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Summer school kicks off

Summer school participants play kickball on Tuesday on the elementary school playground. (Photo by Allison Goodman)
Summer school participants play kickball on Tuesday on the elementary school playground. (Photo by Allison Goodman)

The Carlisle Century 21 summer school enrichment program kicked off its first day Tuesday.

On Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays through June 27, the summer program will be open to students in kindergarten through sixth grade. It offers enrichment activities and educational studies to students. The summer school curriculum was developed with two blocks of literacy and a block of art, physical education, math and computers built into the educational program. Lunch and breakfast are also provided to students free of charge.

According to program director Tammy Perkins, students will learn about plants and animals of the Grand Prairie the first two weeks, along with a field trip to the Arkansas Post in Gillett. The third and fourth week, students will learn about colonial times, along with a field trip to the Agricultural Plantation Museum in Scott.

The summer school program is funded through the Century 21 grant the school received more than four years ago. The five-year grant was for $125,000 when it was received almost five years ago, but it has been reduced each year by about 20 percent. The district’s after-school program is also funded through the Century 21 grant.

In addition to the federal grant, the school also received an additional grant to help supply a meal to each student. The Seamless Summer School Child Nutrition program allows each child in the summer school program to receive a balanced meal daily, at no cost to the families.

Unfortunately, this is the district’s last year of the program. There will be no after-school or summer school provided next year, as the district was not awarded a new grant.

“I’m just devastated for the kids and parents who loved it,” Perkins said. “But we will apply again next year.”

Elementary school principal Susie Ward said the district did not meet the criteria of students on free or reduced lunch nor low test scores. She said districts which received the grant had 80 percent or more students on free or reduced lunches, where Carlisle only has 62 percent. The other criteria used to determine recipients of the grant was test scores, according to Ward. She said

“Even though we aren’t where we need to be,” Ward said. “… We weren’t nearly as low as the school that were funded.”

Ward said the district does plan to apply again next year. She said because the district doesn’t offer extracurricular activities for the students and because it helps parents who work, she hopes the district will be be chosen.

Perkins said there are currently 75 students enrolled in the program. Students are still being accepted at this time. For more information on the program or to sign up contact the elementary school at 870-552-3196.

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