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Area schools to benefit from grant

ATKINSON — Multiple schools in the area are sharing a 21st Century Community Learning Grant to help tailor new programs for students in need of assistance.

The federal grant lasts for the next five years and provides the participating schools with almost $1 million a year. 

“Schools that will benefit from the grant include Bureau Valley South in Buda, Central Junior High and Wethersfield junior high and high schools in Kewanee, Colona Grade School, Galva schools, and LaMoille’s Allen junior high and high schools,” said Bureau, Henry and Stark Regional Superintendent Angie Zarvell.

The schools were selected based on economic and academic standards.

“You have to meet a certain set of standards to qualify for this grant. So, we went through the schools that met the criteria for this round of grants. I wrote for eight school districts. So there are eight sites, and we received $999,520, which we are ecstatic about,” said Regional Education Director of Learning Kim Sellers.

“Those schools were selected because they met the state criteria, which was that they had at least a 40 percent free and reduced lunch rate, or they had feeder schools that did. And the school has to be in academic status, which means the school has not met adequate yearly progress for two years in a row,” Sellers added.

The ROE will also be employing a coordinator for each site that will help tailor the specific programs needed to help students.

“Your site coordinator is kind of like your worker bee that collects that information, does the surveys, pulls it all together and plans and coordinates the program,” said Sellers.

As far as the types of programs that will be made available, it all depends on need.

“We can have before-school programs and after-school programs depending on what your community needs that support students’ academic needs through maybe homework and tutoring. We can do credit retrieval at the high schools for kids that have failed courses and that maybe are at risk of not graduating,” Seller said. “We can do enrichment programs and get parents involved — kind of bridge the gap between the community and the school. Those are all the kinds of things we want to work on using the federal funds.”

Sellers said she currently oversees 14 sites and no two have the same program.

Teachers are expected to be involved in the process by providing feedback and instruction. This is to allow for continuity between what goes on during regular classroom hours and then in the additional sessions.

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