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KCR-1 Awarded Afterschool Grants Totaling Over $19,000

By Crystal Howerton

Knox County R-1 Schools is one of 98 schools that will benefit from $1 million in funds called for and secured by Governor Matt Blunt to expand afterschool programs in Missouri focused on METS (Math, Engineering, Technology, and Science) and health initiatives. 
"Afterschool programs provide Missouri’s students a safe environment where they can grow academically, socially, physically and emotionally," Gov. Blunt said.  "I am excited to see how schools across the state will use this new funding to support quality afterschool programs that focus on math and science to prepare our students for the challenges of the global economy as well as programs focused on health and wellness."
According to a press release from Gov. Blunt’s office, strong programs, such as those supported by this generous grand funding, provide opportunities for students to participate in exciting and engaging math and science or health activities that the regular school day may not allow.
Onsite Director Cyndy Bliem-Sharp wrote and received grants for two afterschool programs: 4-H Elementary Afterschool Computer Lab and Girls, Issues and Technology.  Both programs will be available to students on a first-come, first-serve basis. 
According to Bliem-Sharp, $9,278 was received for the elementary computer lab.  The funds will be used to purchase a projector, laptops and software.  No Internet will be used, instead the 12-16 students will be encouraged to learn how to install and use this new software and learn through educational games.  In addition to welcome volunteers, students will be mentored by the Gen Y team, a technologically savvy group of teens at Knox County R-1. The program will run for four weeks and it is anticipated that it will be on Wednesdays afterschool until 4:30 to 5:00 p.m.
"We are excited to give the students a chance to explore educational software, work in cooperative groups and the best part – I think – is learning from teen mentors," said Bliem-Sharp.  "As for the girls program, this is first time we have done anything like this in middle school, but we hope to get lots of young ladies excited about technology."
The purpose of the Girls, Issues and Technology program is to bring girls back into technology.  Ten girls in grades 6-8 will benefit from 8-week sessions following a curriculum, with another available in the spring.  The program tries to focus on a topic of interest such as self-defense, eating disorders, etc, which the girls will research using technology.  Each group
See Grant, Page 14
of two girls will be provided with a laptop and digital camera, and each girl will also receive a flash drive.  $9,970 was allotted for this program allowing each girl to receive a small monetary incentive ($10-$20) upon completion of the program. This program will also run afterschool until approximately 4:30 p.m. on Thursday afternoons.