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21st CCLC Cohort 10 Grant Awards Announced

The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) is pleased to announce the completion of the competitive grant review process for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) Cohort 10 grant and the awarding of 74 new grants for a total of more than $22 million in 21st CCLC grant funds for 2019-2024. This includes 18 school districts, seven charter schools, three colleges and universities, four intermediate units, two faith-based and 28 community-based organizations, which also includes two nationally affiliated service organizations.

The 21st CCLC program is authorized under Title IV, Part B of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) of 2015. Funds are intended to provide students who attend high-poverty and low-performing schools with additional services to meet state and local standards in core academic subjects; to offer students a broad array of activities that can complement their regular academic programs, and to offer literacy and other educational services to the families of participating children.

PDE established the following state priorities for 21st CCLC funding for 2019-2024:

• STEM/STEAM education
• Workforce, career readiness and college readiness
• Planning for transitional vocational/technical services
• High school credit recovery
• Underserved geographic locations
• CSI and/or ATSI designated schools


At a “codeathon” for high school girls hosted in April by e-commerce company, actress and activist Laura Dern offered one hypothesis. There is a misconception that professional coders work only at stereotypical technology companies, she said in an interview. In reality, teaching girls coding at early ages opens career doors even beyond STEM fields.

“Coders and girls in STEM are women learning a language to allow them to be in every industry,” she said. “They are artists. They are inventors. They are going to cure diseases. They are in the world of AI. They will be cinematographers with a whole new concept of film and computer-generated imagery and motion capture. They’re fashion designers – they’re everything.”

Developed as an extension of AdvancED’s K-12 STEM certification, the early-childhood recognition emphasizes learning environments that help develop young children’s curiosity and critical thinking skills.

“The content is important, but what we’re really looking at is creating children’s ability to think and look at the world through that inquiry, problem-based, project-based and engineering design process,” Lisa Sutherland, AdvancED’s director for early learning services, said in an interview.

In such classrooms, the “T” in STEM refers less to technology and more to tools, such as magnifying glasses, building materials and scales for measurement. AdvancED also wanted the certification to be relevant for classrooms serving infants and toddlers, not just those entering schools.

Out-of-school time needs to be nothing like school. One effective and highly motivating way is to use thematic curriculum, which organizes reading, writing, math, social studies and science lessons connected to an overarching theme. The idea of thematic curriculum is not new. Out-of-school academic and enrichment programs can offer thematic curriculum that will provide cohesive programming that offer rich learning experiences that are highly engaging and connect to the larger community.

Nationally, just 13.2% of federal child care assistance dollars go to families who were either working and pursuing education or training (7%) or solely pursuing education or training (6%), according to the report. Parents pursuing an education are “usually the lowest priority” both for child care assistance programs and for workforce development programs, said Gina Adams, a co-author of the report and senior fellow at the Urban Institute with a focus on early childhood issues.

Philadelphia and School District officials announced that five more elementary schools will join the Community Schools initiative in the fall. The idea of community schools is to make school buildings into neighborhood hubs for health, recreation and social services. It is a model that is growing in popularity nationally. Ultimately, each school will look different, because each will assess its community’s unique needs, build partnerships and develop a plan. The theory is that reaching the “whole child” and aiding families in primarily low-income neighborhoods creates a better learning environment.

Afterschool and summer learning advocates have an opportunity this year to help increase access to these important child nutrition programs as well as improve operations for the programs. After failing to pass a child nutrition reauthorization bill last session, Congress has restarted the process of reauthorizing the federal child nutrition programs this year. Child nutrition reauthorization offers an opportunity for afterschool advocates to provide input to help improve the programs and increase access for more students.

The Allegheny County Children’s Fund Working Group, convened by County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, wants to hear your thoughts about the programs that are supporting families today. Share your views on what works best and what additional support is needed. Help us to determine how Allegheny County can be a leader for kids moving forward.

  • May 30, Pittsburgh, Pa.
  • June 3, Moon, Pa.
  • June 4, Bethel Park, Pa.
  • June 5, Glenshaw, Pa.
  • June 12, McKeesport, Pa.
  • June 18, Pittsburgh, Pa.

A group of Gertie Belle Rogers (GBR) Elementary School students stepped outside of the classroom to get a taste of how mathematics is applied in the real world. The group of students was one of four that took part in the event at Mitchel Technical Institute (MTI), where third, fourth and fifth graders learned about how math is applied in several technical programs offered at MTI.

Exposing her students to show how specific math skills are used in various job sectors was always part of Molly Becker’s vision for orchestrating the MTI exploratory day. Becker, a fifth-grade teacher at GBR, was the driving force behind organizing the inaugural event and applied for a grant to make it all come together. “It’s common to hear kids ask, ‘When are we ever going to use this type of math?’ and I wanted this to help show them that math is very important and it’s used in so many ways in the working world,” Becker said.

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