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After-School Programs And Activities Will Benefit From State Grants

Nearly $20 million is being directed to bolster after-school activities for at-risk students across the commonwealth.

The Pennsylvania Department of Education awarded grants to 61 school districts, education and youth organizations to enhance opportunities for the children.

Recipients in Allegheny County were awarded amounts between $63,000 and about $500,000 to help improve programs for the betterment of students. Dr. Terri Henderson, Vice President of Education and Workforce Development for the Boys and Girls Club of Western Pennsylvania, said they are thrilled with the opportunities available as a result of the $322,288 grant.

"This is a dream come true, because a partnership with Duquesne schools and Boys and Girls clubs and then our community partners in the sciences, this is just going to be an absolute model for elementary for STEM activities," Henderson said.

STEM refers to the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics programs which students participate in as after-school activities that are run with help from partners such as Carnegie Mellon University.

Henderson said the money will be the driving force behind the continuation of the development of the programs. "We're really hoping that through this grant in the after-school activities that we can support the existing efforts of the school district to help really, as a team, make a difference for these children in the community," Henderson said.

One of the school districts that will benefit from the grant money is the Clairton School District by way of the Consortium for Public Education. The non-profit organization works closely with local schools and received a $494,408 grant.

Tricia Gennari, a member of the consulting staff for the consortium, said three hours of after-school activities will be offered for students. "One hour, or a little more than an hour, will be very intensive targeted tutoring for academic studies, and then a range of activities with some very high-powered partners that we have," Gennari said.

However, Gennari said it will not only be the students who benefit from the activities.

"The Alumni Association from Clairton is becoming involved, the businesses, the city council, and the school district, so it will be quite a stunning program," Gennari said.

Recipients of the grants were determined by the Department of Education through a competitive application process. Other awardees in Allegheny County include:

  • The Carlynton School District ($108,000)
  • Communities In Schools of Pittsburgh-Allegheny County, Inc.($499,624)
  • Higher Achievement Pittsburgh ($63,146)
  • Hill House Association ($400,000)
  • McKeesport Area Technology Center ($308,120)
  • Pittsburgh School District ($286,867)
  • Propel Charter School-Homestead ($233,023)
  • Wilkinsburg Borough School District ($369,589)
  • Wireless Neighborhoods ($440,000)
  • Youth Places/Tides Center ($197,987)