Grant creates new after school programs

HARLINGEN — Kids looking for something to do after school need look no more. The Harlingen school district has just received a $1.5 million grant to provide learning centers where children and adults can engage in a variety of activities.

“I think this is a great opportunity for HCISD and really for Harlingen as a community,” said Jessica Hruska, coordinator for instructional technology and special projects at the school district. “We aim not only to provide quality education during the school day but even a safe environment after school for students to grow and really be creative

and collaborate,” she said. The 21st Century Community Learning Centers Grant is from the Texas Education Agency. Hruska said it will allow for the creation of 10 learning centers at schools throughout the district. The centers will be open from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. and offer a broad range of extracurricular activities.

“It is a grant that provides high quality after-school programs and it’s really targeting academics and also wellness for all students,” she said. “Some of the things we added into the grant are that we are going to provide afterschool care for special needs students.”

She said there will even be activities for parents to work on literacy, parenting skills, job interviews and

other abilities. “We’re going to do a launch on the 27th of August,” she said. “We’re going to be using the school facilities but a lot of what the budget is going to is for supplies for the different enrichment activities for the kids.”

The learning centers are being created in partnership with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Harlingen.

“We’re super excited to be working alongside them as we implement it as well,” Hruska said.

Activities at the 21st Century Learning Centers will include

• Hands-on and project-based extracurricular enrichment activities in academics and wellness

• Character Strong/ Rachel’s Challenge

• Literacy libraries at elementary schools/ Extended library hours at middle schools

• Elementary and Secondary Special Education Centers

• Family Literacy Classes/Parenting Classes

• Incorporate high school volunteers and senior citizens 21st Century Learning Centers will be located at all five middle schools and the following elementary schools: Bonham Crockett Lamar Long Rodriguez