Clanton schools receive grant for afterschool program

Published 9:16 am Thursday, September 1, 2011

Clanton Elementary School and Clanton Intermediate School recently received a 21st Century Community Learning Center grant for an after-school program.

The program is called “Tiger Trails” and will operate at CES from 3:30 until 5 or 6 p.m. each afternoon.

Children must be students at CES or CIS to participate in the program.

“To my knowledge, no other schools in Chilton County have ever received a grant like this,” said CES Principal Rebecca Threlkeld. “We hope it will be a tremendous help to the families of our children.”

Threlkeld said the grant is specifically allotted for afterschool services for children. CIS students will ride the bus to CES for the program every afternoon.

“It’s really a way kids can do their academic work and get extracurricular offerings,” Threlkeld said. “Parents won’t have to run to different places for different things.”

Tiger Trails will afford students time to complete their daily homework, and certified teachers from CES and CIS will be available for academic tutoring.

In addition, Threlkeld said students will “follow” different trails each week for extracurricular activities such as fitness, art, music, dance, gymnastics and nature exploration.

“They will get a healthy snack every afternoon as part of the program,” Threlkeld said. “It’s very health-centered. Everything will follow guidelines to be considered healthy for children.”

Cornerstone Fitness is the community-based partner for the grant and will be providing the semi-weekly fitness classes for children.

Threlkeld said the program will accommodate children who have health problems.

“Childhood obesity is something the grant is written to address,” Threlkeld said. “For instance, if a child is struggling with obesity, they will need to be on the fitness trail.”

Threlkeld said children have the option of traveling more than one trail each week to participate in more than one extracurricular activity.

“One component of the grant is nature exploration,” Threlkeld said. “We’re trying to develop a naturescape area (and) use elements of nature to develop play and exploration areas for children outside.”

Currently, the schools have set no limit on the number of children who may participate in Tiger Trails.

Threlkeld said at least 80 children will be able to participate free of charge, because 80 is the number she estimated on the grant application.

The potential cost to others would be determined after Threlkeld knows exactly how many children have signed up.

“As soon as we go to the training and get everything understood, I’m hoping it (the program) will be up and running by October,” Threlkeld said. “We’re going to be asking for as much community involvement and parental involvement as we can get.”

Local businesses and community service groups may call CES at (205) 280-2730 to get involved.

“We have this grant for three years if we meet (government) standards every year when they review our program,” Threlkeld said. “It’s a pretty big deal for us to get it.”