Like many other center city schools, Catholic and otherwise, St. Anne Catholic School in Wichita has some challenging demographics. Class sizes are large with 23 students per classroom.
Seventy-four percent of the children qualify for free- or reduced-priced hot lunches. Seventy-three percent come from homes where English is a second language. Recent academic achievement ranks below average.
Thanks, however, to a partnership with Catholic Charities, St. Anne has received a five year $600,000 21st Century Community Learning Center grant to create learning centers that provide academic enrichment opportunities to help the children meet state standards in core academic areas, literacy and other education services to the families.
St. Anne Principal Pam Stead said, “Students are not only showing an increase in reading and mathematics, they are also blossoming as they learn about the world of work, crafts, or skills.”
The grant provides for two sets of activities: it funds 23 weeks of after-school activities, and six weeks in the summer.
The after-school program lasts for two hours. It begins with snacks and exercises followed by an hour of oral reading and academic tutoring. The final 50 minutes are spent with enrichment activities such as art, piano lessons, sewing, engineering, etc. Foster Grandparents from Catholic Charities provide one-on-one literacy tutoring during the summer. Youth development activities include drug and violence prevention, counseling, art, music, recreation, technology, and character education.
During the second year, the grant will also provide workshops for parents designed to improve parenting skills and age-appropriate communication with children.
A Family Reading Program is being instituted to support family literacy. Other topics have included internet safety, responsive discipline, nutritional activities, budgeting, and English instruction.
Diocesan Superintendent of Catholic Schools Bob Voboril is particularly grateful for the assistance of Catholic Charities in obtaining the CCLC grant.
“Since the Catholic schools cannot accept government money, St. Anne Catholic School would not have this grant without the support of Wendy Glick, executive director of Catholic Charities, who arranged for Catholic Charities to oversee, manage, and administer the grant. Catholic Charities is a good friend of Catholic education, and we thank them.”
St. Anne is the third school to receive the 21st CCLC grant. Holy Savior and St. Patrick, Wichita were previous recipients. DeAnn White of Wichita wrote the grant for St. Anne’s.
Stead, added, “It has been so much fun to watch our youngsters become more proficient in their school work, and also blossom as they discover new interests and talents. Because of the 21st CCLC grant, St. Anne is better able to form lifelong learners who realize the need to better themselves and everyone around them.”