Post date: Jun 15, 2017 8:29:23 AM

At the May 4th meeting of the North Carolina State Board of Education, Yancey County Schools, along with 44 other applicants, were approved as grantees of a three year, $1.2 million 21st Century Community Learning Center Grant beginning in the 2017-18 school year. YCS will now join the Cohort 12 list of grantees in addition to completing the final year of their Cohort 11 grant from 2014. The list of grantees included both public school systems, charter schools, and not-for-profit organizations. There were 176 applications that were reviewed by NC Department of Public Instruction during the process. YCS has been awarded 21st CCLC funding to develop a district-wide after-school program for students since 2010.

The purpose of the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (CCLC) program is to provide Title IV Federal funds to establish or expand community-learning centers that operate during out-of-school hours with three specific purposes:

1. Provide opportunities for academic enrichment, including providing tutorial services to help students (particularly students in high-poverty areas and those who attend low-performing schools) meet State and local student performance standards in core academic subjects such as reading and mathematics.

2. Offer students a broad array of additional services, programs, and activities, such as youth development activities, service learning, nutrition and health education, drug and violence prevention programs, counseling programs, physical fitness and wellness programs, and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) instructional opportunities.

3. Offer families of students served by 21st CCLCs opportunities for active and meaningful engagement in their children’s education, including opportunities for literacy and related educational development.

The grant funding for Cohort 12 will continue to operate after-school programming at eight elementary and middle school sites across the district, serving students in Grades K-8. Overall, the grant will seek to offer up to 370 after-school student slots, targeting those students with at-risk factors that could prevent them from meeting their full potential as students and citizens. The 21st CCLC program in YCS, known as MAGIC+, has been instrumental in providing safe learning environments where students are able to work on mastering academic skills while further developing important lifetime skills that go beyond success in the classroom.

The Cohort 12 Grant was co-written by Tracie Bartlett-Dover, Lavenia Burnette, and Shane Cassida on behalf of the school system. “We are elated to be a part of this new funding cycle,” said Cassida, current YCS Curriculum/Instruction Federal Program Director. “We will never fully know the impact that the program has had on our students over the past ten years because so much of the growth we see goes beyond a data point or a statistic. The new grant proposal has some exciting new opportunities that will only allow our students to expand the possibilities for their futures.” Bartlett-Dover, current MAGIC+ Program Director, is equally enthusiastic about the direction of the new grant. “When seven and eight year olds are coming up to you at the beginning of the school year wanting to know when MAGIC is starting, basically asking to stay at school for an additional two and half hours each day, you begin to realize the impact of the program. Without this bridge between the school and home, many of our students would be struggling for support and our families burdened with additional child care costs. This grant is absolutely crucial for our district.”

The next two months will be a busy time for the YCS MAGIC+ Program. In July, the MAGIC+ Program will co-host alongside the YCS Curriculum and Instruction Department the 5th annual YCS Summer Reading Enrichment Camp from July 5 through July 27. During that same time, the initial hiring plans and budgets for both the Cohort 11 and the new Cohort 12 funds will begin. YCS projects a start date of the YCS MAGIC After School program around September 5th, with the student application process starting with the first day of the 2017-18 school year.