The state grant is for a five-year program.
By BOB JACKSON
VINDICATOR COURTHOUSE REPORTER
YOUNGSTOWN -- The Ohio Department of Education has awarded a $1.8 million grant to Mahoning County for a program aimed at helping pupils through an alternative school setting.
About 100 local pupils will be served through the five-year grant, said Suzanne Barbati of the county special projects division. Sixteen local agencies will work in partnership to coordinate the program.
"The state is trying to expand the way we look at education and come up with some alternative solutions," Barbati said.
She said the state awarded grants to fund 21st Century Learning Centers. The project's mission is to provide activities for children in grades five to nine designed to help boost their academic and social skills.
"This is for kids who are already in alternative schools because they are not successful in traditional classrooms," Barbati said, noting that some are special-needs pupils and others have behavioral problems.
Included in program
The program will include academic and recreational programs, regular visits to libraries, life skills counseling, meals and transportation.
"This is a great countywide project," said Commissioner Ed Reese. "This is the kind of thing we had in mind when we created the special projects office."
The special projects division coordinated the grant application with the county's Family and Children First Council, which actually received the grant after what Barbati called a "highly competitive" statewide review process.
Barbati said pupils from all 14 public school districts in the county are eligible to participate in the program.
She said the program will be headquartered at Choffin Alternative School and the Adams Alternative Program. Activities will also be at local facilities like the YWCA, YMCA and Youngstown Public Library.
The 16 partner agencies are: Camp Fire USA, Youngstown Community Development Agency, Easter Seals, Mahoning County Family and Children First Council, Mahoning County Educational Service Center, Mahoning Valley Vision for Education, Neil Kennedy Recovery Clinic, Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County, United Methodist Community Center, Youngstown City Schools, Youngstown YMCA, Youngstown YWCA Central Branch, D & amp;E Counseling Center, Youngstown State University College of Education, YSU Mahoning River Education Project, YSU-SMARTS program.