LPS board reviews community learning centers, the role they play for thousands of students

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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) -Every day after school, hundreds of students at Lincoln Public School do not return home, but participate in after-school programs called community learning centers. This school year, these programs cost almost $ 10 million. On Tuesday, the Board of Education will learn more about the children involved and whether these programs are making a difference.

If you were to sit in one of these centers, you would see children working with technology, dancing, gardening, and making crafts. But it’s not just for fun.

“When students participate in CLC programs, I hope they find their place,” said Nola Bennett, Director of CLC. “It’s always my goal, it’s for every student who attends to feel connected. “

CLCs are found in 29 LPS Title I schools, and while the program has been around for decades, it was expanded in 2018 after the school shooting in Parkland, Fla. Sparked a conversation across the board. school safety community and that the safe and successful interlocal agreement has been created.

“It’s about relationships,” Bennett said. “We know that the better relationships students have, the more likely they are to ask questions. To just be present.

Bennett said it reduces behavior problems down the line.

Since 2017, when the district started tracking these numbers, CLCs have served an average of 6,900 students per year. Although they served a little less during the pandemic.

“We expect those numbers to come back,” Bennett said.

A review of CLC participation over the past five years shows that 67% of CLC students have a free and reduced lunch, 47% are students of color, 20% are in special education classes, and 8% are English language learners.

“It’s because of the schools we serve,” Bennett said. “And this is the population that we intend to serve.

As for what happens next, the district will begin to compare the grades and behaviors of students involved in CLC versus those who are not.

“I hope the attendance is better, the school suspension rates are lower,” Bennett said. “And that overall average and academic performance is better.”

Also on the agenda is the approval of district contracts with the nonprofit organizations they work with to set up CLCs. They work with groups like the Boys and Girls Club, CEDARS and Civic Nebraska.

For more information on CLCs, click here.

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