$1M + in grants awarded to local schools

Published 12:03 am Thursday, August 18, 2011

Three Covington County Schools were notified Tuesday they will receive more than $1 million in 21st Century Learning grant funds over the next three years.

Ricky Messick, federal programs coordinator for the county schools, said Fleeta Jr. High, Red Level Eleme-ntary and W.S. Harlan Elem-entary schools were funded by the U.S. Depar-tment of Educ-ation in its most recent grant cycle.

The 21st Century Learning Grant program is designed to advance student achievement through enrichment programs, education activities and tutoring services.

“For the students in those schools who participate in the program, it means tutoring and remediation,” Messick said. “It’s also beneficial to our working parents by providing a safe environment for their children until they can get off work. It allows the children to be exposed to things such as karate, arts, foreign languages, tumbling, dance and music – things that otherwise they wouldn’t have an opportunity to participate in, if they weren’t in this program.”

During the after-school program, students also get a snack, recreation time, computer time, one-on-one assistance with homework and arts and crafts.

Parents must pay a small fee for the services.

With the new award, there are five schools in the county school system operating a 21st Century Learning Grant and include Straughn Elementary and Pleasant Home School – both of which are in their second year of funding in the three-year cycle. Messick said that despite receiving grant funding, the SES program will continue through the end of the school year using sustainability money.

“Right now, we’re not sure about next year,” he said of continuing the program.

While having applied, neither the Opp nor Andalusia elementary schools were funded in this cycle, according to the system’s respective superintendents.