District receives generous grant to offer an afterschool program

By Melanie Williamson

At the Monday, August 14, regular school board meeting, superintendent Phil Pempin shared with the board that the district has been awarded A 21st Century Grant for afterschool programming through The Boys and Girls Club.

With this grant, the district will receive $200,000 a year for three years, $150,000 the fourth year, and $100,000 the fifth year, and the money will be used to provide afterschool programs for students in grades kindergarten through seventh grade.

The programs will be run by the Boys and Girls Club and will include a wide range of activities and opportunities to engage the students on many levels.

Over the summer, the Boys and Girls Club ran a nine-week summer camp at Sailorway Middle School that was open to all students in the school district and provided programs to encourage reading, math, and physical activity. The afterschool program will be run similarly to the summer camp. Children that participate in the afterschool programs will be provided with a meal and transportation home.

Pempin stated that it has been a priority for the district to move students in the right direction and try to increase parent involvement, and he believes the extra one-on-one attention students will receive through this program will prove to be highly beneficial. He also stated that the grant money will cover the entirety of the program, so there will be no addition costs to the district.

Pempin thanked assistant superintendent Jim Balotta and special education director Karen Blackburn for their work on getting the paper work together and submitted for this grant. He went on to say that being awarded a grant of this magnitude is significant, and they will continue to look for opportunities to bring more programs and funding into the district.

According to Balotta, the program is tentatively set to start the first week of October and run from 2:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. There will be more information available to parents regarding the program at the start of the school year.

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