According to the Department of Education’s website, the 21st Century Community Learning Center Program, “supports the creation of community learning centers that provide academic enrichment opportunities during non-school hours for children, particularly students who attend high-poverty and low-performing schools.”
Dalton Public Schools and City of Refuge recently co-applied for a grant from the U.S. Department of Education in order to launch a 21st Century Community Learning Center (CLCC). The district will receive $321,938 annually over the five-year cycle of the grant. This partnership will serve 125 students with afterschool and summer programs.
According to the Department of Education's website, the 21st Century Community Learning Center Program, "supports the creation of community learning centers that provide academic enrichment opportunities during non-school hours for children, particularly students who attend high-poverty and low-performing schools."
Malisa Pedro, program director of the CORE 21st CCLC Program, says that while Dalton Public Schools is the financial recipient of the grant, City of Refuge will be providing the facilities.
"City of Refuge is providing the facility, they're coordinating dinner for the kids every night, and they'll provide transportation for families to attend," Pedro said. "It's truly a partnership from both sides."
The goals of this partnership are focused on student achievement, youth development and family engagement. In order to achieve specific goals related to these three areas, there are several different daily activities that will produce student growth.
After school, students will have daily homework time and access to individualized homework help. Every student will also have a 20-minute daily intervention in either math or reading, depending on their needs. These interventions and academic activities are aimed at improving student Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) test scores.
"Our goal is that at least 50% will meet their projected growth on MAP," Pedro said. "It's very individualized. We are wanting to help fill in those gaps for students who are most at risk academically."
Beyond the academic focus, the program will also provide time to enrich the students' lives with health and wellness, fine arts, soft skill development, social-emotional learning, and student clubs.
Students involved in this program will also receive dinner nightly, and their families can attend family dinner 1-2 times per week.
Now that the grant has been officially awarded, the recruitment process for both students and staff can begin. For students, the program relies primarily on referrals from counselors and administrative staff.
There are currently positions available for family engagement coordinators, teachers and teaching assistants. If you're interested in working with this program, you can apply online at https://dalton.tedk12.com/hire/Index.aspx.