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After-school center enabled from grant

LISBON — The school district has been awarded a federal grant to start an after-school learning center for elementary school students that will focus on improving their math and science skills.

Lisbon Superintendent Joseph Siefke announced at Thursday’s school board meeting they were one of two Columbiana County school districts awarded the $200,000 grant, with the other being Crestview Local.

Students at McKinley Elementary who enroll in the program will remain after school for three hours every day to work with staff on homework and also undergo additional math and science instruction that builds on the district’s STEM –science, technology, engineering and math – curriculum. Siefke expects up to 50 students will participate, and those who do must commit to attending at least 80 percent of the time.

The grant will pay for two teachers, four activity leaders and a site coordinator, along with all materials. Some of the money can also be used for student transportation if their parents are unable to pick them up.

“All we have to do is provide the space and the students,” Siefke said.

Officials said this will not be your traditional after-school program because emphasis will be on academics. This will involve classroom instruction as well as hands-on projects.

Snacks will be provided, and elementary school Principal Dan Kemats said the program will use interactive learning to keep these young students engaged. “We don’t want them sitting in their seats for three hours, and they won’t. They will be up and moving and learning,” he said.

The grant, obtained on the district’s behalf by the county Educational Service Center, is through the 21st Century Community Learning Centers, a federal program that funds before and after school learning centers. The ESC asked if the district would be willing to be part of the application, and Siefke jumped at the chance since it would benefit their students.

He said there is a chance they could continue to receive the grant for an additional four years.

In other actions, the board filled some last-minute positions as they prepared for the start of school on Monday. Hired were:

–Sara K. Harris, as a preschool teacher, filling a vacancy when a preschool teacher moved up to the middle school. She most recently taught at the Buckeye Online School for Success.

–Natalie L. Vantilburg, as high school special education teacher. A Beaver Local graduate, she comes from the North Canton school district, where she was named the 2018 Rookie Teacher of the Year.

–Molly E. Rodgers, elementary reading and math intervention teacher. She was a kindergarten teacher in the Southern Local school district.

–Rebecca Cuff, elementary reading and intervention math teacher. She most recently taught second grade at St. Paul Catholic School in Salem.

The board also accepted the resignation of Brian Seevers as full-time custodian, hired Brian Clapsaddle as a part-time custodian and Nicole Haldiman as a full-time custodian.

The board also accepted a $4,000 donation from the Lisbon Community Foundation and $1,000 anonymous donation, both of which will be used to help pay for the Character Values Anti-Virus Program for students in grades six through eight.

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