October 17, 2018

CCSD Seeks to Renew Grants for After-School Programs

City Dope

The Clarke County School District will once again be applying for 21st Century Grants for elementary, middle and high school kids and implementing the fourth year of current grants.

The Board of Education approved the application at its most recent meeting last week.
The federal grant provides approximately $350,000 for elementary schools, $350,000 for middle schools and $258,000 for high schools for after-school programs. In each setting, “the purpose of the program is to provide opportunities for academic enrichment activities during non-school hours.” One downside is that those working with the students aren’t employees of the school district and can’t collaborate with the students’ classroom teachers.

Most of the meeting was taken up by consent agendas and by postponed or non-existent reports, save for a financial report showing the district has $23,534,000 in assets and a report from Superintendent Demond Means. He touted the district’s efforts at transparency and said the district is putting documents, agendas, policies and reports online. He also thanked district employees for broadcasting the school board’s work sessions and meetings online.

Means told the board that a bill has been introduced in the Georgia General Assembly that says starting school in early August hurts the state’s tourist industry and that public school shouldn’t start until after Labor Day. He opposes the change, in part because it would take away local governance from school districts.

There will be a board workshop, not an out-of-town retreat, on Nov. 2 from 6–8:30 p.m. and on Nov. 3 from 9 a.m.–1 p.m. to “unpack” reports, including a comprehensive facilities report.
Means spent a few minutes saying that while every child “has some challenges,” the CCSD community needs to look at the “assets and gifts” that every child brings to school. He said people should consider the child’s assets and not talk about “how to fix them.” His recent experience in caring for his young daughter while his wife was out of town has given him some idea of what families with fewer resources go through to get their children to school every day.

Board member Ovita Thornton, who’s leaving the school board for a seat on the Athens-Clarke County Commission, congratulated the district’s REACH scholars. These promising middle school students have the opportunity to receive $10,000 in scholarships at a four-year secondary institution. They are Destiny Strickland and Jose Jimenez-Cortez from Coile Middle School; Ti’Yonda Turner, Hilsman Middle School; Joseph Parham, Clarke Middle School; and Linh Pham, Burney-Harris-Lyons Middle School. Formal recognition will be on Oct. 24 at 4:30 p.m.