Danville receives grant to fund 'Kids' program

September 16, 2003|HERB BROCK

A pilot program of the Danville school district soon will take flight, thanks to a major federal grant that will be awarded to the district.

Kids University, a program that provides special attention to at-risk elementary students in a series of Saturday classes, was started in the 2002-03 school year as a pilot program.

The Danville Board of Education cobbled together funds from its own budget, the Family Resource Center and community education to fund the program.

But the program will now have its own budget - and enough money to keep it going for the next three years.


At Monday night's meeting of the Danville Board of Education at Danville High School, the board agreed to accept a $169,790 federal grant.

The award is a "congressional-earmarked" grant for local initiatives aimed at improving educational opportunities for at-risk elementary students and cutting dropout rates, said Superintendent Bob Rowland before the meeting.

A check for the grant amount is expected soon, he said.

"We are extremely excited about this grant," Rowland said. "This program has been very successful and the board and administration was committed to at least one more year and had set up funds from our own resources for this year.

"But with this grant, there will be enough money to keep the program going for three years."

The program is conducted during two sessions - a fall session and a spring session - with each session consisting of a series of eight straight Saturday classes.

The classes are held from 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. at Bate Middle School.

"Last year we had 60 to 70 kids for each of the two sessions. This year's fall session will have at least 90 children," said Rowland.

The expected larger enrollment is due to the fact that two elementary grades from all three of the Danville district's elementary schools will be involved.

Last year, the program was for fourth-graders; this year it will be for third- and fourth-graders.

The staff for Kids University will include seven teachers. They will be regular elementary school teachers and substitute teachers, Rowland said.

The fall session of the program will begin Saturday. Program coordinator Mardi Montgomery has planned a kickoff celebration with a definite aviation theme.

A helicopter used to transport patients from accident scenes to Lexington hospitals will be the centerpiece of the celebration.

"Mardi likes to have a theme for each session and the theme for this session is aviation and the math and science behind it and the careers that are involved with it," Rowland said.

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