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6:53 AM Sun, Sept. 23rd

Miller Valley Elementary School awarded $500,000 grant

PRESCOTT - Tutoring and enrichment classes are now underway at Miller Valley Elementary School in Prescott thanks to a $500,000 from the 21st Century Community Learning Center.

And according to organizers, 100 students are already enrolled-more than a third of the school's total population. There are currently 275 students enrolled at the Iron Springs Road school.

The $500,000 grant, to be spread over a period of five years, will allow school officials to offer academic tutoring to students before and after school. The recent grant also allows for enrichment classes following the after-school tutoring. Both the tutoring and the enrichment classes will be offered free to Miller Valley Elementary School students. Math and reading tutoring will both be offered as part of the grant, along with homework assistance. After school, students will receive a snack before going on to an hour of additional math, reading and homework assistance. Following that, according to school officials, students can attend enrichment classes, which range from cooking, sewing, soccer and "mad science" classes to tumbling, Lego club, robotics and garden club, said CCLC Site Coordinator Carrie Coughlin.

"You have to do your tutoring for an hour first, then you can go to your enrichment class," Coughlin said, adding that parents are also involved in the after school programming.

"We have numerous family reading nights and get-togethers and things like that. We also have a peacekeepers class for the 5th graders, where they mentor the younger kids on the playground. It's a great program," Coughlin said.

Miller Valley Elementary School Principal Jeff Lane, PUSD District Grant Coordinator Shari Sterling and Coughlin both worked on the grant, which is offered through the Arizona Department of Education.

The grant took approximately three months to prepare, Lane said.

"We used to have to have an after-school program that was mostly centered on enrichment activities," Lane said. "This has allowed us to assist students with academics. We're really targeting students that need assistance. Bus transportation has also offered to take kids closer to home, so parents don't always have to come to pick them up like they did before. It's another great tool in our belt, so to speak. It's been a treasure for us to be able to help students and their families."

The school grant, formally announced in August, kicked off on Sept. 15.

"Right now we have morning tutoring classes going on Monday through Friday," Coughlin said. "We have homework assistance and tutoring after school for all grade levels."

Lane said the grant would also allow Miller Valley Elementary School to hold three weeks of summer school on the campus.

"There's no cost as long as you're enrolled at Miller Valley," Lane said.

Besides that, the grant also requires staff to track the individual academic growth of each student. Lane himself visits students enrolled in the program each day.

"We try to have to have the general education teacher and the tutors keep in contact about what the child needs. They might need extra assistance in certain areas," Lane said. "Tutors are qualified teachers, from our school or are teachers from other schools in the district who come over. They have to be a certified teacher to be able to tutor."