Grant provides funding for Liberty grade-school program

By Samantha Phillips


The Liberty school district is partnering with United Way to continue providing after-school programming.

The school district received an $850,000 21st Century Community Learning Center grant to fund the program over the span of five years. United Way will contribute to some of the funding.

Success After 6 benefits grades kindergarten through second grade at Liberty and is designed to help students succeed academically, increase their confidence and improve their social and emotional health.

The program will run from the time school is dismissed until 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. The school district will provide transportation along with food.

A minimum of 50 kids will be enrolled in the program. The program is at no cost to the student’s family.

Amy Klingensmith, director of SA6, said there are four main concentrations: reading, math, positive youth development and family engagement. Students do at least two hours of math and two hours of literacy a week in the program.

There are also enrichment activities for the students, such as sports, dance classes and STEM activities.

“We know the kids have been in school all day, so we fulfill academic expectations in a fun and engaging way,” she said.

There will be field trips to places such as OH WOW! The Roger & Gloria Jones Children’s Center for Science & Technology and the Jewish Community Center.

Megan Calautti, Liberty SA6 coordinator, said the program “gives [students] more confidence and builds on their academic success.”

Superintendent Joseph Nohra said students’ grades and attendance improved after the first semester of SA6, which involved students in grades 5 and 6. Those students will benefit from a Youngstown State University afterschool program, which benefits kids in grades 3-6.

“You want to hit that social and emotional wellness and better academic behaviors. You want their confidence and comfort with school to improve,” Nohra said.

He said the program is great for students who aren’t involved in sports or clubs.

The school district also partnered with Wee Care Day Care this month, which will provide an educational program for 3-year-olds.

Nohra said these partnerships are a result of the input of the community’s parents, who asked for more afterschool programming.

Roxann Sebest, United Way of Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley marketing and communications director, said there are 12 school districts that benefit from SA6.

“Schools are stretched so thin, so we are stepping in to fill any gaps,” she said.

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