Three Yakima schools add after-school programs through OSPI grant


YAKIMA, Wash. — The Yakima School District (YSD) announced that three additional schools will add after-school programs in the summertime thanks to federal grants.

According to their release, the YSD received federally-funded U.S. Dept. of Education grants through Washington’s Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction.

An expansion of the 21st Century Grant, Educational Service District 105 found out about the award in December. This specific initiative focuses on providing opportunities for academic enrichment in science, math and reading. The 21st Century Grant is applied specifically to before-school and after-school programs.

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ESD 105’s Director for Teaching and Learning, Mike Closner, is proud of the prospects introduced by these grants.

“We’re excited to have the opportunity to work with the Yakima School District, EPIC, and other partners to offer this assistance to these students,” Closner said. “Collectively, as partners, we want to increase opportunities for students who are struggling, and to close their opportunity gaps.”

The three Yakima schools that will use these grants are Adams Elementary, McKinley Elementary and Ridgeview Elementary. With the funding from this grant, the YSD expects 80 students from each school to participate in these programs annually. The funding will provide resources to operate these programs for five years.

Schools throughout Yakima have already received funding through the 21st Century Grant since 2019. The expanded funding adds the three aforementioned schools to the following lists of recipients: Washington Middle School, Barge-Lincoln Elementary and Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary.

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Those three schools were provided with $500,000 annually, which can be renewed five times for a sum of $2,500,000 toward after-school and before-school activities. During the pandemic, that money has been used to mail “activity-based learning kits” home to children so they can continue participating in the educational enrichment opportunities provided by the grants.

The YSD expects $370,000 in the first year of this new grant from the federal government. Part of that sum will be used to hire teachers, coordinators and aides. It’ll also be used for student supplies, teacher materials and training sessions.

Funding will also be put toward four-week summer programs that keep children engaged and accounted for when school isn’t in session. Eventually, 45-minute study sessions aimed at helping students with learning/homework will begin at these schools.

The goal of this early-morning initiative is to assist children who need an extra push when developing their reading, English, math, STEM, and social-emotional learning.

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