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We are one of 13 recognized nationwide

U.S. Department of Education Announces 2024 Engage Every Student Recognition Program Champions

The U.S. Department of Education (Department) announced the 2024 U.S. Department of Education Engage Every Student Recognition Program Champions.

Boys & Girls Clubs of the Pee Dee Area has been recognized as one of those champions at the Florence and Lake City Clubs. This prestigious award highlights their exceptional efforts in providing high-quality afterschool and summer learning programs in partnership with Florence 1 Schools and Florence County School District No. 3.

“This recognition is not only a testament to the efforts of our committed staff and Board of Directors, but also to our local school districts and other community partners that lend their time, expertise, and resources to ensure youth have a safe, engaging, and impactful out-of-school time experience,” says Neal L. Zimmerman Jr., executive director of Boys & Girls Clubs of the Pee Dee Area.

Across the country, 13 non-profit organizations and city municipalities, working in partnership with local schools, are being honored for their efforts to expand access to high-quality afterschool and summer learning programs for students. For the inaugural year of the recognition program, the Department received 57 nominations from 29 states. Each nomination was reviewed by state-level review teams comprised of the 50 state afterschool networks and state educational agencies, and state finalists were recommended to the Department for final review and consideration.

In addition to providing high-quality afterschool and/or summer learning programming in one of the 50 states or territories, nominees demonstrated eligibility and excellence for the inaugural year in the following areas:

  • Employing evidence-based approaches, including but not limited to prioritizing students needing additional support; having certified teachers delivering the academic instruction and tutoring; and engaging students in experiential learning that could include project-based learning, enrichment, career pathways, and field trips;
  • Increasing their programmatic enrollment number of K-12 students from school year (SY) 2022-23 to SY 2023-24 by a minimum of 20%;
  • Serving students who attend schools with 40% or more students qualifying for the free and reduced lunch program at the beginning of the 2023-24 SY; and
  • Leveraging American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funds and state and local funds to expand access to afterschool and summer learning programs for students.

“This year’s Engage Every Student Champions are leading the charge in their local communities and states to ensure that all students nationwide have the opportunity to thrive, learn, and grow through their engagement in high-quality afterschool and summer learning programs,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. “Thanks to President Biden’s American Rescue Plan, these awardees include a range of organizations all across the country, with nearly half located in under-resourced or rural communities. Every child deserves the opportunities for out-of-school time enrichment these programs provide.”

This announcement comes as the Department prepares to host the 2024 Engage Every Student Summit on July 16, in Washington, D.C. In addition to recognizing this year’s Champions, the summit will convene youth, state, and local school leaders; state and city elected officials; afterschool and summer learning program providers; and advocates. The summit will showcase bright spots and their impacts in out-of-school time and provide attendees with an array of opportunities for learning, exploration, and networking.

Following are the 2024 U.S. Department of Education Engage Every Student Recognition Program Champions:

  • CT – Litchfield – Ed Advance BASES in partnership with Torrington School District, Category: Non-Profit
  • GA – Atlanta – Camp Twin Lakes in partnership with Hall County School System, Category: Non-Profit
  • ID – Idaho Falls – Community Youth in Action in partnership with Idaho Falls School District 91 and Booneville School District 93, Category: Non-Profit
  • IL – Springfield – Compass For Kids, Inc. in partnership with Springfield Public Schools – District 186, Category: Non-Profit
  • MD – Baltimore – Arts For Learning Maryland in partnership with Baltimore City Public Schools, Category: Non-Profit
  • MS – Ridgeland – Scientific Research, SR1, in partnership with Forest Municipal School District, Category: Non-Profit
  • NE – Lincoln – Lincoln Community Learning Centers in partnership with Lincoln Public Schools, Category: City Municipality
  • NH – Nashua – YMCA of Greater Nashua in partnership with Nashua School District, Category: Non-Profit
  • NJ – Fair Lawn – iLearn Schools in partnership with North Jersey Arts and Science Charter Schools and Linden Public School District, Category: Non-Profit
  • OH – Youngstown – Ohio Urban Renaissance in partnership with Youngstown City School District, Category: Non-Profit
  • OR – Canby – Todos Juntos in partnership with Canby School District, Estacada School District and Molalla School District, Category: Non-Profit
  • SC – Florence and Lake City – Boys & Girls Club of the Pee Dee Area in partnership with Florence 1 Schools and Florence County School District No. 3, Category: Non-Profit
  • SD – Sturgis – Black Hills Special Services Cooperative in partnership with Rapid City Area School District, Category: City Municipality

Engage Every Student was launched by Secretary Cardona in July 2022 and is a bold call-to-action to provide high-quality out-of-school time learning opportunities for every child or youth who wants to participate. Increasing access to high quality afterschool and summer learning programs is a core component of the Biden-Harris Administration’s Improving Student Achievement Agenda. And through the American Rescue Plan, schools, communities, and states have had access to additional funding to further support high-quality expanded learning programs and the well-being and academic growth of millions of students. The Initiative is a partnership between the Department, the Afterschool Alliance, the School Superintendents Association (AASA), the National League of Cities, the National Summer Learning Association, and the National Comprehensive Center at Westat.

Learn more about Engage Every Student and find resources for all non-profit organizations and city municipalities to move towards expanding access to high-quality afterschool and summer learning programs.

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