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21st Century learning centers coming to Harlan Independent School students

The Harlan Independent School District and the Cawood Ledford Boys & Girls Club have jointly secured $1.35 million in grant funding that will be distributed over the next five years.

Glenna Cummins from the Kentucky Department of Education was on site to meet with representatives from Harlan Independent and the Cawood Ledford Boys & Girls Club. Cummins shared that there are currently 190 21st Century learning centers in Kentucky, with 16 new programs approved for the 2019-2020 school year. With $1.35 million between the two grants, the district will establish a 21st Century learning center at Harlan Elementary and Harlan Middle/High School for the upcoming school years.

The program supports the creation of community learning centers that provide academic enrichment opportunities during non-school hours for children. The program helps students meet state and local student standards in core academic subjects, such as reading and math; offers students a broad array of enrichment activities that can complement their regular academic programs; and offers literacy and other educational services to the families of participating children.

Cawood Ledford Boys & Girls Club CEO Kateena Haynes commented, “We are so excited to be able to offer additional opportunities to many of the children we serve. It is our goal to level the playing field for all of the children of our area by giving them hope for the future and opportunities to succeed. This grant will bring us closer to that goal and the fulfillment of our mission of inspiring and enabling all young people to realize their full potential as productive, responsible and caring citizens.”

The Cawood Ledford Boys & Girls Club will be the primary partner of Harlan Middle/High School serving students in grades 5-12 with a blend of academic enrichment activities during the school year and two weeks of summer programming. The learning centers are intended to extend the school day, while looking different than a traditional school day.

The learning centers are open to all students and will help provide valuable academic supports to students and tremendous learning opportunities for family engagement.

Harlan Elementary School Principal Vickie Anderson noted, “Anytime we can add this level of support to our school and community, you have to be really excited. We pride ourselves on supporting all students and this will be another tool in helping us eliminate the achievement gaps within our school community. I am eager for our students and families to be a part of these fantastic opportunities.”

Noting the increased level of student support this year and even more for the future, superintendent C.D. Morton, was elated with the announcement. He commented, “We are so thankful for the chance to provide a greater level of support to our students through the 21st Century learning centers. I am also very excited that we can do this for all of our students kindergarten through the senior class. Being on a single campus allows for greater collaboration to ensure that students are getting the support they need year to year. Coupled with our existing GearUP grant, the variety of supports available to help students perform at the highest level could be at an all-time high for the district. What better gift than the gift of a quality education can you give to a family!”

Both grants will broaden and deepen the literacy, math and science activities students are exposed to over time. Additionally, improving school attendance, family engagement, college and career readiness and positive social-emotional learning activities are also areas of emphasis through the grant.

Through well planned and coordinated 21st Century learning centers, the district will engage students in exciting STEM related activities and courses, field trips and summer camps. The district plans to provide after school and summer transportation to all students wishing to take part in the 21st Century learning center activities. Summer camp activities will be offered for two weeks in the summer for middle/high school students and four weeks for elementary students.

For more information regarding the 21st Century learning center, you may contact Harlan Independent Schools or the Cawood Ledford Boys & Girls Club.