The Ed Department distributes money for middle and high school volunteers – K-12 Dive | Wonder Mind Kids

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diving letter:

  • The U.S. Department of Education is distributing $50 million to states to add or improve after-school, after-school and summer programs for middle and high school students, according to a letter sent to state education officials Thursday.
  • The Supplemental Scholarship Award – Provided by the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act – Sent automatically to states through the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program. The additional money will be distributed based on the program’s formula for fiscal year 2022.
  • Chronic absenteeism, a problem even before the pandemic, has been growing for students at all levels in recent years, prompting efforts to increase student attendance and engagement. In the letter announcing the grant distribution, the Department of Education suggests that states and grantees focus on classroom-level practices that are inclusive and support family engagement, and on partnerships between schools and community organizations.

Dive insight:

The $50 million allocation may not seem like much compared to the $1.3 billion fiscal 2022 budget for the 21st Century program, but the additional revenue has the potential to have a positive impact, he said Adam Schott, Assistant Assistant Secretary, Office of Primary and Secondary Education, Department of Education.

“Every dollar counts. It counts for a single child. It is important for a single classroom. Once again, we urge states, districts, and schools to urgently spend their American Rescue Plan funds. These dollars can help ARP funds go further and reach more children,” Schott said.

In fiscal year 2021, the Department of Education awarded 52 21st Century awards averaging $24.2 million, according to the agency’s website.

The additional $50 million can be used for a wide range of extracurricular activities that meet 21st-century needs, such as tutoring, summer programs and mentoring.

According to that alliance after schoolAs of spring 2021, 94% of 21st Century programs offered homework or academic help, and 91% supported STEM learning opportunities.

However, funding for the program has not kept pace with demand, the alliance said. Adjusted for inflation, the current level of funding is $87 million below the 2014 level, allowing only 1.6 million children to participate. The Alliance estimates that 25 million children do not participate in an after-school program but would if one were available to them.

The letter called on states to prioritize evidence-based practices for middle and high school student participation and engagement in their next 21st-century grant applications.

The Department of Education suggests schools look for ways to increase student engagement and participation with these recommendations:

  • Provide a welcoming, safe and inclusive environment. Partnerships with community-focused programs and mental health providers can help students feel empowered about their mental, social, and emotional needs.
  • Connect with families. Gathering input from families and meetings outside of traditional formats, including virtual, can contribute to positive communication and relationships. Other proactive efforts include offering home visits and using text messaging to encourage participation
  • Encourage greater coordination between in-school and out-of-school services. Approaches typically used during the school day, such as Multi-tiered support systems, for example, can also be incorporated into out-of-school programming to better integrate school, mental health and behavioral support.
  • Implement trauma-informed approaches. To promote a sense of security, trust and transparency, the Department of Education recommends resources from the Department National Center for Safe Supportive Learning Environments which can be adapted for 21st century programs. Additionally the you for youth (Y4Y) website provides support for staff working in these programs.
  • Set up mentoring programs. Supportive relationships can help students build resilience and increase mental well-being and academic development. They can also strengthen the bond between family and school.

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