DELAVAN — A 21st Century Community Learning Center grant funded by the U.S. Department of Education and administered through the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction will help Delavan-Darien School District students and families continue their learning after the school day has ended.
The grant — $500,000 over five years — will develop a Community Learning Center at Turtle Creek Elementary School, the largest of the three elementary schools in the district.
Community Learning Centers offer academic interventions and enrichment opportunities for students, and programs for parents during “out of school” time, mostly after the school day has ended.
The academic instruction, offered before and after school, focuses on math and reading interventions with students who are performing below grade level.
Enrichment activities that engage students and foster developmental assets include such areas as science, technology, engineering, fine arts, recreational and physical activity, tutoring, homework assistance, library services, community service, character education and drug/violence prevention programming.
The enrichment activities will use support from community partners, such as the Delavan Parks and Recreation Department, the UW-Extension office in Walworth County, UW-Whitewater, Delavan’s Aram Public Library and others.
The parenting component of the grant may include education for parents and guardians on behavior management strategies, literacy coaching and child nutrition. It could also incorporate the needs of the Delavan-Darien community, such as helping Spanish-speaking parents learn English.
“The staff members at Turtle Creek, and the district as a whole, are always looking for additional ways that we can help our students be successful,” said elementary school counselor Katie Kopp, who led the grant application process for the district. “We need to find new and sometimes creative methods to help remove barriers to learning. The CLC grant offers students not only evidence-based academic interventions, but also an elaborate offering of after-school enrichment opportunities that these students might not otherwise have access to. Research shows that students who are involved in structured, out-of-school activities have greater academic success in school. In addition, the CLC will help foster crucial development assets that will foster resiliency in some of our at-risk students for years to come.”
The new programming associated with the grant will start in the fall of the 2013-14 school year. Most activities will come after school, but some may occur prior to the day’s first bell.
The initial cycle of the grant is for five years, with the district receiving $100,000 per year upon annual renewals. The district may apply to participate in the grant for a maximum of 15 years and receive up to $1.125 million, with up to $75,000 per year awarded in years 6-10, and $50,000 per year awarded in years 11-15.
The grant and development of the 21st Century Community Learning Centers within Turtle Creek Elementary will further support efforts to continue educating children and parents outside of the school day.
The Boys & Girls Club of Walworth County is preparing to open its doors and start offering its programs in the fall to children and families living in and around the Delavan-Darien School District. The Boys & Girls Club will initially be housed in available classroom space at Delavan-Darien’s Phoenix Middle School. It, too, will offer academic and enrichment programming that will foster continued achievement of Delavan-Darien School District students.