An after-school program aims to connect college-educated people with some of the students needing the most help.
Washington State University Tri-Cities hopes to help 2,448 third through sixth graders at four Pasco elementary schools through its 21st Century Community Learning Center program.
The program recently received a $500,000 federal grant through the state Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction to create community learning centers at each of the schools.
The four Pasco schools — Emerson, Longfellow, Rowena Chess and Virgie Robinson — lag behind other schools in the district and the state in their state assessment test scores. They also have a high number of students from low-income families and are in school improvement status.
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The program’s goal is to provide students more time and opportunities to learn the material they were taught in the classroom, said Jay Scott, director of the 21st Century center.
The programs will be using research-based curriculum in several of the activities offered at all four sites.
Jay Scott, WSU Tri-Cities
Scott is in the process of hiring the four program leads and two site coordinators who will shape what the program looks like at each of the schools.
“Each 21st Community Learning Center program will be different at each site,” he said. “The programs are developed based on the needs of the students at each building.”
Scott also is collaborating with the schools’ principals to develop what the programs will look like. They are already registering students, with the goal of starting in November.
The details are still being hammered out, but each program will incorporate current school curriculum and additional activities.
“The programs will be using research-based curriculum in several of the activities offered at all four sites,” Scott said. “For example, at Virgie Robinson Elementary, the 21st Century program will be using Dreambox to assist students with math.”
Dreambox is billed as an adaptive online math curriculum.
Some other examples include Lego Robotics, archery, English language learning programs and homework assistance.
In addition to providing students a chance to learn, each program connects them with professors and university staff, and gives them a chance to come out to the campus for four weeks during the summer.
“This opportunity will be huge for the students in Pasco,” Scott said. “This grant is important because it allows for WSU Tri-Cities, the Pasco School District and all of the other partners involved in the grant to come together as a team to provide an extension of learning beyond what is taught during the school day.”
The grant ends in five years. Scott said the schools are required to have a plan in place so the program can continue.