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Beans and Rice secures grant for middle schools

By WILLIAM PAINE

william.paine@southwesttimes.com

This week, Pulaski County Public Schools and Beans and Rice, Inc. were awarded $200,000 through the Virginia Department of Education 21st Century Community Learning Centers Program. This grant will enhance existing 21st Century Community Learning Center programs at Dublin and Pulaski Middle Schools.

The 21st CCLC program, “supports the creation of community learning centers that provide academic enrichment opportunities during non-school hours for children, particularly students who attend high-poverty and low-performing schools.”

To be eligible to apply for this grant, 40 percent of the students have to be eligible for reduced lunch, which applies to both middle schools but most especially to Pulaski Middle School. This $200,000 grant award is renewable annually for a three-year period of time.

The 21st CCLC grant money goes toward paying certified teachers, free transportation for all participating students, iPads and after school curriculum materials such as MicroSociety. MicroSociety is an experiential learning program that transforms an after school class into a bustling marketplace. It is a student created miniature society. Pulaski County Middle School students apply mathematic skills by creating budgets, calculating sales tax and pricing products.

In addition to after school activities, the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program offers summer programs, before school homework assistance, field trips to local museums and recreational venues. There are also a variety of parental engagement activities. Adult family members of enrolled students participate in monthly family night events such as Homework 101, family math night, internet safety night, and student showcases such as a career fair and live MicroSociety simulation.

Beans and Rice, Inc. and Pulaski County Public Schools have operated the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program at Pulaski Middle school since 2008. In 2015, the program services expanded to Dublin Middle School. This award is the fourth competitive 21st CCLC grant secured by the project.

Beans and Rice, Inc. is a community economic development organization that works to improve the economic well-being of low-to-moderate income families.

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