DES MOINES β€” The Iowa Department of Education today announced $3.5 million in competitive grants to support Iowa schools, in partnership with community organizations, to create, expand and sustain high-quality before-and-after school programs that support families and advance student achievement. The Learning Beyond the Bell grant will help more schools provide a safe and supportive environment for children to learn and explore their interests outside of the traditional school day.

β€œBefore- and after-school programs grounded in evidence-based best practices can improve student achievement, attendance, interpersonal skills and behavior,” said Iowa Department of Education Director McKenzie Snow. β€œIn partnership with schools and community organizations, Learning Beyond the Bell will expand access to high-quality instructional and enrichment programs, engaging students in dynamic learning and supporting working families beyond the school day.”

All Iowa schools are eligible to apply and are encouraged to partner with community organizations to offer and sustain before- and after-school programming that incorporates evidence-based instruction in identified academic focus areas based on the needs of the students being served. Schools serving students most in need will be given priority consideration. This includes schools that have been identified for additional support and improvement to meet the requirements of the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which is based on the overall performance of all students or a subgroup of students, such as students with disabilities or students who are English language learners.

Schools can apply for up to $200,000 to develop or expand before- and after-school programming to be implemented this spring, summer and into the 2024-2025 school year. Allowable costs may include, but are not limited to, staffing, evidence-based interventions in math and/or reading, tutoring and other activities to advance student achievement, transportation costs and snacks and meals aligned with requirements of the National School Lunch Program.

Applications for the Learning Beyond the Bell grant will be accepted in beginning Friday, March 1.  The application deadline is noon on March 29, 2024.

More information is available on the Learning Beyond the Bell Grant webpage.