$1.8 million grant awarded to seven county schools

By Lesley Hughes
star staff
lhughes@starhq.com

  Carter County School System has been awarded a $1.8 million grant for improving after-school programs in seven elementary schools.
  The Tennessee Department of Education awarded the 21st Century Community Learning Center (CCLC) grant to be used for after-school programs at Central Elementary, Cloudland Elementary, Hunter Elementary, Little Milligan Elementary, Range Elementary, Unaka Elementary and Valley Forge Elementary schools as well as hiring an after-school program director.
  The program will also be partnered with Milligan College, the Carter County Health Council and other business and industry supporters. The Carter County School System will receive $600,000 for three years to use in after-school programs to teach academic support/enrichment, entrepreneurial programs, tutoring, family literacy, mathematics/science activities, recreation, technology/communication, drug/violence prevention, music, arts, drama, and parental involvement.
  Grant writers Creola Miller, Meredith Trott and Deborah Madgett put in early morning, late afternoon, and weekend hours for more than four months preparing the application for the grant. Miller said, "I am absolutely thrilled. This is a dream come true for me."
  Director of Schools Dallas Williams said, "I would like to thank all the staff who worked on this grant and give special thanks to our community partners who have agreed to work with our students."
  Project goals listed in the application are: 1) to provide academic enrichment opportunities to students; 2) to improve student behavior related to attendance, classroom performance, and discipline problems; 3) involve family members in all aspects of the educational process; and 4) collect and assess student growth progress data.
  Writers also included, "We (Carter County School System) truly care about our children and believe that we have a responsibility to help every child succeed. We believe that funding from the 21st CCLC grant will provide critical financial support to carry out our programs and increase student academic achievement, opening doors for future post-secondary education, high-wage careers and better lives!"
  A program director will be hired with the responsibility of overseeing and providing direction in the planning, implementation, and evaluation of the after-school grant. He/she will also collaborate activities and services with Milligan College, the Carter County Health Council, state Department of Education and additional partners, according to the job description.
  Miller said if reports and statistics reveal improvement within the seven schools the grant could possibly be extended and funded for five years.
  Being awarded the grant "is extremely important because we have students who will now have opportunities that they would not have had otherwise," Williams said.