Federal grants fund afterschool programs

Published 4:22 pm Friday, October 18, 2013

Hanging around after that final bell for two extra hours of school is a tough sell for most afterschool programs, but 21st Century Community Learning Center (CCLC) has made the feat look easy for the past several years.

The 21st CCLC initiative is the only federally funded program dedicated exclusively to afterschool programs, and the opportunities they provide to students extend far beyond the classroom, including art, drama and recreation.

And now for the first time, all six schools within the Butler County School District have received 21st CCLC grants to fund afterschool and summer programs.

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Each school received $100,000 this year except for Georgiana and McKenzie, which will instead share $125,000.

This will be the first time that Greenville High School has ever received 21st Century grant funding, and the first time in several years for Greenville Elementary School.

Amy Bryan, director of federal programs for the Butler County Board of Education, campaigned on a statewide level for the funds in competition with other districts.

“You have to be competitive in that you tell what the need is in your district, and you must have a great plan on how you do the most with a small amount of money, and make that sustain even beyond the years of support from the grant,” Bryan said.

“I do have input from the principals because its their grant and their programs, so they need to be able to have that spin on what it looks like, how it runs, how many people and so on and so forth.”

As each school has the final say in the 21st CCLC grant use, each school develops its own original afterschool experience.

Greenville Middle School students participate in various recreational bike tours around town, and they also take field trips during the summer to learn about locations discussed in class.

Greenville High School is offering a period for credit advancement and credit recovery after school and during the summer for those lacking credit for a failed course or for those wanting a chance to move ahead.

McKenzie have implemented the use of technology with an iPad lab and Xbox 360 video games for exercise.

“For many parents, it helps them to be able to work their full schedule without having child care concerns,” Bryan said. “And it’s a minimal cost — it costs $10 per week, and they’re getting 10 hours of service each week plus the snacks served by teachers and all the enrichment tools and supplies for the students, so it’s a fabulous deal for the parents.

“But it also gives a time for relationship building with these teachers because it’s a more relaxed time — they can actually tutor one-on-one. Rather than being structured with full classrooms during the daytime, this is a smaller student-to-teacher ratio so there are relationships and fun times built into the schedule.  So the students actually have fun after school and like to come, and they advertise it to their friends.”

Beginning this week is the nationwide “Lights On Afterschool” campaign that sheds light on the various programs and the opportunities provided for students.

Sign-up forms for the 21st Century CCLC programs are available at all six schools.