Service offered to Exeter families a huge success

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Grant allows program to continue for 5 more years

The before- and after-school program at the Exeter school district is able to continue this school year, as a grant was approved for a five-year extension.

Ernest Raney, Exeter school district superintendent, said the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) was approved in October 2019, and he believes approval was due to great participation in the program. There are 172 students that participate in the program, which accounts for 55 percent of the entire K-12 student body.

“I think the parents are grateful for this opportunity to extend learning opportunities of their children,” he said. “We are fortunate to receive this grant for another five years.”

According to Raney, the before- and after-school program is a need in the Exeter community.

“We had families hoping we would get funded,” he said. “The program started again in October, so it was well after school had begun.”

The two-month waiting period was a strain for some families to work around.

“While waiting and hoping for this service to begin again, many families had to figure out alternative arrangements,” Raney said. “Everyone was happy and delighted to have this service.”

The before- and after-school program is available to students from kindergarten to twelfth grade.

“We started this back in 2014 when we got the first five-year grant,” Raney said. “It is a highly competitive grant that is offered to all districts.”

Of the districts that competed for the grant, Raney said Exeter had great success due to the program’s performance during the first five years of funding.

“Because of that participation from our students in the first five years, I believe that helped us with the second round of funding,” he said. “The program is a great fit and something many families in the area need.”

The program is available in the morning from 7 a.m. to the time school begins, and in the afternoon from the time school ends to 5 p.m.

“Parents have to pick up and drop off students,” Raney said. “We don’t offer bus routes for the program. Even with that, it is still a program that many parents access and take advantage of.”

During the program hours, students have access to physical exercises, as well as STEM projects.

“They also coordinate throughout the school year to do family nights with academic related themes,” Raney said. “At those, students do different projects, as well as activities they can do with their families.”

There is also time available for tutoring if a student needs it.

“There is a variety of different projects and activities available to the students in the before- and after-school program,” Raney said.

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