June 26, 2014
State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Announces Millions in Grants for Expanded Learning Programs in California
SACRAMENTO—Hundreds of California public schools will be awarded funds to bolster student learning outside of the regular school hours, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson said today as he announced 333 programs will receive $51 million in state and federal grants to provide expanded learning opportunities for students.
"Children are always learning, and their families should have access to high-quality programs that support that learning," Torlakson said. "These grants will help schools operate before- and after-school programs, which play an important role in keeping kids safe, while also helping them build their skills for the world that awaits them."
Expanded learning refers to summer, intersession, vacation, and before- and after-school programs. Research on expanded learning programs indicates that they can help to increase student attendance in the regular school day, improve academic success, reduce high school dropout rates, and reduce juvenile crime.
In the latest round of funding, $51 million was distributed through three grants: the After School Education and Safety program, the 21st Century Community Learning Centers—Elementary & Middle Schools program, and the 21st Century High School After School Safety and Enrichment for Teens program.
The After School Education and Safety grant is funded through the 2002 voter-approved initiative Proposition 49. This program helps schools collaborate with community partners to provide literacy, academic enrichment, and safe and constructive alternatives for students in kindergarten through grade nine. One hundred and eighteen schools sites received a total of $7 million to create or expand existing after-school programs. The list of grantees is on the California Department of Education's (CDE) Funding Results - After School Education and Safety Web page.
The 21st Century Community Learning Centers program is a federally funded grant. This program encourages schools to collaborate with the community to provide academic and enrichment support, and safe and constructive alternatives for students in kindergarten through middle/junior high school. This year, 106 school sites are receiving more than $19 million to establish programs that operate during before- and after-school, summer, vacation, and intersession. The list of grantees is also on the CDE's Funding Results - 21st Century Community Learning Centers - Elementary & Middle Schools Web page.
The 21st Century High School After School Safety and Enrichment for Teens (ASSETs) grant is a federally funded program. This program helps schools collaborate with communities to provide academic, career exploration, and enrichment in the hours after the regular school day in a safe and constructive environment for high school students. More than $25 million is going to 109 school sites to operate programs during before- and after-school, weekends, summer, intersession, and vacation periods. The list of grantees is also on the CDE's Funding Results - 21st Century High School ASSETs Web page.
"As is often the case with these valuable programs, the demand for funding outstrips the resources available," Torlakson said. "But after-school programs have been a priority of mine since my legislative days, and I'll continue my push to get them the support they need."
Torlakson authorized legislation while in the California State Assembly and Senate that led to the creation and expansion of these programs. Shortly after taking office in 2011, State Superintendent Torlakson created an After School Division at the CDE to improve and expand these learning opportunities for students.
California's expanded learning programs today reach about 4,500 schools around the state. They are, in large part, funded through voter-approved Proposition 49, which guarantees $550 million annually for the state's After School Education and Safety Program. California administers another $120 million in federal after-school program funds.
For more information about expanded learning, visit the CDE's Before & After School Web page.