Grant will let SSCS offer afterschool program


By Patsy Nicosia

After at least a decade-long hiatus, afterschool learning—along with fun and games—will be returning to Sharon Springs Central School.
SSCS learned last Wednesday that it has received a five-year grant of $105,000 annually through the Office of Child and Family Services for an afterschool program.
Though SSCS ran a mostly arts and crafts afterschool program through Cornell Cooperative Extension about 10 years ago, the 2017 version will be an opportunity to expand on STEM, said Superintendent Pat Green.
“We want to take what students are already learning and continue it in interactive, hands-on ways after school,” he explained. “This will be a program we design and put together ourselves.”
Elizabeth Schlenker, part-time guidance counselor at SSCS, will be the on-site coordinator for the program and the district has begun advertising for four to five activity leaders.
The 3-5pm program will be free and geared toward middle schoolers, Mr. Green said; likely there will be homework help and other activities as well and funding covers bus transportation home afterwards.
It’s main focus, though, will be STEM—science, technology, engineering, and math—and will feature topics like Lego robotics and coding with help from teachers and volunteers from both the school and larger community.
There’s room for up to 70 participants and signup information will be going home with students; the program is expected to begin in October.
SSCS partnered with the Sharon Rec Commission in writing the grant and hopes to be doing some shared programming with them.
Though because the grant application was funded for 88 percent of the cost, the program will probably only run 10 months—at least to start.
“One of our first steps will be visiting programs at other schools,” Mr. Green said. “I’ve heard good things about CROP in schools to the west of us and also what Cobleskill-Richmondville’s doing.”
Ms. Schlenker said she sees the afterschool program as a chance to engage students in fun learning.
“It’s a good way to offer more opportunities for learning outside the classroom, while keeping students safe, busy and engaged.”
“It’s good for us, good for our parents, and good for the students,” Mr. Green added.