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New Jersey Department of Education Office of Student Support Services 21st Century Community Learning Centers Program and Out-of-School Time Resources

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21st Century Community Learning Centers Program (21st CCLC) - Overview

The 21st Century Community Learning Center is a federally funded program supported by the New Jersey Department of Education for out-of-school time programs in New Jersey, which include before-school, afterschool or summer.

What is the 21st Century Community Learning Centers Program (21st CCLC)?

Under Title IV, Part B of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, as amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, effective FY 2003, the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) programs are defined as centers that offer academic, artistic, and cultural enrichment opportunities to students and their families when school is not in session. The primary goal of the 21st CCLC Program is to supplement the education of children who attend low-performing schools and live in high-poverty areas with academic, artistic and cultural enrichment during out-of-school time hours, so that they may attain the skills necessary to meet state core curriculum content standards. In addition, the centers must offer literacy and other educational services to the families of the participating students.

What is the intent of the legislation?

According the to legislation, the 21st Century Community Learning Centers Program is intended to: 1) create community learning centers that provide academic enrichment opportunities for children, particularly students who attend high-poverty and low-performing schools, to meet the state’s Core Curriculum Content Standards in core academic subjects; 2) offer students a broad array of enrichment activities that can complement their regular academic programs before and/or after-school or during hours when school is not in session; and 3) offer literacy and other educational services to families of participating students.

What are the key elements of the New Jersey 21st CCLC Program?

The 21st CCLC legislation and the New Jersey Department of Education require a number of key elements and features to be implemented in all local projects. They include:

  1. Serve students in grades 4–12 who primarily attend schools eligible to participate in Title I schoolwide programs or students who attend schools that serve a high percentage of students from low income families and the families of those students.

  2. Implement activities that promote parental involvement and family literacy.

  3. Implement activities within the following categories: remedial education and academic enrichment learning programs; mathematics and science activities; arts and music educational activities, entrepreneurial educational programs; tutoring services and mentoring programs; programs that provide after-school activities for limited English proficient students that emphasize language skills and academic achievement; recreational activities; telecommunications and technology education programs; expanded library service hours; programs that promote parental involvement and family literacy; programs that provide assistance to students who have been truant, suspended or expelled, to allow students to improve their academic achievement; and drug and violence prevention programs, counseling programs and character education programs.

  4. Develop and/or infuse character education into program activities.

  5. Operate programs accordingly:
  • Programs that propose to incorporate a before-school component during the academic year must operate for at least one (1) hour per day, five (5) days per week and conclude before the school day begins.
  • Afterschool programs are required to operate for at least three (3) hours per day, five (5) days per week, during the academic school year.  Afterschool programs must commence when the school day officially ends.
  • Summer programs are required to operate for at least four (4) hours per day, five (5) days per week.
  • Programs that propose to operate on weekends and/or other non-school days are required to operate a minimum of four (4) hours per day.
  1. Programs must offer a nutritious snack that meets the requirements of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National School Lunch program for meal supplements.

What are the core services of the 21st CCLC Program?

The core services of a 21st CCLC program must be those services and/or activities that advance student achievement using the 12 program categories outlined in the federal guidance and be offered during out-of-school time hours. Out-of-school time programs should reflect a commitment to promoting knowledge, skills and understanding through enriching, hands-on and creative learning opportunities that do not extend, but complement the school day. The core services can fit into four main categories:

Academic Enrichment: Remedial education activities that provide additional assistance to students to allow them to improve their academic achievement; tutoring in core academic subjects such as mathematics and science education, etc. ; activities for students who are limited English proficient that emphasize their language skills and academic achievement.

Enrichment Activities and Recreation: Activities that complement students’ academic learning by allowing students to engage in more creative activities such as art, music, dance, recreation and cultural activities.

Family Literacy and Enrichment Programs: Literacy and other educational services that assist parents and families of participating children in becoming full partners in the education of their children for increased parental involvement and positively impact the family members ‘ability to engage in interactive literacy activities.

Support Services: Services that target drug, violence, and other youth prevention programs, and character education programs.  Students and their families are linked to community outreach services and are provided with opportunities to engage in service learning activities and access to adult education resources.

How many 21st CCLC Programs are there in the state of New Jersey?

Currently, there are fifty-two (52) 21st CCLC programs funded through the New Jersey Department of Education, with a regional distribution of twenty (20) programs in the Northern region, fourteen (14) programs in the Central region, and eighteen (18) programs in the Southern region of the state.  These grantees will provide services to over 10,360 youth between 4th & 12th grade for the 2015-2016 program year.  Additionally, they represent approximately twenty-two (22) school districts, one (1) charter schools, twenty-one (21) community-based agencies, five (5) institutions of higher education, one (1) non-public school, one (1) for-profit agency and one (1) faith-based organization. 

For more information:
The New Jersey Department of Education
Office of Student Support Services
21st Century Community Learning Centers Program
100 River View Plaza
P.O. Box 500
Trenton, NJ 08625 – 0500

Click here for a list of current grantees