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Iowa Department of Education Awards Nearly $6 Million in Learning Beyond the Bell Grants To 67 Schools

The Iowa Department of Education today awarded nearly $6 million in competitive grants to 67 Iowa schools to create, expand, and sustain high-quality before-and-after school programs that support families and advance student achievement in partnership with community organizations.

“By expanding access to before- and after-school programs grounded in evidence-based best practices, Learning Beyond the Bell grants will support improved student achievement, strong attendance, and positive behaviors,” said Iowa Department of Education Director McKenzie Snow. “The Department is leveraging additional federal funds to increase support for Learning Beyond the Bell grants from $3.5 million to nearly $6 million, encouraged by the tremendous response of schools and community organizations to this opportunity. We commend all of the awardees for their leadership in realizing our shared vision to bridge and close learning gaps through engaging students in dynamic learning and supporting working families beyond the school day.”

In determining awards, competitive district applicants demonstrated clear, sustainable plans for offering before- and after-school programming that incorporated evidence-based instruction in identified academic focus areas, based on the needs of the students being served. Implementation plans also addressed daily attendance, transportation to and from the program, high-quality staffing, and strong community partnerships. Funding awards prioritized schools serving students most in need based on their identification for additional support and improvement through federal and state accountability systems. 

Award amounts were determined based on alignment with grant objectives and the expenditures outlined in each applicant’s budget proposal, up to a maximum of $200,000 per school. Allowable uses of funds include costs related to staffing, evidence-based interventions in math and/or reading, tutoring and other activities to advance student achievement, transportation and snacks, and meals that meet federal nutrition guidelines.

Grants will be distributed for district implementation this spring, summer, and into the 2024-25 school year, following a 10-business day appeal period as required by state law. 

More information about the Learning Beyond the Bell Grant is available on the Iowa Department of Education’s website. See the full press release for a list of awardees.

Funds for the Learning Beyond the Bell grant are provided through the Iowa Department of Education’s portion from the American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (APR ESSER) Fund to address state-level education priorities.

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