The Update Edition - November

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.

This month has some great opportunities to engage in advocacy, support youth voice and leadership, build program capacity and get support through professional development. Happy scrolling, linking and clicking!  Check back for next month’s update on Thursday, November 12th.


Here’s what you need to know:


State and Federal Covid-19 Guidance: Let’s be safe out there.


On Nov 5th, Governor Walz signed Executive Order 20-94 which offers clarifications and made technical fixes to MDE’s Safe Learning Plan for the 2020-2021 school year. The item most relevant to afterschool is a change in the mandate to schools that they provide free school-age care for Tier 1 critical workers.  Now, both caregivers in a household (if there are two) must be Tier 1 workers for school age care to be provided for free.  See the full Executive Order here.


Pro Tip: bookmark this page on your computer. This is the MN Department of Health landing page for school and childcare guidance.  It also includes pretty much all guidance related to children and youth!  If you are a licensed childcare provider, also bookmark this page.


Find guidance specific to Youth and Student Programs here.  If you are bringing children and/or young people together in a group setting for a program other than formal school learning, generally, here’s the guidance to follow (some exceptions apply).


If you are not a school, but some other organization or entity supporting a group of students as they engage in distance or hybrid learning during school hours, then you follow this guidance.


Action Steps to Take: Do good for afterschool.


Have your organization sign on to a letter encouraging Governor Walz to create a “Youth Development Support” fund with any additional federal Covid-19 relief funds.  Priority sign on by November 20th.  Read the letter and sign on here.  


Build Capacity: STEM, Promise Fellows, and National Geographic!


Join the Minnesota Afterschool STEM Justice Cohort and build your capacity to embed social justice into your STEM programming.  Led by Ignite Afterschool and the Kitty B. Andersen Youth Science Center at the Science Museum of Minnesota, this January – May 2021 learning cohort will support 5 afterschool programs to strengthen equity and social justice practices through STEM learning.  Receive a $1,000 stipend to support your organizations participation and apply to join here by December 16th. This cohort is part of the national Million Girls Moonshot Initiative with support from STEM Next.


Apply to host a Promise Fellow at your school or youth serving organization in 2021 through the Minnesota Alliance with Youth.  Priority application deadline for new host sites in November 15th and the application can be accessed here.


Engage young people in National Geographic Explorer Classroom on Dec 2nd at 3 p.m. CST (grades 4-8) and Dec 16th at 3p.m. CST (grades 1-3).  With support from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, Explorer Classroom is now available to afterschool programs.  Hear stories from inspiring Explorers, learn about their unique careers, ask questions to them directly, and hear how they are impacting their communities in a positive way.  Register your youth program to participate here.


Youth Voice: Support Young People to Lead


Encourage young people to apply for a Youth Voice Service Grant through the Minnesota Alliance with Youth.  These $50-$350 grants support ongoing youth led advocacy and organizing efforts around juvenile justice, education equity, environmental justice, and health and wellness.  The organizing efforts will feed into the April 2021 Youth in Education Leadership Summit.  The application can be found here.


Check out the new Amplify Youth Voice Podcast from our friends at the Brooklyn Bridget Alliance for Youth and Youthprise.  This youth-led and produced podcast shares young people’s perspectives on the most press issues of our time- including education during Covid!  Share broadly and listen to the podcast here.


Professional Development: Get support to do your best work.


All professional development offerings can now be found in our blog series titled The Scoop on PD.