Three Fremont elementary schools have seen improvements in academic achievement since the implementation of the 21st Century Community Learning Centers Grant in April 2013.
The five-year state-funded grant was provided to the district to install after-school programs and a summer learning program for students attending Washington, Linden and Milliken Park Elementary, or living within the geographic boundaries of the schools.
“The program gives students an opportunity to thrive in different ways than they can in a regular classroom setting,” Leah Hladik, program coordinator, told the Fremont Public Schools Board of Education on Monday.
The district received $274,500 in funding for this year’s programs, and the amount varies from year to year, Hladik said.
The primary goals of the grant include improving student learning, increasing social and behavioral benefits and increasing family and community engagement to support student education.
During the past two school years at least 260 students regularly attended after-school programs, and 103 students were regular attendees of the summer learning program.
After school and summer learning students participate in a variety of activities intended to help them develop intellectually, while also having fun.
Enrichment and expanded learning activities include: homework and academic support, recreation, technology access and a full assortment of clubs and activities.
The programs make a difference for the student, teachers and parents alike, Hladik said.
Parents knowing that their children are in a safe, caring environment that promotes fun and learning is important, she said. Parent surveys have shown a high level of satisfaction.
“These surveys really indicate the level of satisfaction parents have with the program, and overall parents are very satisfied with after-school programing,” she said. “They think that programs like this are very important for the community.”
Not only have the programs seen positive reception from parents, students participating in programs funded through the grant have shown significant jumps in reading, writing, math and science, a survey showing teacher ratings of student performance shows.
The jump was significant from results produced after the grant’s inaugural year.
Teachers indicated that during the 2014-2015 school year, 61 percent of students met or exceeded standards in reading, 60 percent in writing, 62 percent in math and 73 percent in science.
That is an increase from 2013-14 numbers of 46 percent in reading, 46 percent in writing, 47 percent in math and 58 percent in science.
Brad Dahl, executive director of student services and business affairs, said it’s important to continue building community partnerships — 14 already are intact — because it allows programs like these to continue being sustainable even if the grant runs its course after the five-year mark.
“We are going to do everything we can to make this grant last longer than five years,” Dahl said. “But we are also going to continue reaching out to community partners to make sure we can extend this learning opportunity. Not only is it a place for kids to go, but it’s also structured, and hands on. … It's so beneficial for our students.”
In other board news:
* The board unanimously approved the interlocal lease agreement between the Dodge County School District and the city of Fremont to open a police substation inside of the Fremont Middle School building. The same agreement will be presented to the Fremont City Council for approval at today’s meeting.
* David Pinkall, executive director of the Fremont Public School Foundation, will retire effectively Dec. 31. Superintendent Mark Shepard praised Pinkall for his more than 40 years of service to the FPS district.
“He has done such a great job of leading the organization in the right direction, really from the ground up,” Shepard said. “We appreciate everything that he has done for the district.”