Nita M. Lowey 21st Century Community Learning Center Grant Program
Title IV, Part B, of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)
COVID-19 Q&A for Nita M. Lowey 21st Century Community Learning Centers (As of 3/17/2020)
The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) understands that Wisconsin 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) have many questions regarding obligations during the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) closures. This document is intended to provide preliminary guidance for Wisconsin CLC programs related to COVID-19. Please refer to the information on the DPI website for up-to-date information on DPI policies and resources regarding COVID- 19.
Below are several, common questions regarding 21st CCLC operations. Please contact your CLC consultant with further inquiries.
Q1: Can grant funds be used during COVID-19 related school and program closures to support activities that are outside of our program’s currently approved plan (i.e., virtual services, staff training, etc.)?
A: Additional or new activities may be provided to program participants during school and program COVID-19 related closures, but changes to your program plan must be submitted to your DPI consultant (https://dpi.wi.gov/sites/default/files/imce/sspw/pdf/2019-20_CCLC_Liaisons.pdf) in advance of approval. Note that all activities must still align with the allowable activities under the grant. Also determine if a Budget Change Request (https://dpi.wi.gov/sspw/clc/current-grantees) is required in order to implement the proposed changes, and submit the appropriate form to your DPI consultant for approval if necessary.
Q2: If programs are closed due to COVID-19, are 21st CCLC grantees exempt from meeting days of operation requirements for the school year?
A: At this time, DPI will review program requirements when schools resume session for the 2019-20 school year. We will notify grantees with updates as they become available. Our intention is to be as flexible as possible given the unique circumstances of the current situation. It is important that grantees make sure that program data is accurate in Cayen.
Q3: If programs are closed due to COVID-19, are 21st CCLC grantees exempt from meeting the average daily attendance (ADA) or regular attendee requirements for the school year?
A: At this time, DPI will review program requirements when schools resume session for the 2019-20 school year. We will notify grantees with updates as they become available. Please ensure that the attendance data is accurate once entered into CAYEN.
Q4: If programs are closed due to COVID-19, can staff continue to be paid? If so, under what conditions?
A: In cases where paid leave is not part of the employee’s current employment agreement, 21st CCLC grant funds cannot be used to pay for leave time for those employees.
If staff can demonstrate that they are working on 21st CCLC-related activities during the program closure, then payment for their time may be appropriate. Please be aware that local agencies or organizations may have additional restrictions in place regarding payment of staff during school closures. The DPI has reached out to the US Department of Education for additional guidance, so more information may be available soon.
Potential work that may be considered for payment using grant funds includes:
- Virtual staff meetings
- Curriculum planning
- Lesson planning for the 21st CCLC program
- Data entry
- Online professional development
- Ongoing program management or planning (i.e., evaluation, planning summer activities, etc.)
- Online programming for youth (see Question and Answer below regarding off-site 21st CCLC activities)
- Other job tasks associated with the 21st CCLC program and job description that are considered reasonable and necessary during school closures
Q5: Can 21st CCLC grant funds be used to operate some on-site programming for students, even if schools are closed (i.e., limited-sized childcare services)?
A: If the 21st CCLC grantee is a . . .
- School district: The program should follow the school district policies for any services or closures (e.g., if the school where the 21st CCLC operates is closed, the program should close).
- Community-based organization (CBO): The program should follow the policies for any services or closures established by the primary school being served.
- Licensed child care center: Follow the guidance provided by the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families (DCF) for all operations. Note that in serving those students from the targeted school under the grant award, 21st CCLC funds should be used to continue operations as approved under the program proposal.
Q6: Can 21st CCLC programs operate virtual or other at-home enrichment programming in an effort to continue to serve students?
A: Yes, grantees may offer alternative enrichment programming in the absence of on- site programming. Note that sites must be able to document time and effort, and that programming must be allowable (find the full list of allowable, grant-funded activities at https://dpi.wi.gov/sites/default/files/imce/sspw/pdf/21st_CCLC_19-20_Guidelines.pdf). Consistent with grant regulations, such programming must operate outside of day- school hours (if the school is offering virtual learning). In particular, if a 21st CCLC program provides services through virtual learning, the site must ensure that all students have equal access to the same opportunities. Visit https://dpi.wi.gov/broadband for information about digital equity.
