An afterschool program geared at elementary school students in the Cambridge City School District will now expand to the Middle School thanks to a second 21st Century Grant awarded to the school district.
“This is a huge opportunity for the Middle School,” said Rose Marie Daymut, Director of Federal Programs & Curriculum 6-12 for Cambridge Schools. “Very seldom do you see financial support for middle schools or high schools.”
Ohio Department of Education notified the district last week that the Cambridge Middle School was selected for the Federal grant and that the elementary program, implemented at both Primary and Intermediate, was approved for its fourth year.
“That program has definitely proven itself in the district and with our families,” Daymut said about the elementary program. “It is very well received, and we are seeing improvement from the students who participate in the program.”
The district is hoping to see the same kind of success with the Middle School program. The Middle School afterschool program will be up and running in early October as will the elementary program.
Cambridge was one of 42 districts out of 192 who submitted applications to receive a grant this year which is partially based on the economic need of the district and the number of students who are below grade level in reading and math and need urgent intervention according to district assessments.
The students invited to participate in the program spend time doing homework where they receive help if needed, participate in intervention programs designed to enhance their reading and math skills.
The afterschool program also includes youth development activities which provide students extra opportunities that they would not have in a typical school situation. Activities like working with a chef to prepare a meal, going to The Wilds or Deerassic Educational Center to learn about animals, conservation, and participate in outdoor activities.
The grant also enables the district to bring new interventions in the building to provide students in-school experiences that may not normally be available. For example, the Lü, an interactive playground that uses lights, sounds and video to transform any gym into an engaging, immersive video game. Lü has now been installed at both the Intermediate School and the Primary School and the new grant will enable the Middle School to purchase and install a similar learning tool.
The grant also provides funding for parent engagement. The elementary program tries to plan a monthly activity where students and their parents participate together with the goal of engaging parents and the community to support the students’ education.
The afterschool program is led by our teachers and aids who are extremely excited about getting to teach students without the limitations of a typical classroom and standard curriculum. Students may participate for two, three or five days per week depending on their need. Each school has the maximum of 60 children participating in their afterschool program.
The Middle School program will be structured similarly with the goal of establishing clubs dedicated to a student’s specific interest, like a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Club for example.
Providing the academic support to make sure all Cambridge School District students are reading and doing math at the appropriate grade level is a priority for the district, a priority that is supported by grants like the 21st Century Grant.