By Nancy Gutierrez
Lindsay Unified School District's STARS After School program was the recipient of a grant from the Community Connections Project in connection with the James Irvine Foundation, totaling $2,000.
It was administered by the California AfterSchool Partnership through the Center for Collaborative Solutions.
The funding will help enhance learning opportunities and improve educational outcomes for LUSD students.
STARS project Director Norma Erwin said the funds will help after school programs connect with community partners as well as reduce or eliminate short-term financial barriers that might prevent community organizations from partnering with after school programs.
Each of the elementary schools and the junior high school will receive $500. Erwin said the grants are one-time funding opportunities and that LUSD was the only program of all of the schools in its region to apply.
"I welcome any kind of funding that will help these kids after school," Erwin said.
The education and safety after school program at Steve Garvey Junior High will be using the $500 for Tai Chi instruction to increase physical fitness and stamina. Students from Garvey have already started the courses which are being taught by local instructor Norman Kao.
Lincoln, Washington and Jefferson Elementary Schools will use the funds to provide bussing to Circle J Ranch for science instruction.
The STARS program also received $500 in matching funds from LeapFrog SchoolHouse for each after school site. Erwin said those funds will be used to purchase $1,000 worth of interactive materials. Erwin said this is a money saving program for the district which utilizes LeapFrog materials.
"We use LeapFrog reading books and materials because they utilize interactive technology and provide immediate feedback to the student," Erwin said. "This supports the current research on brain compatible learning which shows positive results with multi-sensory learning experiences."
In addition to these financial grants the afterschool program was provided with a free trip to Fresno with the help of an anonymous donor. Students at each of the after school program sites will visit the Fresno Metropolitan Museum to observe the Beakman's World On Tour exhibit. Beakman's World is a show centered around science. The students will participate in hands on science experiments and activities. Erwin could not elaborate on the donation except to say that they received a call informing them of the gift.
"This is an incredible opportunity for our children," Erwin said. "It is through community support that the Lindsay after school programs are rising to new levels of quality and achievement. We want tot thank the community for encouraging all students to 'reach for the stars.'"