LEONARDTOWN, Md. (July 28, 2009)—The Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) has awarded a competitive, three-year grant worth a total of $1,068,750 to St. Mary's County Public Schools (SMCPS) for after school programs. The funding comes from the Federal 21st Century Community Learning Centers Program, which will be used to continue the Dream Team/Boys & Girls Clubs at George Washington Carver Elementary, Lexington Park Elementary, and Spring Ridge Middle Schools, and to begin a program at the St. Mary's County Carver Recreation Center.
"We are so pleased to have this substantial resource to help increase student achievement and to provide a safe place for over three hundred students, five days per week," said Dr. Michael J. Martirano, superintendent of schools.
St. Mary's County Public Schools' main partner in the project is the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southern Maryland. The two organizations will jointly operate the programs at the three schools. The newest partner is St. Mary's County Recreation and Parks, adding an after school program at their Carver Recreation Center. Other partners include: Kiwanis Club of St. Mary's County, St. Mary's College of Maryland, the 4-H Cooperative Extension Program, and St. Mary's County Memorial Library. These groups provide a variety of support including the K-Kids and Builders Club Service Clubs from Kiwanis, and Gardening and Nutrition provided by 4-H/Cooperative Extension.
Mr. Mark Smith, coordinator of special programs for SMCPS, said, "These after school programs give students productive ways to spend out-of-school time. We replace time that might be spent watching television and playing video games with community service projects; small group math and reading instruction; homework help; team sports; physical activity; and science, music, and art enrichment."
"We are thrilled the Maryland State Department of Education has awarded St. Mary's County Public Schools the 21st Century grant so we can continue our partnership and carry out our mission to inspire and enable all young people, especially those from disadvantaged circumstances, to become productive, responsible, and caring citizens," said Ms. Pam Wilkerson, executive director of Boys & Girls Clubs of Southern Maryland.
According to Ms. Linda Dudderar, chief academic officer for SMCPS, these programs are critical because they accelerate the learning of students, particularly those who need more time to acquire the skills and concepts necessary for success in school. "We appreciate the tremendous support from principals, teachers, families, and community partners who make this program possible," said Ms. Dudderar.
Source: St. Mary's County Public Schools (SMCPS)