Grantmaker Profile: 21st Century Learning Centers

21st Century Learning Centers

Contact: Amanda Clyburn

U.S. Dept. of Education/OERI

555 New Jersey Ave., NW

Washington DC 20208-5644

FAX: 202/219-2198



Another way to build infrastructure for your schools is through one of the Department of Education’s newest programs, the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (CLC), which provides grants to inner city and rural public schools for after-hours, in-school learning centers.

CLC funds may be used to buy equipment to fund technology and telecommunications activities, according to Robert Stonehill, director of state and local services division of the Office of Educational Resources and Instruction (OERI). All CLC grant recipients must choose from a list of program activities it will support, and technology-based learning is among one of the most popular, said Stonehill.

And all that equipment can be used by students during classroom hours, too, said Stonehill.

The next competition will be for $100 million, given in 300 grants to qualified public schools. An average grant will be about $400,000. said Stonehill You must submit an application to this competitive program, and you can find guidelines on the CLC’s web site. No deadline has yet been set, but Stonehill expects a date near March 1, 1999.

Program Background

In 1998, the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program provided nearly $40 million to rural and inner-city public schools to address the educational needs of its community afterschool, and during weekends and summers.

Another $60 million went to a second round of winners late this year.

The program awards grants to provide expanded learning opportunities for children in a safe, drug-free and supervised environment. Funds are used by 21st Century Community Learning Center schools to stay open longer provide students with a variety of activities, such as homework centers;intensive mentoring in basic skills; drug and violence prevention counseling; help for middle school students to prepare to take college prep courses in high school enrichment in the core academic subjects; opportunities to participate in recreational activities, chorus, band and the arts; technology education programs; and services for children and youth with disabilities.

Grants have been used by 321 rural and inner-city public schools in 99 communities–in collaboration with other public and non-profit agencies and organizations, local businesses, educational entities (such as vocational and adult education programs, school-to-work programs, and post-secondary institutions), and scientific/cultural, and other community institutions–are now participating as 21st Century CLCs.

Giving guidelines

While CLC programs must offer a broad range of services to address the educational, health, social services, cultural, and recreational needs of the community, grants awarded through this program must focus primarily on providing children and youth with expanded learning opportunities in a safe, drug-free environment.

Community Learning Centers must be established within a public elementary, middle or secondary school building. A CLC must:

• provide educational, recreational, health, and social service programs for residents of all ages within a local community, and

• be operated by a local educational agency in conjunction with local governmental agencies, businesses, vocational education programs, institutions of higher education, community colleges, and cultural, recreational, and other community and human service entities.

21st Century Community Learning Center grants are awards for up to three years, and the agency recommends that applicants request level funding for the three years of the grant period.

The “absolute priority” established for this program requires grantees to provide–among the array of other services–“activities that offer significant expanded learning opportunities for children and youth in the community.

As far as your telecommunications, project funds may be used to purchase equipment and remodel outdated facilities. Schools are encouraged to use funds to accomplish a variety of activities that may benefit the students and community that surrounds the school.

Who can apply?

Only rural or inner-city public elementary, middle or secondary schools, consortia of such schools, or local educational agencies (LEAs) applying on their behalf are eligible to participate. The agency does not recommend that individual schools apply without the endorsement of their LEA.

Public schools are strongly encouraged to collaborate with other public and nonprofit agencies and organizations, businesses, recreational, cultural, and other community service or educational entities, such as educational entities, such as vocational and adult education programs, school-to-work programs, community colleges or universities.

Application packages can be requested by fax, eMail, mail or telephone. To request an application by telephone, call 800-USA-LEARN or 202/219-2180. The application is also the CLC’s web site.

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