By Erica Taylor for The Island Connection
Learning does not stop when the afternoon bell rings for dismissal. That is why Charleston County School District’s (CCSD) Office of Expanded Learning pursues funding through a federal grant program, 21st Century Community Learning Centers (CCLC). The 21st Century grants support academic enrichment through after-school opportunities for children, particularly students who attend high-poverty schools.
The 21st CCLCs help students meet state standards in core academic subjects, such as reading and math, provides students a broad array of enrichment activities that complement their regular academic programs, and offers literacy and other educational services to the families of participating children.
This year, the Office of Expanded Learning applied for and received three 21st Century grants for a total of four schools; Angel Oak Elementary School, Edith L. Frierson Elementary School, Mount Zion Elementary School, and W.B. Goodwin Elementary School. A fifth school, Mary Ford Elementary, will be supported by a 21st Century grant received by the non-profit organization Charleston Promise Neighborhood.
“Angel Oak Elementary School is very excited to be one of the school recipients of the 21st Century grant,” stated Principal Judith Condon. “Not only will this grant bring more opportunity to our students both academically and through enrichment, but it will also help to foster the growth of our partnership with our Kaleidoscope programs. We know the importance of providing our families with quality after school programming and we are thankful to CCSD’s Office of Expanded Learning for supporting our school!”
The four-year grants provide $200,000 in funding for the first year Combining all 21st CCLC grants involving CCSD schools, including those sponsored by Wings for Kids and Charleston Promise Neighborhood, the District receives over $2 million in support annually.
“The 21st Century Community Learning Centers grant provides such a valuable service to the students, families, and schools of Charleston County School District,” said Amy Bosch, Expanded Learning, 21st Century Program Officer. “The funding enables students to receive expanded day services, meaningful academic instruction, and intentional enrichment programming at no cost to the families. This is a wonderful opportunity that will benefit the entire community.”
“The addition of these new grants are part of a larger plan by the Office of Expanded Learning to better align our work with the District’s goals for academics, 21st Century Skills, and social-emotional learning,” noted Jason Sakran, Director of Expanded Learning.
The 21st CCLC grants are awarded to schools and non-profit organizations that partner with schools. While Mary Ford is partnering with CPN, the Office of Expanded Learning is working with Wings for Kids, Charleston County Parks and Recreation, and the City of North Charleston Recreation Department to support Angel Oak, Frierson, Mount Zion, and Goodwin.
In the 2018-2019 school year, CCSD will have 15 elementary schools receiving 21st CCLC funding, which is the most in the state of South Carolina by any school district. An estimated 170 schools statewide are supported by these grants.