Math in the Mail focuses on developing math skills in three-year-olds by providing the tools needed in the home environment for parents and caregivers. Children from Clare and Gladwin Counties, as well as surrounding counties can be enrolled in the program. Families enrolled in the Math in the Mail program will receive a free kit in the mail six times per year that will contain materials, resources and instructions for several age-appropriate math activities.
Math in the Mail is part of a region-wide focus to better prepare our students for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) experiences and STEM careers. To enroll, families should visit the Clare-Gladwin Great Start Collaborative website, or call (989) 737-9532. Enrollment is on-going.
This initiative is funded by the Dow Corning Foundation, and represents a collaboration between the Bay-Arenac ISD, Clare-Gladwin RESD, Gratiot-Isabella RESD, Midland ESA, and the Saginaw ISD.
Check out this video for more information about Math in the Mail.
SPARKS GRANT RENEWS, REOPENS SERVICES IN BEAVERTON, GLADWIN
SPARKS is the Energizer Bunny and the Little Engine That Could all rolled into one efficient, impactful package that helps hundreds of local families. And now it’s expanding services once again.
Staff at the Clare-Gladwin Regional Education Service District, which oversees the afterschool and summer program that is free to students and their families, recently received word of new federal funding in the amount of $270,000 per year for the next five years that will allow SPARKS to continue services at Beaverton Elementary and reopen its site at Gladwin Junior High School following a six-year absence.
“Our reach – and our impact – continues to grow, thanks to grant money we earned a year ago, and now again this year,” said SPARKS Project Director Rebecca Idzikowski. “With this new round of funding, we can continue to offer SPARKS at Beaverton Elementary, where grant funding was due to end, and now once again offer SPARKS at Gladwin Junior High.”
SPARKS, or Students Participating in Academics and Recreation for Knowledge and Success, is an afterschool and summer school program created locally in 2003 with federal funding from the 21st Century Community Learning Centers grant through the Michigan Department of Education. The program’s mission is to provide academic support and enrichment activities for students, many of whom are at risk of low achievement.
Working with several other community partners, including MSU Extension in Clare, Gladwin and Midland Counties, the Boy Scouts and the Girl Scouts, SPARKS helped 500 students last year; with the addition of GJHS, that number should grow. Idzikowski said that whatever people might think they know about SPARKS, they probably don’t have the full picture.
“We focus on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM), job and career skills, homework and tutoring, math and literacy, credit recovery and community involvement,” she said. “Our kids enjoy a safe, inspiring learning environment with programming that has been proven to boost school attendance and academic performance. SPARKS fills an essential need for these students.”
Idzikowski said there were 75 applicants for 21st CCLC funding in Michigan this year. SPARKS was one of 36 receiving funding, and she knows that landing this grant was a result of hard work in the grant writing process, as well as a testament to the program that’s been built over the past 16 years.
“We’ve been doing this a while, and we like to think we’re still getting better all the time,” she said. “This grant will bring us up to 13 sites, each funded for $135,000 this coming year. At its best, SPARKS’ federal and local goals focus on increasing academic achievement, expanding student learning in non-academic areas, targeting the lowest achieving students, promoting student attendance, strengthening community involvement, increasing family education and participation and providing a wide range of expanded enrichment opportunities.
“SPARKS’ goals reflect outcomes that are achievable, yet higher than federal targets,” she added. “And we do all that while providing a snack and dinner each night, transportation, field trip opportunities and more, all at no cost to students or their families.”
Follow all the latest SPARKS happenings, including its summer program, follow the organization on Facebook by clicking here.
AWARD SEASON: At the Area School Board Association Dinner Meeting last week at Harrison High School, a couple local district board members received high honors. Clare Public Schools Secretary (and CGRESD Vice-President) Sue Murawski was recognized with the Michigan Association of School Boards' highest individual honor - Level 7, the President's Award of Recognition. Gladwin Community Schools Board President Sally Hightower was honored as well with Level 5, The Master Diamond Award. Hightower was unable to attend, but Murawski received her hardware from Matthew Showalter, President-Elect of MASB Board of Directors. Congratulations to both outstanding ladies for their long, meaningful service to kids.
SPARKS SITES WILL REOPEN AT SEVERAL LOCAL SCHOOLS
When the 2018-19 school year starts up this fall, the SPARKS program will serve students in all five local school districts in Clare and Gladwin Counties for the first time in its 15-year history.
Staff at the Clare-Gladwin Regional Education Service District, which oversees the afterschool and summer program that is free to students and their families, recently received word of new federal funding in the amount of $810,000 per year for the next five years that will allow SPARKS to reopen sites in secondary schools in Beaverton, Farwell, Gladwin and Harrison.
When the Clare-Gladwin Career & Technical Education program dedicated its new building at the Magnus Center May 18, it carried different meanings for different people.
For the Clare-Gladwin RESD, it meant fulfilling a promise to voters who passed the CTE millage two years ago. For members of the Magnus family, it was another step in transforming the property they gifted to the RESD into a high-impact educational center for local high schoolers. And for the students who will benefit from CTE programs for decades to come, it represented a place to call their own.
(READ THE WHOLE STORY HERE.)