Seven APS schools recently earned 21stCommunity Center Learning Centers grants worth hundreds of thousands of dollars to be used to fund opportunities for academic enrichment and tutoring services for both students and their families.
The schools earning the grants are Woodson, Cook, Dunbar and Dobbs elementary, Burgess Peterson Academy and Bunche and Sylvan middle schools. Each school is eligible to receive up to $350,000 during FY 12.
At Bunche middle school, principal Keisla Tisdel has seen positive results two years into the program’s implementation. “We have 250 students participating in our after school program from 3:45 pm to 6:00 pm daily. They receive tutoring in math, science and reading Monday through Thursday and participate in robotics, dance, chess and gymnastics on Friday and Saturday.” Principal Robin Robbins at Burgess Peterson elementary is extremely optimistic about the launch of the program in her school. “Our students will meet from 2:30 pm to 4:30 pm for academic instruction. Enrichment such as tennis, martial arts, gardening and African dance will begin at 4:30 pm,” said an excited Robbins. “We are even implementing a full math and science summer camp complete with three field trips per week for our students.”
Of the seven schools, two are in the third and final year of the grant, and five are in the first year of a three-year renewable grant opportunity.
Each school must use the program to serve a significant percentage of the school population. “Our program is open to the entire student body, with priority being given to students with the highest need and we have seen our math and science scores increase each year the program has been at Bunche,” explained Tisdel.
Robbins is excited but not shocked by the number of parents who want their children in the program. “Students will receive instruction from certified teachers who have been selected from a competitive and rigorous application process. In addition, we have college students from Agnes Scott, Georgia State, Morehouse and Spelman tutoring alongside our teachers. Finally, free transportation is available to all participants,” she said. “In addition to targeting students at risk, we also target high achievers who also need additional tutoring and an extended learning day.”
The purpose of Georgia’s Title IV, Part B, 21st Century Community Learning Centers Program is to provide federal funds to establish or expand community learning centers after regular school hours to provide academic enrichment and tutorial services for students and literacy and related educational development for students’ families.