Catching up with Beyond School Bells

NebraskaChildren_BSB_final_Jan2016Trying to track down Jeff Cole, Network Lead for Beyond School Bells, is not an easy task at the Nebraska Children and Families Foundation office in Lincoln. But when you look at everything the Beyond School Bells initiative has been up to this year, it’s not hard to see why. 2018 has been a busy year so far, so we’ve rounded up the highlights of what Jeff and his team have been up to.

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Expanded Learning Opportunity STEM Day
On March 21, Beyond School Bells partnered with Collective for Youth to host an Expanded Learning Opportunity (ELO) STEM Day at the Capitol. Youth from four separate afterschool programs in Omaha Public Schools presented their original research into water quality issues in the neighborhoods surrounding their schools to Senators and staff.  Participating youth were also able to explore hands-on science and tinkering activities provided by a Think Make Create Lab operated by Civic Nebraska, a non-profit coordinating ELO programs in Lincoln and Omaha.

Sponsored by Senator Rick Kolowski (District 31), ELO STEM Day at the Capitol is an important opportunity for Senators and staff to see the wide variety of engaging STEM learning taking place in Nebraska’s ELO programs daily.  Thanks to Senator Kolowski and all our partners who participated in this successful activity.

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An expanding fleet of Think, Make, Create Labs
Beyond School Bells has been busy working with communities across the state to continue adding TMC Labs makerspaces to the fleet to help provide more after-school and summer learning opportunities to more Nebraska kids. Two such communities are La Vista and North Platte, both of which worked with BSB to finance and create TMC Labs that will serve the kids in their communities with high-quality learning activities that encourage tinkering, exploring, and digging into STEM activities.

Here are some news stories highlighting the TMC Labs in La Vista and North Platte, as well as a video detailing the creation of the North Platte Lab.

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jeffCivic Nebraska honors Jeff Cole and Beyond School Bells
Beyond School Bells and our own Jeff Cole were selected to receive the Outstanding Youth Engagement Program Award from Civic Nebraska as part of its 2018 Strengthening Democracy Awards. Jeff and BSB are being honored for their commitment to providing high-quality after-school and summer learning opportunities to the young people and families Civic Nebraska serves. Honorees will be officially recognized at an event on April 12. Click here to read Civic Nebraska’s release about the honor.

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Pure Nebraska interviews Jeff Cole and Innovation Fellow Alison Cloet
In February, Beyond School Bells partnered with Nebraska Innovation Studio to announce the selection of four University of Nebraska – Lincoln undergrads as the first-ever Innovation Fellows. At the end of March, 1011 News’ Pure Nebraska program hosted Jeff Cole and Innovation Fellow Alison Cloet to talk about Think, Make, Create Labs and how the Innovation Fellows will be working to bring more mobile makerspaces to communities across the state. Click the image below to view Pure Nebraska’s interview on their Facebook page.PureNE

Nebraska Children and Families Foundation supports children, young adults and families at risk with the overall goal of giving our state's most vulnerable kids what they need to reach their full potential. We do this by building strong communities that support families so their children can grow up to be thriving, productive adults.

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Posted in Middle Childhood, News and Events

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