The Indiana Department of Education awarded 21st Century Community Learning Centers Program Grants to 57 organizations throughout the state that provide after-school enrichment programs to Indiana students. Awards range from $75,000 to $325,000 and total nearly $10.3 million.
Blue River Services, Inc. was among the recipients, receiving $112,500 to begin a new after-school program at North Harrison Middle School. Julia Baylor, Director of Children’s Services at Blue River Services, Inc. said while the agency has been providing after-school programming at North Harrison and Morgan Elementary schools for several years, parents expressed concern that once their child leaves elementary school, there was nothing available for them.
“Their child is too old for child care, yet too young to simply go home alone, Baylor explained. “Also, once leaving the elementary schools, there is no longer an opportunity for homework assistance or tutoring. “Many of these children have siblings that participate in programs provided in the elementary schools, meaning that parents not only must pick up their elementary child at the school, but then travel another 15+ miles out of the way to retrieve their older child.”
The North Harrison Middle School program will target low income, academically challenged middle school students (grades 6 – 8) and will work closely with the principal to determine priority for participation. Children in serious need of a safe and secure afterschool environment will be identified by the school principal, teachers, and/or the local Division of Family and Children’s Services Department. Homework assistance, tutoring, and other academic enrichment activities, such as literacy and hands on science, technology, engineering and math.
Another goal of the program is to partner with local community action agencies and positively impact alcohol, tobacco, and other drug abuse issues involving youth. The program also aims to increase student awareness of personal safety, promote positive social interactions, increase self-esteem and confidence, and provide college and career readiness activities.
According to the Indiana Department of Education, 57 of 75 applicants were selected for funding for up to four years beginning in the 2017-18 school year. Continued funding is based upon annual reviews and successful program implementation. The Blue River Services grant application ranked No. 22 out of 75.
In addition to the program at North Harrison Middle School, Blue River Services, Inc. also provides after-school programming at North Harrison Elementary, Morgan Elementary, East Washington Elementary and Middle School and Medora Elementary and Middle School. Medora Community Schools and East Washington School Corporation, in partnership with Blue River Services, received an additional $112,500 to bring after-school programming to high school students at Medora Community Schools and $180,000 for East Washington School Corporation.
The 21st Century Community Learning Centers Program is an out-of-school time initiative authorized under Title IV, Part B, of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, as amended by the No Child Left Behind Act and reauthorized under the Every Student Succeeds Act.