Ellen Ochoa Elementary has been awarded $300,000 in the first year of a 5-year, $1.38 million grant, as one of 20 new recipients of 21st Century Community Learning Center grants in Oklahoma. The recipients join 36 returning grantees for a total federally-funded allocation of $13.5 million this year, according to the Oklahoma State Department of Education. See previous story.
"Schools and community partners are corning together to address learning gaps created because of disruptions to instruction during the pandemic," said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister. "These grant recipients are dedicated to serving students beyond the school day with activities that keep young minds and bodies engaged."
The 21st CCLC initiative provides learning opportunities and enrichment activities to complement school-day learning for students in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade. The grant funding helps students meet state and local academic performance standards, particularly in high-poverty areas and low-performing schools. Activities take place before and after school, on summer breaks and during school holidays.
Ellen Ochoa Principal Rita Long (pictured left) said, “We are extremely pleased at being named a 21st Century Community Learning Center grant recipient, as we worked diligently with local partners to demonstrate the need in our East Tulsa community. Given this level of support, we will be able to provide 250 students and their families with much needed after-school enrichment opportunities, including academic, English Language, social-emotional and other types of supports. Our plan is to launch more than 20 afterschool programs in early October.”
The grant’s advisory committee, comprised of school officials, community partners, families, and students, began working on the application in December 2020. The district’s community partners include Church 3434, Hope United Methodist Church, Casa de la Cultura/Supermercado Morelos, Camp Fire Green Country, Allied Communities of Tulsa Inspiring Our Communities (ACTION), Community Health Connection, A New Way, Family and Children’s Services, Muscogee (Creek) Nation, OSU Extension, Tulsa Changemakers, Tulsa Children’s Museum, Tulsa Debate League, Tulsa Health Department, Tulsa PAC, Tulsa Regional STEM Alliance, USA Tennis Association, OSU Center for Health Sciences, Parent Teacher Association and Gaining Ground.
Sally Ramirez will serve as program coordinator for Project Village – as it will now be called - at Ellen Ochoa. Ramirez is originally from Los Angeles and moved to Tulsa through her involvement with Teach For America, teaching Pre-K and partnering with families. For the last eight years, she has worked to elevate historically marginalized voices and activate leadership in our communities. She has previously worked for Tulsa Public Schools and The Center for Individuals with Physical Challenges, as well as creating art enrichment programs at a couple of organizations.
For additional information about Project Village, prospective partners and other interested parties may contact Sally Ramirez at 918-357-8417 or [email protected]. Union Public Schools is also hiring other positions to assist with the program, including part-time teacher and paraprofessional positions, which may be found at www.unionps.org/careers.
In addition to reading, math, and tutoring assistance, 21st CCLC programs offer enrichment activities including robotics, chess, debate, art, music, drama, science, college and career exploration, health, and physical fitness. Literacy and other educational supports are also available to the families of students served.
The 20 new grants give Oklahoma a total of 56 statewide grantees in more than 100 sites. Authorized under Title IV, Part B of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act, 21st CCLC provides annual awards through a competitive application process to both school districts and community-based organizations.