McCracken County District after school program expanding

McCracken County Public Schools is expanding an after school program focusing on academics and activities students typically can’t do during class time to three more schools. Right now the program is available at Heath Elementary School and Reidland middle school.

Reidland Middle School Program Director Jennifer Doom said a state-controlled 21st Century Community Learning Centers grant provides them the means to provide these programs at school.

“It allows us to purchase equipment, it allows me to pay for staffing, so lots of things that just a regular academic school would not be able to offer,” Doom said.

Students can immerse themselves in things likes archery, cooking, embroidery, nature, science, robotics, or photography.

“It is definitely not babysitting. We don’t just sit around and do nothing. The biggest thing is being able to expand upon what they are learning in their classroom,” Doom said.

According to the Afterschool Alliance, the number of children nationwide unsupervised after school remains high —11.3 million children across the nation. Breaking down self-care by grade level, it comes out to 65 percent of high school students, 25 percent of middle school students, and 10 percent of elementary school students.

Doom said it’s a big deal that three more schools here can now split $2 million over the next five years. Just 37 out of 140 school districts in Kentucky won the 21st Century Community Learning Centers grant this year. Hendron-Lone Oak Elementary, McCracken County High School, and Reidland Intermediate School will start the program this fall.

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