Implementing the Learning Centers
The 21st Century Community Learning Center Grant will be implemented through the use of learning centers at each campus (excluding Washington). The centers will be open one hour before school and two hours after school four days a week.
“The teachers are excited. They believe this will be something really neat for our students,” Martin said. “They are already starting to brainstorm things they can do.”
Some of the ideas for the learning centers include not only homework assistance but also innovative teaching opportunities, Martin said.
“We have talked about cooking classes using measurements, readers’ theater, using the iPad Minis for all kinds of learning opportunities with educational apps, having some fun while we learn and hitting our digital natives,” Martin said.
For example, something taught in math class earlier in the day can be applied in the real world during the learning center time after school, so the student can understand the concept better.
The STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) labs at Story Intermediate School and Palestine Junior High School will be folded in the learning centers, as part of Project Lead the Way.
“We hope to have kids in small groups with teachers and lots of one-to-one classes for individual attention. At the high school, we can open up the CTE (Career Technology Education) building,” Marshall said. “In the summer, we will be able to use this to continue our new bridge summer program, where students get a jump start on their next year in their incoming classes.”
Marshall expects to see a wide and diverse array of learning opportunities for students at all age levels, while sending the students home in the evening with their homework, if any, completed.
“Not everyone has the ‘Leave it to Beaver’ life where the cookies and milk are waiting when you get home and you get help with your homework,” Marshall said. “This 21st Century grant structure works like that, but it takes place at school. You can get help with your homework and a snack before you go home.”
The school district will be informing parents about the program as the school year kicks off with letters, the district webpage and call-outs.
Throughout each school year, there will be 120 opportunities for students to attend the learning centers and 20 during the summer for a total of 140 opportunities. The goal is for a targeted number of students to attend the learning center program at least 30 times throughout the school year.