Three Schools Win a Community Learning Center Grant

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Marshall County School System has received a competitive grant in the amount of $300,000 per year for three years to establish 21st Century Community Learning Centers at the schools with the highest rates of diversity and economic need. Marshall Elementary School, Westhills Elementary School, and Lewisburg Middle School will host the centers, and students at Oak Grove Elementary School may travel by bus to one of those sites to participate. This grant will be funded for an additional two years, at $300,000 per year, if students show adequate progress in improving academic skills. Programs will run Monday through Thursday during the school year, from 3:15-5:30 p.m.

The grant also includes funding for two summer programs: a 10-day Math Academy and a 10-day Science Academy. Both academies will be hands-on and project-based, designed to stimulate student learning. Both academies will weave reading, writing, recreation, and service learning into the week's schedule. They will meet from 8 a.m. to noon five days a week, for two weeks each. Each week will culminate in a Friday field trip to a site that helps them understand why science and math are integral to life. The Lewisburg Recreation Center will partner with the grant team, allowing students to access their facilities as well.

During the school year, the Community Learning Centers will provide tutoring sessions; activities designed to build academic skills; special sessions in art and music; foreign language classes; service learning; character education; healthy recreation; nutrition and fitness; and a variety of special interest workshops led by teachers and members of the community.

Saturday activities for students and their parents will take place one weekend per month. Teachers will plan three hours of family fun, including science experiments, cooking lessons, computer training, art, and music in which parents can be active participants.

4-H Youth Development will be an active contributor, providing programs in science, engineering, technology, agriculture, leadership, citizenship, public speaking, communications, Tennessee history, and gardening. The Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Agent will provide consumer education programs on food safety, fitness, and health. Additional sessions will promote family life to parents and community members. A representative from Henry Horton State Park will provide sessions on wildlife management, building birdhouses, and safety practices.

A Hispanic minister will help students who speak English as a second language, as well as teach Spanish to English-speaking children. The Junior Auxiliary will provide training on letter writing, telephone skills, and use of reference materials.

City of Lewisburg employees will teach sessions on recycling, landscaping, and community beautification. The Three-Star Community Council of the Joint Economic and Community Development Board will make career education available to older students. In addition, they will provide sessions for parents and community members on computer use, resume design, and career counseling.

The Marshall Memorial Library will host children's sessions each semester, allowing students to see the resources of the library and showing them how to check out materials. The Lewisburg Lions Club will assist with character education and train teachers in Service Learning. A representative from the children's division of the Marshall County Community Theatre will introduce children to the magic of theatre.

The Red Cross will provide training on babysitting, CPR, safety, and first aid to middle school students and their families. Emergency Medical Services will provide first aid training during the school year and CPR training to students ages 10 and older. The Marshall County Health Department's TENNder Care staff will provide sessions on life skills and well-child education. The director of the Lewisburg Housing Authority will help identify community volunteers and provide a room for meetings.

The Marshall County School System is pleased to have an opportunity to raise students' performance levels, as well as to ensure their safety when parents are away. This program will make the schools a center for family life.

Teachers will send information home with students the first week of school. Interested parents should respond immediately. Each center has a limited number of seats. Sessions will begin after Labor Day on Tuesday, Sept. 8.