Friday, October 16, 2015

Turn the Lights On Afterschool!

On October 22, more than a million people in thousands of schools and communities across the United States will turn their lights on for afterschool by joining the only national rally for afterschool programs.

According to the Afterschool Alliance, more than 8,000 afterschool programs are expected to participate in the 16th annual Lights On Afterschool. The day will take shape in various community service events, museums, parks and recreation facilities, state capitols, malls, and other settings.

Here in Prince George’s County, we are honored and excited to take part in our third Lights On Afterschool event in collaboration with our partner school, Carrollton Elementary, at their Fall Harvest Festival on October 23with crafts, relay races and workshops that celebrate afterschool programs as they keep kids safe, inspire them to learn and help working families.

Lights On Afterschool is organized by the Afterschool Alliance to bring attention to the need to invest in afterschool programs, which provide homework help, healthy snacks, mentoring, physical fitness, robotics, computer programming, community service opportunities, art and music, college readiness, and countless opportunities for hands-on learning.

“Quality afterschool programs help students hone their skills and discover their passions, preparing them to succeed in school and in life,” said Afterschool Alliance Executive Director Jodi Grant. “Lights On Afterschool events give children and youth the chance to showcase the talents they develop at their afterschool programs, which offer hands-on, engaging activities that are both educational and fun. But too many afterschool programs are without the resources they need to serve all the children in their communities who need them and families, schools, communities and the country suffer as a result.”

During the 2015 celebration, In Reach is looking forward to raising awareness about the value and necessity of afterschool programs in Prince George’s County, MD. In Reach's Executive Director, Toni Smith shared, "Afterschool programs are an extremely valuable extension of the school day that all children should have access to."

Help us protect afterschool funding. Sign the petition! For more information visit:

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

What are you doing for Teen Read Week?

As an organization that provides academic afterschool programs to students, we are naturally concerned with the development of their literacy skills and abilities and encouraging their life long interest in reading. These are a few reasons why each year we join the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) in recognizing and celebrating Teen Read Week™, a national adolescent literacy initiative created to encourage teens to be regular readers and library users. 

An annual celebration, this year’s theme, Get Away, encourages libraries to help teens escape from the day to day grind of school, homework, family responsibilities, part time jobs and other activities by picking up something to read. 

In Reach found the Teens' Top Ten "teen choice" list, where teens nominate and choose their favorite books of the previous year, to be an amazing resource. Readers ages twelve to eighteen vote online and the winners for that year are announced the week after Teen Read Week. Below is the Top Ten for 2014. Encourage a teen to read at least one of these today. It's a great list to use as encouragement for reading throughout the year, i.e. read-a-thon, book club and so much more. We can barely wait to see what teens from across the country select for 2015.

2014 Teens’ Top Ten

1. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell (Macmillan/St. Martin's Griffin)
2. Splintered by A.G. Howard (ABRAMS/Amulet Books)
3. The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson (Tor Teen)
4. The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey (Penguin/Putnam Juvenile) 
5. Monument 14: Sky on Fire by Emmy Laybourne (Macmillan/Feiwel & Friends)
6. Earth Girl by Janet Edwards (Prometheus Books /Pyr)
7. The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
8. Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson (Random House/Delacorte Press)
9. Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo (Macmillan/Henry Holt Books for Young Readers)
10. The Eye of Minds by James Dashner (Random House/Delacorte Press)

#ThankaPrincipal During National Principals Month

National Principals Month recognizes the essential role that principals play in making a school great. Here at In Reach we know just how important the role of the principal is in facilitating not just all of the happenings in the school, but also in building community partnerships to make each of their schools even better. This is what each one of our principals have in common. They understand their vital role in shaping and leading a robust academic community.

We are pleased to join the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP), and the American Federation of School Administrators (AFSA) in honoring these unsung heroes for their tireless efforts in pursuit of excellence in education.

In Reach salutes the awesome principals of its partner schools. They rock!!!

Dorothy Clowers, William Paca Elementary School
Nancy Schickner, Carrollton Elementary School
Maha Fadli, Kenmoor Middle School
David Curry, Charles Carroll Middle School
Tanya Washington, Parkdale High School

 #ThankaPrincipal today!

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