NITA M. LOWEY 21ST CENTURY LEARNING CENTERS
The Rock Island County Regional Office of Education collaborates with the following schools in the region to provide supportive services to students through the 21st Century Lights ON for Learning grants: Glenview Middle School, John Deere Middle School, Moline High School and United Township High School. The program helps students meet state and local student standards in core academic subjects, such as reading and math; offers students a broad array of enrichment activities that can complement their regular academic programs; and offers literacy and other educational services to the families of participating children.”
Through the efforts of multiple organizations to support before and after school programs in the country, there are a multitude of resources available to all schools. If your school is interested in materials that could assist before and after programming, contact Rebecca Anderson, 21st Century Project Director, for information call 309-736-1111 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The Lights ON for Learning Community Learning Center is a network of Rock Island County school sites where educators and community partners work in collaboration facilitated by the RIROE to provide students, families, and community members with life-long learning experiences beyond regular school hours.
The team at Lights ON for Learning, the 21st Century Community Learning Center (CCLC) operated by the Rock Island County Regional Office of Education, works year-round to offer high-quality programming and meet the needs of the diverse group of students the program serves. The 21st CCLC serves more than 900 students at its five different sites: John Deere Middle School, Glenview Middle School, United Township High School and Moline High School.
Attendance in the first month of school can be a strong indicator of attendance throughout the rest of year. With so much riding on each student’s ability to make it to school and engage in the curriculum, Teresa Dothard-Campbell, site coordinator at the Glenview Middle School Lights ON for Learning site, knows relationships are a crucial part of student attendance. “In order for students to be successful, you must build relationships,” she says. “It is through those relationships that students begin to understand one of the keys to their success is simply showing up every day.” At the John Deere Middle School, site staff are tapping into interests of at-risk students by integrating high-interest programming with academic assistance. “If a struggling student really likes art, we have an afterschool art program, but only if he or she attends academic CORE for part of the afternoon,” says Chad Potter, the site coordinator at John Deere. “It sounds simple, but all too often we get hung up on what we [adults] want to do to the exclusion of the student interest. In reality, if we build from student interests, problems like attendance never materialize.”
COLLEGE AND CAREER READINESS
When focusing on college and career readiness, staff from Lights ON for Learning take advantage of the 21st CCLC program’s unique traits. Administrators and staff agree that the 21st CCLC program gives them a chance to work with students in smaller groups, tapping into their interests and allowing that to guide opportunities for the future. To help students learn about higher education, the program has a partnership with Western Illinois University, which has benefitted students from both the university and the 21st CCLC: younger students open their eyes to the possibilities of higher education, while graduate interns get hands-on experience counseling potential first-generation college students. The flexibility of the afterschool environment allows the 21st CCLC sites to change directions quickly and continue adapting to address students’ interests and academic needs.
Ultimately, a program’s success depends on how well it is supported in the larger school environment. Programs that describe a seamless interaction between the afterschool program and the school day have positive outcomes for students. To that end, communication and collaboration are key to the success of all four sites. “Our staff go beyond the call of duty to help ensure the student’s success,” shares Dothard-Campbell. "Our program is fabulous, yet firm to ensure all students are safe and engaged. There are not enough words to describe the feeling of a parent sharing their child’s success story with you because of the afterschool programming, or watching a child’s eyes light up when they realize they are at the end of the quarter and their hard work has paid off. Those moments are priceless!”
For further information about the Rock Island County Regional Office of Education and their four 21st CCLC sites, contact Rebecca Anderson