The program is to create centers that provide academic enrichment opportunities that support what is learned in the classroom.
Thirteen programs in six Maryland jurisdictions have been awarded $3.5 million in grants by the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) through the federal 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) Grant Program, including Frederick County Public Schools. "Maryland was lucky to get some money for this program, and the Frederick County Public Schools was one of them that applied, and had a terrific program and received some of the funding," said Bill Reinhard, MSDE spokesman.
The 21st CCLC grants provide services to children who attend high poverty schools or schools identified for improvement. The grant requires that each proposal offer opportunities for literacy and related educational development to families of participating students. There also is an emphasis on closing the achievement gap between those receiving free and reduced meals (FARMS) and students not receiving such assistance.
The purpose of the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program is to create centers that provide academic enrichment opportunities that support what is learned in the classroom. The programs are unique because they also provide an array of enrichment activities. Together, the centers show students the real world connection to what they learn in the classroom and how they can improve their communities.
Frederick County Public Schools applied for a grant to help fund their afterschool program called "Fun Academics in the Summer Time (FAST). "They had to have a program that was up to snuff, that provided the necessary curriculum for the students. We vent our programs very closely here. Just because someone submits an application, doesn't mean they're going to get it, and Frederick County had a real strong application," continued Reinhard.
The grant process was open to public and private organizations including non-profit agencies, city and county government agencies, faith-based groups, institutions of higher education, and for-profit corporations. Fifty-six organizations applied for grants. The groups awarded grants in this round were comprised of six local school systems, six non-profit community-based organizations, and one state university.