Mt. Vernon Register-News

December 10, 2012

D-80 receives Learning Center Grant

The district received $110,250 as part of a multi-year grant to fund programs

Staff Report
CNHI

MT. VERNON — — City Schools District 80 is one of 37 school districts across the state to receive a 21st Century Community Learning Center Grant.

District 80 received $110,250 as part of a multi-year grant to fund before- and after-school academic enrichment programs. The Illinois State Board of Education awarded more than $14 million across the state for the grants.

These programs are expected to serve more than 13,600 students from 110 Illinois schools, information states.

The grant program provides academic enrichment opportunities to help students in low-income, underperforming schools meet state and local performance standards in subjects such as reading and math, information states. The program also offers services to students and their families, including drug and violence prevention lessons, counseling, art, music and recreation classes, technology education and character education.

“After-school programs keep students active and engaged in learning outside school hours,” said State Superintendent of Education Christopher A. Koch. “But those positive afterschool experiences — new opportunities or time with mentors — often inspire new and continued motivation in the classroom.”

The purpose of the 21st CCLC grant program, a component of the No Child Left Behind Act, is to provide before- and after-school programs for students who attend schools with a 40-percent poverty rate or higher, information states.

More than 75 percent of District 80 students receive free or reduced-price lunch, one of the indicators of poverty in a district.

llinois receives funds for the program based on a formula from the U.S. Department of Education.

The Illinois State Board of Education received 104 proposals, totaling more than $33 million from 29 school districts, 50 community- and faith-based organizations, two universities and six regional offices of education. Thirty-seven 21st CCLC grants on behalf of 110 schools were awarded while 67 proposals were not recommended for funding. The 2013 grantees can be renewed for four years but subsequent fiscal years depend upon a sufficient appropriation for the program and satisfactory progress in the previous grant period.

The award amount per school ranges from $50,000 to $150,000. Each applicant could request funds for as many eligible schools as they have the capacity to serve.

The 21st CCLC program’s impact is determined by examining seven performance objectives, information states. These are:  student involvement in school activities, student achievement, positive behavioral changes in students, community benefits, expanded learning opportunities, professional development opportunities for program personnel and efficient and effective use of funds.

An annual evaluation of the CCLC program and results from the 2010-2011 evaluation of 128 grants indicate that overall, Illinois grantees showed improvements in all seven of the above-mentioned areas.