JPS Awarded 5-Year 21st Century Community Learning Centers Grant

Chateau Striders Lead Tutor, Bruce Larson, reads Charlotte’s Web to students during the Love Elementary School’s Terrific Kids After School Program.

Chautauqua Striders’ Lead Tutor, Bruce Larson, recently read from Charlotte’s Web during Love Elementary School’s Terrific Kids After School Program. Mr. Larson is expanding the students’ school day by working on literacy during the after school hours. He created a “Word Wall” with “a word-of-the-day” such as: languish, hysterics and hullabaloo that came directly from the book. The vocabulary is words that students may not have previously learned in class. He also took the students on a “picture walk” where they followed the progress of the book through pictures. These activities directly complement what the students are learning during the school day – an important component of JPS after school programming, which is to collaborate with classroom teachers to extend academics into the after school hours.

Chautauqua Striders is one of several community organizations that will partner with Jamestown schools to deliver on the nearly $3 million dollar grant the district received from the New York State Department of Education for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers. The five-year grant provides $579,5000 per year to JPS from federal funding to establish community learning centers that provide academic, artistic and cultural enrichment opportunities for students and their families during out-of-school hours at the district’s elementary and middle school after school programs. JPS was one of only 121 award recipients for this highly competitive grant in New York State. This grant will greatly benefit the district’s students and families.

“I love coming to the after school program,” said Love Elementary School third grader, Amaya Thompson. “I get to come and see all my friends, have fun and learn something. Also, if a kid’s parents have to work it’s a really good place to go and just have fun. It makes me happy to come everyday.”

The grant funds will be used for the purpose of supporting academic achievement, youth development and family engagement during after school hours and in the summer. An important component of this grant is to connect and partner with JPS families in order to maximize active and meaningful engagement in their child’s education, including opportunities for literacy and related educational development.

“This award makes it possible for us to sustain after school academic support and enrichment in the Jamestown Schools,” said Julie Poppleton, JPS Coordinator of Extended Learning, Family & Community Engagement. “The 2017-2022 21st Century Community Learning Centers award satisfies a long-awaited need for financial stability among Jamestown’s after school programs. The district, and its community partners, the YWCA, YMCA, Chautauqua Striders, Jamestown Community Learning Council, Infinity Visual & Performing Arts, CASAC and the Hispanic Community Council can continue to provide safe supervision and enriching out-of-school experiences for kindergarten through eighth grade students and families that complement and extend the learning that occurs during the school day, and helps parents stay in the workforce. Our programs are safe, and that means more of our kids are safe during the critical after school hours between 3 and 6 p.m.”

21st Century Community Learning Centers provide opportunities for academic tutoring and enrichment, particularly for students attending low-performing schools; offer supplemental services such as youth development and recreation programs, life skills, and health and fitness education, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) experiences, and help families of students served by the centers become more involved in their children’s education. Some examples of ways the funding will be used include: after school programming, half-day, or early release day programming, after school Robotic Clubs at middle and elementary schools, Chautauqua Striders bilingual tutoring and life skills education, increasing the presence of Jamestown Community Learning Council EASE (Educational and Scholastic Enrichment) home/school liaisons in the schools, visual and performing arts experiences conducted by Infinity, evidence-based prevention education delivered by CASAC (Chautauqua Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Council), summer LitCamps, designed to help reduce or prevent summer learning loss, the After School Amigos intergenerational literacy programs at Love and Ring Elementary Schools and their middle school counterpart, LaPromesa.

Research shows that among students who regularly attend a Community Learning Center:

¯ Close to 1 in 3 improved their math and Language Arts grades

¯ 7 in 10 improved their homework completion and class participation

¯ 2 in 3 improved their behavior in class

Also, studies show that regular participation in after school programming helps to narrow the achievement gap between high- and low-income students in math, improved academic and behavioral outcomes and reduced school absences.

The State Education Department awarded more than $78 million in grants to school districts, not-for-profits, institutes of higher education, and other community-focused organizations to expand or establish 21st CCLCs.