Amherst seeks federal grant for summer learning
AMHERST — A 21st Century Community Learning Center that would offer students more time for learning both after school and during the summer is being proposed for Amherst Regional Middle School.
Superintendent Maria Geryk announced Wednesday that she will seek federal funding for the program. The competitive grant could award the school district up to $175,000.
Jim Regan, the out-of-school-time coordinator for the regional schools, said the program could begin in the fall if the grant is approved.
“This would help to reach at-risk and underperforming kids and give them opportunities they are not receiving now,” Regan said.
If the grant is awarded, the learning center will work with several current programs and community partners.
Among these programs is Steps to Success. This will be used to recruit students, make direct family contacts and get support of community-based organizations such as Family Outreach of Amherst, which will have an office at the middle school.
There will be enhanced transition or “step-up” activities offered to students entering the middle school, increased opportunities for direct English and language arts support for students and data-driven monitoring and analysis of the program to ensure its effectiveness.
Leisure Services and Supplemental Education will partner with the schools on new enrichment activities, including swimming, intramural sports, dance classes, yoga and art and music instruction.
There also will be a service learning component with a local farm featuring a seed-to-table farming project. Produce will be used in the middle school and also provided to families in local housing complexes using the district’s outreach van.