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Tuesday April 22, 2014 Edition
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VUHS After School And Summer Programs Land Huge Grant

Tuesday April 22, 2014

By Cookie Steponaitis

It was just announced that Vergennes Union Elementary School and Vergennes Union High School have been awarded a grant from the Vermont Agency of Education which is part of the 21st Century Community Learning Centers Grant Program. The funds are part of block grants that are given to states from the Federal Department of Education. The total funding of $767,425.00 is over a five year period and the grant was secured for expanding learning opportunities for students from VUES and middle school grades at VUHS. The first three years of the grant will fund $174,415; year four the program will receive $130,811 and year five will bring in $113,369.
    “It was written,” shared co-grant collaborator Jill Strube, “to provide expanding learning opportunities for students from the two schools. The new program is called ‘Fusion.’ There are several Merriam-Webster dictionary definitions for fusion.  One definition is, ‘a merging of diverse, distinct, or separate elements into a unified whole; a second definition is, ‘the union of elements which results in the release of enormous quantities of energy.’ Using these two definitions as our guiding force Fusion is our goal. We will be taking the diverse elements from the Vergennes Union High School (VUHS) KEYS afterschool and SAIL programs and the Vergennes Union Elementary School (VUES) afterschool/summer program, and unifying them to release an enormous quantity of energy.”
    Strube, who wrote the grant with VUES principal June Sargent, based their application on the already successful summer programs that last year alone serve 93 students in both middle and high school grades. The funds are to be used for providing after school and summer programs and will cover employing teachers and community members to lead enrichment activities and provide tutoring. The activities will be based in academics, the arts, wellness and technology. Community partners in the process include the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, Women of Wisdom/Sweet Charity, Bixby Memorial Library and the National Bank of Middlebury. “Ecstatic is hardly the word I would use to describe it,” concluded Strube. “This will allow us to continue our efforts to bring the best in expanded learning opportunities to our students. We are very excited."

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