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Massena Central School hopes to land 21st Century Community Learning Center grant

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MASSENA - The Massena Central School District is hoping to hear by the end of January or beginning of February if they’ll be receiving $135,000 a year - $675,000 total - for a five-year 21st Century Community Learning Center program that would provide after-school and summer college activities for some students.

The district is working with the St. Lawrence County Youth Bureau to procure the funding through the state Education Department. The grant would fund programs to help some of the community’s most at-risk elementary school students in grades three through six.

Youth Bureau Director Joanne Sevick told board of education members Thursday night that they learned about the grant in November, and she has been working with district Curriculum Director Sarah Boyce on the application.

“Joanne approached us to apply” for the grant, Superintendent Roger B. Clough II said.

“We decided we would move forward,” Ms. Sevick said.

If the district receives the fund, they will be the lead agency, she said.

“It’s very competitive. They’re really giving priority to priority schools and focus schools,” according to Ms. Sevick.

The district’s proposal seeks $135,000 a year for five years to support an extended school day program and summer college for the students in grades three through six.

“We’ll target 30 students from each of the three elementary schools,” she said.

During the school year, the students would meet from 3 to 5 p.m. every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from September through May. Summer college would also be available for the students, Ms. Sevick said. The program would include tutoring, mentoring and counseling, as well as a recreational component, summer enrichment, service coordination, truancy prevention, family development, STEM (science/technology/engineer/math) and service learning, she told board members.

Elementary school administrators would recommend students who are not meeting proficiency standards and/or at risk of academic failure.

Ms. Sevick said the grant would fully pay for staff, teaching supplies, transportation, and maintenance and operation costs.

“It will be aligned with the common core and will be under Sarah’s direction. It’s very flexible how you could design the grant,” she said.

The “review stage” for the grant proposal will likely be at the end of January or early February, according to the youth bureau director, who said if they were successful they could begin a summer college program in July.

Mr. Clough applauded the support the district had received from the St. Lawrence County Youth Bureau.

“We have been a partner for many initiatives. Joanne and the Youth Bureau have been faithful supporters of our school district through programs such as the Youth Conservation Corps and by providing a teacher assistant liaison in out alt. ed. (alternative education) program,” he said. “I am encouraged by the way this has come together and am hoping to hear we will receive the funding.”

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