Crossroads Elementary School has received a major 21st Century Community Learning Center continuation grant from the Kentucky Department of Education.
A total of $490,000 has been awarded for the center to continue providing services for the next five years.
District Grant Writer Ashley Byrum explained the grant is a partnership between Crossroads, the Bullitt County Cooperative Extension Office, and other partners such as the Bullitt County Library and Crossroads FRC.
“The grant is from the Kentucky Department of Education and is part of the Federal 21st Century Community Learning Centers program from the U.S. Department of Education,” she said. “The award is for $100,000 for years 1-3 and $95,000 for years 4 and 5.”
There are six program goals:
- Improving academic achievement of participating students in math and reading.
- Improving non-cognitive indicators of success among participating students (e.g., homework completion rates, classroom participation, health and wellness, and behavior).
- Increasing the number of regular students attending the program.
- Increasing student access to high-quality after school programming.
- Increasing student access to college and career readiness activities.
- Increasing family education to support academic achievement (e.g., positive discipline strategies, family finance activities).
Grant funds will pay for a full-time program director, certified teachers and instructional assistants to provide academic assistance after school, summer academic enrichment programming, supplemental materials and resources for 21st CCLC clubs and activities, and field trip opportunities. The 21st CCLC operates before and after school Monday through Thursday during the school year and for five weeks during the summer.
Byrum and Center Coordinator Rebecca Dunkley collaborated on the application.
“I am so incredibly grateful and could not be more excited about receiving the continuation grant for 21st Century,” Dunkley said. “I was able to share the news with some of my students and they are thrilled to have an opportunity to participate in the program in the years to come.”
Dunkley praised Byrum for her successful efforts.
“I am so blessed to have been able to work with Ashley Byrum,” Dunkley said “She was absolutely invaluable!!!” Her experience made the process tremendously less difficult. She is the genius writer!
“For me, the most difficult part was determining what the schedule of activities would be in order to ensure we will be effectively and efficiently using the time we have with each student,” Dunkley said. “Narrowing down the enrichment activities we would like to include was also difficult for me as I was able to allow my imagination to run wild with ideas that would keep the students engaged in their learning through enrichment activities.”
The funding will be used primarily for salaries of staff (certified, classified, and student workers) who will be working directly with students.
“We will bring in outside programming to enhance student learning, purchase technology, provide continuing education for our parents and families, and expand existing programs for future years,” Dunkley said.
Large competitive grants are challenging to write and even more so to receive. Dunkley feels reviewers gave favorable nods to center programming being aligned with the Crossroads school day curriculum.
“Our programming enhances all student academic achievement. We have programming that targets specific needs of students, including an extensive K-3 Literacy Intervention program that will begin with the new grant award,” she said adding enrichment programs are designed with students in mind and are developed based on student interest and suggestion,” she said.
Grant funds will allow programs to offer enhanced academic achievement but will also be geared toward career readiness.
“For example, we will have a student-based school newspaper that will enable students interested in writing or journalism to gain some experience in the field,” she said. “Also, our STEM and Mad Science clubs will benefit students interested in pursuing careers in engineering and chemistry.”
Crossroads has been working to develop strong partnerships with Bullitt East High School student volunteers enrolled in their Teaching and Learning Pathway, US Bank with financial literacy programs for both students and their families and The Pioneer News with assistance for the student led newspaper.
Dunkley also wants to put more focus on fundraising efforts and developing relationships with local leaders and businesses to gain their support.
“Our community needs to know about the amazing opportunities we have and things our students are doing here at Crossroads 21st Century Community Learning Center. In order to continue providing programming at the level of excellence I envision, we will need all the support we can get. It is our goal to create a program that can be fully self-sustaining should the grant become unavailable in the future,” she said.