Now that grant funding for a program within Clinton City Schools has ended, administrators are researching options that would allow students to receive similar services.
The Blazing Stars Academy is a federally-funded program, previously hosted by Sunset Avenue School, that provided additional education enrichment opportunities for students in first through fifth grades.
The system has ended the grant cycle, and renewal of the grant wasn’t approved.
During the school year, more than 250 students were served at three sites. During the summer months, services were provided at one location and served 80 elementary students. Highlights of the program include hands-on projects based in reading, math and Spanish, integration of arts and technology instruction.
“Through the afterschool program, students were afforded free of charge a safe haven, assistance with homework, field trips, and experiential encounters,” Faith Jackson, community liaison, said. “Many students that participate would not have someone to help them with their homework, nor the opportunity to go to the places they were able to go with the program.”
Over the last 12 years, Clinton City Schools has received a 21 Century Learning Centers Grant, bringing in more than $4 million to the school system. Approximately 2,400 kids have been served through the more than a decade of funding.
Moving forward, if an alternative isn’t found, loss of funding could be a detriment to the students in Clinton City Schools.
“Without Blazing Stars, families would have to find alternative places for students to go in the afternoon,” Jackson explained. “Employees that earn wages from working extra, may desire to find a different part time job.”
Not only did students receive additional support in core academic subjects, but Jackson said students were able to travel to places like WonderWorks in Myrtle Beach, DefyGravity in Raleigh, East Park Cinema, Aloha Safari Zoo in Cameron, and instruction from Mad Science in Raleigh, the North Carolina traveling aquarium from Wilmington and Zumba instruction.
“Not only have our students received additional educational support, but they received a snack, tutoring, homework assistance, supervision afterschool, experiential activities, field trips and exposure to STEM concepts,” Jackson said.
Each year the federal grant provided $400,000 and allowed for 200 children to be served.
In today’s pressure-oriented society, teachers and program coordinators say the program provides a non-threatening environment for the school system’s youth to be active, to develop competence in life skills, to learn about and enhance their own abilities and to benefit from meaningful participation in a community designed just for them.”
Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.