January 4, 2014


McGraw district receives $500,000 grant

Staff Reporter

McGRAW — The McGraw School District will institute an extensive new after-school program for students in kindergarten through grade five with a $500,000 state Department of Education grant, said Superintendent Mary Curcio, who views the program as a necessary step in raising students’ academic achievement.
“We want to give them support,” Curcio said. “Especially with the Common Core.”
The two-hour sessions will be offered four times per week, Curcio said, and will feature an even mix of academic enrichment and homework help, and activities.
“It will flip-flop,” Curcio said. “We’re really looking for enrichment activities to engage kids. We’ll have activities with technology and activities in the gym — sewing and crafting and a lot of things that kids don’t really do today.”
The next step in the process will be hiring a program coordinator, a position that will be fully funded by the grant from the state Education Department’s Community Schools program.
The program is expected to begin in early February.
Current McGraw teachers will have the first opportunity to apply for instructor positions, and any remaining spots will be filled with out-of-district applicants. Those positions too will be funded by the grant.
The grant provides for the instruction of 100 students, though Curcio said she expects that to be a minimum.
“I’m thinking we should get at least 100,” she said. “It’s very helpful to parents, especially parents who work.”
An informational meeting for parents is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Jan. 16 in the elementary school cafeteria.
The after-school program is just the tip of the iceberg, as the grant also funds the establishment of adult education opportunities for community members and parents.
The district will work with the Cortland County Community Action Planning Council (CAPCO), to help enact the offerings.
McGraw will be working with Tompkins Cortland Community College and SUNY Cortland, with remediation courses being offered to parents and community members long out of school in order to enable them to do better on college entrance exams that dictate what level of classes they get placed in, Curcio said.
“Moving forward, we’ll be holding some meetings in the evenings with parents to see what they need,” Curcio said. “We’ll be doing some surveys, finding out what kind of two-year degrees we can offer people.”
In addition to traditional remedial courses in English and math, McGraw will also supply access to counseling and dental services, nutrition education and job placement and training through Cortland Works Career Center, CAPCO and the Family Health Network of Central New York.
“Though resources are available to community members,” Curcio said. “Locating those services can be difficult. The grant allows us to bring the resources to parents in one central location: the district.”
The district is in the process of arranging meetings with those different agencies, which also included the Seven Valleys Health Coalition.
Curcio is hopeful the adult educational services will be fully up and running by the summer. The grant will fund both the after-school program and the adult education services through the 2015-16 school year.


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