Chandler's San Marcos Elementary School recently received a grant to help students who need a little academic push.
The Arizona Department of Education grant for a 21st Century Community Learning Centers Program allows the school to hold a four-day-a-week after-school program for handpicked students, said project director Susan Horan.
The school started the program on Oct. 20 using the five-year grant. Youth in grades one through six who are selected by their teachers can attend the academic and recreational program. It is geared to students who have good attendance and behavioral records who need more academic time to raise their test scores, said Horan. Students can also choose to participate in a before-school program where they write and edit scripts for a broadcast program.
There are 117 students participating. The grant provides $119,680 for each of the first three years of the grant to pay for programming and additional teacher hours. In the third year of the program, the grant is cut by 25 percent. In the final year, it is cut in half.
"Then we have to find other sources," Horan said. "The program policy is to wean schools off the grant."
One program goal is to raise reading fluency for 75 percent of the fourth- and fifth-graders by 40 percent. Another goal is to have half the students in grades in three through six who attend the program for at least 30 days increase their math skills by one level.
"That is a challenging goal, but it is one goal the school thinks they can meet," Horan said.