Three Drew County schools will collectively receive $1.98 million in federal grants over the next five years to provide after-school programs for students and their families. The 21st Century Community Learning Center grants, funded through the U.S. Department of Education and administered by the Arkansas Department of Education, were awarded to Monticello Intermediate School, Monticello Middle School and Drew Central Elementary School.

The after-school programs will focus on improving literacy, science, engineering, technology, and math skills. Program activities will be project-based and student-led to foster the higher-order thinking skills students need to master standards outlined in the Common Core State Standards Initiative, according to Katrina Cavaness, program director.

The Drew County Boys & Girls Club, Holmes Chapel Presbyterian Church, Monticello Adult Education, Drew County Historical Society, Jane Pelkki, Monticello Senior Citizens Center, Delta Garden Study, the University of Arkansas at Monticello’s Educational Renewal Zone, as well as the AmeriCorps and Foster Grandparents programs through the Southeast Arkansas Educational Cooperative will partner to provide services to students and their families through the program.

“Quality after school programs boost student achievement in the classroom as well as on standardized tests,” Cavaness said. “We are thrilled to continue to offer after school programs at our local schools to assist students in reaching their full academic potential.”

The after school programs, which provide transportation if needed, will operate Monday through Thursday from 3 p.m. until 6 p.m. beginning on September 4. Registration forms will be available in August at each school’s open house.