Utah State University Extension recently received a grant totaling over $1 million to fund programs that strengthen academic support for students outside the classroom.
The grant, titled the Utah State Board of Education 21st Century Community Learning Center Grant, will last five years and cover three locations: Entheos Academy in Kearns, Entheos Academy in Magna and Red Cliffs Elementary in Nephi.
The goals of the grant-funded program include strengthening academic support for students outside of the classroom, providing a mix of academic and culturally enriching activities, providing parental education to enhance student academic success, enhancing family economic stability and fostering a sense of community.
“Too often our schools are expected to teach basic scholastic advancement in addition to a growing number of social and life skill developmental assets,” said Vernon Parent, USU Extension and 4-H youth faculty member. “Many of our schools struggle to meet these needs. All youth face challenges, but some challenges are exasperated by intergenerational poverty, English as a second language, learning styles, community and home environment and more.”
The grant-funded program will accomplish these goals by providing afterschool tutoring by teachers, teaching hands-on skills related to in-school education, increasing engagement in afterschool and community club programs, creating peer mentoring programs with high school students, hosting classes for parents to teach a variety of skills, and connecting students and families with local businesses, role models and services.
“Partnering organizations like 4-H and our afterschool programs are important in assisting schools and parents in helping their youth overcome barriers,” Parent said. “Basically, we help youth gain skills and the confidence to use them, so they can find opportunities to advance and follow their dreams.”
This grant-funded program has been nearly four years in the making. Parent and Deb Ivie from Entheos Academy were both major contributors to the grant application. Ivie and Tasha Killian from Red Cliffs Elementary helped gather data and identified needs within their school districts.
For further information about USU Extension programs, visit extension.usu.edu.