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NMSU STEM Outreach Center receives $ 26.5 million grant to support after-school programs

LAS CRUCES, New Mexico (KTSM) – The STEM Outreach Center at New Mexico State University has received a $ 26.5 million grant over five years to continue and expand support for after-school programs in school districts of Doña Ana, Grant and Hidalgo counties.

The Nita M. Lowey 21st Century Community Learning Center grant, offered by the New Mexico Department of Public Education, increases the number of learning centers served by the STEM Outreach Center from 26 to 47 centers. As part of the grant, Hobbs Municipal Schools will receive funding from the STEM Outreach Center for their after-school programs, serving 17 additional schools.

“This grant is a testament to our history of providing good quality systems and programs,” said Wanda Bulger-Tamez, director of the STEM Outreach Center. “Our team is looking forward to expanding after-school programs in southern New Mexico. These programs provide a safe place for students to participate in after-school programs that provide a range of enrichment opportunities.

“We’re excited to be able to expand our reach and reach so many students in different parts of the state,” said Henrietta Pichon, Acting Dean of the NMSU College of Health, Education and Social Transformation, where the STEM Outreach Center is located. . housed. “Programs like these create lifelong learners who see learning as another great adventure.”

The programs offered by the STEM Outreach Center provide academic support and enrichment opportunities to support the learning of literacy and science, technology, engineering and math, designed to reinforce the topics presented during of the traditional student learning day, NMSU officials said. Students participate in activities such as robotics, photography, coding, engineering design, dancing, cooking, crafts, and sports at these centers. Each school can choose after-school programs that best suit the interests and needs of the school community.

The grant is available to schools in need through the New Mexico Department of Public Education as part of the National 21st Century Community Learning Centers (CCLC) program. The STEM Outreach Center will partner with school districts and organizations such as Ngage New Mexico, Cruces Creatives, STEAMing Ahead for Success, and La Semilla Food Center to provide a wide range of community resources.

The STEM Outreach Center is the largest consortium in the state to receive funding from the 21st CCLC and one of the largest in the country to receive a 21st CCLC award. The US Department of Education offers the grant through its 21st CCLC National Program in partnership with state departments of education.

“Our consortium of schools is able to implement aspects of the community schools framework, which includes collaborative leadership and planning,” said Sara Morales, associate director of the STEM Outreach Center.

According to the US Department of Education, the program supports the creation of community learning centers that provide opportunities for academic enrichment during non-school hours for children, especially students who attend very poor and poorly performing schools. . The program also helps students meet national and local student standards in core academic subjects.

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