A popular after school program expands learning opportunities for students and makes learning fun as well. In the School District of Reedsburg, the popular program will continue to be available, thanks to a recent state grant.
The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction recently announced the awarding of the grant, which will secure the future of the Community Learning Center at Westside Elementary School for the next five school years.
The aim of the Community Learning Center program is to enhance reading and math skills through involvement of kids in fun activities outside the classroom. These include games, cooking, sewing, and other playful activities.
“It’s been a great program for children,” Westside Principal Paul Bierman said. “It’s an outstanding opportunity for children to extend their learning day beyond the regular school day.”
“It’s all done in a fun way because another two-and-a-half more hours of school would be too much,” said Allyson Cummings, who directs the program at Westside.
Cummings said staff and volunteers try to learn what interests kids and gear activities accordingly.
“Math and reading you can incorporate with anything,” she said.
The program meets from 3:15 to 5:45 p.m. Monday through Thursday at Westside. Students work with coaches – adult employees – and tutors, who include high school students and adult volunteers.
The state grant will provide $75,000 for the program at Westside for the coming school year. That amount will drop to $50,000 for each of the following four years, Bierman said. The program began at Westside in 2009 with an initial five-year funding cycle that provided from $60,000 to $100,000 each of the first five years.
Bierman said about 90 students participated in the program last year. Westside houses students in kindergarten through third-grade, but the grant allows fourth- and fifth-grade students to participate, too, so long as at least 51 percent of students come from Westside.