The Update Edition - February

Feb Update Thumbnail

Ready for some February updates!  Make sure to sign up on Minnesota’s Vaccine Connect, become a summer food site, find important resources to share with families, connect young leaders to one another, and hop on a national policy call with the National Summer Learning Association.


On the second Thursday of each month, Ignite Afterschool hosts, “Minnesota Afterschool Connect: The Update Edition.” A 30min virtual call to keep afterschool and summer program providers up to speed on all the latest state and federal guidance, funding sources, trainings and policy happenings during the Covid-19 global pandemic.  This blog post is a summary of all the updates shared during the virtual call.


Here’s what you need to know:


State and Federal Covid-19 Updates


Sign up on the MN Vaccine Connector! It is super, duper important for all youth workers in Minnesota who want a Covid-19 vaccine to sign up on the State of Minnesota’s Vaccine Connector.  There has been lots of advocacy work requesting that afterschool and summer youth workers be included in the State’s definition of “child care worker” in vaccine prioritization category 1B.  According to the state timeline, youth workers can expect to receive vaccines in late spring, under the category of "Essential Frontline Workers--Additional Child Care Workers Not Previously Eligible".  For more details on the vaccine distribution timeline, click here.  Signing up helps the state understand our workforce and it ensures that you will get notified of vaccine availability when they are accessible to youth workers.


Go HERE to sign up on the Vaccine Connector.  First, download these sign-up directions which walks you through how to sign up as a youth worker.


Help families connect to resources via text: The Governor’s Children’s Cabinet, Minnesota Department of Education, and the Greater Twin Cities United Way have collaborated to create the “Stu211” push text messaging campaign to connect students and families to academic, career, health, food and housing resources in their communities. The goal of this campaign is to increase access to wrap around services by providing weekly information on relevant health, food, housing, and student supports for Minnesota students and their families. For more information please visit this Wrap Around MN website. To opt-in to receive text messages, Text STU211 to 898-211


Action Steps to Take: Do good for afterschool.


MDE parent, youth and teacher survey: The University of Minnesota is working with the Minnesota Department of Education to hear from educators, students (grades 6-12), and families about their experiences with school this past year. The deadline is soon- February 28th! Please take the survey if you are an educator or parent and please share the survey with 6th-12th graders in your program and parents.

Here is a link to the survey.

The survey is available in Somali, Hmong, Spanish and English all from the original landing page. Data will be reported publicly at a state level, and school Districts and Charter schools will receive local information to compare against the statewide data.  For more information on the survey or for the language you can use to email parents and families, please see this guide.


Afterschool Alliance COVID-19 Survey:  As we start a new year (goodbye 2020!), afterschool and summer programs continue to face the challenges posed by the pandemic. The Afterschool Alliance needs your help to continue to tell the story of the ways in which COVID-19 is impacting your program and the kids and families you serve. By taking Afterschool Alliance’s short survey, you are lifting up challenges programs face as the pandemic continues, and, more importantly, your answers will raise awareness of the short- and long-term effects of COVID-19 on the afterschool field.  The survey will close 11:59 p.m. PDT, Sunday, March 14.

Click here to take the survey.


Search Institute State of Relationships Survey: The Search Institute is conducting a survey of the ways schools and afterschool programs across Minnesota build developmental relationships between adults and young people.  The purpose of the survey is to understand and strengthen the developmental relationship that young people experience.  The survey will also identify barriers that keep young people from experiencing the developmental relationships that enable them to thrive.  

Click here to take this survey by March 31st, 2021.

See this summary to learn more about the Search Institute's important work.


Serve as a host site for summer meals: To increase participation in summer meal programs, the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) is seeking local sponsors or sites for this year’s Summer Food Service Program. A sponsoring organization must be a: public or nonprofit private school; public or nonprofit private residential summer camp; unit of local, municipal, county or state government; public or nonprofit college or university; or any other type of private nonprofit organization, which develops a special summer program providing foodservice for children 18 and under.


If an area is not currently served by a sponsoring organization, these organizations must complete an interest survey, which will be available on the MDE SFSP Application web page in March.  To learn more, please visit the Summer Food Service Program website.


More great opportunities and resources!


Encourage youth to attend the virtual Youth in Educational Leadership Summit (April 24th-25th): Across the state, young people are in positions of leadership in their schools and communities yet youth leaders often don’t have opportunities to meet together.  We know that strong youth voice, representation, and partnership is necessary in order to create a Minnesota that empowers ALL students. This is a summit for and by students interested in education and equity.  Find more information here and register to attend here.


Attend the National Summer Learning Association’s national briefing (March 3, 2021 from 2-3pm CST): Senators Chris Murphy (CT) and Michael Bennett (CO) will join national out-of-school time leaders for an update on a K-12 reconciliation bill that includes dedicated summer enrichment funding to support America’s most vulnerable students.  Leaders will speak on the newest data on COVID-19 learning disparities as well as the critical role of summer programs in responding to students’ academic, physical health and social-emotional needs. Register here.