Two Federal Grants to Provide Extra Academic Help

Two Federal Grants to Provide Extra Academic Help for BTWES & EFES Students
Posted on 08/21/2018

Suffolk Public Schools, in partnership with the Suffolk Public Library, has been awarded a $198,000 competitive federal grant to provide academic enrichment opportunities outside of school hours at Booker T. Washington Elementary School.

The 21st Century Community Learning Center grant from the U.S. Department of Education is designed to help struggling students who attend high-poverty schools.

Elephant’s Fork Elementary School will also benefit from a second 21st Century Learning Center grant this school year.  ForKids, Inc. has received a federal grant of $81,610 -- in partnership with Suffolk Public Schools and the YMCA of South Hampton Roads.  (Details at the end of this news release.)

Suffolk Public Schools will use the funding at Booker T. Washington Elementary (BTWES) to provide before-school, after-school, Saturday and summer camp programming to 75 academically at-risk students and their families. Workshops and classes will also be offered to parents.

“That is the key to this grant. It’s not just about the student, but it’s about the family as well,” said Assistant Superintendent Dr. LaToya Harrison. “Involving parents in student achievement is central to the work we are doing.”

The Booker T. Washington Elementary program has been named “STREAMing into Excellence.” The acronym stands for science, technology, reading, engineering, arts and mathematics.  BTWES will officially start the program on October 1.

The BTWES students will receive academic assistance in addition to literacy and mathematics enrichment, and they will also get healthy living experiences four days a week. Summer programs will continue the dynamic, hands-on learning and also feature camps that focus on specific sports, teaching the importance of teamwork and leadership.

“We will be promoting health, wellness and literacy,” Harrison said.  For example, the Read and Ride program will allow students to complete their daily independent reading while riding a stationary bicycle.

The school-year program at BTWES will provide another 3.5 hours of assistance each day to selected students.  The before-school program is nicknamed the “Genius Hour,” and the after-school program, the “Power Hour.”  Students will be provided free transportation to arrive early and stay through dinner Monday through Thursday.

Eight Saturdays during the school year, there will be family engagement activities at BTWES.  While students will receive a chance for enrichment and academic tutoring, parents have the opportunity to be more engaged with their children’s academic lives and better themselves.  Parents will have the opportunity to participate in GED workforce skill classes, and learn resume-building and interview skills, family finance courses, signs of youth depression, and even plant-based cooking.

Suffolk Public Schools will partner with other local organizations to put on the programming at BTWES, including the adult education program at the College & Career Academy at Pruden, Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts, Suffolk Golf Course, Healthy Suffolk, the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia, Code VA, Virginia Agriculture in the Classroom, East End Baptist Church, Suffolk Chapter of Links Inc., and the Differences Foundation.

“We received $198,000 based on the need of our schools, and this aligns so nicely with our mission,” said Superintendent Dr. Deran Whitney.  “We are expecting big things.”

The grant is renewable for three years.


Elephant’s Fork Elementary School will also benefit from a second federal grant this school year.  ForKids, Inc. has received a 21st Century Learning Center grant of $81,610 -- in partnership with Suffolk Public Schools and the YMCA of South Hampton Roads.  This grant will offer an after-school program that combines educational assistance with enrichment activities at Elephant’s Fork Elementary School (EFES).  Students to benefit are those attending the YMCA school-based after-school program at EFES as well as student identified as homeless under the McKinney-Vento Act.

ForKids, Inc. is a non-profit agency founded 30 years ago with a mission to break the cycle of homelessness and poverty for families and children.  On any given day, ForKids’s in-depth programs assist approximately 200 families including 400 children; our services now touch the lives of over 49,000 individuals each year.  ForKids serves 30 to 35 families each day in Suffolk and Western Tidewater out of its new service center at 119 W. Constance Road.  Last year, 96% of families in ForKids’ Western Tidewater programs moved to permanent housing in the community.  Services include counseling, tutoring, field trips, summer camps, classes in life skills, parenting, budgeting, GED tutoring, job coaching and case management.  For more information, please visit or call (757) 622-6400.



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