Federal grant helps city schools run summer and afterschool programs

VERGENNES — The second year of Vergennes Union High School and Vergennes Union Elementary School summer programs funded by an $830,703 21st Century Learning Centers (21C) Grant is just now winding down, and includes a wide variety of offerings.
VUHS has been running summer and afterschool programs with help from 21C grants since 2009, when the school was first awarded $487,000 to support programming.
In 2014, VUHS was awarded a grant that was expanded in 2015 when VUES came aboard to offer its own summer programming to Vergennes and Ferrisburgh youngsters; that grant now totals the $830,700.
VUHS received $169,028 for the 2014-2015 school year, and the two schools are sharing $195,272 in each of the next two school years, beginning this summer.
That number will gradually drop until the grant concludes in the 2018-2019 school year with a $126,927 bequest. In 2017-2018 the schools will share $144,204.
The summer programming is now called “Summer Fusion” and is coordinated at VUHS by Jill Strube, also the overall program director. Tara Brooks is handling that task at VUES.
Strube said the schools are welcome to re-apply for funding for 2020, but the maximum award per year will be 50 percent of the $195,272, or $96,136.
Local funding will have to make up the difference if Addison Northwest Supervisory Union and school officials wish to retain the programming.
Strube said studies regularly show students who participate in afterschool programs tend to improve their academic achievement and attendance rates.
This summer, the Summer Fusion program is serving 72 students at VUHS and 56 at VUES, Strube said.
The course list at VUHS includes “Preparing for the Zombie Apocalypse” (see story here), “Science of Flight,” “Digital Photography,” “Mad Scientist,” “Dollars and Sense,” “K’Nex the Dots,” “Summer Design Challenge,” “Build and Design,” and “Capturing Stories: A Video Project” for middle school students, and for high school students two SAT prep offerings and two credit-recovery classes. 

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