ELKHART — The Elkhart Boys & Girls Club, Elkhart Community Schools and other community organizations are partnering together to offer a variety of after school programming to some students at Beardsley and Osolo elementaries and North Side Middle School.
Ryon Wheeler, director of the Elkhart club, said that the grant is for $750,000, divided between the next four years. He and officials from local organizations involved with the program met with Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz at her stop at Beardsley Elementary School in Elkhart Friday afternoon, May 3.
Wheeler explained that the grant money will be used to pay teachers to continue working with struggling students past the school day, he explained. The grant will also pay to bus children home after their time with the Boys & Girls Club, especially helpful with Elkhart Community Schools transportation funding shortfall.
Emily Herriott of Child and Parent Services (CAPS) told Ritz and the others assembled how CAPS plan to train those teachers and staff staying past the school day to be able to work with parents on how to raise their children and offer parent support sessions at the school.
Patsy Boehler of ETHOS (Encouraging Technology & Hands On Science) Science Center spoke about how they plan to bring activities focused on science, technology, engineering, mathematics to the Club kids, while Brian Wiebe of the Horizon Education Alliance talked about bringing music and fine arts programming to the club.
Ritz applauded how those assembled Friday were working together. She also noted that the IDOE will be focusing more on a “balanced curriculum,” like what she sees the Boys & Girls Club working towards here.
“It’s not all about the test. It really isn’t,” she said.
The 21st Century Community Learning Centers grant program is a federally-funded program that helps provide at-risk students a safe environment during non-school hours, according to the Indiana Department of Education’s website. The centers must also provide a range of high-quality services that support student learning and development such as tutoring, service learning and dropout prevention.