Yancey Schools Awarded $1.3 Million for After School Programming

Post date: Sep 5, 2014 6:34:08 PM

Yancey County Schools was recently notified that it had been awarded a four-year $1,360,000 grant from the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. This funding will provide free afterschool programming at all eight district elementary and middle schools. The grant also allows for free summer programs.

The 21st Century Community Learning Center (CCLC) grant will build upon the experience gained in a previous four-year afterschool grant that ran at Burnsville, Micaville, and South Toe, East Yancey and Cane River schools. Bald Creek, Bee Log, and Clearmont Elementary schools are additional sites for this new four-year cycle.

The purpose of 21st CCLC program is to provide students with academic enrichment opportunities along with activities designed to complement students’ regular academic programs. These services include tutoring and mentoring, homework assistance, academic enrichment (such as hands-on science or technology programs), community service opportunities, music, art, sports, and cultural activities.

“The 21st Century program will provide many children with opportunities they might not otherwise be able to access while improving the grades of our schools’ students,” said Dr. Tony Tipton, Superintendent of Yancey County Schools.

“As I have been incredibly impressed with the coordination and community involvement from our previous efforts, I hope that our next phase will expand upon this earned understanding and prior federal investment to affect as many children as possible.”

These centers provide safe environments for students during non-school hours. In addition to providing tutoring, fun experiential opportunities, and time for free play, the afterschool grant provides funding for transportation to designated points in the county.

“The afterschool program has become an invaluable resource in the county where students are able to receive added academic support, but in a learning environment where it is not just ‘more school’,” said Colby Martin, Director of Grants and Compliance for Yancey County Schools.

“In addition, the funding allows for school staff to be compensated for extra responsibility. More than 80% of funding (or approximately $1 million) from this award will go toward providing jobs in our school system – jobs that address a key need in our county: extended learning.”

Of the approximately 150 applications submitted to the State Education department from Local Education Agencies, nonprofit organizations, religious institutions, and for-profit entities, Yancey County Schools’ grant proposal was ranked #1 after the three-prong evaluation process was completed. “I believe this is a testament to the over-achieving and terrific program the staff and the schools have implemented over the last four years,” Martin added.

The 21st Century Community Learning Center is called M.A.G.I.C., standing for “Making Academic Gains in Children.” The goals of the program are to: 1) provide high quality learning activities; 2) provide high quality enrichment programs to afford students varying extracurricular experiences; and 3) provide family learning opportunities.

“This program is crucial to our rural community,” said April Lambert, parent of a student at South Toe Elementary. “The special and one on one work from the staff is invaluable and provides a time to build the students' relationships with their teachers.

“It also provides a location for exposure to programs that otherwise would be impossible to attend or reach the number of kids at one given time,” she continued. “Due to this program and supportive parents and teachers, other activities have come to our school such as Girl Scouts, 4-H, Girls on the Run, TRAC's fiddle and old time music class, dance classes, and gardening programs.

“And for the parents of those kids involved,” she added, “full time work is possible knowing that the children's needs are being met during the extended hours. We are so grateful for this program continuing in our community and all that it offers to our kids.”

If any family is interested in accessing these free services for their children, enrollment should take place in September and with the program beginning in October.