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Newton County School System (NCSS) has been awarded three federally funded 21st Century Community Learning Centers grant from the Georgia Department of Education that will net the school system $5.1 million over the next five years. As a result, 21st Century After-School Programs (ASAP) will be offered at the following Newton County schools next year: Middle Ridge, Porterdale, Newton High, Indian Creek, West Newton, Eastside High, Fairview, Flint Hill, as well as the local Washing Street Community Center.

Additionally, NCSS was awarded continuation on a current $2.5 million grant for Alcovy High, Clements, Cousins, Liberty, and Veterans Memorial. These programs are entering into the third year of their five year award. With expansion of the program, 800 students will receive free academic assistance and family support through the 21st Century Community Learning Center.

The 21st Century grants expand Newton County School System’s After School Academic Program (ASAP), targeting children identified as needing after-school services and remediation, but whose families cannot afford the tuition-based program already in place. Parents of students who qualify for the program based on federal guidelines for the grant will be notified by the program coordinator, Deena Sams.

“I am thrilled that the hard work and efforts of Deena Sams, Parent, Community Collaboration Coordinator, and Kathy Garber, Grant Writer, have paid off for our students and community,” said NCSS Superintendent Samantha Fuhrey.  “Our after school programming enhances students’ academic performance both in the classroom as well as on standardized assessments.  Students are provided with multiple opportunities to apply what they have learned in their classrooms to ‘real-world’ problems and situations.  It’s a fantastic opportunity for our students!”

The 21st CCLC ASAP is a collaborative effort involving the Newton County Community Partnership, the Recreation Department, the Arts Association, Newton County Reads, and the Covington Police Department.  The school system has a long-standing relationship with the Community Partnership, which includes representatives from a number of organizations such as KidsNet, the Literacy Coalition, Gwinnett/Rockdale/Newton Mental Health, the Juvenile Courts and Juvenile Justice, and the Health Department, who together with the school district, continue to seek ways to improve the lives of young people.

Objectives of the ASAP program include improved performance in core academic areas with an emphasis on reading and math; improved homework completion, class participation, and behavior; opportunities for students to be more involved in the arts and recreation; and increased parent involvement in their children’s education and development. Activities will be learner-focused with enrichment and remediation presented through innovative lessons, student projects, small group learning, and technology.  

“These programs will provide an array of activities aimed at increasing academic achievement,” said Deena Sams, 21st Century Community Learning Centers Program Coordinator for Newton County School System. “The 21st Century ASAP takes learning beyond the classroom and exposes students to educational opportunities they might not otherwise have.  We are extremely excited to have this program in Newton County and to now have an afterschool program in every school.”

For more information, contact Deena Sams, 21st Century Community Learning Centers Program Coordinator, at 770-787-1330 ext. 1271.