Barletta Highlights Local Afterschool Program at Education Innovation Forum
WASHINGTON – This week, Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) highlighted the success of a Northeastern Pennsylvania afterschool program at an Education Innovation Showcase and Forum hosted by the House Committee on Education and the Workforce. The bipartisan event focused on the accomplishments of 23 innovators, including schools, apprenticeship programs, trade associations, and educational organizations from across the country, giving representatives the opportunity to showcase leaders in education and workforce development from their districts. Barletta, who is the Co-Chair of the Congressional Afterschool Caucus, invited the Schools and Homes in Education (SHINE) program to be recognized at the forum.
“SHINE has changed the lives of many young students across my district and throughout the commonwealth of Pennsylvania,” Barletta said. “I’m proud of the work I’ve done on behalf of afterschool programs with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, and I look forward to continuing to ensure that children in Pennsylvania and across the country are provided with the tools they need to achieve their dreams.”
SHINE is a successful, nationally recognized afterschool program in Carbon, Luzerne, and Schuylkill counties geared towards grades K-8 and focuses on a project-based STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) curriculum. The characteristic that separates SHINE from other afterschool programs is that it links schools and homes in order to help children build stronger academic and social foundations. In the 2016-2017 school year, SHINE Carbon/Schuylkill Home Visitors made 1,814 visits. According to a recent study, 92 percent of SHINE students had exceptionally good or satisfactory school attendance, 97 percent of students indicated they were excited about STEAM, and the number of students who said they would like to study math or science in college increased by 14 percent
“I want to thank Chairwoman Virginia Foxx and Congressman Lou Barletta for the invitation to speak before the Committee on Education and the Workforce at the innovation forum,” said Rachel Struko, the Director of SHINE. “SHINE is a true community success story...[it] addresses several chronic, regional issues – poor school performance, lower higher education attainment, crime, higher poverty, and workforce development issues. The SHINE program has created a unique academic support system that allows students to prepare for success at an early age.”
You can read Strucko’s full testimony here.
Barletta has long fought for programs that support afterschool education. In April, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos met with Barletta in his Washington, DC office to discuss the importance of afterschool programs, touting the success of SHINE. In March, Barletta helped secure a $20 million increase in funding for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers Program, which is the only federal funding source for afterschool programs, bringing total funding up to $1.2 billion. He was previously named an “Afterschool Hero” by the Afterschool Alliance, dubbed an “Afterschool Champion” by the Pennsylvania Statewide Afterschool/Youth Development Network, and was the only House member to receive the Congressional Voice for Children Award from the National Parent Teacher Association in 2016 due to his leadership in saving federal funding for afterschool programs.