Evanston/Skokie School District 65 has received nearly $250,000 to run after-school programs at two elementary schools.

Evanston/Skokie School District 65 has received nearly $250,000 to run after-school programs at two elementary schools.

The district, in collaboration with Youth Organizations Umbrella, will provide after-school programs for students at Oakton and Washington schools with a $248,134 grant from the federal 21st Century Community Learning Centers Program.

The grant will be used beginning this fall to provide students with homework help, academic and cultural enrichment, and recreation and youth development activities.

The district may be eligible to receive about $380,000 more from the program over the following four years, depending upon federal funding levels.

In the past five years the district has received over $2.3 million in funds from the program for work at Kingsley, Oakton, Washington and Chute Schools.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Other D65 schools could use some of this money
    Why hasn’t any of this money reached schools like Willard or Lincolnwood? I know they could use the money. Shouldn’t this money be dispursed evenly? It seems there’s monetary inequity in our school system.

    1. Children in poverty and federal $s help bring Oakton’s success
      To find the answer to your questions, go to the District 65 web site and look at the percentage of low-income children at Oakton and Washington then look at the percentage of low-income children at Willard and Lincolnwood. Oakton has the highest population of low-income students, while Washington has the second highest.

      Then compare the historical achievement at Oakton and Washington to Willard and Lincoln. You will see why federal money has been targeted for extra programs at Oakton and Washington. The federal money is disbursed based on these issues.

      Importantly, these programs are reaping rewards. For the second year in a row, Oakton School met all of the federally-established achievement goals for all of its students at all grade levels and for all subgroups. In the past, Oakton had teetered from achieving one year then failing for a subgroup or two the next year then achieving the next year.

      Along with a new principal two years ago, a new attitude is flourishing at Oakton School. The school’s focus is the education and encouragement of each child.

      And the after school program, funded with these federal dollars, has contributed to this new focus.

  2. targeted funds
    Actually this money is targeting schools that need help in getting their student population to the same academic level as high level achieving schools such as Willard, Lincolnwood, Dewey, etc.

    You are correct that there are monetary inequities, but that is only to offset the academic inequities that exist.

  3. 21st Century Learning Centers
    This money is for Title 1 schools which have a high concentration of low-income students. 53.1% of Washington’s students are low-income, as are an astonishing 66.9% of Oakton’s. Willard has only 23.6% low-income kids and Lincolnwood only 22.1%. This program is designed to help kids and schools who are disproportionately affected by poverty – actually making things more equitable.

  4. The fact is
    Yes, I know there are more impoverished kids at Oakton and Washington. But believe it or not there is a growing number of so-called middle class two-parent Evanston households that are struggling. I know of several that have had to take out loans just to pay their property taxes.

    The assumption on these posts indicate that schools with higher concentrations of poverty should get money from this program for after-school programs and other academic purposes. I agree but they shouldn’t get ALL the money.

    Also, most low income kids live in single-parent households, which is the primary culprit of poverty. The stats easily bear that out. What is being done about that?

    It would also be interesting to know how much and which schools get the bulk of all funding from local, state and federal grant programs. Why should kids and parents from low-middle class families suffer and be left out at the trough in which they contribute their fair share?

    The whole idea here seems to be that if you come from a low income family you somehow can’t compete with your fellow students who are not low income.

    Motivation to learn and excel is not predicated on wealth or lack thereof. It is based on need, desire and the fire in the belly.

    But that fire can be quickly doused if kids keep getting the same message that they are charity cases, then lumped into groups and tested for perfomance with the same old results – below other groups. And, then we keep throwing money at the problem we’ve created.

    1. Ah, yes — the old “bootstraps” argument
      No one is saying that low-income children don’t have the intellectual ability or heart to succeed. It’s clear that they do.

      But consider when both parents are working minimum wage jobs and neither of them finished high school, it’s a little more challenging for their children to find those “bootstraps” they need to pull themselves up by. Face facts — children in poverty historically have a harder time succeeding in school.

      And compare the before-school and after-school programs that the PTAs at other schools can afford to put on. It’s a tad harder with a school of almost 70 percent low-income families to generate funds for extras, like before-school art classes and drama clubs.

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