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After school programs to benefit from grant

by: LINDSAY KEEFER - Students in the Woodburn School District After School Club-sponsored migrant summer program represent just a small fraction of students who will benefit from a new 21st century grant funding after school programming. Students this year, including kindergartner Edwin Sandoval Torres, took part in a fun run around the Woodburn High School fields.The Woodburn School District’s after school club will not only be around a few more years, but will have additional programs thanks to a recently awarded grant.

The district has received its third 21st Century Community Learning Center Grant, which will award $485,000 for three years each, followed by 75 percent of that ($363,750) the fourth year and 50 percent of that ($242,500) the fifth year.

Since 2004, the federal grant has allowed the district to have an active after school program, but this new surge, which will replace a grant that is expiring next year, will allow extra opportunities for students K-12, said Karen Armstrong, 21st century program coordinator.

These opportunities include:

• Art Attack K-5 curriculum;

• STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) curriculum;

• Gardening lessons through local nonprofit Planting Communities! Most schools have community gardens, but not all. So the hope is to expand by adding one at a different school each year, Armstrong said.by: LINDSAY KEEFER - Students in the Woodburn School District After School Club-sponsored migrant summer program represent just a small fraction of students who will benefit from a new 21st century grant funding after school programming. Students this year enjoyed music classes with student volunteers and more.

• Robotics at the K-5 level. By the second year in the program, Armstrong said there will hopefully be a Woodburn robotics tournament.

• Nutrition curriculum. Through a partnership between Oregon Dairy Council, Pacific University, Oregon Department of Education, Oregon Ask, U.S. Tennis Association and a Weight Watchers consultant, this program could include a high school culinary arts class in which high school students could learn material then teach it to younger students.

“They’re taking existing curriculum and breaking it down into a year’s worth of 30-minute lessons once a week,” Armstrong said. “We’re not reinventing the wheel, just tweaking it.”

• Sports activities. Ideas such as a running club and intramurals at the middle school level have been tossed around.

• Scholarships. With the new grant, more students are eligible to be funded to take part in the after school club, based on each school’s discretion. This would be significant since K-5 after school club is $350 and middle school is $50.

Why the difference in prices between elementary and middle school programs?

“At the middle school level, it allows them to have access to good things, but if the parents can’t afford it, they’d just as soon have their kids go home after school,” Armstrong said.

• Middle school yearbook club.

• Family classes. Similar to Family University, which will no longer be provided to just migrant families but to everyone in the district through Title I funds, these classes will provide any parents the opportunity to learn the basics of things like gardening and cooking.

• More technology. This includes more iPads and technology classes that would teach computer programming.

• Summer program. This year, the after school club took on the district’s migrant summer program, and non-migrant students weren’t eligible to participate. The hope is that next year, all students K-12 will have the option to take part in a summer program that will include academic and enrichment opportunities.

However, the migrant summer program will still be run as its own program by the after school club next year.

• New after school sites at Success High School and Arthur Academy. Even though Arthur will share space with nearby Washington Elementary School on certain dates, new staff will have to be hired for these two new sites.

The grant will also fund a part-time marketing and sustainability coordinator and more professional development for the new programs being taken on by the club.

Because more programs are being added while the district is receiving roughly the same amount of grant money, things might still be tight financially, but that will allow staff members to work on how to make the program sustainable for when the funding runs out.

“Families here can’t afford quality programming and our community can’t afford to sustain it for the families, so until that changes, we need to find outside help,” she said, pointing out that the grant is only awarded to high-poverty school districts.

Armstrong said after school club students’ state test scores average higher than other students because it offers meals, homework help and a sense of stability. And now, thanks to the new grant, the club can offer even more opportunities.

“For kids, it will all be positive because they’ll be given more choices,” Armstrong said. “Especially at the middle school level, they’ve always had choices; now it just gives them a new variety.”



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