The Dodge City YMCA and USD 443 received word Friday that their grant application to the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education has been approved.
Funds awarded to Dodge City total $1,985,000 for the 2013-14 school year.
The grant will fund after school academies at all Dodge City elementary schools including Sacred Heart Elementary.
The academies will offer students two hours of assistance with homework and other educational activities.
"Our goal is to increase reading and math skills," said Chad Knight, CEO of the YMCA of Southwest Kansas.
According to the Department's website, the program helps students meet state and local standards in core academic subjects and also offers students a broad array of enrichment activities that can complement their regular academic programs. Some programs offer literacy and other educational services to the families of participating children.
Membership in the academy program will cost students $5 per week.
"That's one dollar a day — 50 cents an hour — that's a bargain no matter how you look at it," Knight said.
In addition to the academies at elementary schools, an academy will be offered at the YMCA's new child care facility in the former Sheridan center.
"That one will extend to 6:15 p.m. for parents who can't pick their kiddos up by 5 p.m.," Knight said.
Students who enroll in the Sheridan academy will be transported from their elementary school to the YMCA.
Teachers from each school will be hired to staff the academies, along with site directors and high school students to help with the tutoring.
"It's gonna be great," Knight said. "But it's going to take a lot of work to get it going."
Knight anticipates the academy program will begin with the new school year in August.
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