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WS/FCS receives $1.4 million Grant for Learning Centers at 3 Schools



By Staff
Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools has won a 21st Century Community Learning Center Grant that will bring $1.4 million over four years to pay for expanded tutoring and after-school activities at three schools.


The State Board of Education approved the grant, which will help students at Ashley, Ibraham and Old Town elementary schools.

The district had to compete for the grants, which asked groups to create community-learning centers to provide academic enrichment opportunities for children. In Forsyth County, that means the three schools will offer an array of after-school tutoring, Saturday activities and summer activities.

“This grant will help us work toward one of our top goals – increasing the number of children who can read on grade level in elementary school,” Superintendent Beverly Emory said.

The grant will fund the Mejores Tiempos (Best Times) 21st Century Community Learning Center. Mejores Tiempos is collaboration between the non-profit, community-based El Buen Pastor Latino Community Services agency, Alpha and Omega Church of Faith, Inc., and WS/FCS.

The primary goal of Mejores Tiempos is to provide quality academic support that will result in improved growth and proficiency for students in a safe, structured, supervised learning environment beyond the school day. Mejores Tiempos will offer high quality after-school, summer, and Saturday programming for 160 elementary students and their families.

“The big thing for us is that we can serve more students,” Ibraham Principal Lee Koch said. “Before we had limited funds.”

Mejores Tiempos will provide academic support, remediation and enrichment activities with a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) focus within a framework of literacy. The grant also will help prepare students and families to be better equipped by actively involving families in the educational preparation of their children, and by providing supports for them to facilitate their children’s academic success.

“It’s going to allow us to provide that additional support to students after school,” Ashley Principal Mark Hairston said. “It’s going to allow us to provide that safety net.”

Unique components include “Family Sparkle” experiences to expose families to new cultural opportunities in the community. Mejores Tiempos also will incorporate STEM and family literacy projects through activities such as a community garden and participation in the district’s Great Summer Escape program to extend learning opportunities throughout the summer.

“As we work to make sure our students meet all the goals we set for them, this essentially gives us more hours in our day to provide support for these students,” Old Town Principal Rusty Hall said. “We cannot do this alone and having community partners who are on the front lines with us, working with our students and their families, will help us see the success we work towards each and every day.”

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