The Sun Prairie Area School District, in partnership with the City of Sun Prairie and Sun Prairie Community Schools, received notification of a $500,000 grant award — $100,000 to be used each year for five years.
The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) on Thursday, Aug. 15 confirmed it has awarded the grant to create a 21st Century Community Learning Center at C.H. Bird Elementary School, which is located at 1170 N. Bird St. on the city’s north side.
The grant will provide more comprehensive community school programming based on the priorities of students and families. Programming will include increased after-school academic, enrichment, and recreation opportunities for students and their families in the C.H. Bird community.
Goals of the program will focus on increasing student achievement, improving student engagement, building positive relationships between students and the school, and developing partnerships with families to connect the home and school.
Current partners for the grant include Prairie Athletic Club, UW Extension, and the City of Sun Prairie Parks and Recreation Department.
Sarah Smith and Andrew McKinney will head the project. Smith, Community Schools Director, is in her fourth year in Sun Prairie. McKinney serves as the Site Coordinator at C.H. Bird. He is in his first year at the school, having started on July 1. Before this role, he served as a Youth Advocate at Sun Prairie High School and serves as the President of the Monona Grove School District Board of Education.
“I am thrilled to launch as a Community School, strengthening partnerships with our community and families, to increase opportunities for all students at C.H. Bird,” said Nicole Toepfer, C.H. Bird Principal. “Both being a Community School and awarded the 21st Century CLC grant will support a targeted approach in closing the achievement gap, which is essential to realizing our purpose as a school and district. I love that the programming we will offer through Community Schools will increase a feeling of belonging for all C.H. Bird students and families.”
“Students will be successful when they are provided the supports they need,” State Superintendent Carolyn Stanford Taylor said. “Outside of school hours, our students with the greatest needs often don’t have access to the same supports their peers may have. We need to make sure everyone has access to supports that will allow them to make the most of their own potential.”
Sun Prairie Community Schools begins the 2019-20 school year with four sites, thanks to continued financial commitment from the City of Sun Prairie and the Sun Prairie Area School District.
At Westside Elementary, Stacy Darga continues to expand offerings that include Kids Achieve Together program and adult programs, including Mindful Parenting with The Rooted Family.
Patrick Marsh Middle School Site Coordinator Lisa Goldsberry recently developed a partnership with the Boys and Girls Club of Dane County to launch summer and after-school programming for Patrick Marsh students.
Bobby Finn, the Prairie Phoenix Academy Site Coordinator, started in his new role July 29. He will continue to lead the growth of community schools partnerships at PPA, including relationships with the YMCA of Dane County and Boys and Girls Club of Dane County. Finn was previously employed by the YMCA of Dane County, where he managed the Sun Prairie Youth Center and worked in after-school care.
Sun Prairie Community Schools is a partnership of schools, students, families, and community partners working together to inspire people to act and create equity and a sense of pride for all members of the community.