The Texas Education Agency recently announced the recipients of the 21st Century Community Learning Grants and 6 Rio Grande Valley institutions share in the funding for 2018 – 2019. La Joya ISD is one of the recipients from 38 districts across the state to receive the grant for 4 years. The remaining 5 districts from the valley who were also recipients only received grant funding for 2 years. La Joya Independent School District would be securing $1,500,000 annual budget contingent on availability of funds and meeting established performance requirements.

The main focus of this grant program is to support the implementation of community learning centers that provide academic enrichment opportunities during non-school hours for students, particularly those who attend high-poverty and low-performing schools.

The program aids students in meeting state and local standards in core academic subjects, such as reading and math. It also offers students a wide range of enrichment activities that can complement their regular academic programs; and also offers literacy and other educational services to the families of participating children.

The Texas 21st Century Community Learning Centers grant provides 1.5 million in funding to support implementation of these centers per year.

This is the 10th cohort of institutions to receive funding which will be made available between Aug. 1, 2018 and July 2023.The agency will also provide technical assistance and trainings to the awardees throughout the life of the grant and school districts must have their programs in place by Sept. 4, 2018.

Janeth Leal, AfterschoolCenters of Education (ACE) Director for LJISD will be working together with 10 ACE campus coordinators (one at each campus) to ensure the performance requirements are met.  Mrs. Leal, along with LJISDSuperintendent of Schools, Dr. Alda T. Benavides,are enthusiastic about the project and look forward to the implementation of the centers at the appointed schools as early as the 27th ofAugust, 2018.

The grant was secured through the assistance of Educational Research Institute (ERI), the district’s external grant writing and management firm, and Mrs. Maria Belem Leal, LJISD Grant Development Coordinator. This collaboration created a successful grant submission for LJISD.

The grant funds will be distributed between the following 10 La Joya ISD campuses: La Joya Juarez-Lincoln High School, Ann Richards Middle School, Dr. Javier Saenz Middle School, JD Salinas Middle School, Domingo Treviño Middle School, Benavides Elementary, Sam Fordyce Elementary, Seguin Elementary, Tabasco Elementaryand Zapata Elementary.

Using these funds, the schools will provide after-school programs for more than 2,000 students, which will be a mix of extracurricular and academic clubs such as mariachi, theater, and robotics, amongst others. They will also make tutoring available in core subjects including reading, mathematics, science and social studies.

According to the Texas Education Agency “The Texas Afterschool Centers on Education program aim to improve student attendance, behavior, and academics, while providing safe supplemental learning space for students who otherwise would not have such opportunities,” the agency site states.

At La Joya ISD every child is our priority. That is why we will continue pushing for greater opportunities, school choices, more high-quality options, and bold policies that put students first – our students, our schools and our community!