After School Program continues to provide an effective learning program

The San Benito CISD After School Program (ASP) was recently awarded the 2021-2022 Nita M. Lowey 21st Century Community Learning Centers (CCLC) Cycle 11, Year 1 grant.

The grant amount of $1.7 million dollars annually for each of the five-year project will total approximately $8.5 million dollars.

According to the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, this grant program supports the creation of community learning centers that provide academic enrichment opportunities during non-school hours for children, particularly students who attend high-poverty and low-performing schools.

Moreover, the program is intended to help students meet state and local student standards in core academic subjects, such as reading and math; offer students a broad array of enrichment activities that can complement their regular academic programs; and offer literacy and other educational services to the families of participating children.

“It gives us a sense of accomplishment to be 1 of the 46 awardees out of 164 applicants. We’ve been working extremely hard to continue a seamless program during the pandemic,” said San Benito CISD ASP Director Nancy R. Casas.

The selection process involved applications that are peer reviewed and ranked in order of scoring and priority points earned.

The Cycle 11 grant will enable the local ASP to provide services to San Benito CISD students as well as select students of La Villa ISD through a new partnership.  The grant sites will include:

  • Frank Roberts Elementary,
  • La Encantada Elementary,
  • La Paloma Elementary,
  • Angela Leal Elementary,
  • Fred Booth Elementary,
  • Miller Jordan Middle School,
  • Riverside Middle School,
  • Berta Cabaza Middle School,
  • San Benito High School, and
  • B. Munoz Elementary (La Villa ISD).

“San Benito CISD will head into the new school year with a great opportunity to continue with the 21st Century Community Learning Center ACE Program and providing our students a Gold Standard opportunity in education,” said Sara Alvarado, Assistant Superintendent of Academic Services.

The grant program design will include various activities selected based on the ability to impact students’ academic performance, attendance, advancement, graduation rates, and career opportunities.

High school activities will target leadership through the students’ mentoring of middle and elementary school youth, and social-emotional care through complementary activities will equip students with the skills to reduce anxiety and stress to help increase their resilience and support learning goals.

In addition, parental involvement will increase through engagement and educational opportunities specifically designed for parents.

Overall, the ten grant sites will focus on academic support, youth enrichment/developmental activities, family and parental support, and College, Career and Military Readiness (CCMR).

Currently, the ASP is hosting the traditional summer camp through July 22.

STEAM-focused (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) activities, including robotics, computer science, coding, and 3D printing along with various daily hands-on activities such as math and design projects that encourage innovation, problem solving, and creative thinking at all levels.

Additionally, numerous activities such as art, sports and recreation, cooking, golf, and music routinely take place at the district’s ASP school sites.

“My staff and I are excited and ready to continue providing services to our students and the community of San Benito CISD,” concluded Casas.