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Shawnee school celebrate national Lights-On After School event

Elisabeth Slay
The Shawnee News-Star
Fourth grade students work at Legacy Parent Center to clean up their campus.
Second grader Ellie Binns shows off her owl puppet.
Aaron Codopony show soff his owl puppet he created at home with materials sent from Super Powerful Sharp Kids (SPS Kids).

Shawnee Public Schools’ elementary sites Super Powerful Sharp Kids, (SPS Kids) joined over 10,000 schools across the country in hosting the 21st National Virtual Annual Lights-On Afterschool Event on Thursday, October 22, 2020.  

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

The Afterschool Alliance organizes Lights On Afterschool to draw attention to the many ways afterschool 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 afterschool programs. 

Jefferson and Horace Mann Elementary Schools’ participated in on site activities as well as community service in Shawnee. Sequoyah and Will Rogers Elementary hosted an Owl theme with students participating in activities on site as well as take home owl pellet kits to discover the undigested treasures in owl pellets and created their own owl puppets.  

 Shawnee Public Schools has received a total of four after school grants through the 21st Century Community Learning Center (21st CCLC) during the past 16 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, Aimee King, Sequoyah, and Karen Parker, Will Rogers), as well as certified teachers, assistants, clerical staff, and for the first time a parent engagement person, Caitlyn Harrison. Currently Horace Mann and Jefferson sites are in the 5th year of their 3rd grant, and Sequoyah and Will Rogers are in the 3rd year of their 1st grant.