MADISON — Students at 37 sites around the state will enjoy engaging after-school programming that contributes to their academic, physical, and civic development through grants awarded by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.
Funding comes from the federal 21st Century Community Learning Center (CLC) program for the 2018‑19 school year. A pool of 142 requested a record $17 million through the competitive grant program, with just $4.35 million in federal funding available. Though funding for the CLC program increased nationally, Wisconsin’s federal formula allocation declined just over $1.2 million from the prior year.
“There is a well-demonstrated need for before- and after-school programming to keep kids safe and involved in positive activities while their parents and families are at work,” said State Superintendent Tony Evers. “My 2019-21 state budget will include a request for $20 million in state funds for community learning centers. Nationwide, 14 states use a mix of state and federal funding to support community learning centers. It’s time Wisconsin does too.”
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 typically are 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.
Recent estimates indicate 31,266 students received services through CLC programs during the 2017-18 school year. On average, students spend 14 hours per week at the center over about 150 days of the school year. 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 services provided by the programs, the 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.
Funding in this most recent competition was awarded to 21st Century 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. Grant are for five years depending on adequate annual performance. Statewide there will be 151 federally funded CLC sites for the 2018-19 school year.
NOTES: A list of 2018-19 grant competition awards to public school districts, charter schools, and community-based organizations operating 21st Century Community Learning Centers is in the official news release. More information about the state’s community learning centers is available on the department’s Community Learning Center website