Community grant applicants seeked

Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE) is seeking applicants from schools and community organizations for 2018-19 21st Century Community Learning Centers (CCLC) grants.

21st CCLC programs provide expanded learning opportunities during out-of-school time for students who attend high-poverty, low-performing schools. Through partnerships between local schools and community organizations, these programs offer enrichment activities that complement school-day learning and help students meet state and local achievement standards. Among the opportunities the program offers are literacy training and related educational development for families of students served by the community learning centers.

The following are examples of the diverse programs funded by 21st Century Community Learning Centers grants. In 2017-18, 10 new grants were awarded, bringing the total to 59 grantees across Oklahoma  serving 14,000 students.

In Macomb, the afterschool gardening club will offer a vegetable stand this summer and share their produce with others.

In Tulsa, the Tulsa Debate League at Will Rogers High School is teaching their students critical thinking and helping them gain confidence. School attendance has improved; students are invested in the program and in themselves.

In Stilwell, students at Bell Elementary are excelling in robotics. The afterschool program allows students to learn how robots work through collaboration and communication with one another. During the 2017-18 school year, the team attended the world competition in Kentucky.

In Stratford, students are learning photography, cooking, gymnastics and robotics. A drone class was added for the 2017-18 school year.

“I have had the opportunity to experience so many different activities and programs over the years and discover what I truly love to do, said Harli Jo McKinney, 10th grader who has been with the afterschool program for ten years. "The afterschool program has assisted me on my path to graduate high school, attend college and to find a career that I love and give back to my community.  I am thankful for the opportunities it has given me and other students in our small rural town!”

For many rural districts, the 21st Century program is not only about learning, it’s about keeping kids safe.

“Our afterschool program has been a blessing to our small community,” said Michael Blackburn, superintendent of Stratford Public Schools, a district that has received two 21st Century CCLC grants. “It has given many parents peace of mind knowing there is a safe place for their children to go after school. I know for many of the students who participate in this program, it is the best part of their school day.”

Community-based and other non-school organizations are encouraged to apply for 21st CCLC grants. A partnership with a local school district is required for eligibility. Local Education Agency (LEA) applicants must demonstrate partnerships with community-based organizations.

All applications must be completed and submitted online.

To learn more about this grant opportunity and how to apply, visit the 21st CCLC page on the OSDE website at http://sde.ok.gov/sde/21cclc.

A required Letter of Intent to Apply must be submitted by Thursday, June 14 at 3 p.m. The online Application Submission Deadline is Monday, July 9 at 3 p.m.

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