MADISON — With the new school year approaching, students at 41 sites around the state will have organized after‑school programming thanks to federal 21st Century Community Learning Center (CLC) grants awarded for the 2017‑18 school year.
Earlier this summer, the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction awarded $5.2 million in grants which can renew for five years. The 41 sites receiving funds were among a pool of 108 that requested more than $13 million through the competitive grant program. Including sites funded with 2017-18 competitive grants, students will have access to 210 after-school programs funded by the state’s $17 million CLC grant.
Community Learning Centers are designed to improve student achievement, attendance, and behaviors by providing enriching academic activities for youth during out-of-school hours. Programs are often aligned with day school activities to provide comprehensive support for student learning. Students in the program also participate in a wide range of youth development activities designed to provide experiences and learning opportunities that may not be available otherwise. Activities may include tutoring, service learning, arts and music, drug and violence prevention, financial literacy, credit recovery, apprenticeships, environmental literacy, and science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). In addition to services to students, CLC sites provide adult family members with activities that promote engagement in their children’s education and individual skill development through adult learning and parental skill building.
“When school is not in session, our kids need supervised activities that help them stay active, become better citizens, and solidify the knowledge and skills they learn in the classroom,” said State Superintendent Tony Evers. “The 21st Century Community Learning Center program has proven successful in communities throughout Wisconsin. I am optimistic that Congress will reauthorize the program so future students are able to benefit from the opportunities the CLC program provides.”
Recent estimates indicate approximately 42,000 students received services through CLC programs during the 2016-17 school year. On average, students spend 13 hours per week at a Community Learning Center, which is equal to approximately 56 additional school days. A student who attends a CLC program every day in a typical week receives nearly four hours of academic enrichment, three hours of youth development opportunities, three hours of homework assistance, and three hours of physical activity.
In addition to the quality services provided by the programs, Community Learning Centers are a bridge between schools and communities. A variety of community partners, ranging from local law enforcement and businesses to other youth serving agencies or government entities, work with schools in support of after-school programs contributing financial support and services. These partnerships provide valuable resources and opportunities for participants that are often inaccessible under ordinary circumstances.
Administered by the DPI, funding in this most recent competition was awarded to community learning centers that serve schools that are Title I eligible, meaning they serve large numbers or large percentages of children from low-income families. Schools also serve students who demonstrate a variety of academic and social emotional needs.
NOTES: A list of 2017-18 grant competition awards to public school districts, charter schools, and community based organizations operating 21st Century Community Learning Centers is available in the official release. A complete list of the state’s CLC sites is available on the department’s Community Learning Center website.