Ringing Schools are expanding their after-school program offerings thanks to a grant.
After-school Program Coordinator Dona Brooks said the district received their first installment of a $1 million grant that will be dispersed over the course of five years. Brooks said they received $200,000 the first year.
“This is huge for Ringling,” Brooks said.
The federal grant is meant for schools in lower income communities. Brooks said the school’s after-school program purchased a class set of iPads and a set of six guitars for music lessons.
“This year we will be spending the money more on technology,” Brooks said. “We’re hoping to get a robotics program, maybe even a drone program. Things the kids are interested in.”
Of Ringling’s 425 students, about 175 students participate in the after-school program. In June, the program continues as a summer
program and includes activities and field trips.
“They want us to provide things that our kids don’t have access to in Ringling,” Brooks said. “That would be a lot of things.”
Brooks said in addition to music lessons, she is considering adding a small drama program to the after-school activities.
“All the kids in Ringling, everybody loves sports,” Brooks said. “[The grant] has been a great way to get kids to think about other activities they can do.”
The grant also specifies that the school should work with partners in their community. Brooks is working with Ringling Public Library for children’s programming and the Jefferson County OSU Extension office to provide cooking classes. The Goddard Center helps provide art classes for students and local churches often pitch in as well.
“This is my first year to do it,” Brooks said. “If you do get it, there are certain things that are expected of you in return. It’s not just going to be free money.”
Brooks said Ringling has a computer lab, but classes need to work around each other to schedule times to use it. The after-school program will use the iPads, but teachers can use them during the school day as well. The class’ set of iPads will help teachers work around that.
“Of course, one of the main points is to help students after school with their homework,” Brooks said. “One of the great things this grant does is that you can hire high school mentors.”
A group of about 18 older students will help younger students with homework and reading assignments as well as serve as mentors.