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Schools, Community Organizations Awarded $122 Million For Student Learning Recovery

Community organizations and schools across Indiana will receive more than $120 million in grant funding from the state as part of efforts to support student learning after a massively disrupted school year

Officials announced awards Tuesday, after state lawmakers created the Student Learning Recovery Grant Program earlier this year in response to the pandemic. 

The Boys and Girls Clubs of St. Joseph County received one of the largest amounts of any one applicant so far, at nearly $8 million.

CEO Jacqueline Kronk said the funds will support an amped up afterschool program starting this fall, including hiring at least 60 more people. Staffing, she says, is likely the biggest challenge.

"There's a lot of excitement and enthusiasm surrounding this opportunity but we need more people to join our forces to allow us to do that," Kronk said.

Boys and Girls Clubs across the state will receive a significant share of the funding as partners with nearby schools. For some, those partnerships will allow data sharing to help target academic as well as social emotional support for students. 

Mandy Reber, Boys and Girls Club of Huntington County executive director, said staffing is a critical piece of the vision for how her club will use the grant as well. She plans to hire 30 additional tutors to catch kids up in math. 

The club is receiving a grant of nearly $1 million.

"Our goal is to hire as many teachers as we possibly can because they already have the credentials of how to work with kids and so we're looking at if they can work one night a week up to four nights a week," Reber said.

According to state officials, preliminary ILEARN results show a significant drop in math scores for students across the state. 

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Most of the grant awards cover multi-year proposals expiring in 2023, reaching at least 83 counties. Lawmakers approved a total of $150 million for the program, but only $122 million of the funding has been awarded so far. Officials say they will award the rest of the funding later on.

Contact reporter Jeanie at jlindsa@iu.edu or follow her on Twitter at @jeanjeanielindz.