Shawnee Public Schools elementary sites joins in annual Lights On event

Staff Writer
The Shawnee News-Star
Teacher Alyssa Mendoza playing Kerplunk with Andrew, Amarie, And Abigail Gatzke.

Launched in October 2000, Lights On After School is the only nationwide event celebrating after-school programs and their important role in the lives of children, families and communities. The effort has become a hallmark of the after-school movement and generates media coverage across the country each year.

The After-school Alliance organizes Lights On After School to draw attention to the many ways after-school programs support students by offering them opportunities to learn new things — such as science, community service, robotics, Tae Kwon Do and poetry — and discover new skills. The events send a powerful message that millions more kids need quality after-school programs.

Jefferson and Horace Mann Elementary Schools’ theme was Medieval Fair, Sequoyah Elementary welcomed students and parents in order to enroll in clubs through the after-school program, and Will Rogers Elementary families enjoyed dinner and Family Game Night. It is the 20th National Annual Lights On After-school Event.

Shawnee Public Schools has received a total of four after school grants through the 21st Century Community Learning Center (21st CCLC) during the past 15 years. Each grant lasts five years and provides over $1 million during the life of the grant. The 21st CCLC grant 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. The program helps students meet state and local student standards in core academic subjects, such as reading and math; offers students a broad array of enrichment activities that can complement their regular academic programs; and offers literacy and other educational services to the families of participating children. The 21st CCLC grants are funded through federal funding sources.

The grant provides funding for a grant director, Vickie Penson, coordinators for each site (Tammy Keller, Horace Mann, Caria Kennedy, Jefferson, Denise Williams, Sequoyah, and Karen Parker, Will Rogers), as well as certified teachers, assistants and clerical staff. Currently Horace Mann and Jefferson sites are in the fourth year of their third grant, and Sequoyah and Will Rogers are in the second year of their first grant.

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