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After-school program continues to provide for students

After-school program continues to provide for students After-school program continues to provide for students

The Cornell After-School program, in partnership with the Cornell School District, has served kindergarten through eighth-grade students and their families for 19 years. The program operates under the umbrella of the 21st Century Community Learning Center (CLC) and works collaboratively with Community Education, the Lake Holcombe After-School program, and Love and Logic family program.

The CLC programs receive funding through federal 21st CLC After-School Grants, administered by the DPI, a Rutledge Charities grant, City of Cornell contributions, the Community Foundation of Chippewa County, class fees and donations.

After-school’s mission is to provide academic support, enrichment and social development for children, and their families, after the school day has ended. The program focuses on strengthening academic achievement and social growth, by offering unique learning opportunities in safe, enjoyable and nurturing environments.

Together with families, school and community, the after-school program can help children grow and develop into strong, responsible, caring citizens.

This 2019-20 school year, will be remembered as the year COVID-19 hit, with the pandemic having many devastating effects, including all Wisconsin schools closing down March 18. Not only did the Cornell After-School program close, but also many of the CLC programs and activities were canceled, including Community Ed spring classes and trips, the Family Fun Dance and Outdoor Edventure.

In spite of the school doors being shuttered, the CLC staff continued to reach out and serve the after-school students and families. Services and activities provided include virtual or online facilitated activities, phone calls, developed and distributed activity packets, distributed resource materials, and assistance with meal and food distribution for youth, and families.

“Schools may have closed, but learning certainly didn’t,” said after-school coordinator Jenny Blaisdell. “We are incredibly grateful we were able to continue supporting students, staff and families throughout the closure.”

As of March 18, when school closed down for the remainder of the academic year, 90 students were enrolled in the Cornell After-School program. The program operates Monday through Thursday, from 3:16-6:15 p.m.

During that time, students concentrate on academics and homework, with comprehensive one-on-one and small group tutoring available. Students are given an opportunity to work on their daily homework, projects and studying, with support from staff to strengthen their academic skills in math, reading, writing, science and social studies.

Each student receives a snack and milk, prepared by the school’s food services department. This time is also used for encouraging friendships, creating an after-school family atmosphere and character building.

Team members include certified Cornell School District teachers, professional adult leaders, trained high school staff and community volunteers. The Advisory Committee meets four times a year, and is made up of school administrators, city officials, business leaders, parents and community representatives. The committee monitors, assesses and provides feedback to the CLC staff.

While it’s unclear what the new after-year will look like this fall, Blaisdell is already working to implement plans to continue to serve students and families in the district.

“Teachers will need to focus more than ever on academics as we return,” said Blaisdell, “and after-school programs are positioned perfectly to fill in the gap’s for social emotional skills, academic enrichment and small group tutoring, in a fun-filled, projectbased learning environment.”