Orlando Hosts 2017 Florida Statewide Municipal Summit on Afterschool and Summer Learning

Children playing on sidewalk
Children playing on sidewalk

ORLANDO, Florida — June 13, 2017 — The Florida Afterschool Network hosted a statewide Municipal Summit on Afterschool and Expanded Learning today in conjunction with the Florida Chamber Foundation’s Learners to Earners Education Summit in Orlando.  Supported by National League of Cities (NLC), the summit highlighted a wide range of local elected officials from cities across the state including NLC’s CEO and Executive Director Clarence E. Anthony, who is also the former mayor of South Bay, Florida.

The Florida Afterschool Network was selected by the National League of Cities (NLC) as one of seven statewide afterschool networks (SANs) to host a municipal summit on afterschool in 2016-2017.

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer served as host of summit and was joined by featured speaker Chancellor Hershel Lyons from the Florida Department of Education, the Florida League of Mayor’s Incoming President Gary Bruhn, who is the mayor of Windermere, and Jacksonville City Council President-Designate Anna Lopez Brosche.

“The National League of Cities is proud to support this summit and help Florida city leaders expand afterschool and summer learning programs in their communities," said NLC CEO and Executive Director Clarence E. Anthony. “In our changing economy, afterschool and summer learning are important strategies for creating pathways to opportunity through hands-on experience, exposure to career pathways, and training for essential skills. By being champions for these programs, city leaders can play a big role to improve the outcomes for children and youth.”

The summit represents the first statewide convening of local elected officials focused specifically on afterschool and summer learning opportunities. The summit brought together city leaders, state agency officials, business leaders and educators to focus on expanding afterschool and summer opportunities for children and youth in the state. 

“Afterschool and summer programs improve school performance, increase work preparedness, reduce juvenile crime and promote healthier lifestyles,” said Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer. “Here in Orlando, our 21st Century Community Learning Centers allow us to educate students through project-based learning led by certified teachers and city support staff. 88% of those students maintain or improve their grades to a satisfactory level. Our After-School All-Stars program for middle school students serves more than 3600 students year-round with academic support, athletics, performance arts, STEM programming, service opportunities, and social supports — 98 percent of those students meet school academic achievement standards.” Mayor Dyer shared that he hoped that the summit participants would leave with great ideas on how to make their city’s programs even better.

In addition to focusing on afterschool and summer learning programs as a workforce development strategy for cities, Jacksonville City Council President-Designate Anna Lopez Brosche stressed the importance of federal assistance in funding these local initiatives. The White House budget proposal released last month would completely eliminate $1.2 billion of federal 21st Century Community Learning grants that hundreds of cities rely on to help fund their afterschool and summer learning programs.

“Afterschool and summer programs are vital to the City of Jacksonville. The budget of Jacksonville Children’s Commission is $33 million, of which $10.1 million funds After School and Summer Learning programs,” said Jacksonville Council President-Designate Anna Brosche.Presently, we rely on $500,000 per year from the federal 21st Century Community Learning Center grants to support After School and Summer programs, and have garnered over $30 million of 21CCLC funding since 1999 for After School and Summer programs in Jacksonville. Florida receives $62.9 million dollars in federal funding to support afterschool and summer programs for 62,900 kids. As a state, we can’t afford to lose these programs. We must continue to advocate to the federal government regarding the importance of afterschool programs for vulnerable children across Florida, and I believe that summits like these help galvanize the municipal voice to ensure we support our kids.”

This is not a big city or small city issue. Officials from larger urban cities like Jacksonville, Orlando, and Tampa as well as leaders from smaller cities and towns like Windermere, Coral Springs, St. Petersburg, Sunrise, Dunnellon and West Palm Beach understand the challenges young people have and are working hard to meet their needs.

“It is a pleasure that a small town in Florida, like Dunnellon, is able to participate in this important exchange of ideas with mayors and city officials about how they should play a larger role in supporting afterschool and summer learning efforts. These programs are essential to our community because they provide an avenue of learning and hope and boost our working families’ ability to ensure a safe and secure environment for their children during the summer season,” said Dunnellon Mayor Green.

Other mayors and local elected officials featured at the Florida Statewide Municipal Summit on Afterschool and Summer Learning include Coral Springs Mayor Skip Campbell, West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio, Sunrise Mayor Michael Ryan, Tampa City Council Chairman Mike Suarez and St. Petersburg City Councilmember Steve Kornell.

Other state networks that NLC selected to host municipal summits in 2016-2107 include: The Alabama Afterschool Community Network, Indiana Afterschool Network, the Kansas Enrichment Network, the Missouri Afterschool Network, the Massachusetts Afterschool Partnership, and the Ohio Afterschool Network. The SANs are statewide organizations dedicated to improving policies, partnerships, funding and quality of afterschool opportunities. NLC has supported 26 state municipal summits over the past seven years. All of the afterschool networks have partnered with mayoral champions to host the summits, with support from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation and The Wallace Foundation.

Click here to learn more about the statewide afterschool networks.

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The National League of Cities is dedicated to helping city leaders build better communities. NLC is a resource and advocate for 19,000 cities, towns and villages, representing more than 218 million Americans. The Institute for Youth, Education, and Families, a special entity within the National League of Cities, helps municipal leaders take action on behalf of the children, youth, and families in their communities.

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