McKinleyville Union School District (MUSD), in collaboration with the Humboldt County Office Education’s After School Consortium, applied for a Federally Funded 21st Century Community Learning Center (CCLC) grant in January for expanded learning opportunities at Dow’s Prairie and Morris Schools.
Humboldt County Office of Education (HCOE) was notified that MUSD was selected to receive a quarter of a million dollars each year, for five years. This will support high quality expanded learning programming for McKinleyville students.
This grant will provide multiple educational enrichment activities to support young people gaining knowledge and skills needed to be successful in school and future careers. Students will receive support toward academic achievement and get to participate in a variety of project-based activities providing enrichment in topics such as science, technology, engineering, math, visual and performing arts, physical fitness, service learning, cooking, career explorations and more.
The grant allows students to participate in these new after school programs regardless of ability to pay, providing funding ($112,500 per site, per year, for five years) for 84 students to be served daily at each site. Priority for enrollment in the program will be based on the following factors: student need, family financial need, parent work and school schedules and foster/homeless youth status.
Additionally, Dow’s Prairie was awarded a “supplemental” grant of $33,750 each year for an Expanded Learning Program to be offered during non-regular school time such as summer, holiday breaks or weekends. The supplemental programming will be developed once key staff is in place and will be open to any elementary student enrolled in McKinleyville Union School District.
McKinleyville Union School District Superintendent, Jan Schmidt has previously worked at four schools with after school programs. Schmidt said, “I was determined to bring these high quality program offerings to McKinleyville students so that they could benefit from the types of enrichment opportunities available across the county.”
Attempts at securing funds through this funding source have been unsuccessful over the past ten years. There are always far more applicants than there is available funding. What made the difference this time, according to Dr. Beth Chaton, afterschool program coordinator, is that the state was divided into six geographical regions: Northern, Central and Southern and Rural or Urban for each.
“We were only competing against grant applications in our Northern Rural California area and not big districts in urban areas that have professional grant writers,” says Dr. Chaton. “This means we had a better chance of success. Less than 30% of applications were funded for the 2017-18 school year, with only 18% of the total funds requested actually funded. We entered the application process with a better sense of having a chance than ever before.”
Since the funding will not cover all program expenses, parents who meet certain income requirements with students who have high academic needs, will be encouraged to pay something to offset the costs. Community support through volunteering and donations is important for the success of this program and was a requirement that had to be demonstrated through letters of support submitted with the grant application. With community collaboration a requirement in the grant, gathering community input towards some of the activity options will be an important component. For more information, please contact Beth Chaton at Humboldt County Office of Education at (707) 445-7179.