MSD 21st Century Grant expands school offerings

MSD 21st Century Grant expands school offerings

Funds will be used for enrichment activities on high school campus

Marion School District

Magnet schools, completely revamped school food menus, fresh paint and lots of remodeled exteriors and interiors greeted Marion students as this school year began, but there is one more thing coming.

With the aid of a $660,000 federal grant, students in the 9th-12th grades will have the opportunity to participate in other beneficial activities.

According to Emily Hall, MSD School Improvement Specialist Program Director, the grant will fund “enrichment and physical activities after the normal school day.”

“We asked the kids what they wanted in a survey.

We also asked some parents and members of the community,” she said.

Among the top “classes” the students want to see are ACT preparation, cooking and baking, yoga and Pilates, gaming and coding, math proficiency, robotics, intramural sports, college/career preparation, and tutoring in math and literature.

“So those are the ideas we have right now,” Hall said.

“We were really surprised at the number of students who want to take cooking and baking. Some schools are partnering for credit recovery, course students must have to graduate, but we are not there yet.”

Hall said there will be some “family engagement for high school parents, maybe a 5K or other outdoor activities and possibly services for English as a Second Language parents.

We are also working toward a literacy/science night for parents and their kids.”

Teachers interested in working in the program are being interviewed this week. Hall said student enrollment in the courses will begin next week with an expected October kick-off for the after-school programs.

In the past, transportation has been an issue for adding programs beyond the school day, but Hall says this grant has solved that problem.

“The best thing is that we are providing transportation to take students home after the program,” Hall said.

Classes will be set up like a college schedule, Monday/ Wednesday or Tuesday/ Thursday, so students will not have to sacrifice an activity to participate in the new program.

“These are enrichment classes and there is no credit for them,” Hall said, “but it does give kids something

to do after school, especially students who do not participate in sports,

band and other activities that require after-school time.”

“And now, we are looking for grants or funds or even someone to partner to provide snacks for these kids.

After a long day at school, they are going to be hungry,” she said.

Along with Hall, Julie Coveny, MSD Director of Federal Programs, and Sandra Halley, MSD District Improvement Specialist, landed the five-year, renewable grant for the district.

By Mike Douglas