Message From Co-Chairs

Children and youth across the Commonwealth need our help and support to become caring and productive members of our society. As Co-Chairs of this Special Commission, we welcome your input as we work together with our 36 members to craft recommendations on how best to support the healthy development of children and youth when they are in and out of school. In addition to the Commission meetings about this critical issue, we intend to hold at least nine public hearings across the Commonwealth. We are aware that not everyone will be able to attend and and invite you to use this blog to communicate with us about your issues and concerns. We look forward to your comments.

Posting Rules and Etiquette

We welcome and value your feedback and ask that you do the following in order to post your comments to this blog. 1. To provide your first and last name and the town or city in which you live to help us track the feedback statewide. 2. To label your comments so we can direct your feedback to the right Commission Work Group. The Commission's three Work Groups are: 1) Information and Access; 2) Quality, Workforce and Professional Development and 3) Sustainability. If your comments cut across all three Work Groups, please label that as "Crosscutting Issue". 3. To add constructive and professional comments - rude or profane comments will be deleted. Thanks and we look forward to hearing from you.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Special Commission Extends Deadline to Receive Public Testimony

Members of the public who have not yet had the chance to submit written testimony to the Massachusetts Special Commission on After School and Out of School Time will have until next Tuesday, October 30, to do so. Testimony can be submitted three different ways - through this blog, through the Special Commission's website or in writing.

Written testimony can be mailed to either of the Co-Chairs offices at:

Senator Thomas McGee
Room 112
The State House
Boston, MA 02133


Rep. Marie St. Fleur
Room 238
The State House
Boston, MA 02133

All previously submitted testimony, either written or presented verbally at any of the 10 public hearings, has been documented for the record and reviewed for the Special Commission's final report.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Co-Chairs Issue Statement in Support of National Lights On! Afterschool National Celebration - October 18, 2007

For Release October 18, 2007


“We salute the work of the Afterschool Alliance for their ongoing effort to promote quality afterschool programming for our nation’s youth. Today's national celebration will bring thousands of communities across the country together to highlight the need to provide meaningful opportunities for over 14 million children. As Co-Chairs of the Special Commission on Afterschool and Out of School Time, we’ve participated in hearings across the Commonwealth that focus on what’s working and what we need to improve upon here in Massachusetts. As the national Lights On! Afterschool Celebration points out, ‘Afterschool programs keep kids safe, help working families and inspire learning. They provide opportunities to help young people develop into successful adults.’ We look forward to releasing an official report next month that will help to advance this important issue here in the Commonwealth.”

About The Massachusetts Special Commission on After School and Out of School Time
The Massachusetts Special Commission on After School and Out of School Time has been created 'to study and recommend how to' define and 'better coordinate, expand, finance and improve accessible, affordable, and quality out-of-school time programming for school age children in all settings in Massachusetts."

There are 1.1 million school aged children and youth ages 5-18 that live in Massachusetts. Of that group, 720,000 are children ages 5-13 and 380,000 are youth ages 14-19. Current state funding serves 205,500 children and youth leaving nearly 80% without access to quality and enriching afterschool and summer opportunities.

The Massachusetts Special Commission on After School and Out of School Time has been studying this issue more in-depth. In addition to holding ten public hearings, it has also convened three working groups that will 1) analyze information and access issues; 2) identify quality, workforce and professional development concerns, and 3) determine how the afterschool system in the Commonwealth can be sustained. The Special Commission expects to issue a report in the fall of 2007 that will have recommendations in these areas which will strengthen the Commonwealth's afterschool system.

The Massachusetts Special Commission on After School and Out of School Time
For More Information Contact:
Debra McLaughlin, Consultant to the Commission

Visit our : website.

Visit our blog.

Co-Chairs Announce Report Release Event Dates

Sen. Thomas McGee and Rep. Marie St. Fleur have announced the dates for the release of the Massachusetts Special Commission on After School and Out of School Time's report. Members of the afterschool community and general public are encouraged to attend.

