758 for voluntary summer programs to more than $900 for STEM camps.  
  • Parents prioritize life skills for summer learning and want the summer experience to be different than the school year. Three in four parents (75%) value keeping their child from losing academic ground in choosing their summer activity, but even more – nine in ten – report that opportunities to build life skills (94%), be physically active (92%), and experience a variety of activities (90%) are important factors in selecting their child’s summer activities.  
  • Priorities vary by family income. Low-income parents place a greater emphasis on reducing risky behaviors (23 percentage point difference) and snacks and meals (21 percentage point  difference) than families with higher incomes.  

“Quality afterschool and summer programs are essential to student success in school and life,” Grant added. “Lawmakers recognized that by including significant one-time funding for afterschool and  summer learning programs in the American Rescue Plan. States must ensure that funding is well-used. All our children and youth need ready access to enrichment and academic opportunities this summer and during the coming school year. This study shows unacceptable levels of unmet need, especially for low-income families. This summer we have a responsibility to meet the need – and when we do, children and youth, families, communities, and our country will be stronger.”  

The national and Wyoming America After 3PM reports, and accompanying data, are available at www.afterschoolalliance.org.  

This 2021 America After 3PM special report, Time for a Game-Changing Summer, is based on research commissioned and funded by The Wallace Foundation as part of its mission to foster equity and improvements in learning and enrichment for young people, and in the arts for everyone by supporting and sharing effective ideas and practices. Data from this special report is based on the 2020 America After 3PM survey results, which was made possible with support from the New York Life Foundation, Overdeck Family Foundation, The Wallace Foundation, the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation, Altria Group, and the Walton Family Foundation, as well as the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation. 

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The Afterschool Alliance is a nonprofit public awareness and advocacy organization working to ensure that all children and youth have access to quality afterschool programs. More information is available at www.afterschoolalliance.org

Findings from Time for a Game-Changing Summer are based on a nationally representative survey of randomly selected adults who live in the United States and are the parent or guardian of a school-age child who lives in their household. A total of 29,595 households, including 53,287 children, were surveyed in English or Spanish and answered questions regarding the summer of 2019. Data from interviews is weighted on race and income within states and by state population. The overall margin of error for child-level and household-level data is +/- < 1 percent. The survey included at least 200 interviews in every state and the District of Columbia. Data was collected between January 27 and March 17, 2020, by Edge Research.

WHILE WYOMING PARENTS GIVE AFTERSCHOOL PROGRAMS HIGH MARKS, NEW HOUSEHOLD SURVEY FINDS HUGE UNMET DEMAND FOR AFTERSCHOOL IN THE STATE

December 8, 2020 | NEWS RELEASE CONTACT: Matt Freeman, 301-758-3279 

WASHINGTON, DC — Many more Wyoming parents want afterschool programs for their children than are able to access them, according to a household survey commissioned by the Afterschool Alliance and released today. It finds that, by overwhelming margins, parents express strong, broad-based support for afterschool programs. But unmet demand – the percentage of children in Wyoming not currently in an afterschool program whose parents say they would be enrolled if an afterschool program were available to them – has increased over the past six years, with low-income families in particular citing cost as a barrier to enrolling their children. As a result, for every child in an afterschool program in Wyoming today, three more are waiting to get in. 

America After 3PM 2020 is based on survey responses from more than 30,000 American households, including 252 in-depth interviews in Wyoming. It was completed before the coronavirus pandemic struck. It finds that 15% of Wyoming students, 14,719 children and youth in all, are enrolled in afterschool programs, showing no progress since 2014, when the survey was last conducted. In addition, 43,230 Wyoming students are without the afterschool programs their parents say they need today

“Afterschool providers and advocates in Wyoming are doing remarkable work, but the state is still not coming close to meeting the demand for these programs,” said Afterschool Alliance Executive Director Jodi Grant. “Most parents in the state who want their child in a program can’t find one. We need to fix that. Every parent should have access to an affordable, quality afterschool program that will keep their child safe, supervised and learning. Quality afterschool programs are essential to student success in school and life. If we want to emerge from this pandemic strong, we need to provide all our children and youth access to the important enrichment opportunities and resources afterschool programs provide.”  

