The Gary Community School Corporation (GCSC) announced its receipt of $787,500 in grant funding to support the continued push to improve students’ academic engagement and performance. The two-year award, issued by the Indiana Department of Education, will support more than 100 students in elementary and middle school over the next two years.
The funding will support interest-based after school and summer programs that will take place in various locations including the YWCA of NWI. Children in Gary have few intramural or community-based enrichment opportunities, and this grant-funded programming hopes to fill that void. Potential club choices may include but are not limited to athletics, theater guild, visual arts, musical arts, robotics, culinary arts, aviation, mechanics and entrepreneurship. Additionally, GCSC will prioritize participation to ensure that at least 30 percent of students in the grant-funded programs are those with disabilities and/or foster, homeless, English learners and migrant students.
“Our top priorities are keeping our students safe while they are learning and engaging in after school and summer programs,” said Dr. Paige McNulty, Manager of GCSC. “We’re grateful to the state for creating additional academic and enrichment opportunities for our students.”
The program will include time for mentorship and nutrition and students will be served snacks. Students in high school can also participate in after school and summer programs through a separate grant, the 21st Century Community Learning Center.
“We are simply thrilled to partner with the Gary Community School Corporation to provide after school programming,” said Caren Jones, Executive Director of the YWCA of NWI. “Our staff is excited and ready to welcome the program participants.”
This grant funding will allow GCSC to continue to provide increased opportunities for students. In summer 2021, GCSC for the first time welcomed all students to expanded summer school. More than 1,300 students across grades K-12 participated in STEM activities and enrichment programs, a 58 percent increase from Summer 2020.
The after school and summer learning opportunities build on recent progress to give students more chances to advance academically. For the 2021-22 school year, GCSC expanded opportunities for students by extending its school day for one hour each day over the course of the entire school year. This change is resulting in the equivalent of 30 days a year of additional instruction for students. Over their K-12 educational career, the longer school day will add up to nearly two more years of learning time for students.
Taken together, these gains are the result of intentional investments made by GCSC to support the whole child by creating more opportunities to engage in academic and extracurricular activities.
“We’re committed to doing everything we can to support students’ learning and development,” McNulty said. “With support from families and the community, we’re making progress, and we appreciate the partnership.”