They will be held on:


Additional information will be forthcoming regarding these events.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Special Commission Releases Issue Briefs

Afterschool is a diverse and complex field. To more fully understand its breadth and depth, The Special Commission on Afterschool and Out of School Time commissioned eight Issue Briefs. Written by national experts based in Massachusetts, these briefs delve more deeply into:

*What afterschool is
*Why quality afterschool programs are important
*How sports, arts and cultural programs after school positively impact children and youth
*What barriers exist that prevent children and youth from participating in afterschool programs
*The opportunity summer provides for continued learning
*How to bridge school and and afterschool programs
*Engaging older youth

These briefs were made possible through a generous grant from the Nellie Mae Education Foundation. Click here to read each brief.

Issue Briefs in This Series

Movement Matters: Promoting Health and Well-Being Afterschool by Beth Beard

Learning in 3D: Arts and Cultural Programming in Afterschool by Dr. Julia Gittleman

Making the Case: Quality Afterschool Programs Matter by Dr. Georgia Hall and Diane Gruber (forthcoming)

Back to the Future: Engaging Older Youth by Dr. Georgia Hall and Diane Gruber (forthcoming)

Access to Afterschool Programs: Overcoming the Barriers to Getting Youth "in the Door" by Priscilla Little

The Realm of Afterschool... A World of Diversity by Priscilla Little

The Potential of Summer: Closing the Achievement Gap by Dr. Beth Miller

Bridging School and Afterschool by Dr. Gil Noam (forthcoming)

Friday, October 12, 2007

Site Visits Completed

Special Commission Members Visit the United Teen Equality Center on September 18, 2007 and the Gregg Neigborhood House and Girls Inc. of Lynn on September 20, 2007.

The Massachusetts Special Commission had the pleasure of visiting 10 different afterschool programs throughout the Commonwealth as part of its public hearing process. Special Commission members had the opportunity to talk to afterschool providers as well as children and youth to learn more about their successes and challenges.

The programs that were visited are as follows:

•Pittsfield, May 1, Silvio O. Conte Community School
•Worcester, May 8, Boys and Girls Club of Worcester
•Framingham, May 29, MetroWest YMCA High Flight Program
•Quincy, June 7, South Shore Day Care s Atlantic Afterschool Program
•Dartmouth, July 19, Sgt. William Carney Academy
•Barnstable, September 11, Barnstable’s Recreation Dept. Afterschool Program
•Lawrence, September 18, United Teen Equality Center (UTEC)
•Lynn, September 20, Gregg Neighborhood House
•Lynn, September 20, Girls Incorporated of Lynn
•Boston, September 25, Roxbury Prep Charter School’s Enrichment Program

Thanks to all the programs who hosted members of the Special Commission. A lot was learned that will enhance the Special Commission's report when released later this fall.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Special Commission Completes Public Hearings

Lynn Public Hearing, September 20, 2007 at North Shore Community College

Senator Tom McGee, Co-Chair of the Massachusetts After School and Out of School Time Commission, and Senator Susan Tucker listened to testimony at Northern Essex Community College in Lawrence.

The Massachusetts Special Commission on Afterschool and Out of School Time has completed its 10 public hearings as of September 25, 2007. Its tenth and final hearing was held in Boston at the Josiah Quincy Elementary School. Kicked off by testimony by Mayor Menino, the hearing was attended by over 100 people.

The other hearings were held at North Shore Community College in Lynn on September 20 and at Northern Essex Community College on September 18. The Lynn hearing was attended by over 100 people andSpecial Commission members heard testimony from a range of people until 10 PM. The Lawrence hearing also heard compelling testimony.

Prior to this, Special Commission members were on Cape Cod on September 11 at Barnstable Town Hall to listen to testimony from a variety of individuals.

All in all, nearly 250 attended the last four public hearings of the Special Commission. While much testimony was submitted during this process, members of the public have until Friday, October 19, 2007 to submit final testimony. Click here to submit testimony electronically.