Forty-four of Arkansas' after-school, summer and extended-year learning programs are newly named recipients of grants totaling $5.2 million to help students catch up on academic learning missed because of the covid-19 pandemic.
The Arkansas Division of Elementary and Secondary Education along with Arkansas State University's Arkansas Out of School Network initiative recently announced the recipients of the funding that comes from the federal American Rescue Plan/Elementary and Secondary Education Relief money.
The funding was approved by Congress and signed into law by President Joe Biden earlier this year in part to mitigate student learning loss and support social-emotional development.
The Arkansas grant-recipient organizations, which include school districts, public libraries, career and technical programs, faith-based organizations and institutions of higher learning, must use the grant awards for summer programs and after-school programs that have evidence of success.
"There is no doubt the pandemic has impacted student learning, but in order to assist students who have been affected the most, unified efforts of support are essential," said Ivy Pfeffer, deputy commissioner for the education division.
The funds used by the grant recipients are to accelerate student learning, she said.
"Our students deserve the best despite the challenges we have faced, and these programs will reinforce the commitment and dedication to student learning we have seen over the last year and a half," she added.
Laveta Wills-Hale, network director of the Arkansas Out of School Network, said the need for after-school and summer-school programs pre-dates the start of the pandemic in March 2020.
"For every child in an after-school program in Arkansas, three more are waiting to get in," Wills-Hale said, adding that the same is true for summer-learning programs.
"In 2019, more than 26,000 additional children would have been enrolled in a program if one were available to them. We will continue working tirelessly to mitigate the impacts of the pandemic and to ensure all children have access to quality after-school and summer-learning programs."
Wills-Hale called the federal funding "a critical resource" to communities and programs statewide. "And we are grateful to the Arkansas Division of Elementary and Secondary Education for their partnership."
More information on the federal grants is available on the Arkansas Out of School Network website, aosn.org, or by calling (501) 660-1012.
The grant recipients, listed alphabetically, with their locations and grant amounts, are:
• Aaron and Berinda International Ministry, Inc., Pine Bluff, $149,950.
• Advocates for Community and Rural Education doing business as Rural Community Alliance, Little Rock, $116,998.
• Arkansas 4H Camps, Little Rock, $150,000.
• Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences, and the Arts, Hot Springs, $26,235.
• Arkansas STEM Coalition, Little Rock, $115,390.
• Arts and Science Center of Southeast Arkansas, Pine Bluff, $22,357.
• Bald Knob School District, Bald Knob, $150,000.
•Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arkansas, North Little Rock, $120,000.
• Brandon House, Little Rock, $141,242.06.
• Carter's Crew, North Little Rock, $148,830.
• Cathy's Sweet Dumplings Daycare and Preschool, Eudora, $100,258.
• Central Arkansas Library System, Little Rock, $150,000.
• City of Little Rock: West Central Summer STEAM, Little Rock, $150,000.
• Clarendon School District, Clarendon, $73,244.
• Danville School District, Danville, $99,999.
• Elkins School District, Elkins, $150,228.
• Friendship ASPIRE charter schools, Little Rock/Pine Bluff, $150,000.
• Greenbrier School District, Greenbrier, $147,458.
• Heart2Heart Connections, Wilmot, $121,830.
• High Impact Movement, Hot Springs, $149,999.
• Hispanic Community Services, Inc. (El Centro Hispano), Jonesboro, $50,000.
• House About It Community and Economic Development, Little Rock, $100,424.
• Izard County Consolidated, Violet Hill, $150,003.
• Joseph Pfeifer Kiwanis Camp, Little Rock, $114,400.
• Life Skills for Youth, Little Rock, $149,999.
• LISA Academy charter school system, Little Rock, $150,000.
• Mansfield Middle School, Mansfield, $154,517.
• One Community, Inc., Springdale, $53,710.
• Our House Shelter, Little Rock, $124,534.03.
• Ozark Guidance Arisa Health, Fayetteville, $135,973.
• Producing Outstanding People, Inc./Old St. Paul MBC, West Memphis, $49,875.
• Pulaski County Youth Services-Afterschool, Little Rock, $150,000.
• Rogers Public Schools, Rogers, $125,000.
• Second Baptist Church, Little Rock, $116,578.
• SOAR NWA, Springdale, $150,000.
• Songbird Media, Little Rock, $66,550.
• Springdale School District, $150,000.
• Teen Action Support Center, Rogers, $99,985.
• Tendaji Community Development Corp., Little Rock, $149,494.
• University of Arkansas at Little Rock Children International, $149,167.
• United Family Services, Inc., Pine Bluff, $150,000.
• Washington Foundation Lil' Jacob Learning Center, Eudora, $49,622.
• We Care of Pulaski County, Little Rock, $68,851.
• Whole Youth Services, Inc., Jonesboro, $149,050.