News From Terre Haute, Indiana

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May 11, 2010

$728K grant to boost Vigo after-school programs

Six Title 1 elementary schools to benefit from expanded programming

TERRE HAUTE — Next fall, students who attend after-school programming at six Vigo County Title 1 elementary schools will benefit from more structure and educational activities.

The Vigo County School Corp. has been awarded a four-year, $728,000 grant to provide enrichment and extended-day learning opportunities at the six schools: DeVaney, Farrington Grove, Fuqua, Ouabache, Sugar Grove and Terre Town.

The competitive grant is called the 21st Century Community Learning Centers Grant, and it is sponsored by the Indiana Department of Education.

The extended-day learning activities will be offered as part of the after-school program provided by Western Indiana Community Action Agency, one of the partners in the project.

The grant provides students — particularly those in high-poverty, low-performing schools — academic enrichment opportunities to help them improve in reading, writing and math, according to the DOE. It also provides activities designed to complement students’ regular academic program.

The expanded programming will begin with the 2010-11 school year.

WICAA “has a successful after-school program in our schools, but we really could use some extra enrichment and better alignment with [academic] programming during the day,” said Karen Goeller, deputy superintendent.

Three certified part-time elementary teacher liaisons will work with WICAA staff in the after-school program.

The extra teacher support will help students improve their writing, reading, and mathematics skill, Goeller said.

With the grant, the district will be able to purchase Young Hoosier Books, Reader’s Theater drama resources, Everyday Math games and manipulatives, health and wellness interactive games and books as well as student study skills planners.

The funding also will allow for small group reading and writing experiences through book talks and writing centers.

Other partners include Partners Advancing Literacy Skills; Vigo County Public Library; Purdue Extension Office of Vigo County; Professional Development Schools Partnership-Indiana State University; Covered Bridge Special Education District; Vigo County Adult Education; Title I; and Vigo County Retired Teachers Association.

“I’m thrilled about this grant,” said Sarah Campbell, director of the WICAA school-age child care program. “We’ll have more educational resources and activities for kids to do after school.” 

She hopes it means a lot more children will be registered in the after-school program at the six sites next year.

In the past, one of the complaints from parents has been that the after-school program does not have enough structure, Campbell said. The involvement of teachers and added resources should provide more structure, she said.

The six schools benefiting from the grant are Title 1. While WICAA offers an after-school program at several other VCSC schools, the other schools are not Title 1, Goeller said. The program targets high-needs schools.

Sue Loughlin can be reached at (812) 231-4235 or sue.loughlin@tribstar.com.

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