Q7: How will school and program closures impact the 21st CCLC award?
A: At this time the US Department of Education has not changed the state allocation, nor has DPI made any new decisions regarding current or future award amounts or carryover.
Q8: How will school and program closures impact the federal and state reporting requirements for the 21st CCLC grant?
A: As of now, the US Department of Education has not waived federal reporting requirements for 21st CCLC grantees. Rather than entering data directly into the federal data collection system, known as 21APR, this year grantees must enter the required data into DPI’s new statewide evaluation system (Cayen). Grantees should have a process in place for collecting the data needed for federal reporting, including teacher surveys, and entering it into the Cayen system. Given the fluidity of the current situation, DPI anticipates that there may be accommodations to reporting deadlines or requirements in the coming weeks, and we will be in touch as more information becomes available.
In addition to federal reporting requirements, 21st CCLC grantees are required to submit a state-level, end-of-year report called the Yearly Progress Report (YPR). The DPI is still planning to ask grantees to complete and submit the YPR. However, it is likely that the deadline for submitting the YPR will be extended. Again, DPI will contact you in the next few weeks as we learn more about the possible duration of school and program closures.
Q9: The in-person 21st CCLC spring training events have been cancelled. Will the spring training sessions be made available virtually?
A: The DPI is moving forward with plans to offer virtual versions of the sessions that were planned for the spring training events. The DPI is currently working with presenters to determine the structure and dates of these sessions and will share that information with you as soon as it becomes available. Recorded versions of the sessions will be made available for those who are not able to attend in real time. As a reminder, grantees can pay staff for the time they spend participating in these sessions, even if schools and programs are not open.
Q10: My program is in year five and is pursuing the renewability option. Will there be a delay in announcing which programs have been renewed?
A: The DPI is currently in the process of collecting follow-up information from year five grantees that are pursuing the renewability option. Given the unique challenges schools and programs are now facing, DPI recognizes that it may take longer than expected to collect that follow-up information. As such, renewability announcements may be delayed. For now, DPI’s hope is to notify programs of their status by May 1.
What Is the Purpose of Nita M. Lowey 21st Century Community Learning Center Grant Program?
The purpose of the Nita M. Lowey 21st Century Community Learning Center Grant Program (21st CCLC) program is to create community learning centers that provide students with academic enrichment opportunities, as well as additional activities designed to complement their regular academic program. 21st CCLCs must also offer families of these students literacy and related educational development. Centers--which can be located in elementary or secondary schools or other similarly accessible facilities--provide a range of high-quality services to support student learning and development, including tutoring and mentoring, homework help, academic enrichment (such as hands-on science or technology programs), community service opportunities, as well as music, arts, sports, and cultural activities. At the same time, centers help working parents/guardians by providing a safe environment for students when school is not in session.
Learn more by reading the 21st CCLC 2018-19 Executive Summary.
A list of current Wisconsin 21st CCLC Grantees may be found here.
What Student Populations Are the Priorities for 21st CCLCs?
21st CCLC funds will support centers that primarily serve students from schools that have at least 40 percent of their students from low income families (defined as qualifying for free and reduced lunch, although other sources of objective data in addition to free and reduced lunch count may be used to establish eligibility). In addition, eligible applicants proposing to primarily serve students from schools with significant academic deficiencies will receive priority for grant awards.
Guiding Principles for 21st CCLC Programs in Wisconsin
21st CCLC programs across Wisconsin are dynamic and complex environments that require innovative approaches to achieving the most impact for youth. No one setting is the same and there are many ways for programs to achieve excellence. DPI has developed a set of principles to help guide programs in that work. These guiding principles can both serve as a foundation and be adapted to local situations. It is the DPI's hope that the principles will inspire and provide direction to Wisconsin 21st CCLC programs as they strive to provide high quality out-of-school time experiences to students across the state.
To participate in an electronic listserv on Wisconsin 21st CCLC programs, contact Alison Wineberg at (608) 267-3751.