What Is the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (CCLC) Grant Program? Authorized under Title IV, Part B, of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the grant program provides federal funding to state departments of education for the establishment of community learning centers that provide academic, artistic, and cultural enrichment opportunities for children, particularly students who attend high-poverty and low-performing schools, in order to meet state and local standards in core academic subjects such as reading, math, and science.
Some states, for example Connecticut, require expanded school-based learning time by 300 more hours through a longer school day, week, and/or year for addressing schoolwide priorities for all students. Specific funding purposes will vary from state to state but will always align with the federal regulations for 21st CCLC.
Who Is Eligible for a 21st CCLC Grant?
Awards are made to State Education Agencies (SEAs), Local Education Agencies (LEAs), and nonprofit organizations. LEAs and nonprofits may apply to states for subgrants. In addition, faith-based organizations are eligible to apply and participate in the grant program.
What Does It Take to Win a 21st CCLC Grant Award?
Plan and align your program design with the goals of the funding:
- Assist youth in meeting state standards for core academic subjects by providing students with academic enrichment opportunities before school, after school, and/or during the holidays or summer breaks.
- Offer participants a broad array of other services and programs, such as art, music, recreation activities, character education, career and technical training, drug and violence prevention programming, and technology education.
- Provide educational services for families of participating students, such as literacy instruction, computer training, and/or cultural enrichment.
- Ensure that both youth and their families have decision-making roles in the creation, operation, and evaluation of every 21st CCLC.
- Mobilize school, community, and private-sector social and health services support and resources in order to remove barriers that impede students’ learning.
Develop a compelling and convincing statement of need:
- Cite recent and relevant factors that place students at risk of educational failure (e.g., the poverty rates in the communities to be served, the percentage of rapid growth of limited English-proficient students and adults, the percentage of Title I students, dropout rates, teen pregnancy rates, achievement gaps, and adult literacy rates and education levels in the community).
- Describe how your expanded school day and year will address up to three of your most pressing schoolwide priorities and how addressing these schoolwide priorities will remedy the risk factors for your student population. The proposed project and all changes in your school day and year must be closely tied to the identified student needs and your schoolwide proprieties.
How Can You Obtain Additional Assistance with Your 21st CCLC Grant Application?
Get help from experienced grant writers. This article’s author and eCivis’ Grants Professional Services (GPS) team members have won 21st CCLC awards for the following SEAs and LEAs:
- Eminence Independent School District, KY
- Department of Education, MS
- Stewartsville C-2 Public School District, MO
- Department of Public Instruction, NC
- Springfield City Schools, OH
Read about previously funded SEAs and LEAs: http://www2.ed.gov/programs/21stcclc/awards.html