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For Immediate Release: Dec. 23, 2010
Contact: Mary Stadick Smith - (605) 773-7228

Grants available to fund after-school programs

Applications for the next round of 21st Century Community Learning Center grants in South Dakota are now available online. The centers provide students with academic enrichment opportunities and activities designed to complement the students’ regular school instruction.

Grant awards range from $50,000 to $150,000 a year; the life of the grants is five years. While funds are often awarded to schools, other organizations also may apply. The grants must specifically support programs offered outside of school hours.

The learning centers are intended to assist students in high-poverty and low-performing school areas. Because the program is authorized under the No Child Left Behind Act, each application must also include a learning component and sample plans for content-specific academic enrichment activities.

“These funds are intended to create a safe environment as well as learning opportunities for young students whose families may not otherwise be able to afford such things,” says Sue Burgard of the state Department of Education.

Burgard oversees the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program in South Dakota and says the application process requires a great deal of planning and can be time-consuming.

“Because we want to ensure programs are successful after funds have been awarded, we ask our applicants to be very well-prepared through the competitive grant process,” Burgard says.

Grant applications must be submitted to the South Dakota Department of Education by Feb. 18, 2011. To help potential applicants with the process, the 21st Century Community Learning Centers team has set up two Webinar opportunities, scheduled for Jan. 11 and 12. Participants must pre-register by Jan. 7. Although it is not required, applicants are strongly encouraged to participate in one of those two online sessions.

More information about the funding opportunity, including a grant application form and Webinar schedule and registration, are available online or by contacting Jill Cotton at (605) 773-4693.