EAST LIVERPOOL — East Liverpool City ( ELO) Schools has begun and after-school enrichment program called the ELO Potter Brainery, for LaCroft and North third- and fourth-grade students.
The program which features a variety of learning and physical activities was made possible with $196,000 in grant funding for Ohio’s 21st Century Community Learning Centers.
A news release from ELO City Schools Communications Director Megan Hernandez said, “The Nita M. Lowey 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) program provides opportunities for children who attend low-performing schools to receive academic support. The Ohio Department of Education Office for Improvement and Innovation administers the 21 CCLC grant. This federally funded grant program supports high-quality, out-of-school time learning opportunities and related activities for students who attend eligible schools.”
The program, which is held at LaCroft Elementary School from 3 to 6 p.m., Monday to Friday, includes a free meal and snacks for the students each day.
Students who are enrolled in the program are exposed to a variety of art, STEM, music and physical fitness activities as well as learning to speak Spanish and develop social skills.
Each day students have a physical class which includes, depending on the day, Zumba, yoga or RAM Fitness program and a craft or educational class.
Hernandez noted that a couple other schools in the area have tried similar programs, but this is the first time for ELO City Schools.
“It’s basically to help with the COVID learning loss,” Hernandez said. “Also, we find for a lot of these kids that the safest place for them is school, so the longer they are in school, the better. They are getting dinner and three hours of homework help and enrichment.”
The program, which can take up to 50 students, is on a first-come, first-served basis. Right now there are three spots available.
Students have to participate in the program 60% of the time. Those not participating with 60% attendance or those with behavioral issues will be removed from the program.
Hernandez noted that they have a different set of enrichments each day and that the program is like a camp. These are things that the children would not be exposed to on their own, so the program brings the enrichment to them.
According to Jennifer Galanis, program coordinator, the funding from the grant covers everything for the program from salaries, everything they need from the school, the food, resources they might need to order to the people and programs they bring in to showcase their talents with the students.
The students are currently learning yoga. They will start learning karate in December. They learn music from one of the music teachers from the high school and have art classes.
Beaver Creek Wildlife comes in once a month with live animals to do presentations on the different types of animals in Columbiana County. Outback Ray presented to the students and the students will be taking a field trip to Lincoln Performing Arts Center in Midland, Pennsylvania, to see “Rudolph Jr.” OSU Extension also comes in to work with the students on STEM.
The students have also recently started learning Spanish, which is being taught to them by a Spanish teacher from the high school
Galanis noted that this is all covered by the grant.
The grant is for five years with the programming running October through April each year with a summer component to it as well.
In addition to physical and educational enrichments, the students also have the opportunity to develop their social skills through the clubs on Fridays, where they are introduced to and taught to play board games to help them develop skills such as taking turns and getting along with each other, Galanis said. The program also has a book club and a math club and these are things the students picked out to do.
Brynne Powell, a fourth-grade student at North, said her favorite activity was probably crafts and the one she enjoyed doing the most was the one she was currently working on of a reindeer. She also said she likes learning Spanish.
Layla Parson Jones, a fourth-grade student at LaCroft, said her favorite activities were the ones where they get to do fun things like games. She also said she likes Spanish and how they teach her to say different things and going to the gym for RAM Fitness.
Galanis noted they are also adding a cooking class to the program. The cooking class is expected to start in January and at the students’ request they will be learning to make sushi. Galanis also plans to teach them to make soups as well.
Students in the program will take part in ELO City Schools Christmas on the Hill on Dec. 10.