21st Century grant helps Lockland students THRIVE!

Good things are happening in Lockland Schools! Through a partnership with the YMCA of Greater Cincinnati, the district is transitioning to become a Community Learning Center. They now have a full-time school resource coordinator, Stefanie Craven. One of Stefanie’s major projects is implementing a much-needed afterschool program for grades 7-12.

The afterschool program is funded by a 21st Century Community Learning Center grant from the Ohio Department of Education. This is year one of the five-year, $850,000 grant, and the program is off to a great start. “I really like the potential, and I see what could be,” Stefanie said.

Academic focus

“Academic help is the number one reason why the school received the 21st Century grant, and it is really important,” Stefanie said. “If you look at test scores and our report card, our kids are not where they should be in order to be competitive in the world.”  Stefanie’s goal is for every student to make progress, no matter where they start. “They are here, getting their homework done,” she said. “They’re able to get assistance, use computers, and have all the supplies they need.”

Daily enrichment

In addition to academics, students participate in enrichment activities like yoga, archery, and service learning. Once a week, the YMCA of Greater Cincinnati Teen Achievers program works with ninth and tenth graders on college and career readiness. And this is just the beginning. “The first year of the grant is always the building year,” Stefanie said.

Special Fridays

To encourage participation and celebrate the students’ efforts, Fridays are special days. “We spend the whole time on enrichment, exposing the kids to possibilities they may not know about,” Stefanie said. Professionals often visit, such as a General Electric engineer who used model airplanes to teach about aerodynamics. Other topics have included city wildlife and video game design.

Three students and GE engineer around table with model airplane.
Professionals visit the afterschool program on Fridays, teaching topics like aerodynamics.
Social skills

Peer communication and cooperation is another priority of the afterschool program. “We’re teaching them things like how do you debate and not argue?” Stefanie said. “These are things we focus on in everything we do.”

Service Learning

Students participate in service projects throughout the year. They have volunteered at district-wide evening events, where they greeted visitors and escorted them to the program’s location. They have done face painting and led craft projects at Lockland’s holiday events.

The students also sort and bag produce that is delivered weekly by La Soupe for kids to take home on Fridays. Through a partnership with People’s Pantry, they are currently working on turning an old Enquirer newspaper box into a food pantry that will go in front of the school.

Five students around a newspaper box, sanding it down.
Students are sanding down this newspaper box to turn it into a Little Food Pantry.
Cooking Club

Stefanie plans to launch a Cooking Club this spring with help from Jennifer Arlinghaus, the district’s food service director. Classes will be led by Lockland food service staff.

Summer plans

This year, Lockland students in grades 7-12 can attend a five-week summer program. “We’ll go on a lot of field trips,” Stefanie said. “Part of the grant involves enrichment opportunities and college and career readiness, so it’s really important to take the kids out and let them see things.”

Plans for the future

The district is applying for a 21st Century grant for grades K-6. “If we get the grant, that means there will be an afterschool program for every single kid in the school,” Stefanie said. “And that could really change the academics in the district.”

The district was recently awarded the Bicentennial Community Engagement Grant from the University of Cincinnati (UC). The grant will bring tutors from UC to work on literacy with students in grades K-3.

Principal Comer standing next to sign that lists grant recipients for UC Bicentennial Community Engagement Grants.
Lockland K-12 Principal Anthony Comer.
You can help

Community members are welcome to volunteer. Please contact Stefanie Craven at 513-349-3075 or stefanie.craven@locklandschools.org .