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For Immediate Release: May 17, 2010
Contact: Mary Stadick Smith - (605) 773-7228

Grant expands to include new after-school programs

Seven organizations will receive 21st Century Community Learning Center grants for the first time this year. The grants provide funding for academic enrichment opportunities for students.

Grants range from $50,000 to $150,000 a year. While some of these funds go to schools, the grants must specifically support programs offered outside of school hours.

“These funds help provide meaningful and safe opportunities outside of regular school time to the young people in these areas,” said Sue Burgard, who oversees the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program in South Dakota. “The state Department of Education is pleased to be able to support these important efforts, which may not otherwise be available without sustainable financial resources.”

The new recipients this year include:

· Action for the Betterment of the Community – Sturgis and Whitewood locations

· Horace Mann Elementary - Black Hill Special Services, Rapid City

· Pierre School District

· Red Cloud Indian School

· Three Rivers Educational Cooperative – Kadoka

· Volunteers of America, Dakotas – Sioux Falls

· YMCA of Rapid City – Canyon Lake and Robbinsdale Elementaries

The 21st Century Community Learning Centers provide a range of high-quality services that support student learning and development. Academic enrichment, tutoring and mentoring, homework help, music, arts, sports and cultural activities are key components of the grants. The learning centers also offer literacy and other educational services to families of participating children.

The program is authorized under Title IV, Part B, of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, as amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. The learning centers are intended to assist students from high-poverty and low-performing school areas.

A total of 27 schools, nonprofit groups and community organizations applied for grants. Projects are funded for a period of five years based upon successful implementation and annual reviews.

This year’s grant recipients join 42 grant recipients already serving more than 60 sites across South Dakota.