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To be continued

TEA extends funding for Santa Rosa and Santa Maria afterschool centers

Santa Rosa High School students build a single-seat, electric-powered race car at the ACE center. Photos: SRISD

Special to LFN

SANTA ROSA — The Afterschool Centers on Education (ACE) program at Santa Rosa Independent School District and Santa Maria Independent School District will stay open for two additional years thanks to extended grant funding from the Texas Education Agency.

Nearly $3 million will be awarded over the 2021-22 and 2022-23 school years, according to the Oct. 8 email from TEA. SRISD is the fiscal agent for this grant and has a shared service agreement with SMISD.

Alberto Trevino, program director for the Afterschool Centers on Education for SRISD and SMISD, wrote the application for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers -Texas ACE grant. He said funding for the grant is for three years, and the current grant cycle is ending in July 2021.

TEA, however, can continue the funding based on results and available funding.

“In the third year, they look at performance of their centers. If the centers meet the criteria and perform well, and if there is funding available, TEA can extend the grant to some centers for another two years. This is what happened in our case,” Trevino said. “This is great news for the students and families of Santa Rosa and Santa Maria.”

According to Trevino, there is an ACE center at the elementary, middle and high school for both school districts, and they all serve the same purpose: to increase student academic performance. The ACE centers, which are open before and after school five days a week, provide a safe environment where students can do their homework and receive tutoring assistance

A family learns to make homecoming mums and garters at the Santa Rosa High School ACE center.

The centers also offer an array of enrichment activities, such as STEM projects, sports, character and youth leadership development, and art, dance, guitar and archery lessons.

“These centers aren’t just a safe place for students to stay but a place for them to learn in a very engaging way,” Trevino said. “The program really does help them reach their full potential. We’ve seen students that had given up on school graduate after joining the ACE program.”

SRISD Superintendent Dr. Angela Gonzalez was delighted to hear about the two-year extension.

“We’ve noticed over the past two years that the ACE program is helping many of our students perform better in school. It’s an excellent program for our students and families. These centers make a big impact on small communities like ours,” Gonzalez.

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