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SWOSU Receives $450,000 Grant for High-Quality Afterschool and Summer Learning Programs Initiative

Southwestern Oklahoma State University has received a $450,000 grant to support a program with a goal to ensure that students and families are supported in out-of-school time learning with programming that is partnership-driven, widely available, and student success-focused. It is a partnership between Weatherford Public School and SWOSU. Meeting recently to discuss the award were (front from left): Marla Pankratz, Dr. Amy Barnett, Robyn Randol and Dr. Amber Sturgeon. Back from left—Vanessa Nix, Weatherford Public Schools Superintendent Jill Henderson, SWOSU President Dr. Diana Lovell and Dr. Bo Pagliasotti.

Southwestern Oklahoma State University has been awarded $150,000 per year over three years from the Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE) under OSDE´S High-Quality Afterschool and Summer Learning Programs initiative for the LEG-UP Program.

LEG-UP is "Learning and Engagement for Growth: United Partners" and the goal of the program is to ensure that students and families are supported in out-of-school time learning with programming that is partnership-driven, widely available, and student success-focused.

SWOSU LEG-UP project directors are Dr. Bo Pagliasotti and Marla Pankratz. This program will be a partnership with Weatherford Public Schools.

"This generous grant will enable the SWOSU Kinesiology Department to implement an incredible learning environment for a group of Weatherford elementary students,” Pagliasotti said. “The after-school portion of our program will concentrate on nutrition, physical education, and wellness. It will be based on components from the Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC) Model developed by the Center for Disease Control Healthy Schools.  Our goal is to combine learning and lots of movement to get the kids excited about building a healthy, active life.”

Pankratz said the grant is an opportunity for the SWOSU Department of Education to partner with Weatherford Public Schools to provide a multi-layered approach to support the specific needs of Weatherford students through a summer program.

“The WSCC model is student-centered and emphasizes the role of the community, the connections between health and academic achievement, and the importance of evidence-based practices,” Pankratz said. “The goal of the summer program is to support student growth in reading and math through evidence-based learning activities, enrichment activities, movement, and community building.”

The afterschool team consists of Pagliasotti, Dr. Amber Sturgeon, Vanessa Nix and Wayne Anderson from the SWOSU Department of Kinesiology, and the summer school team consists of faculty from the SWOSU Department of Education, including Pankratz, Dr. Amy Barnett, Robyn Randol and Dawn Keller.

SWOSU will also receive technical assistance and professional learning opportunities, data collection, and support for program evaluation.

Grants will be funded through June 30, 2024, and are a component of Ready Together Oklahoma: An Action Plan for Supporting Students Through the Pandemic and Beyond.