County schools receive $119k federal grant for after school programs

Published 3:48 pm Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Carter County’s high schools will soon be reaping the benefits of a federal grant program designed to help prepare students for success both in and out of the classroom.

The Carter County School System recently received a federal grant of $119,312 through the 21st Century Community Learning Center program.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

“This is a five-year grant,” said Sonya Miller, a supervisor with the Carter County School System who is overseeing the grant program. This year marks the first year for the five-year cycle, she added.

According to documents from the Tennessee Department of Education regarding the grant, the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) program provides federal funding for establishing or expanding community learning centers. These centers provide students with opportunities for academic enrichment, youth development, and family support during non-school hours or during periods when school is not in session.

While the U.S. Department of Education provides the funding for the grants, the federal government transferred administration of the awards to the state education agencies.

Through the grant funding, Miller said the school system will be providing a variety of educational and other programs for students at the county’s four high schools.

One of the areas of focus for the funding will be tutoring for students, particularly in the Math and English Language Arts (ELA) areas, according to Miller. Some tutoring will be offered through the after school program while other options will be available for early morning hours before the start of the school day for those students who participate in other after-school extracurricular activities.

Miller said the school system will be using certified teachers as tutors and utilizing “research-based” instruction and tutoring methods to help those children who are struggling with the subjects.

“Grade cards will be monitored each nine weeks to determine progress.  The results of the grade cards shall be shared with parents, students, and afterschool staff to adjust programming effectively,” Miller said. “Likewise, teacher observation and reports of student achievement will help drive adjustments to individual student tutoring.”

Part of the 21st Century Community Learning program also focuses on family support and involvement, and Miller said the program will have something to offer parents and guardians as well.

“Parents will volunteer in our program to read with a child, play an educational game, or lead structured fitness,” Miller said. “Twice per year, we will hold Parent Career Day. On this day, parents will be encouraged to share their careers with students of the program, in order to introduce students to a wide variety of career options.”

“We will also invite Northeast State Community College, Tennessee College of Applied Technology, and East Tennessee State University personnel to Career Day to encourage parents and students to become familiar with the offerings at each college,” she added.

For some parents and guardians who may need assistance in obtaining their own educational goals, Miller said the program will help get them heading in the right direction. The state offers adult education classes to help adults earn their General Equivalency Diploma or complete the High School Equivalency Test (HiSET).

“Our afterschool program will work with Adult Education to encourage parents to continue their education,” Miller said. “We will make every effort to help parents make plans and adjustments to their personal schedules in order to fit the program into their daily lives, if needed.”

Parents and guardians will also be invited to take part in other opportunities in the program such as monthly Family Hike Days and Health and Nutrition classes.

The 21st Century Learning Grant will also include a variety of clubs for student participation — such as Lifetime Wellness Clubs, Technology Club, and Cooking Clubs — and several other educational and enrichment opportunities.