WEST CHESTER (January 8) – State Senator Andy Dinniman today announced that the Chester County Intermediate Unit (CCIU) will receive $ 400,000 in grant funding for after-school programs in southern Chester County.

The three-year grant comes through the federal 21st Century Community Learning Centers, administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. The program provides academic enrichment opportunities for students outside of regular school hours to help them meet state standards in core subjects like math and reading.

“These grants will provide community-based education programs and opportunities to students who need them the most,” Dinniman said. “After school programs like those provided through the 21st Century Community Learning Center Grant program can help keep kids on the right track in school and ensure that they continue learning outside the traditional classroom environment.”

MP900439545The CCIU will use the funds to establish 21st Century Community Learning Centers for elementary school students in the Avon Grove and Oxford Area School Districts.

The centers offer STEM-based enrichment activities that allow students to develop problem-solving and decision-making skills; increase content-area knowledge and improve English-language skills; participate in physical activities, and enjoy healthy snacks. Students also receive tutoring, homework help, and assistance with long-term projects.  In addition, educational services such as literacy instruction, computer training, and cultural enrichment are also provided for families of participating students.

Through a previous $336,000 grant, the CCIU opened 21st Community Learning Centers to provide after-school and summer programming for at-risk middle and high school English language learners in the Avon Grove and Oxford Area School Districts.

It opened three learning centers at Avon Grove High School, Fred S. Engle Middle School, and Penn’s Grove School. CCIU plans to use the latest round of grant funding to  replicate the success of the learning centers it operates for secondary students and make them available to elementary students.

“We are able to provide the students with a safe place to be nurtured and to learn after regular school hours, which is a really crucial time,” said Dr. Joseph O’Brien, Executive Director of the Chester County Intermediate Unit. “At the same time, we are able to help students improve their academic performance in school, which helps the students and their schools achieve their overall educational goals. We are very appreciative of the opportunities that this grant affords our students.”

The CCIU was one of fifty applicants to be selected for more than $16.1 million in total funding. More than 112 community organizations, school districts, and charter schools applied for funding.

Grant funds are intended to provide students who attend high-poverty and low-performing schools with additional services to meet state and local standards in core academic subjects, to offer students a broad array of activities that can complement their regular academic programs, and to offer literacy and other educational services to the families of participating children.