“While we are incredibly pleased that parents express such strong support for the afterschool programs their children attend, we recognize the urgent need to broaden opportunity and make afterschool programs available to many more children and youth here in Wyoming,” said Michelle Sullivan, Director of the Wyoming Afterschool Alliance. “America After 3PM 2020 finds that 91% of parents are satisfied with the afterschool program their child attends. We are also encouraged that 80% of Wyoming parents express their support for public funding for afterschool programs. That’s a strong foundation to build on. Students and families need afterschool programs now more than ever, since the pandemic has changed school schedules, disrupted our economy, and put many children and youth at risk. We are calling on lawmakers, businesses and others to recognize afterschool as an important part of our workforce infrastructure and help us make afterschool programs more available to students and families here in Wyoming right away.” 

In important respects, Wyoming results mirror the national survey findings, which include: 

  • Support for afterschool programs is strong. Parents give high marks to afterschool programs,  with 83% agreeing programs give working parents peace of mind, 81% agreeing programs help parents keep their jobs, and 76% agreeing programs help children gain interest and skills in STEM – all increases from 2014.  
  • Unmet demand for afterschool programs is soaring. Demand has grown 60% since 2004, from 15.3 million children (30% of non-participants) waiting to get into a program in 2004 to 18.4 million children (38%) in 2009 to 19.4 million children (41%) in 2014 to 24.6 million children (50%) in 2020.  
  • Cost and access are barriers to participation, and inequities persist. Sixty-one percent of low income parents report that cost is a barrier to enrolling their child in an afterschool program.  Access (lack of a safe way for their child to get to and come back from a program) is a barrier for 58%. Both are significant increases from 2014.  
  • Just 7.8 million children are enrolled in an afterschool program today, down from a high of 10.2 million children in 2014. The inequities in terms of which students are accessing programs are stark. The number of children from low-income households participating in afterschool fell from 4.6 million in 2014 to 2.7 million in 2020, while the number of higher income children in afterschool fell by just under 450,000 over the same period. 
  • The number of elementary school students on their own after school rose slightly to more than 850,000, an increase of almost 38,000 since 2014, while the number of unsupervised middle and high school students dropped from 2014 to 2020. 
  • Eighty-seven percent of parents favor public funding for programs that provide afterschool  opportunities to students in communities that have few opportunities for children and youth.  Support crosses demographic and political divides, with 91% of parents who identify as  Democratic, 87% of those who identify as Independent, and 85% of parents who identify as  Republican in favor of public funding. 

“During the pandemic, in Wyoming and around the country, afterschool programs have been stepping up to meet the growing needs of students and families, even as programs face higher costs, dwindling budgets, and uncertain futures themselves,” Grant added. “Nationally, half of afterschool programs that are serving students in person, and are located in school districts that are operating virtually, have wait lists. We must do better. Publicly funded afterschool programs have been a lifeline for low-income children. We need to bring more federal, state, local, business and philanthropic support to meeting the needs of students and their families after school.” 

The national and Wyoming America After 3PM 2020 reports, and accompanying data, are available at www.afterschoolalliance.org.  

Findings from America After 3PM 2020 are based on a nationally representative survey of randomly selected adults who live in the United States and are the parent or guardian of a school age child who lives in their household. A total of 31,055 households were surveyed in English or Spanish, and a subset of households (14,391 respondents) answered follow-up questions regarding afterschool experiences or barriers to participation in afterschool, as well as perceptions of afterschool programs. Data from interviews are weighted on race and income within states and by state population. The overall margin of error for child-level and household level data is +/- < 1 percent. The survey included at least 200 interviews in every state and the District of Columbia. Data were collected between January 27 and March 17, 2020, by Edge Research. 

The October 2020 survey of parents was conducted by Edge Research and is a nationally representative online survey fielded October 12-29, 2020, of 1,202 parents of school-aged children. 

America After 3PM 2020 is made possible with support from the New York Life Foundation, Overdeck Family Foundation, The Wallace Foundation, the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation, Altria Group, the Walton Family Foundation, and the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation. 

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The Afterschool Alliance is a nonprofit public awareness and advocacy organization working to ensure that all children and youth have access to quality afterschool programs. More information is available at www.afterschoolalliance.org.

Mission: The Wyoming Afterschool Alliance is a statewide network working to create the conditions for young people to reach their full potential. We are a priority fund of the Wyoming Community Foundation.

WYOMING AFTERSCHOOL ALLIANCE

1472 N. 5th Street, Suite 201
Laramie, WY 82072
Phone: 307-721-8300