Some Charter School of New Castle elementary and middle school students will be able to keep learning after the school year ends in June.
A $400,000 annual grant from the U.S. Department of Education is bringing the school, New Castle County, and YMCA’s Western and Bear-Glasgow branches together on a new summer program.
County officials say the 21st Century Community Learning Centers money will fund a seven-week summer session, with educational programming at the Route-9 Library and sports and character-building camp at the two area YMCAs. During the school year, it will support an after-school enrichment program.
Rachel Valentin is the elementary principal at the Charter School of New Castle. She sees students struggling with what educators call the “summer learning loss.”
“Kids will literally go from one grade level reading text to a lower grade level over the summer,” she said.
The program hopes to fix this for up to 150 students. According to a county spokesperson, the grant is guaranteed for two years, but could be renewed for another three, or up to $2 million.
Senator Chris Coons (D-Delaware) helped secure the federal funding. He says the White House submitted a budget proposal to Congress that completely cut funding for the 21st Century Community Learning Center program.
“And then a team of Republicans and Democrats worked really hard and said, ‘Yes!’ And this year we’re going to spend over $1.2 billion on programs exactly like this, all over the country.”
The Charter School of New Castle, YMCA’s Western and Bear-Glasgow branches, and New Castle County are joint recipients of the grant.